As entrepreneurs, we often have more ideas than we have time to implement. But there are some ideas that when implemented correctly, can result in a big boost in sales. Creating an affiliate program is one of those projects that takes time and effort to plan, implement and keep running, but it can yield incredible results for your bath and body business. Today’s post will review 7 tips to creating and maintaining a solid affiliate marketing program.
1. Proudly Know and Own Your Niche
You’ve likely heard how important it is to know your niche and clearly identify your customer. This also goes for potential affiliate marketers for your brand. If your line is all over the place, selling pet products, handmade soap, baby care AND anti-aging products, it may be difficult to find bloggers and other community influencers to register as an affiliate. If your product line is more focused, such as soy massage candles scented only with essential oils, you’ll have a clearer idea of whom may be the best fit to help spread the word about your company.
2. Use Reputable Software/Programs to Manage Your Affiliate Program
There are a number of ways you can track affiliate sales through your website, but one of the most common is to use a software program to help set up and monitor affiliates as well as quickly and easily pay out commissions through a payment platform such as PayPal. Amember is software that can be added to WordPress based websites. If your website is on a platform like Shopify, they too have apps such as Refersion, ReferralCandy and Omnistar to manage your affiliate program. The point is to avoid manually tracking referrals and sales on your own, which can lead to oversight, mistakes and incorrect payments being sent to affiliates. Research the programs, prices and capabilities of affiliate program software to see what will work best for you and your business.
Set up your program parameters including how long cookies are tracked, the commission you pay out (10-20% tends to be common for physical products, like soap, candles and lotions. If you have an ebook that you want to offer affiliate commission on, note that 50% commission is common for digital products.)
3. Find Strong, Suitable Affiliate Partners.
The first people you should approach about joining your affiliate program should be already loyal fans and customers. They may already be telling others about your scrumptious body scrubs, now they have an opportunity to be rewarded for it (which may increase their enthusiasm and likelihood of spreading the word about your business!)
Next, identify leaders in your niche and connect with them. These are people who already have an audience that includes your ideal customer. Reach out to these leaders, share your program and show them why they should partner with you. Don’t just talk about the commission rate, but why your products will resonate with their audience and serve their community.
4. Create Beautiful Ads and Copy That Does Your Brand Justice.
You create the most indulgent, gorgeous and luxurious beauty products, so it’s essential that the ads and supporting copy that you use for your affiliate networks reflect that elegance and luxury. If your brand is quirky and colorful, that needs to come through in the copywriting. It’s worth spending time on this part right from the beginning to nail your style guide to ensure colors, fonts, wording and pictures are a good fit with your brand. If copywriting isn’t your strong suit, then consider hiring this out. Since many affiliates will copy and paste your suggested ads to their audience, it’s important to have the right message being shared about your products.
5. Put Yourself in the Affiliate’s Shoes.
Do everything you can to make it as easy as possible for an affiliate to share about your products. Create a variety of image ads in sizes that can be used on a blog, in a newsletter or on social media. Regularly create new promotions and copy so that your affiliates can easily copy and paste information to share with their audience. The less work an affiliate needs to do to promote your brand, the more likely it is that they’ll actually share your message, not just once, but over and over again.
The same goes for paying your affiliates correctly and on time. Nothing will make an affiliate drop you (and possibly bad mouth your company) faster than being late on payments. Affiliates expect to be paid their commissions in a timely and agreed upon manner, so do everything you can to take care of this responsibility. Take care of your affiliates and they’ll take care of you.
6. Keep Growing Your Network.
Finally, once you have everything up and running, be sure to dedicate time to growing your affiliate network. Regularly reach out to people you’ve identified as a potentially suitable affiliate partner. Ask your current affiliate who they’d like to recommend as an affiliate. Growing your network is key to ensuring your affiliate program remains successful and sustainable over time.
7. Take Care of Your Affiliate Partners.
This was mentioned in #5 above, but cannot be repeated enough. Just like your customers, your affiliate partners need to be wowed and taken care of. A strong affiliate network who is regularly promoting your products and encouraging sales can make a tremendous difference in your business, and your affiliates need to know how much their work is recognized and appreciated. A thoughtful gift, a handwritten note, or other incentive offerings for top affiliates are some of the ways that you can incorporate into your affiliate program to make it as special and noteworthy as your products and brand.
Do you have an affiliate program set up? If not, what is holding you back? Please share in the comments below.
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