Using an affiliate channel to help boost sales can be a daunting process. FastSpring’s in-house affiliate expert, Andra Ioana, shares a few tips to get you started.
Q. How can an affiliate program help my sales?
A. Over the past 10 years, the affiliate channel has become a profitable revenue stream and is now the third most effective generator of new customers, following paid search and email marketing. In terms of incremental value, we normally see affiliate programs accounting for up to 20% of the overall e-commerce business. Of course, the success of an affiliate program depends on many factors, such as the size of the business, the niche, and the company’s investment in the program.
Q. How do I choose affiliates?
A. The most popular affiliates are ones that can expose the product or service to the greatest audience—people you would not be able to access otherwise. The affiliate selection can thus be focused on the incremental value they are able to bring you in terms of new customers acquisition.
Affiliates promote your product through specific methods like reviews, email marketing, and social media to their own traffic sources (e.g., visitors, subscribers, followers). They can also cover gaps in your online marketing activity and take responsibility for your PPC or display campaigns.
The FastSpring affiliate solution provides access to over 10,000 affiliates within the media partner marketplace, and provides relevant information about each affiliate’s promotional methods, activity rate, and date of joining the network.
Q. What are the risks to which I expose my business if I use affiliates?
A. The affiliate channel should complement the existing revenue stream, but in some cases, affiliates might cannibalize existing sales. This is more likely to happen when the program lacks monitoring and day-to-day management.
The most common harmful tactics are trademark poaching and abuse of coupon codes. These can be easily prevented by closely reviewing the affiliate applications and keeping an eye on affiliate activity. When suspicious affiliates start driving a significant number of sales, you can get back to those affiliates and ask for clarification. Our system allows sellers to reverse affiliate orders within a certain timeframe, so one can avoid paying commissions to affiliates that are violating your company’s Terms & Conditions.
Q. How does FastSpring’s affiliate program work?
A. FastSpring has partnered with an industry-leading affiliate platform to provide the best experience to sellers wanting to launch an affiliate program for the first time or to migrate a program from a different provider.
Once sellers are on-boarded to the affiliate platform, they have access to affiliates within the system; they can invite affiliates to join their network and / or receive applications from affiliates who want to work with them.
For any referred sale using the affiliate tracking links, the affiliate receives a percentage of the total sale. For software and SaaS specific offers, one can also choose to incentivize the affiliate with a pay-per-download offer or commissions for monthly subscription renewals.
FastSpring handles payments to the affiliates, allowing sellers to focus on managing the program and making it successful. FastSpring also offers partially or fully managed affiliate programs for companies who don’t have an internal resource to allocate to affiliate program set up and management. Visit the affiliate page for more info.
Andra Ioana is the Affiliate Program Manager at FastSpring. Andra is a marketing professional with 10+ years’ experience in affiliate marketing & e-commerce. At FastSpring, she works with sellers to grow and optimize their affiliate programs. When not hard at work, you can find Andra on nature retreats.