If you build it, they will come. That might work in the context of some baseball in a classic movie, but it is unfortunately rarely the case in real life, particularly when it comes to the world of sales and marketing. You can have terrific content and you can have a great product, but if you don’t have the right people out there helping you really sell it, then it’s all just a non-starter.
By now, you’ve likely realized that affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to increase sales as you are quite literally tapping into the extended power of the network. You are leveraging their connection, their expertise and their insight to get your product or service in front of converting customers. The challenge, then, is convincing the right affiliates–and as many of them as possible–to promote your product or service. How can you encourage them to push and push hard?
Make It Obvious
The affiliate program for your product, service or company shouldn’t be hidden away in some tucked away page on your website. The information about your affiliate program shouldn’t be hard to find. Just as the most convenient offers are the ones that convert the best, the same can be said about getting affiliates to “convert” on your affiliate program.
Ensure it is clear that you have an affiliate program, plainly outlining exactly how a potential affiliate can sign up. Any pertinent details, like the commission scheme, should also be easily found and understood. This is the bare minimum and yet many companies overlook it.
The Power of the Residual
A big part of the appeal of affiliate marketing in the first place is that it can create a passive source of income for successful affiliates. Yes, there is certainly maintenance work to be done and there are always improvements for landing pages and keywords, but there is a certain level of “set it and forget it” possible.
When your affiliate program is set up to provide a one-time commission for a straightforward conversion, the affiliate is not being encouraged to connect you with a long-time customer. They’re looking for someone who will convert right now. By setting up an ongoing residual, on the other hand, it is in the affiliate’s best interest to refer customers who will continue to be customers for the long haul. It’s win-win all around.
That being said, not all affiliates are necessarily drawn to recurring payment schemes. Some of them would prefer a larger single payment right away, even if the requirements for the commission are a little more stringent. Given this, it can be a good idea to give affiliates the option of how they would like to be paid for referring customers your way.
They can choose between having the single payment or receiving ongoing monthly payments as the customer stays on with your recurring service or product. You can even encourage affiliates to refer customers who sign up for your more premium plans by offering a higher percentage.
Media and Creative Support
Simply having an affiliate program, even one with lucrative payment schemes, may not be enough to get affiliates to push your product. Again, a big part of this comes down to convenience, as the majority of people will gravitate toward low-hanging fruit. While many of the top-performing affiliates are very effective in coming up with their own email campaigns, landing pages and banner ads, they still need your support.
Provide a good variety of banner ads in a range of styles, sizes and formats so that they can be most easily implemented on just about any website in nearly any position. Animated ads might work in some circumstances, static banners might be better in others. The 300×250 square works in some instances, while the 728×60 leaderboard is better elsewhere. The shotgun approach, in this way, is a great way to get as many affiliates as possible on board and working to promote your products and services.
Be proactive. When you find websites promoting your competitor’s products, there’s a good chance that your product will also be a good fit for that site owner. Seek out the best affiliates in your niche and reach out to them personally. Forge a strong business relationship and they’ll be far more inclined to promote what you have than the competition that simply ignores them.