:: By Jason Hulott, SpeedieConsulting ::
Running an affiliate program is a lot like running your website. Simply having one doesn't mean you will suddenly see a huge amount of business from it. Even a program that has been running for a year or two can hit a rut and it can take some serious effort to get it moving again.
But if you are not even sure what the problem is, how can you fix it? Here are a few ideas to make sure your program is running smoothly.
Is the tracking broken?
Sometimes the IT department will make site changes and not notify the marketing department, as it could be a back-office system change and suddenly the tracking has been removed. This might only be on one product of many, but slowly you start to see a drop in sales and it can take a while to pinpoint the cause. Not only could you be losing recorded sales, but affiliates might also start leaving the program, as they lose confidence in your ability to track and allocate sales correctly.
Do your landing pages have detractors?
Following on from above, sometimes affiliate landing pages get caught up in big changes, so now all of a sudden your landing pages have a large phone number on them which is a big leakage point and can turn off affiliates. Again, if you take your eye off this kind of thing it can lead to a decline in activity.
Are your creatives updated?
Have your affiliate creatives been refreshed or changed in the last 3-4 months? Do you have updated marketing messages, are they being tested in other channels? Do you have all the relevant sizes and options? Remember that mobile is getting bigger and normal desktop display banner sizes might not work. Additionally, if you are only using flash banners, then they won't display on Apple devices.
How's your communication?
Do you communicate with your affiliates, or do you simply sign them up and let them get on with it? You need to make sure you are top-of-mind with your key affiliates and treat them as sales partners. After all, you wouldn't send out a sales force without being up to date on your business and products. Affiliates shouldn't be any different.
Are you still recruiting?
So outside of technical issues and creative ones, are you still actively recruiting new affiliates? Do not simply rely on your network to recruit for you. Search forums, visit sites, reach out to bloggers and search Google for your keywords. There will be new sites popping up all the time that will be a great fit for your affiliate program. Nothing grows affiliate revenues more than new blood.
As you can see, there are a large number of things you can be doing constantly to either keep your program running smoothly. Or, if you have let it lapse and it needs a tune-up, there are plenty of places to start.
About the Author:
Jason Hulott is Director of SpeedieConsulting and helps merchants globally grow their affiliate activities via SpeedieAffiliates.com.