Nicki Hayes

There isn’t an affiliate program that couldn’t use a little more optimization, let’s be honest. And what better time than Spring to test some specific strategies. We’re sharing our list of tips and tactics to maximize your affiliate program in our Spring Cleaning checklist. Enjoy!

1. Revisit Terms and Conditions – Many times a program’s terms and conditions (aka T’s & C’s) are drafted when the program launches and never considered again. However, if your terms and conditions are customized to your program, there are updates that you need to include. For example, if Nexus Tax legislation affects affiliate approval for your program you need to adjust your terms and conditions when new legislation is passed.
2. Update Welcome Message – Much like the Terms and Conditions, the program’s acceptance message is typically drafted at the onset of a new program. Typically these messages (“Thanks for Joining the BRAND Affiliate Program” or “Welcome to the BRAND Affiliate Program”) include information about the brand, which is subject to change over time.
3. Review Performance Incentives – When done properly, Performance Incentives are a great way to motivate specific affiliates to think of strategic ways to improve their performance in your program. Rarely does a one-size-fits-all approach ever work. So, segmentation of your program is key to putting a performance incentive program in place. Spring is the perfect time to segment your affiliates (by type and performance) and to test a performance incentive.
4. Check Product Feed Performance – It is common for brands to change their inventory in the Spring. To make sure your product feed is up-to-date and working for your publishers, use a free spider or crawler tool to notify you of any errors.
5. Update Creative Assets – Refreshing your Creative, such as banner ads, could mean the difference of an affiliate choosing to feature you over your competitors. For Apparel brands, banners need to be season specific. For example, don’t feature scarfs and coats in Spring and Summer.
6. Conduct an Activation Campaign – An Activation Campaign can be carried out at the same time as Performance Incentives. Because you have gone through the arduous process of segmenting your affiliates, you already have identified your partners with little-to-no activity. By reaching out to these partners and providing them with incentives, you will increase the number of affiliates referring traffic and sales to your Website.
7. Test with New Publishers – Most of the attention of an Affiliate Program Manager is directed towards top producers in your program. However, new affiliates in your program shouldn’t be overlooked. Spring is the perfect time to test different strategies to evaluate their role in your program and to plan for the future.
8. Competitive Analysis – Comparing your program against your competitors is imperative and should be done regularly. Don’t only look at offers provided to consumers, but also, the commission rates offered to affiliates. A brand’s wholesale partners or resellers should also be considered. If a publisher can get your product from another program for a higher commission rate, they will. Be aware that many commission rates will change throughout the year.
9. Audit your Links for Proper Tracking – As much as we would like technology to be 100% accurate, all of the time, it isn’t. Not even cookie-based tracking. By using third-party tools, like Google Analytics or Adobe Omniture, you can identify issues with specific affiliates and links. To do this, your site and affiliate links must be properly tagged.
10. Review Partner Sites – Many affiliates know what it is like to get an email or phone call from a program manager who has never visited the website. First impressions are important, so make sure you do your research, no matter if you are an advertiser or publisher. In terms of Spring Cleaning, affiliate sites change all the time and it’s a good idea to visit them regularly and take note of the changes and what it could potentially mean for your brand.

So there you have it, 10 tips to help you make the most out of your affiliate program. Still feeling overwhelmed? Let the experts at Blue Moon Digital identify opportunities within your affiliate program with a complimentary Affiliate Program Audit.