When it’s time for a program launch, we use processes and rely on our industry connections to get the program performing quickly.
So, you’ve decided to add another arrow to your marketing quiver, but you don’t have time to launch a successful affiliate program. That’s where we come in. Our team at JEBCommerce prides itself in getting a program producing quickly and effectively. We do this through a system of processes that we’ve used to launch hundreds of affiliate programs over the years.
Many of these steps are taken directly from our internal process management software that we reference each and every time we take over a program. Of course, there are going to be variations based on the advertisers needs and wants for the program, but these are what we have found to be the most consistent attributes in any successful program launch.
Schedule a “Kick-off Call”
During our kick-off calls, you meet with the affiliate manager who will be overseeing your account and they ask you a series of questions. “What are your overall goals for this affiliate program?”, “What are your KPI’s?”, “What are your expectations?”, etc. We want to be sure we’re all on the same page when it comes to managing the program and this is a perfect time to be open and honest about what you want from us.
During the kick-off call, we’ll also ask questions regarding your brand, your products, and your customer demographics to help us in understanding your audience better. We’re always interested in hearing about any ongoing or upcoming marketing initiatives in some of your other channels; things you’ve tried, things that performed well and things that didn’t so great. This helps us get a holistic understanding of where your marketing efforts are focused so we can best align the affiliate channel with that strategy.
Set up communication
One thing I like to do is understand how my clients communicate best and meet them wherever that is. Do you prefer Slack? Great! Let’s set up a channel to communicate through. Skype? That works too! Let’s connect. Call or text? Here’s my number! I try to rid any barriers to communication that might exist to open the way for simple, two-way communication between advertiser and agency.
It’s also important to note that here at JEBCommerce, we check our email 3 times a day – once in the morning, once after lunch, and once in the evening. Of course, we do our best to respond as necessary, but if it’s time sensitive, we want you to have alternative means of getting a hold of us.
Pick a network
We maintain strong relationships with all the major affiliate networks in the industry and this allows us flexibility when it comes to choosing which one to go with.
After hearing more about you, your brand, customer, and KPI’s, we’ll take all that into consideration and present our recommendation of a network based on what we think will fit your brand best. There’s a lot that goes into this decision, but it boils down to simply finding your strengths and the things that are important to you as an advertiser and finding which network will best fit those needs.
We’ll gather all pertinent information and present some options, ultimately letting you make the final decision on which network to go with.
Establish T’s & C’s
Terms and Conditions will be the contract you make with affiliates via the affiliate network. It will contain the common legalese of an affiliate program as well as information on baseline commission structure, Trademark bidding, coupon affiliates, unique rules to your affiliate channel, etc. Anything that affiliates might need to know about the program gets compiled into this document so that when they join the program, they are also accepting to abide by these T’s & C’s. It allows us to monitor the channel for any affiliates not following the T’s & C’s and remove them from the program if necessary.
Get marketing material
To get you fully launched and integrated on an affiliate network, we’re going to need some marketing material; logos, color schemes, banners, offers, etc. The banners and offers should be basic “evergreen” offers, meaning they don’t expire. “Get 10% off when you join our mailing list” is an example of an evergreen offer that we can incorporate into text links and banner ads to make available to affiliates from the get-go.
Recruit the “big guys”
Now the fun really begins! Now that you’re all squared away on a network, you have some basic offers and banner ads set up in the network, we can start recruiting some of the top affiliates in the industry to help start driving that revenue. While your preferences are going to determine which partners we may go after, affiliates like RetailMeNot and Ebates, niche content sites, or sub-affiliate networks like Skimlinks and VigLink present the lowest barrier to recruitment and can start producing revenue for you right away.
We have long-standing relationships with many of the top performing affiliates in the industry. We get on the phone with these partners and introduce your brand and your KPI’s to be sure we get you integrated quickly and accurately.
After our initial outreach with some of these partners, it’s important to get them set up correctly before moving on to other kinds of affiliates. We call this optimizing and it includes making sure their creative and brand representation is accurate, making sure their offers are all valid, and double checking that they have everything they need for the time being to promote this new brand to the best of their ability. Too often, brands will move on too fast and never truly optimize with these partners, leaving a poor brand image and a bad customer experience with some of your most important affiliates.
Our next step is one that remains the entire time we manage your program, diversifying your program and recruiting new affiliates. We have regular recruitment and optimization built into everyday of our work and it’s how we grow your program for the long-haul. For this, we often use Search Engine Results Pages to determine who are some of the top traffic drivers for your most successful search terms and we start to recruit those affiliates. This often results in high-quality, content affiliate sites being added to the program.
Launching an affiliate program can be exhausting but it’s a lot of fun when it starts contributing right away and you start seeing those results come in. Using these methods, we were able to launch an affiliate program in the Health & Beauty space that generated 1.3 million dollars in its first year. The important thing is laying the ground work via a kick-off call, establishing effective communication, and quality creative so that your affiliates can start driving traffic as soon as they join the program.
By laying a solid foundation we ensure not only a fast ramp up, but long-term success for your new affiliate program.
Interested in how we can get your affiliate program up and running? Reach out to us for a free program review!