Creating an affiliate network might seem easy, especially if you have been in the affiliate business for a while and already have a list of partners who are willing to work with you. This alone, however, can’t ensure that your affiliate program will be successful and sustainable. There are many affiliate networks on the market targeting the same business partners as you would, which makes this business sector very demanding and competitive.
To stand out and make your affiliate network successful, you need to be recognized by your affiliate partners and create long term relationships with them. In this article, we will deal with factors worth taking into consideration when starting (or already running) your own affiliate network to set yourself up for success.
Claim your niche
Although it’s quite tempting to be a Jack of all trades and provide as many offers as possible to your publishers to choose from, in our experience, it’s not a winning strategy. Finding your niche and specializing in offers pertaining to it will help you direct your offers to the right target audience, thus multiplying chances of better conversions. Keep in mind that you not only need to provide a variety of offers for your publishers to promote, you also need to keep your advertisers happy with the quality of traffic and customers they are going to receive for their products and services. This can only be achieved by doing the right matching between offers & traffic sources, reaching high performance and revenues that will keep both parties happy. The more targeted your niche is, the easier it is to match. Therefore, even though there might be multiple offers available targeting different geos and segments (e.g. nutra, mobile, apps, loan, gaming, etc.), we recommend adding only those offers to your marketplace that match your publishers’ traffic and are in the niche you specialize in.
Just like any other business, running an affiliate network means you need to build stable and long-lasting relationships with your partners. One way to do it is to provide excellent support. It very often means being available and reachable whenever needed, providing multiple ways of communication (email, skype, phone), delivering accurate information (e.g. correct payouts, tracking links, feedback about traffic sources, etc.) and on top of that having a strong problem-solving mentality. An affiliate network is actually the middleman between a publisher and an advertiser, therefore it’s important to keep balance and build trust. Keep in mind that while there are many networks on the market, publishers and advertisers prefer to cooperate with networks that make their daily business uncomplicated, understand their needs, and can be trusted in the long run. You also need to make sure to select partners you can trust, both publishers and advertisers, as this will increase your network’s reputation and reliability.
Both publishers and advertisers need to be updated about any changes that might affect their business and you need to make sure to communicate them fast. Choose a tracking software with a great deal of automation to simplify your life, avoid human errors, and allow your partners to be informed and act fast.
Making sure your team is up to date with the latest technologies and changes in the ever-evolving affiliate world is another important factor that will set you up for success. Invest time and potentially money in making sure you and your team are familiar with new regulations, advertising techniques, tools, features, traffic sources, etc. to be able to provide high quality and professional support to your publishers and advertisers.
There’s no bigger deal-breaker for a business than not being paid for your services on time. Make it a priority to pay your affiliates on time while providing multiple ways of payment (e.g. wire transfer, PayPal, Payoneer, Bitcoin, etc.) and reducing unnecessary transaction fees. Relationships lie at the base of every business and this is especially true for the Affiliate Marketing industry as the competition is fierce. Paying on time will not only keep your affiliates happy and motivated, but this will also ensure they will do their best to give you the best quality traffic they can lay their hands on. On the other hand, sending high-quality traffic will help you get better payment deals from your advertisers and will grow your cash flow. Win-win!
How many times did you test offers only to see they’re not converting, or the results are poor and disappointing? One of the most important success factors to keep your publishers motivated and engaged with your network is to provide offers that are showing good results and bring revenues fast. Therefore, it’s important to work closely with your advertisers and get constructive feedback so that you can create a full and useful guideline to your publishers to help them push the right traffic to your offers.
Some questions to ask your advertisers are:
• Which segments to target and which to exclude?
• Are there are any traffic restrictions (e.g. pop-under traffic not converting)?
• What promo strategies should be avoided (e.g. incentivized traffic)?
• Which traffic sources are performing well (e.g. search traffic, social media traffic, etc.)?
You get the gist. Getting as many details as possible will help your publisher optimize their campaigns in order to achieve the results you need.
In addition, to gain a competitive advantage over other networks, including exclusive offers in your marketplace – offers that cannot be found on any other network, are branded or white-labeled. This could make all the difference!
User-friendly and solid tracking platform
Last but not least, using a solid and user-friendly platform to track your affiliate campaigns is one of the most important factors to set yourself up for success. There are many platforms to choose from, fit for every budget, and functionality needs. It is, however, important to select a platform that will ensure stability, is reliable (all actions are being tracked and recorded), is easy to use by your team members and publishers, with features and automation tools that can simplify daily tasks and help optimize your affiliate campaigns easy and fast.
We talk more about what to pay attention to when selecting a performance marketing platform in this article.
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