Is an affiliate programme right for you?

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There are both advantages and disadvantages to running an affiliate programme, here are the key points you should consider before deciding if joining an affiliate network is right for you.

Advantages of joining an affiliate network:

• Opens up another channel to drive traffic to your website
• Offers a low risk way of marketing your website as you only pay commission on a completed sales / when you receive a lead
• Many affiliate sites have a loyal following and working with them will give you access to their followers
• Offers a very fast way of communicating promotions and discount codes to the market
• Affiliates may include your promotions or products in their emails
• You control the amount of commission you pay and the cookie length. When a customer visits your site through an affiliate website, a cookie is dropped onto the customer’s computer recording the visit. E.g. you set your cookie length for 30 days, if the customer revists your website within 30 days of the first click, the affiliate will receive commission. Affiliate programmes allow you to choose your own cookie length
• You can add promotional material for affiliates to use which reflects your brand
• You can set terms and conditions for your affiliates to follow

Disadvantages of joining an affiliate network:

• If you use other forms of marketing e.g. mail order catalogues, you may find that a high number of people on your catalogue mailing list order through an affiliate and you pay unnecessary commission
• Affiliate accounts need to be checked frequently for fraudulent transactions
• Can be time consuming to manage effectively
• Affiliates may not choose to promote your product or service
• Check your competitors offerings – they could be offering a package which you cannot match
• Although payments are commission based, you have no control over the total spend

Before deciding on whether affiliate marketing is right for your business, you need to work out how it will fit with your overall online and offline marketing strategy and consider the points listed above. If you do decide it is right for you, make sure you take any overlap with other marketing channels into account when reviewing the performance of your programme.

For more information about how affiliates work, click here For details about how to setup an affiliate network, click here