Regardless of whether you are looking at an affiliate network as a merchant (aka advertisers) or an affiliate (aka publisher), I believe there are certain bases that are critical for each affiliate network to cover. And when these foundational bases are not being paid the attention they deserve, they turn into problems …major problems.
Today I’d like to focus on 5 such key components of healthy affiliate network existence. Based on what I’ve observed over the past 10 years, the five most dangerous types affiliate network problems are:
- Support Problems — For example, slow, in-concrete, or low quality answers (especially when it comes to technical questions).
- Tracking Problems — This one should really share the first place with the previous point, as both are equally important for the success of affiliates and affiliate programs.
- Communication Problems — These are universal… Most networks have learned it the hard way that advance notifications (of scheduled maintenance, etc) are a must, but many are still struggling with maintaining healthy ongoing communication channels (which should include newsletters, participation in forums, blogging, tweeting, etc) with their affiliates and merchants.
- Lack of Transparency — If the network is going down, and it does affect the tracking, be honest with your customers (both affiliates and merchants), and don’t say that “tracking isn’t (or hasn’t been) affected”. Things like this are easy to figure out just by comparing performance to days/hours when tracking functions properly. Similarly, if there’s an affiliate violation going on, don’t cover it up (because you’re being paid 20-30% of everything that affiliate earns) until someone figures it out.
- Poor Tools & Lack of Innovation — To succeed in an industry as rapidly developing as affiliate marketing, you want to constantly innovate, and come up with new tools to equip your affiliates (and merchants!) empowering them for success.
I know I have probably missed something that you deem worth mentioning here. If so, please do chime in through the “Comments” area below. Your input is always greatly appreciated.