Launching a new affiliate program is an exciting time but there is a lot that goes into a successful new program launch. As an affiliate program manager, your hands are tied in a lot of ways with waiting on contracts and technical integration. However, there are a lot of things you can personally do that will help get things moving along as quickly as possible. Below is a quick overview of some things that you can do to set a new affiliate program up for success!

Launching a new affiliate program is an exciting time but there is a lot that goes into a successful new program launch

1. Choose an Affiliate Network

The first thing you will need to do before you can start the launch process of your affiliate program is to pick an affiliate network to launch on. There are quite a few factors that come into play when making this decision. You will need to look at the network fees, affiliate base, tools and technology available to determine the best fit for your company. You also will need to look at your top competitors and see which networks they are on. If they are all on one network there is probably a good reason and that network may be the best option for you.

2. Determine Commission/Cookie Days

You will also need to determine the commission and cookie days that are best for your program. This is another aspect where it is useful to look at competitors programs to see what they are offering affiliates. You want to make sure your company is in line with or above the competition for affiliate commission rates. You also of course need to keep margins in mind. Obviously all the affiliates would want to promote your company if they were getting 50% commissions but that is not reasonable from a financial standpoint. You have to find the perfect balance of a commission rate that is appealing to affiliates but also fits your company’s business model.

3. Assemble Recruiting Lists

Another way to get geared up for a new program launch is to put together a significant recruiting list. From the moment you find out a new program is launching you need to start getting those lists together. It is time consuming and incredibly important to find high quality affiliates that are relevant to the brand. Spreadsheets work great for organizing this! Put together your list with names, websites, and contact information so right when the program goes live you can do massive amounts of recruiting outreach. This way you can get publishers joined up and active in the program as quickly as possible!

4. Queue Up Banners and Text Links

Once the program goes live you will need to make sure you have at least one full banner set in the network in all the standard sizes. Between finalizing contracts and technical integration, this is a great time to get your creative team working on the banners so they are ready to go by program launch. You will also have to get text links ready. Make sure to include text links for top categories, ongoing offers like free shipping thresholds, seasonal items, and current deals. Spreadsheets are also great to get these organized! You can include the link text, landing page, and run dates then once the program launches it will be quick and easy to upload them to the network!

Once the program goes live you will need to get the word out to as many people as possible as quickly as possible

5. Set Up Promotional Strategy

Before the program launches is a great time to figure out your promotional schedule for the affiliate channel! You can determine which types of offers you want to run each month such as % off or a $ amount off when they spend a certain amount. You can also decide if you will do exclusive affiliate channel offers and how long you want each offer to run. Once you figure this out it will help you determine your communication schedule for the affiliates. You want to make sure you are communicating the deals through affiliate newsletters and personal outreach to give affiliates time to get the promotions on their websites.

6. Affiliate Education Page

An affiliate education includes all the details of the affiliate program including which network the program is on, commission rates, affiliate tools, and other applicable information. Affiliate education pages are really important because affiliates that are interested in promoting your program may go to your website for information instead of searching all the affiliate networks for you. While you are waiting on the program to go live you can get all of the copy put together for the page and have it over to your website developer so the page is ready to go when the program launches.

7. Compile Terms and Conditions

You’ll need to determine what your affiliate terms and conditions are so you can add that to the network once the program goes live. In the terms and conditions you can include your guidelines for PPC ads, coupon codes, prohibited website content, and any other specific instructions you have for how affiliates can promote your brand.

8. Analytics Tracking Parameters

You will also need to determine the tracking information you want to include in affiliate links so this information can be passed to your analytics platform like Google Analytics or Omniture. This is incredibly valuable to get set up at launch so if anything were to ever happen with the affiliate network pixel, you will still have the data in another location. You will need to have the parameters ready to send over to the network tech so they can auto-append the tags to all affiliate links.

Having all the items queued up will help the launch go smoothly and help the program get ramped up quickly

9. Create Blog Post or Press Release

Once the program goes live you will need to get the word out to as many people as possible as quickly as possible. A great way to do this is through a blog post or press release. Make sure the blog post captures your excitement on this new program and includes all of the details on the program and how to join. Once the program officially launches you can have the blog post or press release go live and then share it on all you social media accounts to get the word out.

I hope these tips will be helpful as you are getting ready for a new affiliate program launch! Having all the items queued up will help the launch go smoothly and help the program get ramped up quickly.

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