Developing measurement, management, and analytics functionality in-house for an automated affiliate marketing program is certainly possible, but it requires a laborious process that typically involves many internal departments, especially your technical development team. In addition to the internal infrastructure and tools necessary to scale affiliate marketing, your manually managed program will require significant investments of time and resources.
Okay, let’s say you’ve passed the building phase. Once a program starts to scale, most manually run affiliate campaigns are not prepared to track and manage the activity generated by affiliates, measure results in real-time, and actually deliver the incentives promised.
Without the right systems in place, tracking and rewarding affiliate activity can be a nightmare.
And with no visibility into measurement and optimization, you’ll fail to gather critical insight about customers and prospects that could improve your broader marketing strategy.
Running an in-house affiliate program isn’t as easy as companies like Amazon and eBay have made it look, yet many B2B companies and consumer brands are still scaling their affiliate marketing efforts.
By leveraging technology to automate the activities that would otherwise drag a manual program down. As a result, these affiliate programs are able to drive high quantities of qualified leads, new customers, and revenue.
Leveraging Automated Affiliate Marketing Technology
With an affiliate management platform, you can easily attribute new sales activity to the appropriate affiliates, fully automate campaign logistics (i.e., issuing payment, re-engaging disengaged affiliates, creating/sending communication, etc.), and quickly integrate other third-party systems to seamlessly sync data between your internal platforms.
Why is this so important?
By automating the affiliate marketing process, you remove much of the complexity, tedium, and guesswork from running multiple campaigns with many affiliates. Ultimately, automation allows your brand to scale this particular customer acquisition channel while freeing up your team’s time and resources to focus on the things that really matter — executing efficient, measurable, and profitable campaigns that, over time, positively influence every aspect of your marketing strategy.
So let’s dive into how to automate and scale your affiliate marketing strategy. Your brand can easily create a repeatable process to continuously attract new and loyal customers with these five simple steps.
- 1. IDENTIFY: Find potential affiliatesOne of the trickiest elements is engaging with affiliates who value your product as much as you do. While manually vetting affiliates may be more work upfront, finding the right fit is crucial for long-term success.
- 2. ENROLL: Enter them in an affiliate programEasily enroll affiliates into your campaigns via dedicated landing pages. With automation, once you have their information, you can quickly drill down your database by segmenting according to specific criteria.
- 3. TRACK: Custom links & share codes for cross-device trackingMeasure and monitor important activities like shares, clicks, affiliate conversions, and commissions earned and paid out. This data also allows you to attribute new customer activity to the correct affiliate.
- 4. PAY COMMISSIONS: Incentivize and quickly reward affiliates for referring new leads and customersIf you’re generating hundreds (or thousands) of sales from affiliates a month and don’t have a way to automate conversion payments, your affiliate strategy will become a drain on your marketing resources.
- 5. OPTIMIZE: Always be improving your programAn effective affiliate program should generate incredible insight into new customer behavior, prospect motivations, and channel preferences. Use automation to monitor key performance indicators while optimizing your program to drive revenue.
There are a lot of uncontrollable variables involved in building trust with your target audience and attracting new customers. Thanks to marketing automation, your affiliate program doesn’t have to exist beyond your control. Automated affiliate marketing ensures that affiliates are easily enrolled, effectively reached, and paid in a timely manner.
Author: Amity Kapadia
Amity Kapadia is Director of Content Marketing at Ambassador, a SaaS referral platform that empowers marketing teams to increase revenue by leveraging the power of word-of-mouth, referrals, and recommendations. Ambassador drives revenue for B2B businesses and consumer brands, including Spotify, SAP, SunPower and HP.