Starting An Affiliate Network? 12 Things You Need To Know Before Taking The Plunge

Affiliate marketing is an idea that has increased in popularity over the past couple of years. It can be a great strategy propelled by an efficient affiliate network that helps a company market its services or products through social media marketing or content marketing. Yet, there are some key factors to take into account in order to create a profitable affiliate network. In this article, marketing experts discuss 12 things you need to know before starting an affiliate network.

Affiliate Marketing Is A Trending Industry That Every Business Should Take Advantage Of

“Affiliate marketing industry is estimated to hit $6.8 billion in annual spending in 2020. This is what attracts thousands of people to this industry every day yet many brands don’t leverage this opportunity because they’re insecure about the outcome. A lot of brands aren’t even aware of affiliate marketing and what it is. 

What is affiliate marketing? 

Affiliate marketing is a business model where an individual or a company teams up with a brand and promotes their products, earning a commission for every sale that’s made through them. 

Why do people choose affiliate marketing? 

Affiliate marketing is attractive to many people because they don’t have to create a product nor deal with the customer service. All they have to do is just drive traffic to the company’s sales page and that’s it. 

How is this beneficial to a brand? 

Having a great affiliate program attracts great affiliates. Having great affiliates promoting your brand can bring your business a ton of new leads and customers. By having affiliates do most of the selling for your business (not all, of course), your business will have much more space for working on other things, creating new products etc. 

What makes a great affiliate program? 

A great affiliate program consists of a few things: 

– High commissions. 
– Recurring commissions. These are types of commissions that exist in membership-type affiliate programs where a customer pays a monthly fee to have access to a product. Recurring commissions are paid out every month to the affiliate as long as the customer they’ve brought to the business stays a member. 
– Done-for-you promotion material. This includes emails, banners, images etc. that will be ready for affiliates to use once approved to promote the company’s products. 
– Affiliates get commission on post-purchase upsells that customers have bought after buying a product as well. 
– Great affiliate support team 

How to set up an affiliate network? 

First of all, you need to choose the right affiliate platform where you’ll manage your entire program. There are some great solutions for this out there like Post Affiliate Pro and Circlewise. Then, you’ll need to recruit affiliates. At this step, you need to understand which types of affiliates would be the best for your needs. For example, Instagram influencers usually have a younger audience. This is why products that adults are most interested in may not be the best solution for an influencer to promote to his/her audience. 

Summary – Affiliate marketing is a trending industry that every business should take advantage of. The Internet has made it easier than ever for businesses to find and connect with great marketers to promote their products and also for regular people with the bigger following to find great products and recommend to their audience and monetize their channels.”

Bogdan Krstic, Affiliate Marketer, imgeekz.com

The Best Affiliates Are Going To Want To Have Content And Ads That Look Unique

“The best affiliates are going to want to have content and ads that look unique. An easy way to do this is for a brand to create a ton of images (and videos if you can afford it. So invest in creating high-quality photos and other branded images and videos that can be used on web pages, in social and in online ads is a great tactic to boost the performance of an affiliate network.”

Healy Jones, Co-Founder, Fin vs Fin

You’ll Likely Need To Hire A Part Or Full-Time Affiliate Network Manager

“One thing you should probably know before starting an affiliate network is you’ll likely need to hire a part or full-time affiliate network manager. Once your affiliate team starts to grow, you’ll either need to spend hours a day setting people up and answering questions, or hire someone else to do it unless you want it to become your new full-time job, which you likely do not have time for in addition to running your company.”

Stacy Caprio, Founder, Growth Marketing 

Find Your Niche

“In building a profitable affiliate network, the first thing you should do is to find your niche. Don’t spread yourself out too thinly. Focus on just one. The objective here is to learn everything and become very knowledgeable in your field. You should build your skills, experience, and create a proven track record to establish yourself as an expert. 

While doing this, you need to partner with growing merchants. You need to gain their trust and prove to them you know how to drive traffic and conversions. Once you see an increase in profit, start looking for affiliates to help maintain the performance. Develop your affiliates by always providing materials and tips. Train them to be the best they can be. 

At this point, all you need is a dashboard that provides you with a comprehensive look at your clicks, trials, sales, and the commission. It must be both powerful and easy to use to attract more people to join your network. 

In summary, you need the skills and experience of a proven marketer, growing merchants to partner with, affiliates to train and develop, and a powerful dashboard to automate it all together. 

The beginning can be harsh, but over time, as you get high profile partners and great working affiliates, it can become a walk in the park.”

Jeremy Harrison, Founder, Hustle Life

Understand Your Networking Options, Create An Attractive Opportunity, Have Clear Expectations

“1. Understand your networking options. There are many ways that you can start selling your affiliate links. But, you need to have a network of 
networks that you make your selling much easier. 

2. Create an attractive opportunity. Most people are interested in something that spikes their interests. If it comes to building an affiliate program, then you should be looking for a certain amount of percentage that will help you gain more people in your networking circle, also look at your competitors. 

3. Have clear expectations. If your goals and intact and achievable than you should be able to maintain your expectations. This will let you get more target networking opportunities.” 

Adeel Shabir, Content Marketing Executive, Centriq

Voice Search And Mobile-Friendly Content Is More Important Than Ever

“Affiliate marketing is very popular and whether you decide to offer webinars to people you have already hooked via your resource and tools pages, social media posts sharing facts & stats or product reviews on your blog, YouTube channel or podcast my advice is to focus on being helpful first and foremost and making the sale later. People notice and appreciate authentic content that educates, informs and entertains which builds the foundation for a trusted relationship over time. In my experience when you share what you know with personal stories they become open to your ideas and recommendations and sales will follow. In 2020 I see increased use of voice search and mobile-friendly content being more important than ever before. I also predict affiliate marketing programs will get more of the budget as successful programs expand.” 

Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO, Mavens & Moguls 

Learn How To Properly Manage And Incentivize Your Affiliate Partners

“The most important thing to manage when getting into affiliate marketing is to learn how to properly manage and incentivize your affiliate partners. Simply giving someone an affiliate code and expecting them to start bringing in new leads and business for you isn’t going to do the trick. 

As an affiliate manager, you have to know how to manage that relationship and make it worth their while to promote your business for you. This can involve a variety of tactics from periodically checking in with affiliate partners, creating a competition among affiliates to incentive promotion, and even coming up with a tiered rewards system for affiliates that hit certain goals.”

Jonathan Chan, Head of Marketing, Insane Growth 

Pick A Good Affiliate Network And Make Your Website Convenient For The Buyer

“My first tip is to pick a good affiliate network. This might sound obvious, but a lot of newbies pick shady affiliate networks or programs that offer good returns. Be skeptical because they might be scammers. Do your research first and check their reputation before joining. 

Another tip I would like to give is to make your website convenient for the buyer. Don’t spam ads in their faces, when they enter and make sure your layout is user-friendly. Check if your website loads fast enough or if there are any errors with your links. 

You’re screaming, ‘Unreliable!’ to your customer if you have a bad and inconvenient website.”

Kenny Trinh, Managing Editor, Netbooknews

Affiliate marketing can be an excellent digital strategy for companies to connect with adept marketers to promote their products and services. Based upon recent studies, in 2016 alone, US retailers spent $4.7 billion on affiliate marketing. By the beginning of next year, that figure is projected to increase by a couple of billion dollars. This is certainly a trend that every company should seriously contemplate.

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