Whether you’re running a business that’s strictly available online or you’re trying to create an affiliate marketing program for your brick-and-mortar store, there are a number of important components you should be considering. The process of building an affiliate marketing program isn’t always easy, so you need to choose a partner platform that can help you build and maintain that program.
Whether you don’t currently have an affiliate marketing platform or you’re trying to transition out of an affiliate marketing program that’s run completely internally, finding an affiliate marketing platform requires you to pay attention to the platform’s options. Here are seven features you should be looking for when you choose an affiliate marketing platform.
1. Simple Interface
Especially if your affiliate program is fairly new, it’s important that you’re good at navigating it. If the user interface is extremely complex and difficult to understand, then you’re not going to want to use it as much, and you might not be able to get everything you want out of it. Additionally, a complicated program interface also usually means a complicated affiliate-facing interface, which can make affiliates themselves less likely to use the program.
An easy-to-use dashboard is an important part of your affiliate program for both your in-house affiliate managers and the affiliates you’re reaching out to.
2. Helpful Affiliate Marketplace
An affiliate marketplace is one of the best ways for both affiliates and affiliate marketers to connect with the people they’re looking for. With an affiliate marketplace, you don’t have to just hope that affiliates will stumble over your program; you can actually reach out to them directly and let them know what you can offer them as part of your program.
Especially if you’re just starting your affiliate program, an affiliate marketplace is key for getting it running.
3. Intentional Security for Your Account
High-quality affiliate programs take security seriously. You want to make sure that your affiliate platform is dedicated to fraud detection, general internet security, and data privacy. The last thing you want is for your affiliate program to be negatively impacted by a fraudulent actor.
High-quality account security will bring peace of mind to both the company running the program and the people signing up for it.
4. Integration with Ecommerce Platforms
All affiliate platforms should integrate on a very basic level with SaaS platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify, PayPal, and other ecommerce products. However, it’s also important that the company doesn’t just stop at the absolute basics. You want your company to include as many third-party integrations as possible so you can use them effectively.
While the ecommerce tools you currently use are the most important integrations to look for, checking for all integrations can help you expand in the future.
5. Effective Tracking and Data
It may seem obvious, but it is important that you specifically look at the tracking capabilities and data that an ecommerce platform provides. This is important on both ends. For you, higher levels of tracking and data allow you to see which affiliates are doing the best job. For your affiliates, higher levels of tracking and data allow them to understand what works and what doesn’t.
More tracking is always better when it comes to affiliate marketing, regardless of which side you’re on.
6. Helpful Customer Support
If you have a problem with your affiliate program, who are you going to ask about it? Most of the time, you’ll need to contact customer support. If customer support is slow to respond, then affiliates may lose patience with the program altogether, while affiliate marketers may not be able to get the most out of their program. Plus, as you decide to scale up your affiliate program, you’ll need to get help making sure you’re always blazing a strong path.
A strong customer service component can help your business grow and help your affiliates do more with the program.
7. Affordable Cost for Your Business
Finally, while cost may not be the most important part of your affiliate marketing program, it is important to think about the cost anyway. According to AMNavigator, affiliate marketing can range from a few hundred dollars per month to thousands of dollars per month, and a significant portion of that has to do with your affiliate marketing platform costs. As long as you budget for these costs, you can make a great return on investment, but remember to keep them in mind as you set up an affiliate marketing program.
While a lower cost is often better for beginners, you should be looking for a program that can also scale up as you need more resources.
Finding the Right Affiliate Platform
The right affiliate program is one that meets all of these needs for you. It’s important that you have an affiliate program that provides you with an effective interface, an affiliate marketplace to find new affiliates, online security, platform integration, high levels of tracking and data, and general customer support, as well as a cost that you can afford. For many people, the answer is Refersion. No matter what platform you end up settling on, with these seven steps, you can make sure the platform meets all of your needs.