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What is an affiliate partnership and, why it is important for your business?
Any agreement between two affiliates, individual, program or business that promote each other’s services or programs is an affiliate partnership.
The best affiliate partnerships are the ones where both partners are willing to build and improve the relationship. It takes effort to nurture a business relation, a long-lasting one, but in this business, it matters who are you working with and how serious your partners are because the power of affiliate marketing lies in the quality of these partnerships.
There are two kinds of partnerships: the ones when your partner hasn’t spoken with you from the moment you joined his program and everything you get are some promotional banners to use on your site, or on a contrary, he is emailing you every week, sending you all the new update with the most interesting offers, nurturing your relation from the beginning. The power of affiliate marketing lies in the second example, where partners are working together to produce creative offers.
With which affiliates should you build relationships?
Understanding how important a partnership is, is one thing and building one it’s a completely different game. The main challenge is to find the most performing affiliates with the best potential to your business.
You are not making a partnership unless you want to add more value, driving relevant traffic to your website in order to have better conversions. So, from thousands of affiliates out there, check their reports and choose the best performing ones to maintain a direct relationship.
It is also very important to make a partnership with a compatible affiliate/program in order to improve and expand your business.
Make a research on your audience, use social media and look for product-related hashtags, follow the main influencer’s niche and try to discover those affiliates that have the same target and goals like you, but in the same time complementary differences so you can both benefit in the end. You want to be sure that your partners’ products and services will not compete with yours, but augment them.
If the affiliates you find have lots of followers, you will be able to reach their audience also and expand your possibilities.
Check your affiliates reputation. In this field of business everyone knows which programs have a bad reputation or on a contrary a stable infrastructure and good referrals. If their affiliate managers can recommend you the most successful programs, telling you about the broken links, about the new opportunities on the marker, you may be able to build a long-lasting partnership with them.
Make sure that the programs you will work with are easy to use. You don’t want your campaign to give you more headache than it’s worth.
What Kind of Partnership?
No matter what your strategy is, the right partnership can help your business go a long way. Here are two major types of partnerships you can build
- General partnerships – where both of the partners have equal responsibility regarding risks, but joining forces makes them one larger, multifunctional agency.
- Limited partnerships- where they promote each other’s products, but they only risk what they brought in that partnership. Also, until the end, each entity remains independent and responsible of its side of the partnership.
How do you build long lasting partnerships?
There are some easy ways to implement a long-lasting partnership, but they demand the ability to respond to opportunities, to stay in touch with your affiliates and not to forget that behind each affiliate program/website there are people that need a bit of your attention.
So here are some sure ways to consolidate your affiliate partnerships:
1. Participate in Industry Events
Conferences and all the other industry events are great ways to network with people having similar interests and meet new affiliates, influencers or business partners. If you are well prepared and genuine you have great chances to build future successful partnerships.
2. Get involved in community groups online
Sometimes going to events require a lot of time and money so a less difficult option is to find online communities on Facebook, Google+ and of course LinkedIn where you can develop meaningful connections.
3. Set up an Affiliate Program
A good idea to supplement your revenue is to run an affiliate program on your site that will allow you to make an agreement with another company that can drive conversions for you, increasing your web traffic for a certain commission.
4. Start a Brand Ambassador Program
Recruiting some important influencers that can expand your brand reach on social media, boosting your brand authority is quite similar with recruiting affiliates. But before doing this, you need to make a little research to be sure your influencer will understand your target demographic, talk on their language and increase their engagement. A brand ambassador will certainly bring you more exposure and his interaction with your potential customers will not only increase your awareness but also your sales.
5. Maintain open lines of communication.
Maintaining an efficient communication in your professional relationships is the key to a good partnership. Nurture your business relationships, talk openly with your partners about your expectations, be honest to them so that issues could be solved in advance and always keep an open line of communication, so they won’t disrupt the business operations. Call your partners every month to see how they are and what else you are able to provide so they can drive more/better traffic to your website.
6. Send newsletters to keep your partners updated
Make a data base with your best affiliates and send personal emails to them monthly so you can update your partners with your business news. Give them fresh content to show their customers and send newsletters with your newest campaigns and your special promotions. Let them know about your latest news, offers, new products and any changes to your affiliate program.
7. Reward them for their support, as well.
Set a reward structure to offer incentives for your top affiliates and their improved performance, establish a higher commission for them (around 15%) and offer cash bonus to the ones that generate the biggest revenue for your products. Take your partners to lunch and buy them a few drinks to get to know them better. Set criteria so you can check their performance and produce campaign assets and web analytics to improve your targeting and to drive conversions.
As we mentioned above, a strategic partner requires work and dedication. Maintaining a long-lasting partnership is vital to your business, because it brings you a lot of opportunities to grow together and improve your brand credibility. Make sure that you always stay in touch with your affiliates, because having a strong partnership should be a priority as your business grows.
It’s true that sustaining a mutually beneficially partnership is challenging and without proper guidance it can fall by the way side, but it certainly worth’s and with our tips, we can guarantee you some long-lasting partnership.