Affiliate marketing strategies tips and tools

Above all else, 2017 is going to be a year where affiliates need to get creative, out-think the competition, and really prove their worth in the value chain. If you have an idea you want to test, you can now get it live for less than $3 – so what are you waiting for? Make it happen.

Regardless, reading the predictions of experts in your industry is a good place to start. If you want to know what products might be worth promoting in the travel industry this year, for example, you might want to experiment with search queries like:

Googleís attempt to reduce the SEO communityís focus on keyword targeting hasnít exactly been subtle.

While a few skydiving referrals hardly made me rich, these two stories will hopefully give you some ideas about alternative formats for affiliate marketing.

Want to learn more about how Acceleration Partners can help you develop an effective affiliate marketing program? You can learn more about our affiliate support services here.

While not a panacea for any and all issues that might arise, the following tips are essential for companies and their CMOs to carefully consider prior to implementing an affiliate marketing program.

  1. Determine and clarify overall business goals for starting an affiliate marketing program. Is the goal to drive incremental sales, increase overall revenue, or work with smaller long-tail affiliates with a niche audience? In affiliate marketing, each would require a different approach.For example, incremental sales efforts are usually focused on gaining new customers, so the strategy is likely to involve working with new and innovative publishers, as well as content bloggers. You will need to provide affiliates with new customer-only offers and employ sufficient technology to measure new customer acquisition. Whereas, if the goal is to drive an increase in overall revenue through the channel, then itís about attracting anyone and everyone and the strategy is likely to involve working with coupon and loyalty affiliates with a larger reach.
  2. Evaluate the competition. For continuity, itís important that your affiliate program is in line with what competitors are doing Ė especially with regard to commission rates, cookie lengths, and affiliate demographics. Commission rates : If your competitors are paying out a 10 percent commission to their affiliates, then itís wise that you do something similar. Itís also important to allow yourself some flexibility to perhaps pay VIP affiliates slightly more if your ROI goals support doing so. Cookie lengths : When a reader clicks on an affiliateís link, do you want their cookie to track for one day? Seven days? Thirty days? While the industry standard is thirty days, that doesnít necessarily mean that it applies to your business model (e.g. flash sales). A competitive analysis will help you determine what will work best for your company and business goals. Affiliate type : As noted in Affiliate Marketing 101: Part 1 most affiliate marketing programs are comprised of coupon sites, loyalty sites, content bloggers, and even nontraditional affiliates, such as schools, nonprofits, apps, and individual professionals. Itís important to consider what types of affiliates you want to be associated with and what makes the most business sense. For example, if you donít offer coupons and your goal is to build a program with affiliates that produce high-quality content, then removing coupon sites from your list is a rational strategy.
  3. Donít boondoggle your budget. What is your budget for commission payouts? Above and beyond that, what is your budget for additional exposure (affiliate events, commission bonuses, giveaways, product reviews, paid placements, etc.)? While not necessary for every affiliate marketing program, recognizable, well-established companies are likely to see positive results in spades if they allocate resources for additional exposure.
  4. Contemplate your creative needs and resources. Like other marketing channels, affiliate programs require creative assets. Does your creative team have the resources to create banners and the capacity to redo them on a regular basis to ensure that creative is fresh? At a bare minimum, itís highly recommended to update creative on a quarterly basis so that it reflects the siteís current look and feel and doesnít get stale and disenchanting for affiliates. Many affiliates also appreciate it when banners are updated for sales or promotions as it makes it easier to share the information with their readers.
  5. Think about technology. Youíll want to have a technology team that can implement and update the networkís tracking pixel. A tracking pixel is 1×1 pixel placed on the checkout page so that, when a cookie is set, the pixel will pick up information from that cookie and report it back to the network. The type of information you want the pixel to acquire is also important. For example you might want to know if someone is a new or returning customer, if a coupon code was used, what the coupon was used for, what the product SKU was, etc. A dedicated technology team can also make creating and updating a product data feed a breeze.

Getting a rock-solid strategy in place will help position you for success when youíre ready to start your affiliate marketing program. Look for helpful tips and strategies related to that topic in a future post!

Thanks so much for the tips, as I am a beginner in affiliate marketing and will take heed to the advice. Less is more for sure in trying to advertise too much and money is time as time is money.

Great stuff you got there, I must say that really good tips, you have provided. As, i am working on a site that has affiliate program on it but i donít know, how can i promote my site. Thanks to you! is another example of this model in action:

How to do affiliate marketing in offline mode? Can you cite some examples?

Looking for more internet marketing or ecommerce web site development guides?

Other article and tutorial archives on Taming the Beast:

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Some merchants and advertisers make the switch from affiliate programs to PPC in order to avoid fraud. Unfortunately, affiliate marketing is not immune to fraud either.

While joining affiliate programs is a free opportunity, it's a business Ė and like any business, it will cost some money to start and run it. But those costs will be associated with building, running and promoting your blog or website. There are many tools Ė free and paid - you can use to assist you with all of these processes. I list a few of my favorite affiliate marketing tools here.

Yes and no. Affiliate marketing can generate passive income, but the passive side of the income usually only follows putting in a few years of hard work to generate the brand and audience you'll need to begin generating those passive sales. I have multiple sites earning passive income, but each of those sites took a lot of front end work to build up to that point. And not every site gets to the point of passive income. Some sites require continual maintenance though the revenue they generate can also allow you to pay for that maintenance to be done vs. you needing to do it yourself.

If you have suggestions for posts you'd like to see me do or information you'd love to see provided, please feel free to contact me and let me know.

There are of thousands of opinions on how to build a successful affiliate program. The easiest way to sum it up is to say the affiliate manager needs to "Get It".If they don't understand affiliate marketing, the program will never see its full . Read More

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January 25, 2018

To make the journey that little bit easier, here are five fundamental tips for prospective affiliate marketers:

By all accounts, it is the small details that ultimately tilt the scales of difficulty in running an affiliate marketing program. Entrepreneurs and online publishers just getting started should understand how software solutions such as Skimlinks not only reduce the workload of running campaigns by automating time-consuming details, but also provide insight and accuracy in efficiently monetizing your content.

What additional affiliate marketing tips can you suggest?

Content creators and editors from over 1.5 million editorial & news sites, blogs, forums, content networks & mobile apps work with Skimlinks already. Join the party!