Having an affiliate program is a great way to add another channel into your marketing efforts, but having it as a standalone silo is not making the most of affiliate marketing. After all, you have a legion of affiliates that are working hard on your behalf. Why not leverage them and efforts you’ve already made in the areas of email, direct response, social media marketing, SEO and traditional advertising?
Email is still one of the best performers when it comes to connecting and communicating with customers. Encourage affiliates to send out regular emails to their base of visitors. Make sure to create emails that affiliates can use. Some will affiliates will ignore them; others will use them as written. If these emails are packed with your keywords and include links to your best converting pages, then that may help you boost sales.
A mixture of online and office marketing can be a powerful combination. A study by i-prospect showed that 40 percent of online sales were driven by offline marketing. You should make those direct response pieces (with medications if necessary) available to affiliates. This might be useful if they are doing an offline branding or spark them to begin doing so.
Social media is also a good match with affiliate marketing. You can use Twitter to send links and information about creatives to your affiliates. You can also provide affiliates with specific tweets they can send out that have optimized. (See Using Social Media to Promote Your Brand.)
If you area already driving traffic to you site using SEO, then why not use those same tactics to power your affiliate program. You already have a list of keywords and metrics on how each id performing. SEO drives search engine-friendly links that boost your natural search rankings. It can also help you lure higher-quality affiliates, which translates to more affiliate traffic and more conversions.
Don’t lose any link juice by cluttering up links from your affiliates to you. Keep them clean. This will make it easier for affiliates to send traffic directly to the correct pages. You may want to consider allowing affiliate to link directly to your site, skipping the tracking codes and instead use their referrer codes to credit them. This provides a clean link to search engines. It also allows for affiliates to use this type of link within their high-quality content without having codes in it to confuse their visitors or be instantly detectable as an affiliate link.
Also be thoughtful about what keywords you are using in your affiliate links and the text you provide affiliates. Use keyword that work best in SEO efforts and convert best in your paid search campaigns. There will be some affiliates that will want to create their own text, but many will use whatever you provide them. Also be sure the keyword text is in the anchor tags
Make sure all your landing pages are optimized for SEO, not just your best converting affiliate pages. And point affiliate links at key top level pages which have been optimized for certain keywords and encourage affiliates to link using anchor text relevant to that keyword.
By making everything working together you can be smarter with resources, drive more traffic, keep affiliates happy with higher conversions and make your program a success.
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