One of the most common questions we receive from our clients, and a significant percentage of advertisers looking to launch an affiliate program is whether or not they can restrict coupons and sales so that affiliates are not able to promote it.
The short answer is yes. But let’s ask the question that you are really asking – am I able to restrict promotions to one or a combination of my online marketing channels? Why the difference? Well first, your question is specific to affiliates, but needs to be framed so that it is more relevant to your entire marketing universe. When I framed it that way, it’s pretty simple right? Yes, you can sure restrict an offer/promotion to only your email channel, or your CSE campaigns or a single display ad campaign. Affiliates are no different.
But there are some big differences:
- Unlike your other channels, your affiliates are working hard every day to maximize sales to your site. With that in mind they monitor your other channels so that they have the most up to date information to sell to their customers. Your other channels don’t necessarily exhibit this characteristic.
- Your dealing with people outside the company and they may not be aware of everything going on in your marketing.
- Your other channels see the big picture of your entire marketing campaigns, especially if you manage all of this in house.
So the answer is yes, you can restrict, but there are some best practices that you need to adhere to. Follow these and you’ll ensure a successful campaign and happy and engaged affiliates:
- Make sure your terms and conditions are updated to reflect that you offer coupons/offers/promotions through other channels and affiliates are not allowed to promote any of those they do not receive from you directly.
- Notify your affiliates of this in all your newsletters.
- If you go this route, you’ll need to be more communicative with your partners. Email them with each and every offer that they can promote. When they see things coming their way on a steady and regular basis, they tend to be sure to adhere to your terms and conditions.
- Notify your affiliates of the restricted offer with as much lead time as possible. Don’t tell them the day of, or the day after, tell them two weeks before. Include all the information they ‘ll need to recognize this offer and not promote it.
- Our teams often provide affiliates with an offer to promote at the same time, so although they won’t have that restricted offer they will have something to promote.
- Make sure you let affiliates know when it starts and when it ends.
How successful this is is dependent on how solid your relationships are with affiliates. The better the relationships, the better the cooperation. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.