For the businesses that have them, well-run affiliate programs act as a synergistic cornerstone of the marketing funnel. They directly serve both as branding tool and product/service advertising medium while simultaneously contributing to the effectiveness of nearly every other commonly utilized marketing medium, often at a lower calculated risk and higher return on investment (ROI) than any other tactic.
Then how do you know if an affiliate program will work for you, and if you’re ready to start a profitable affiliate program? Read on, friends; we’ve identified three qualifications below that, if met, indicate it’s time to start shopping around for your very own affiliate program management firm.
Is Your Business Model Effective?
Out of all the businesses we’ve ever audited, I can’t think of a single one that couldn’t benefit from a customized affiliate program at the time. Rarely do businesses built on unrefined or ineffective models ever reach inception, and the ones that do cannot sustain operation for long. If you sell a product and/or service at a positive profit margin – the basic requirements for any marketable, sustainable business – you can technically benefit from an affiliate program.
Since affiliate programs both contribute to and exponentially benefit from the overall health of an company, organizations with operational models that are both creatively innovative and economically sound benefit more from affiliates than those that are not. If you’ve seen success with your model thus far, it’s a good indication that the affiliate space will reap further benefits; the more success you’ve seen thus far, the more success you can predict.
Is Your Brand and Its Product(s) Effective?
Conscious consumers attempt to inform themselves of the quality of an industry’s various brands and the relative value of their respective products and/or services before deciding on a purchase. Affiliates take a very similar approach in deciding which programs to support, and how intensely to support them; they risk both their reputation as an authority and valuable advertising space by displaying any product, service, or brand in any way, often becoming industry subject matter experts to try to dispel some of this risk.
When the relative quality and cost of a product/service qualify it as a high-value purchase, affiliates flock to put it at the front-and-center of their promotional efforts, resulting in an even higher perceived value via positive product reviews and mob mentality. Inversely, in situations where quality and price mismatches result in a product becoming poorly valued, it requires a more labor and budget intensive effort to interest affiliates in joining and staying active in a program, as well as to drive sales from those affiliate’s campaigns.
The reputation of a product’s associated brand(s) factors into this situation similarly to the value of the products, whereas highly respected brands will find it far easier to draw affiliates into their programs, especially those who are willing to continually push their entire catalog on rotation. Poor internal business practices, public relations management, and branding efforts – among other reputation-damaging activities – will result in a further negative situation; brands with a poor or non-existent reputations often find it difficult to attract active affiliates to their program and derive income from any traffic they might send.
Is Your Outlook Effective?
As in business as a whole, the simplest and most important factor of your future affiliate program’s initial and ongoing success will be your outlook. Thorough education, intelligently managed expectations, properly allocated finances, and confidence in your chosen affiliate program management team are an absolute requirement for the unabridged success of your program.
You’re well underway in researching what you need to know, and any reputable experienced group of industry professionals should be both able and willing to further that understanding until you feel you’ve developed a highly informed outlook that can be supported by independently verifiable data. This education process should not only set the base for well managed expectations and budget forecasting for your budding program, but further inspire confidence in the educators and their team’s brand as industry-leading affiliate program managers.
Any hesitation toward fact-based education and transparency or any preference toward hype and impulse from an affiliate manager should instantly raise a red flag — poorly performing managers, unskilled agencies, and even simple scammers not uncommon in the industry, and can easily bankrupt even the most promising businesses.
Ready to take the next step and get professional answers to any question you can think to ask, and then some? Request a free Affiliate Mission audit now!