Affiliate Marketing is well established as an extremely effective marketing channel. Does this mean every single online retailer has what it takes to find success with an Affiliate Program? Of course not. While it’s very difficult to predict success in any marketing channel including Affiliate Marketing, we have over time found that the 5 indicators below have the most profound impact on determining whether or not a retailer is “ready for their closeup” in Affiliate Marketing.
You’ll need to have a website with a shopping cart or there has to be some form of online action taking place on the site. This sounds like a no-brainer but there are plenty of people out there selling products on sites like Amazon or Etsy that think they are ready to get into Affiliate Marketing.
If you have a website and can take orders or have a place for people to perform an online action such as filling out a form or signing up for a membership, then you can check this one off the list and move on to number 4.
2. No limits or caps on sales/leads.
You have a website and you’re selling products…great! But do you have a large inventory of products to sell and can you constantly replenish as products are sold? You can’t have an Affiliate Program with a cap on the amount of sales or leads you can accept. If your plan is to sell off a limited supply of excess inventory via your Affiliate Program, this is not best option for you. If you can only handle a small or limited number of orders at a time, you’ll have to look elsewhere. If you run out of products it’s not possible to pause your Affiliate Program while you wait for your inventory to catch up. You need to be ready to fulfill those orders and keep the doors open for Affiliate referred sales that are rolling in.
3. No Leaks
What are leaks? Anything on your site that will take people away from your site is a leak. Links to Amazon or eBay, links to other sites that carry products you don’t carry, ads, etc. These are all leaks and you simply can’t have any if you are serious about your Affiliate program and wish to attract Affiliates. Your site needs to capture visitors and keep them on there shopping around and buying YOUR products.
You need to dedicate time to establishing and maintaining your Affiliate Program. Affiliate Marketing and auto-pilot do not mix well. This is a channel that truly fits the mantra of “You will get out of it what you put into it.” Yes, if you don’t have the time or resources for proper management you can hire an outsourced management team to handle everything, but you’ll need to have a well-established Affiliate Program and/or e-commerce site before any management firm will consider taking on your program.
5. Proven history of success online.
This one is very simple and it’s also by far the most important piece of the puzzle. Affiliates have loads of choices when it comes to Merchants they can promote. If you are brand new to the e-commerce world or just have not had success selling products via other marketing channels, an Affiliate Program is not going to be the magic bullet. You need to have solid history people's socks off because it’s just so unique, useful, and incredible that everyone has to have it. This is something we only see here once in a blue moon though, so please tread carefully if you think you fall under this rare designation.
If you have these five basic but essential elements covered, your Affiliate Program will have the proper foundation on which to launch. This will give your program the best chance of reaching it’s full potential, adding a powerful punch to your bottom line just as you envisioned when you first set out to research Affiliate Marketing for your online business.