Lately we have been talking about best practices in affiliate promotions. We’ve been writing here on our blog as well as discussing it with our team and our clients. Q1 is here and we completed our planning for the quarter, and part of that is developing good, solid promotions.
One item that is often overlooked, and one in which we focus a lot of our time and energy on is the proper alignment of our affiliate promotions. Dictionary.com defines alignment as: “a state of agreement or cooperationamong persons, groups, nations, etc., with a common cause or viewpoint.” How does this work with affiliate promotions? Good question.
Alignment, as it relates to affiliate marketing and promotions specifically, means that you need to be sure that the goal for your promotion and your overall goal is in line and shares a common cause (benefit) with your affiliates and their goals in the promotion.
But beyond that, proper alignments begins from your customers, goes through your affiliates, to you, your supervisor and your company as a whole. For example: If your customer’s goal is to fill out a form and get information on your awesome vacation spot in Mexico, your goal with your affiliate promotion should be in line with that. Reward affiliates for having customers fill out that form. But only if that is your corporate goal as well – more vacation leads. “Yes Jamie, isn’t that a bit obvious?” Another good question.
It should be, yes. Unfortunately, too often, affiliate managers want to be creative and exciting, which is great, but it can lead to over-complication of a promotion or misalignment. One of the many mistakes made in affiliate promotion development, is to reward affiliates for a metric/action that is important to you and your company, but is completely impossible for the affiliate to target specifically and change for the good by their actions.
An example of this is rewarding affiliates for an increase in new customers. New customers are the lifeblood of many retail affiliate programs, and rightfully so. But only a few companies are able to identify affiliate customers as new during the purchase process or via batch process after the fact. While this goal is important to you, if your affiliates do not have the tools to:
- Identify who is and who isn’t a current customer before sending them to your site
- Offer single use coupons for new customers only
- Obtain tools and creative targeting new customers
You just can’t empower them to hit your goals. If they do, it’s arbitrary. They don’t have the tools to change the amount of new customers they are sending, and they won’t be able to focus their energies. The goals are misaligned.
This is a subject we go over extensively in Module 7 of the My Affiliate Coach curriculum. A great promotion can help you increase sales exponentially; a bad one can help you lose trust in the eyes of your affiliate partners. What do you think? Is alignment something you have thought about?
Does that make sense?