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.
It will take time to (a) recruit quality affiliates into your program, (b) ensuring they are active, (c) equipped, and (d) bringing you new business.
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.
3 thoughts on “Healthy Affiliate Program is Antonymous of Quick Fix”
Remember that by bringing on any affiliate, you’re giving them license to represent your brand. So if you’re just launching your program, that’s potentially thousands of new, somewhat unknown, sources of information about everything you offer.
As Geno says above, focus on recruiting quality affiliates. There’s no better time to be selective.
Fantastic article and I could not agree more! “easy come, easy go” is defiantly applicable here and just like SEO any short-cuts can often come back to bite you in the future.
Good solid results take time and any merchant looking to get into affiliate marketing should fully understand the space before agreeing to enter. As with all marketing methods, affiliate marketing has pro’s and con’s, the merchant needs to be aware of them and ensure they compliment their existing marketing strategy.
Brands can be made or even broken with a poorly designed and managed affiliate marketing campaign. I would always speak to Geno before starting out, he can help you avoid some common pitfalls.
You’re 100% right, Geno. We’re usually telling our clients that it takes up to six month to get an Affiliate Program really running. However, not every client likes to hear that but honesty is one of the key factors in our business.