Affiliate Programs are being adopted by many Startups and established businesses as a channel to generate incremental revenue and traffic. However, like any other Marketing Channel, it’s imperative for you to ensure that your business has hired the right person responsible for managing the program.
In the current scenario, you find businesses investing in dedicated resources to manage their SEO efforts, SEM Campaigns, Content Marketing, Email Campaigns and so on; this helps you leverage on the experience and strategies of the person in-charge, and quickly focus on methods that would help you realize the objectives set for that channel.
Similarly, appointing the right individual for the responsibility of managing your Affiliate Program will ensure that your Affiliate Channel is meeting its goal, and is adding around 15% – 20% to your total revenue.
The responsibilities of an Affiliate Manager are myriad, which is why it’s important to look out for some key skills while hiring for your program.
Over the past few years Content Marketing has proved to be an effective and well adopted medium to drive traffic that eventually translates into business. Most of the research websites that have done independent surveys to gauge the performance or feedback that businesses had for Content Marketing shows that around 72% of businesses believe that content is essential for them; and around 63% Marketers say that well executed content has helped them increase their Leads & Conversions by around 40%.
However, with competition stiffening it’s just not enough to maintain a Blog for your business. In today’s E-Commerce scenario it’s easy to find multiple players within numerous categories whether that be Fashion, Food, Electronics, Jewelry, Education and so on; and almost every one of them is operating a well drafted Blog, Social Channel, Email List and so on; I am sure you reading this are also aware of how your competition is using content to drive relevant traffic to their website. So how does your business then amplify its content creatively and achieve its objectives?
This is where Affiliate Marketing can help you.
The Indian E-Commerce category is a burgeoning market. As per statistics in the business standard, it’s valued at $17 Billion as per 2014, and is slated to hit a $100 Billion valuation by 2019. Initially it was a challenge for businesses to encourage users to purchase Products & Services online since almost everyone was used to using their sense of touch and sight while deciding on a purchase. However, in the year 2014, around 1/3rd of the Internet Population i.e. roughly around 40 Million People in India were recorded making purchases online; and this number is also on the upward slope and is pegged to hit 65 Million people by 2015.
At the outset, a lot of the E-Commerce carving was done by the now giants Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon and so on. However, with the steady improvement in infrastructure related to e-businesses like Broadband, Logistics and Portable Internet devices, a number of Startups proliferated and decided to venture in the space. The more the number of incumbents in a particular market or category, the higher the competition for survival becomes for businesses in the space. This led to Startups resorting to ingenious ways of promoting the value of their business, and one of them is setting up an Affiliate Channel.
However, just setting up an Affiliate Program is not going to help.
Businesses whether established or fresh are looking at non conventional and efficient mediums to connect to their audience effectively. It’s a perpetual objective for the Marketing Manager & Founders to ensure that the best returns are sought on the marketing spend made. Sometimes you occasionally come across businesses, especially Startups, who are weary about having to incur a high expense initially and research on growth hacks, or cost efficient alternatives inorder to reach out to their targeted audience. This is why the Performance Marketing channel, Affiliate Marketing, has been adopted by a lot of businesses in recent times to help with customer acquisition, and offer the ROI advantage of having to pay only on a Sale or Lead.
However, managing an Affiliate Program is a lot more important than simply starting up a channel. It also depends on what are the goals set by the business on the Affiliate Channel. For instance, are you looking at short term gains or long term gains? Is knowing who your top publishers are, important? Would you have the resources to manage your own publisher base? Do you have the time to invest in nurturing the Affiliate Channel? These are some of the questions that need to be answered before a business decides on how they plan to start up their Affiliate Program.
This brings us to the two methods that are popularly used by businesses to manage their Affiliate Program.
It always feels nice to see Affiliates signing up for your program. It gives you the slight excitement of knowing that some of these guys you approve could have the potential to be your top performing Affiliate, and help you achieve your forecasted conversions. For some of the well known brands the no of Affiliate Sign Ups they receive in a day could go well into the few dozens, and for some of the newer brands it could be a significant number but relatively lower than the bigger brands.
In either case you’re happy and you go ahead and approve your Affiliates. After a while you start assessing the numbers. You start by looking at the No of Conversions & Leads, and you’re not very happy with the figures that your report is showing you for most of your Affiliates. You then compare those numbers with the no of clicks those Affiliates have delivered to your website; the click traffic might be astoundingly high, but the corresponding result isn’t appealing.
You then decide to export your approved Affiliate list for research, and then realize you don’t have the right types of Affiliates in your Program.