At the end of the day, we’re all trying to grow our businesses. In order to grow a successful online store, it needs to be built to help users to make a purchase. But, let’s take a step back first – how are we going to get users into the store in the first place?

Online stores have several channels that they use in order to bring in users: SEO (Search engine optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), social networks campaigns (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest), influencers, Offline media commercials (TV, Radio), Email Marketing and more… But one of the highest converting channels is actually affiliate channel.

Before digging into affiliation, who is an affiliate?

An affiliate is someone who refers traffic (users) to your online shop in exchange for earning commission from the purchases generated from its traffic. The affiliate should have an affiliate link so both of you can track the traffic and its conversions (purchases).

Unfortunately, affiliate marketing has a bad reputation – it feels like an agent in a travel agency who just pushes a button and gets commission for it.

You may think: “I worked so hard to develop my online shop only to let someone else ‘take’ 10%-30% commission?” But hey, when you promote your store on Google/ Youtube/Facebook/Instagram- aren’t you sharing your earnings with someone else anyway?

In this article, I’ll try to shed some light on this great marketing tool and its advantages.

Think of yourself as an owner of a big sport shop that combines many brands with the best prices. Similar to online stores which help users make purchases, you are hiring a seller to help customers make those purchases. But what if your customers already know that your store has the best brands at the best prices on the market – would you still need that seller?

Same thing when it comes to affiliation: they help their traffic turn into conversions in your store.

Affiliates empower your store by recommending your products and bringing in users who already know what they’re looking for. You’ll quickly find that a successful affiliate offers a unique added value to its users. It could be a recommendation, a review, or another piece of actionable content. Of course, after a first purchase its important to stay in contact with the users and offer new deals or discounts, but this a different discussion altogether.

You’ll find another big advantage of affiliation is that affiliates help you expand to new audiences. Since affiliation programs are mostly open for a self-served registration, you may find yourself collaborating with affiliates from countries you’re not familiar with at all. So now you’re expanding your reach to a previously untapped market. Some affiliates will even translate their pages into local languages!

Another negative perception of Affiliates is related to trust, since you can’t control the techniques of the person referring traffic to you. What if an affiliate spamming email lists under your store’s name? Or an affiliate redirects traffic from ads to your store without any relation between the ad and your store?

There is definitely an issue of trust with all come to affiliates since in some cases you wouldn’t even know the affiliate, though he can make a lot of money from you.

That’s why the main challenge is to manage your partnership with affiliates.

Affiliate management tips:
Protect your brand: It must be clear that the affiliate is not a representative of your brand or your store. He is simply an affiliate marketer. You don’t want an affiliate to mislead users about your brand.

Determine your Attribution Model- First/last click model- Let’s assume that user “x” came to your store from affiliate 1 and didn’t convert. Then, the same user “x” comes from a Facebook campaign and converts- who should that user’s conversion be attributed to?

First click model means the sale belongs to Affiliate 1, while last click Model says the sale belongs to the Facebook campaign.

It is important to determine your attribution method so you don’t count the same sale twice.

First click Model is good for analyzing your marketing channels efforts, while last click model is good if you believe the last channel that brought the user is “responsible” for converting that user into a sale.

Attribution Time: what if a user came to your store a year ago and yesterday he bought something for the first time. Should you still connect this user to the affiliate who referred him a year ago and pay commission for that? This is why it’s important to establish a time limit so your affiliate won’t earn commission from such users. I believe that 30 days is a fair time to let your affiliates earn from their referrals.

Traffic Source Guidelines: don’t allow your affiliates to use traffic sources you can’t control such as email marketing (they may spam users by promoting you) or pop-ups (if you can’t see and approve it you may avoid it). Do you want to allow affiliates to promote your goods in an inappropriate way on their websites? It’s an important thing to consider.

Know your Top Partners: Like in many other industries, the Pareto rule applies to your affiliate channel income. This means that, at the end of the day, 20% of the affiliates bring in 80% of your affiliate channel income. Get in touch and build a close and personal relationship with your top 20% affiliates is a key to success. there is nothing like meeting face to face or at least having a conference call to hear your partner’s voice and see his smile 🙂

You’ll find a lot of ways to help each other such as creating content on relevant key-words for affiliates to improve their traffic so you’ll both benefit from the effort.

I’m confident you can accomplish much more with your affiliate channel efforts. Make sure you have a legal agreement in place and an easy registration process and get the best affiliates on board to expand the reach of your online store and drive up your conversion rate. SVBS

Asaf Remler is a young entrepreneur who likes to squeeze the lemon of everything that he does. Apart from his rich experience as Head of Affiliates & Partnerships at Wix and his growing Electronic Music blog, Asaf is involved in the development of Get-Vape is a website designed to help people find the best vaporizer for their needs. Get-Vape uses strategic affiliate marketing tactics to bring thousands of users to online shops around the world. Asaf can be reached at [email protected].