Merchant ABCs hosts Deborah Carney, Vinny O’Hare and Amy Ely joined Kim Salvino of buy.at and Liz Fogg of Team Loxly to answer a fundamental question for affiliate managers: What key steps should I take when launching (or relaunching) an affiliate program?
Key Steps Include:
- Review the affiliate list – check your program’s placement on the site, understand how they’re promoting your program (and make sure they’re compliant with your PPC policy), ask industry contacts about their reputation, consult your network or OPM, review forums and search online for any positive or negative feedback about the affiliate
- Evaluate the program terms – make sure you have program-specific terms in addition to network terms, ensure they’re clear and consistent, outline search policies on using brand name in the display URL, misspellings, brand + term bidding, and consider including terms for coupon affiliates to set expectations
- Assess the creative – include a wide variety of fresh text link and banner creative in IAB standard sizes, create deep text links (deep linking should be a requirement!!), offer a well categorized, regularly updated data feed and provide content for affiliates to use on their site
- Understand the competitive landscape – is your commission structure, cookie length, conversion rate and creative suite competitive?
- Develop a communication plan – send out an introductory newsletter to affiliates and an announcement post in forums and social media, consider including a survey to ask what they need, determine when you’ll send newsletters and if you’ll echo communications through social media, provide your full contact details and be approachable, genuine, and responsive to affiliates
- Walk through the affiliate’s shoes – sign up to the program an affiliate, identify how long it takes for network approval, understand the process for pulling creative, viewing reports, and more so you can identify pain points that may deter affiliates and consumers
- Test, test, test – test your shopping cart in all major browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome), complete a test purchase to ensure tracking and reporting are working as expected, confirm that affiliate transactions across different networks track properly
There is plenty of additional information in this information-packed podcast. Enjoy!
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