affiliate marketing - Successful Affiliate Marketing - Running a Profitable Program
by Chris Malta
Some merchants tout smaller programs because they allow you to maintain greater control and have more direct contact with your affiliates. According to Dave Delisle, of ThePartnerMaker.com, "The problem with that idea is it puts a large reliance on a small group of people." It's better to have a larger group of affiliates all driving a little bit of traffic to your site. Advises Delisle, "Rather than having fewer partners, try focusing on improving communications with the affiliates you have."
Managing Your Program
Starting and managing an affiliate program requires a lot from you, as a small business owner — there's more to it than just purchasing tracking and contact-management software:
- You have to be adaptable to change. The affiliate marketing realm is subject to constant changes; and changes in other industries, such as SEO, have repercussions that affect the affiliate industry.
- You need to cope with multiple tasks simultaneously. It's become increasingly difficult to set your program on autopilot and expect to succeed with a handful of super-affiliates.
- You need to communicate with your potential affiliate partners to make sure they understand clearly what you do and do not allow, and what your policies are regarding things like coupon sites and trademark bidding. Once you begin a business relationship with them, you don't want any confusion about what's acceptable and how they can actively market your program.
You'll find affiliates spread all across the spectrum. There are numerous ways to locate the good partners you need to grow a solid program:
- Type relevant, popular keywords into the search engines, and see who's sitting on the keywords your business is built around.
- Join a large network, like KowaBunga or Commission Junction. It's a great way to get out in front of a large group of affiliates and have them approach you. But be careful not to completely rely on the network, and just passively wait for affiliates to come to you. You need to be actively recruiting the right partners.
- Attend conferences and affiliate summits.
Enthuses Delisle, "They're a great way to get involved in the industry."