It’s likely that your personal relationships are built on hours of conversation, sharing details about your life and who you are. You don’t decide to befriend or start a family with someone based on their salary or high score on Pac-Man alone. So, when we form quality business relationships, why do we boil it down to a couple numbers? At its core, the business of affiliate marketing is about building relationships. Providing thorough affiliate program information will create better relationships and more successful programs. And it’s as simple as listening to your affiliates and answering their questions.

After working closely with 50 of AvantLink’s top affiliates over the last year, we discovered that finding the right partnerships is not just about commission rates and cookie durations. Affiliates are looking for a better match.

Read on to learn what affiliates are dying to know about your program!

1. Are you exclusive with AvantLink?

Recruiting for your program can get confusing when several networks are involved. Since many affiliates operate on multiple networks, it’s good to know where your program is hosted. If your program is exclusive with AvantLink, our affiliate team can recruit without interfering with other networks, and the on-boarding process is easier.

2. Do you offer coupon codes?

If you offer coupon codes, affiliates can create store pages with your top promotions, sales, and discounts to bring more visibility to your brand. Also, exclusive coupon codes–those which are restricted to one specific affiliate–empower your affiliates to drive more traffic to your site by leveraging best of web pricing. Be sure to list your willingness to provide exclusives, even if only in special circumstances–it can be a great motivating force.

3. Can you increase commission rate?

Being flexible with commission rates on a case-by-case basis can be beneficial to your program. For instance, some affiliates exchange more brand exposure on their site for a commission increase. It can also allow loyalty affiliates to increase cash back for shoppers as an additional incentive. And, you have a guaranteed return because you’re still operating on a cost per sale model.

4. Do you have any budget for purchasing media placements?

Many affiliates offer ways to increase your brand exposure through media placements. If you have an allocated budget, you could be featured on their website’s homepage, in category pages, or in newsletters. A prominently featured placement on an affiliate’s site can lead to new customer sales by placing your brand front and center. By providing this information, affiliates will know who to reach out to when opportunities arise.

5. Do you allow TM+/search rights?

**Note- our standard network terms explicitly prohibit straight TM and domain name bidding, and is an activity we actively monitor affiliates for.**
Paid search is an opportunity to capitalize on traffic, but it can be expensive to facilitate on your own. Since many of our affiliates have mastered search marketing, allowing a select group some search rights can boost your exposure on major search engines. You could get a healthy up-swing from the affiliates’ established traffic sources and SEO. TM+/search rights fall into the standard cost per sale model and come at no additional cost. It’s simply a matter of exchanging rights for some additional exposure through search, which can be a great way to build a relationship with top affiliates.

6. What kind of affiliates are you willing to work with?

This piece of info is a big time-saver, and one of the most important to know. Establishing the type of affiliates that best fit your program eliminates the tide of unnecessary applications you’ll have to sift through. It can also help you form more strategic relationships. For instance, if your brand doesn’t discount often, you may want to leverage more loyalty or content affiliates rather than coupon and deal sites. Direct the right type of affiliates to your program, and you can better filter unproductive or inactive affiliates before they apply.

7. Do you offer product in exchange for promotional giveaways or reviews?

There’s no better way to encourage affiliates to review a product than to send it over. There are already too many products out there for an affiliate to cover everything. So how will they choose? Establish relationships by sending your affiliates your best products, and beat the competition to the punch. Giveaways are a great way to drive engagement and attention for your products. And, as with exclusive coupon codes, a giveaway carries the essence of a premium partnership that can help nudge new customers in your direction.

Provide Your Affiliate Program Information

Want to attract the right affiliates for your program and save time managing applications? Fill out the survey below and we will pass the information along:

Expand Your Program Details

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  • Mike Hardaker

    What about publishers? Can you do an article like this about How publishers should select working with merchants. For instance on the Affiliate Marketing forum at Digital Marketing Snow an AvantLink publisher asked about how to get paid placements, whats the best practice.

    I would be happy to write an article for AvantLink. It seems the publishers are the ones that could use and need the most help?

    • Hey Mike- an excellent call on having an article about publishers’ preferred criteria. I actually think this is a great opportunity to source a lot of opinion points from a variety of different affiliates. What we’ll probably do is have a submission form located on the affiliate dashboard to source opinions from. I’ll update this comment thread when that goes live, we’d love to get your opinion on it.

      • Mike Hardaker

        thanks Chad!

  • I can add a few more tips from my experience:

    #8. Run image ads, and keep them changing.
    Affiliate sites that focus on rich content (not product centric) need fresh image ads to get our users to click through.

    #9. Run lots of sale image ads.
    No surprise here. Users click on sale ads more than any other.

    #10. Load ads in AvantLink before the promotion starts.
    If you run a one-day sale and I don’t here about it till noon, I probably won’t show it. Time is short. I only manage what ads show or not once a day, usually first thing in the morning.

    #11. Don’t forget to set the ad metadata.
    Start date, end date, and deal flag are important.

    • Mike Hardaker

      Kimball, do you allow AvantLink merchants to contact you via the blast emails? Or have you turned that off in preferences? I like to get personal emails not blanket sale emails on my end. In the past when I worked with hundreds of merchants it was a bit too taxing on my inbox. Even with a separate folder setup.. Ps we haven’t seen you over on Digital Marketing Snow affiliate forum in a while, come back…