Whether your affiliate marketing program has been outperforming each quarter, is stuck on autopilot or you’re just now starting to notice a decline in publisher activity, every advertiser can benefit from stepping back periodically and thinking about how to improve their overall efforts. You might be surprised that even the smallest changes can make a significant impact on your bottom line.
To get you started, here are seven ways you can energize your program and boost your performance marketing results.
1. Make Sure You Have Fresh Creative
Check the last time you updated ad copy or rolled out a brand new campaign. It may seem obvious, but talk to any publisher and you’d learn that many advertisers don’t regularly update their programs with new creative. If it’s been more than three months, it may be time for a refresh.
While you’re conducting your ad copy freshness check, take a closer look at the back-end analytics to see how well the ad has been performing. Assess its performance throughout the life of the campaign to gauge how successful it was out of the gate.
You may also want to consider what your competitors are doing in terms of creative. Unbeknownst to you, it could be that publishers prefer your competitors because they have better creative that’s updated more often.
Additionally, consider automatically setting expiration dates on your ad copy and send reminders to publishers to alert them that there is new creative available.
Finally, if you have a resource issue when it comes to creative, ask your affiliate marketing network for help. You might be able to tap into cost effective, professional design resources without breaking your budget.
2. Promote Exclusive Affiliate Offers
When you steer consumers toward a great offer and make it exclusive to the affiliate channel, you’re not just driving commissions, you’re demonstrating your commitment to your publishers. This, in turn, inspires and motivates them on your behalf.
Remember that the affiliate channel is a great testing ground. If you have a new product, a new brand or just want to increase sales in a specific area, your affiliate partners can probably help.
What will inspire your publishers most is a truly valuable consumer offer. You know what sells — your publishers want to know that too. Let them know what your hottest products are and offer the affiliate channel an exclusive promotion from time to time that is designed just for the affiliate channel.
3. Strengthen Your Ties To Publishers
Do you communicate with your publishers directly? If you don’t, you should. Work with your performance marketing network account manager to foster closer relationships with the publishers in your program.
When you know your publishers, you will stay top of mind with them, and you will be able to better understand and address their needs. Keeping the lines of communication open can help overcome any potential obstacles before they impact your program performance.
4. Increase Your Incentives
You can sweeten your incentive program through special bonuses. For example, for those publishers that refer $1000 in sales next month, be sure to compensate them with a $50 bonus.
Not sure what will truly incent your publishers? Try different strategies, watch your competitors and, most importantly, get the advice of your publishers. Simply ask them what will inspire them to focus more on your company and brand.
5. Recognize And Reward Your Top Publishers
While your top publishers are already reaping the benefits of working with your brand, consider additional bonuses that recognize their efforts so you can further leverage their success.
These incentives can reward publishers for various activities, including the obvious sales-driven incentives, as well as longevity with your brand, amount of website traffic generated and other measurable milestones.
What’s important to note here is that top successful publishers have a lot of options and can pick and choose from a lot of brands. With this in mind, you always want to cultivate strong affiliate relationships with your star performers. Some extra acknowledgement can go a long way.
6. Reinvigorate Inactive Publishers
While it may be tempting to dismiss inactive publishers so you can focus on the more productive ones, don’t be so eager to cast away the lower performers. After all, they might be diamonds in the rough for your brand. Your affiliate marketing network should make it easy for you to see your top gainers and decliners on a year-over-year basis. Make sure to look at that information regularly.
To bring the inactive or declining publishers back to life on behalf of your brand — and to more appropriately determine if they’re worth your investment — reach out to them first and try to find out why they have focused less on your brand. Is it just “out of sight out of mind” or is there something else at the root of the trend.
Meanwhile, you can also consider checking in with your network account manager to better determine if there are other issues looming with these particular publishers that should be addressed. They might have information about the publisher that would be good for you to know.
7. Understand Your Mobile Traffic
While mobile commerce is still very much in its early stages, all signs indicate this part of the market is poised to really take off over the next few years. By getting your mobile affiliate programs in place now, you can start to reap the early adopter benefits, get familiar with the nuances of mobile affiliate marketing, and expand your reach through a new network of mobile publishers.
Your affiliate partners could be your most cost-effective route for testing the mobile waters. Just make sure to check with your affiliate network to ensure that your affiliate tracking is working from a mobile device.
In addition to evaluating your performance marketing results on a regular basis, it’s also a good idea to revisit these optimization recommendations every quarter to make sure your affiliate program is running at top speed.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.