Cold hard facts. Your business needs an affiliate program to survive, let alone thrive. With the enormous increases in client acquisition cost over the last few years, particularly in the financial services markets, affiliate programs are essential. So essential in fact that the results of market research surveys conclude that close to 85% of companies from virtually all industries are now running an affiliate program.
The COVID pandemic created a whole new demographic of stay-at-home individuals who either found themselves out of work as a consequence of the virus or working from home due to lockdowns. Whatever the reason, affiliate marketing is going through a massive surge, and that doesn’t look like it will slow down any time soon.
Affiliate marketing makes perfect sense for any company today. There are no staffing costs, no medical plans, no social security contributions. You pay your affiliates based purely on their performance. The flip-side of that is the sheer number of programs affiliates can choose to promote. If your affiliate program doesn’t cut the mustard, you’ll lose your best affiliates to a program that does. Pure and simple.
Affiliates will look for specific features before they promote any program. The most important of these will include:
- Payment Methods
Obviously, the actual offers feature heavily in an affiliate’s decision, but for the sake of this article, we’ll assume your potential affiliates are already active in your niche.
Let’s dig deeper into this list then and see why a third-party affiliate management system is essential to your business.
Tracking is one of those things most affiliates have a love/hate relationship with, but at the same time, all affiliates know the importance of tracking. Things are hotting up in the world of tracking, with browser support for third-party cookies diminishing and changes to policies for the next update to iOS devices essentially blocking any tracking.
Affiliates spend money on traffic, and if they can’t track their results, they can’t optimize their campaigns. That makes their campaigns more expensive, lowers their ROI and eventually, forces them to leave your program for something else with better tracking.
To track correctly, your program needs to support S2S (Server To Server) postbacks. Why do you need S2S postbacks, you say? An excellent question we say, and the long answer is in our recent affiliate tracking article. The short answer is if you don’t support S2S, your program won’t attract any experienced affiliates.
Your affiliates will want a way to see clear and accurate reports about all the leads and traffic they send you. How many leads did they send, how many calls did your sales desk make, how many leads were fake or bots, how many conversions did they get?
Like tracking, reporting is an essential part of an affiliate’s optimization process. Affiliates need to know all the information about their traffic and leads to fine-tune their marketing campaigns. If they can’t get all the information they need from your reporting, chances are they’ll switch to one of your competitors with better reporting features.
This is a tricky one but hugely important nevertheless. Payment methods will, of course, depend on your own corporate parameters, and there are geographical restrictions for merchants and affiliates alike. PayPal, for example, limits some of the features for their account holders in India, such as the PayPal wallet. Other payment portals are only available for companies within the European Union.
Affiliate marketing, though, isn’t an activity confined to any particular geos. You can join a program and promote to countries you’ve never even heard of, but you need to get paid at the end of the day.
That calls for a robust, well-thought-out affiliate management system. A system flexible enough to connect to any payment solutions you have agreements with, able to batch-process payments to all your affiliates according to the agreed payment terms.
Delay payments to your affiliates, and you’ll soon find yourself counting the affiliates you haven’t got.
Does your affiliate management system check all the boxes? If it doesn’t, you’ll lose affiliates as they move to your competitors with better systems. If you need to set up a fully-featured, professional affiliate management solution, get in touch with us today. We’ll help you check all the boxes and then some!