An affiliate program can be a powerful tool to drive new sales and generate interest in your company, but setting them up isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. In fact, you might end up doing more harm than good with your program if you don’t do it right from the beginning!
Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when you’re setting up your affiliate program so that you can get the most out of the setup and create the most rewarding experience for your affiliate marketers.
1. Not planning ahead
Before jumping into an affiliate program, make sure that you have a clear plan of how it’s going to work. You’ll need clear goals for how much commission per sale is appropriate, as well as where on your site it will be displayed.
Without these decisions set in stone, however, problems can arise down the line. Your affiliates might feel underpaid, for example, or they might misrepresent their own products by using yours instead. It’s critical that these details are sorted out beforehand so that they don’t cause problems later on.
2. Not taking action right away
The second most important thing that all affiliates should do is launch their campaign as soon as possible. While there are things you’ll want to set up ahead of time, such as a domain name for your website or an email address, don’t wait until every piece of your affiliate campaign is in place before you begin.
Chances are pretty good that if someone hasn’t taken action on something within 24 hours it’s unlikely they ever will. The sooner you get going, the sooner those commissions start rolling in!
3. Choosing low paying affiliates
If you’re in business, you know that every dollar counts. Make sure to choose affiliates for whom selling your product or service is worth their time. This means making sure they aren’t just directing traffic at random; they’re actually converting people who are interested in what they have to sell. When someone uses one of these programs, it’s called affiliate marketing.
4. Hiring an untrustworthy affiliate manager
A great affiliate manager can be invaluable. However, it’s important to stay on top of things and make sure you vet your new employee carefully before handing them any of your hard-earned cash. If they don’t have a solid history in marketing or business, pass and find someone who does.
You can ask for references and examples of their work—what traffic did they drive, how much money did they generate, etc.—and get a sense of how serious they are about managing an affiliate program. As with most professionals (i.e., attorneys, doctors), if their website is unprofessional or poorly designed (or non-existent), trust is already an issue; red flags abound here.
5. Not keeping track of your affiliates
Some companies have hundreds of affiliates, so it’s easy for them to lose track of who’s doing what. You should always have an internal system in place that keeps tabs on what affiliates are promoting your products and how they’re doing it. If you don’t, every time one of your affiliates gets an order, there’s a chance you could end up selling it twice.
This will not only confuse customers but also cause problems with accounting and taxes. It may be wise to hire someone or outsource project management if necessary. Having a system in place allows for constant communication between all involved parties regarding product releases, promotions, etc. Thus eliminating unnecessary rework later on.
Affiliate programs, especially those that allow a business to quickly monetize a website without spending too much money, are quite powerful tools.
Getting started with them may be difficult for some businesses, however. By taking our advice on avoiding these 5 mistakes, you should be able to get your affiliate program off on solid footing and start seeing results soon. Good luck!
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