Nearly every week I witness how merchants turning to affiliate marketing in hopes to generate quick referrals through affiliates.
However, expecting an affiliate program to quickly boost sales or leads is just wrong. Unlike paid search campaigns, for example, affiliate programs take longer to build and develop. However, once your affiliate program is built up, the ROI is generally much higher than that of any other marketing venue available to an online merchant.
There is also a caveat with the above-referenced preconception. Are you really sure you are looking for a quick fix?
Quick fix : noun : an expedient usually temporary or inadequate solution to a problem. [source: Webster's Dictionary]
There are ways to make an affiliate program produce quick results. However, in most cases they will be either “temporary or inadequate”, or even cannibalizing your other marketing efforts (you may find a few sobering examples here).
You, however, should desire an affiliate program that brings incremental and lasting results.
If things are managed well, your affiliate program investment will pay off, but you do want to give it a few months. For more established brands conversions build up quicker (than for smaller advertisers, or newer online stores). However, regardless of your business’ size, it, generally, doesn’t take longer than a month (into the program’s launch) to start seeing affiliate referrals. And they
should grow progressively thereafter.