We continue our series of posts focusing on marketing techniques of eCommerce with a post on affiliation: how to develop an affiliate program for an online store, and how to increase your sales by means of affiliation marketing. This is all very conceptual, so let’s take a closer look at these two steps.
Basic concepts to increase sales by means of affiliation actions in online stores
To have an affiliate program for your online store you need affiliate software, which we will discuss in the following point. This software will measure and assign sales to the right affiliates and handle payment of fees. You will also need affiliates: you will need to have a good business to offer. That is to say, your products should be in some demand, and your online store should offer a good shopping experience and a good post-sale service. You should always offer your best!.
Obviously, the most important part of this is having the knowledge and experience and know-how to successfully carry out an affiliate program. You should design a basic strategy that includes all the variables in a program:
- Paid actions
- Result and payment validation deadlines
- Valid results policy
- Promotional tools
You should also be careful with fraud: as in all online activities, there are advanced techniques for fraudulent activities or malpractices which are constantly updated, and you will have to deal with them by having good knowledge of these techniques and having experience in this field.
Finally, you should bear in mind that in an affiliate program you only pay affiliates per sale successfully made (CPA), so the risk of an affiliate program is practically none, give that affiliates assume the risk, and you can control the acquisition cost for each sale or client at all times.
Moreover, in addition to increasing your sales, you will increase the visibility of your online store – win-win – and traffic toward your store, at no extra cost.
An affiliate program is always a long-term strategy, so you should start as soon as possible once your online store meets the minimum requirements.
Developing an affiliate program in your online store
- Developing your own network of online salespeople. You contact each of your potential affiliates individually. To locate these online profiles which are influential as regards your product or store, you can use blogs, forums, and social media, particularly LinkedIn, through which you can contact professionals more easily. This provides full control, but requires time and effort.
- You will need a management tool that allows you to find the clicks or leads generated. You can buy it (e.g. Clickinc, Qualityunit, Hasoffers ) or your eCommerce store may include this feature: if your framework is Prestashop or Magento, it’s very likely. Magento has Affiliate Magento Connect, and Prestashop has Post Affiliate Pro.
- Purchase this service from third parties. There are intermediaries between affiliates and advertisers that guarantee payment and reliability of measurements for affiliates, and have extensive segmented catalogs, depending on the advertiser’s needs and goals. The main affiliate networks are: Zanox (has a special SME division), Tradedoubler, Matomy, and Netfilia. However, their prices and maintenance may not be affordable if your company is not very big.