We take a look at the best affiliate marketing strategies to help you to boost your revenue for your online ecommerce store.
Affiliate marketing can help your business to increase revenue. But what is it? Affiliate marketing involves three parties. A publisher, an affiliate network, and a brand. The brand, who has a product to sell, pays the publisher a set amount of commission for every person who they refer to their website who goes on to purchase. The affiliate network is in the middle tracking these sales and attributing them to the correct affiliate.
For a brand, it’s important to have some good strategies in place to boost your conversion rates and increase your revenue. Knowing exactly which strategies work can be complicated, especially if you’re just starting out. There are several different tried and tested ways of increasing your revenue.
Advertiser strategies to grow your affiliate revenue
If you’re a brand and you’re running an affiliate program there are plenty of strategies to boost your revenue. It does require some time, and sometimes a critical eye to work on these different strategies, but the benefits will far outweigh the amount of time you spend on it.
1: Diversify your affiliates
Once you’ve got your affiliate program up and running the temptation is to exclude certain affiliate types because you think they won’t bring any value to your brand. However, it’s important to make sure that you diversify so that you’re not only working with one affiliate type. Instead make sure you have a good mix of different affiliate types, because there are so many different types. Make sure you have a good mix including influencers, tech solutions, loyalty, coupons and more.That way, if Google updates their algorithm, or one of your top performing affiliates stops promoting you, then at least you’ll have other affiliates to bridge the gap.
2: Ensure that you provide a product data feed and up-to-date creatives
A data feed is important as many affiliates use these to keep their websites up to date, and some affiliates won’t be able to promote you without them. Banners are important too, and having a good, generic set of banners will mean that affiliates can promote you easily. However, if you want affiliates to draw attention to something special, for example, your summer sales then it’s good if you have banners for this as well. That way you’ll get more traction around these key periods.
Foenix is a great example of an affiliate who works with a data feed to showcase different products from several different brands, and they use the image and pricing on their pages. In this example, they are showcasing women’s shoes from lowest to highest price.
3: Set up a regular communication plan
The affiliate channel is all about creating relationships with your affiliates – if you aren’t making the most of the relationships you have with your affiliates, then you’re losing out on sales. A regular monthly communication plan detailing any upcoming promotions, new items in stock, and bestsellers will help to peak the interest of your affiliates. You want to include anything that will engage them, and get them excited about promoting your brand.
4: Offer commission rate increases
In order to get better placements, affiliates will often ask for a commission increase to promote you on their homepage for example. Boosting commission can also be a great way of boosting sales, especially in slower months. You could even think about running a competition to reward the affiliate with the most amount of sales in a month, an increased commission rate.
5: Offer your affiliates exclusive coupon codes
Whatever affiliates you’re working with, a coupon code can be a great way to leverage more sales. Make sure that you are giving an exclusive discount to an affiliate that doesn’t overlap with another code, and that you don’t have a better discount available on site at the same time. This is one of the most effective ways to increase sales.
In the example below Finder has a list of their exclusive coupon codes that their brands have provided to them. It’s a good way of getting extra coverage.
6: Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
If you don’t have a site that’s mobile-friendly, then you need to update it. Mobile purchases have increased by 25% in 2017 according to a study by Deloitte, and more and more people are favouring mobile payments over traditional routes. For affiliates this means that you need to make sure people can browse your website using a mobile phone without any issues, and for brands, they need to be able to shop quickly and easily on your website in order to make sales.
7: Work with your top affiliates and high potential affiliates more closely
Every brand will have affiliates who outperform the rest. It’s important that you have regular contact with these affiliates and run personalised campaigns with them because their users are highly engaged with your brand. It’s also important to look for affiliates that fit with your brand well, that you think have a high potential to make some good revenue.
8: Ask the affiliates you work with for promotional opportunities
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. As a brand who is in regular communication with an affiliate, you could look at running an entirely customised campaign with them – for example, a newsletter spot, a facebook post, a writeup on your blog and a banner.
In this example you’ll see Cuponation has a section for exclusive coupon codes, their top 20, and then Moo, Catch and Boohoo are all featured on the homepage. This is a great way for a brand to boost their revenue.
9: Make sure your cart experience is positive
If you are struggling to make sales yourself and your conversion rate is low, then even with an affiliate program it won’t work. Usually this is down to a bad experience on your website. Take a look at your cart experience with a critical eye and make improvements. Look at your cart abandonment, and why it might be happening.
10: Focus on blog content that compliments your brand
As a brand, coming up with creative ways to highlight your product, and show off your knowledge is important for generating revenue, particularly if you’re providing a service. Being unique, and focusing on providing high quality long form content can increase your organic traffic, but also help someone to decide to buy. Buffer, a social media management platform is really great at this because they focus on content marketing and social media, and it’s a great match for their product.
11: Include testimonials on your website
This means that when someone arrives at your website they have social proof that your solution or your product works. Make sure that the testimonials aren’t anonymous. In the example below from Shopify, it includes a testimonial, a full name and their job title which makes it feel more trustworthy and less like it has been made up.
12: Use A/B testing
If you’re not sure what works for your visitors, and you want to increase your conversion rate on your website, running A/B testing is a surefire way of finding out. A/B testing is where you compare two different versions of the same website to figure out which one converts better. There are several companies out there who can help with this (for example, Optimizely), so you can make sure that your site has a great conversion rate.
13: Capitalise on shopping events
Make sure that you’re communicating with your affiliates for specific shopping events. Christmas, Valentines day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are all good promotional periods, and there are plenty more throughout the year. Put together ideas for promotions and let your affiliates know about discounts ahead of time so they have the tools to give you extra coverage.
To create a successful affiliate program, it’s important that you make sure that your cart experience is positive and that you’re already making sales before you start. If your conversion rate is terrible, affiliate marketing won’t be able to turn it around, and you’ll need to try and iron out any of these issues before you start. Testimonials and great content can help to boost your brand, and A/B testing is a great way to get your conversion rate higher.
Once you’ve started an affiliate program it’s important to remember to diversify your affiliates and make sure you have several different types of affiliate so you aren’t relying on one revenue stream. Make sure that you communicate with your affiliates and create relationships, so having a monthly newsletter incorporating things that will inspire a publisher to promote you is important. This, alongside providing affiliates with what they need, and having regular contact with your top affiliates to organisecampaigns, and asking for extra opportunities, will ensure that your affiliate program is a success.