affiliate-marketing

4 Tips to Ensure Your Affiliate Partners Are the Right Fit

Affiliate marketing seems like a win-win situation. Hordes of eager bloggers who have established themselves in the blogosphere passionately recommend and advocate for your brand, steer consumers towards your retail site, and take a tidy commission for their efforts. Yes, the dream scenario can happen. However, there are ways you can excel in this…and ways it can go disastrously wrong. Here are a few tips to ensure that the wrong affiliate partners don’t end up representing your precious brand.

Whether you are running affiliate marketing in-house or working with an affiliate marketing company, this post will help you run or oversee a credible campaign that you can be proud of.

Too Much?

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As with any type of advertising or marketing, too much of anything is a good indication that things may not be going well. Any barrage of emails, social posts or blog mentions about a particular brand or product is not a positive. You, your affiliate marketing employee or agency should have the talent and discretion to expertly advocate for your brand consistently yet subtly. We all know the dangers of too much advertising, so make sure your team shows restraint. Aggressive SEO tactics, spammy correspondence, and other heavy-handed tactics would indicate that this affiliate partner doesn’t have much of a connection with their audience. There are plenty of talented bloggers out there who do the right thing, so keep looking.

Try Before You Buy

Bloggers succeed because of the honest connection they develop with their audience; authenticity is their stock in trade. So, why would you want someone telling folks about your product or service without ever trying it first? Short answer: you don’t. There’s a lot of ways this could go wrong…the first one being the obvious experience of a blogger clearly not knowing the ins and outs of your product. You want personal input and guidance from your affiliate partner, and, if it’s clear to you that they haven’t used your product, it’ll be clear to the readers also.

Another indication is excessive copying and pasting of your website copy on their page. Sure, you want some of your messaging and details to be reported, but when the page is full of other people’s writing, it’s a safe assumption that the affiliate didn’t take much time to work with what you gave them. Point being, you should send all of your affiliate partners product from your brand and ensure they experience your brand before they vouch for it.

Content is King

Performance-based content producers got to where they are by generating awesome content. Plain and simple. Their opinions and writing style were entertaining and informative enough that their audience was drawn to them and stuck around to the point where the content creator could start monetizing their site. Unfortunately, sometimes success can overtake quality. Any vetting process of potential partners needs to include a hard look at any websites the affiliate partner is using.

Look for clear examples of their content to be prominent and featured on the first page you see. If it’s stacked with banner ads, links, and random products, that may be a red flag, and you should visualize how upset you’d be seeing your brand plugged in on a busy splash of ads and links.

Stay in Your Lane

Now, there are infinite numbers of niches to dive into on the Internet. From wholesome to dark, young to old, simple to future tech…it’s all out there. And while there are some lifestyle bloggers that have a big and diverse enough voice to cover a wide range of products, most have made their name by covering a specific subject. So, if you are selling crochet supplies and the niche expert blogger with thousands of loyal crochet fans starts reviewing energy drinks or sports cars, you might want to reconsider.

Look, this isn’t an easy line of work to be in, and some affiliates might take on some out-of-place products to help pay the rent. Some might even have the self-deprecating and humorous style to pull off an off-topic review, and that should be acknowledged. Generally speaking, however, it’s a good idea to monitor your affiliate partners for topic and tone and enlist the experts to ply their crafts.

Also, it’s possible one of these bloggers has posted a controversial statement in the past, either contrary to your beliefs or just plain offensive. You might not want to be involved in that…the Internet never forgets. In case you missed it, here’s a few examples of how brands have gone awry.

Do you have any affiliate marketing tips? We would love to hear from you!

This guest post was written by Kristen Matthews. Kristen does freelance influencer, affiliate and content marketing for B2C and B2B brands. She can be found on Twitter @KristenWords.

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