Launching an affiliate marketing program is a great method to increase awareness of a new eCommerce website. Here at VigLink, we work with +70,000 merchants through integrations with 31 affiliate networks all over the word. Integrating with an affiliate network is a great way to reach publishers who work with that specific network. That said, integrating with many networks, to reach all publishers you want to work with, can be time-consuming and costly. Keep the following in mind:
- A mature affiliate marketing program typically drives 10-30% of an eCommerce store’s sales. It is important to also engage in other online marketing tactics such as SEO, SEM, PR and Social.
- It can take 6 months to 2 years to build a mature affiliate program. Do not give up if you don’t see results immediately. It takes time to find the right publishers to promote your brand.
- Make your affiliate program easy to find. Put a link on your website that either links to a page about more information about your program (commission rate, where to sign up, terms, etc…) or link to the actual sign up page. Here are some great examples.
- Build relationships with your publishers. Affiliate marketing is a very relationship-driven strategy. A stronger relationship with the publishers can be the difference between a publisher linking to your site versus linking to your competitor.
We recently implemented a new program, VigLink Direct, which allows merchants to sign up cost-free to be part of the VigLink network, even if they don’t work with a traditional affiliate network. Once you’ve signed up, you automatically have access to 2M sites and apps that can begin to drive high-intent traffic to your site. (Sign up for publishers is also free.) You can drive clicks and sales through a CPC basis, which is when you pay per click, or via CPS which stands for cost per sale.
As a merchant, you have full control of who is able to earn commissions from your site with both whitelisting and blacklisting controls. That said, with an open program, all of our publishers are automatically enrolled in your program meaning you have the greatest potential for driving sales at scale. By becoming a VigLink Merchant you are also encouraging content creators to write more about your brand. When signing up with VigLink Direct we feature your brand in a blog post that is sent out to the top 100,000 of our 2M publisher base announcing your participation in the program and incentivizing them to write about you. VigLink also has perks for merchants, including those signed up through an affiliate network integration, such as the Merchant Explorer, which informs publishers on which merchants to link to. It allows publishers to search for merchants, their commission rates, and other details such as what countries that merchant accepts traffic from. This gives you the opportunity to reach a whole new audience by reaching those who might not otherwise write about you had they not found your brand via the Merchant Explorer.
In order to get more publishers writing about you having an open program is a great way to start. It might also help to have a CPC campaign, we’ve seen these are proven to drive more traffic to a merchant’s site. A CPC program can also help you drive traffic immediately through our Insert technology. If you prefer to opt for CPA, having a competitive commission rate is key. Do some research or work with your affiliate manager to come up with a competitive rate. Publishers often compare rates between different sites when deciding which merchants to link to. Publishers also focus heavily on conversion rate especially if you’re paying out on a CPA basis. Help their audiences convert by offering free shipping. If publishers see that a merchant is converting at a high rate, they will link to them more often than other merchants. As Josh suggested, sweepstakes, coupon codes, and newsletters are also great ways to keep publishers engaged and writing about your brand.
Whether signing up with an affiliate network or directly through VigLink, having a competitive commission rate, offering promotions (free shipping), and direct outreach are all great ways to get publishers engaged and writing about your brand.