Can I push offers to consumers and not to affiliates? – Most Common Questions

Posted September 19, 2012 in ,

Affiliate Coupons and offers 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.
But why restrict the offer/coupon/promotion so affiliates can’t use it?  That is simple – Campaign Integrity. When a merchant develops a promotion for their email subscribers, or other groups through other channels, the revenue generated from that campaign is almost secondary to the data they recovered from that campaign.  Did it work?  How many new customers did we get?  What was our profit or margin contribution?  If that promotion is extended only through they channel they intended it be for, then you have great campaign integrity.
If your other marketing channels, whether it be affiliate, ppc, CSE or another, grab that offer and promote it, your data is skewed, you may not really know if that offer worked at all.  So it is vital to maintain the integrity of the campaign and the offer to ensure that you can correctly interpret the data.

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.

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About the author

Jamie Birch

Founder/CEO

Connect with me on: Skype
Jamie is the owner and principal of JEBCommerce. His extensive Internet marketing experience includes all facets of online marketing: email, paid search campaigns, customer retention programs, and much more. This wide range of disciplines has enabled Jamie to excel as a business leader and JEBCommerce to realize a great level of success for its clients. Jamie cut his “affiliate marketing teeth” managing affiliate programs for many well known companies before spending several years at Coldwater Creek, a Top 5 nationwide women’s clothing retailer. While at Coldwater Creek, Jamie established and managed affiliate campaigns, email campaigns, and SEO campaigns – an opportunity that allowed him to develop many of the proven processes JEBCommerce successfully employs today. In recognition of his professional leadership, the affiliate marketing industry has consistently nominated him for Annual Pinnacle Awards over the years. In addition to individual accolades, JEBCommerce is gaining momentum within the Internet marketing industry and is experiencing positive, exciting growth. This is a direct result of Jamie’s positive leadership, integrity, and earned respect – from his clients and industry peers. Need a speaker for your next event? I can do that, too!