It seems affiliate marketing is all the rage at the moment. In this piece Silverbean associate director Australia Annabel Gray shares some of her tips and tricks.
Affiliate marketing can be a powerful means of generating revenue in this fast-paced, digital environment. Worldwide investment is currently over $15 billion and growing as US brands invest 10 per cent more in the channel every year. In fact, over 81 per cent of global brands now have an affiliate partner program.
It’s no wonder then that those with international expansion on the agenda are looking to partnership marketing strategies to get them there. From raising brand awareness in new territories to managing brand reputation in existing overseas markets, an effective partner program with a varied affiliate mix can make all the difference.
However, going global with your affiliates is not as simple as it sounds. Simply rolling out the same successful programs you have here in Australia will not necessarily work overseas and could damage your brand long-term, along with your potential profits.
Here are seven common mistakes to avoid if you’re keen to expand your affiliate program internationally:
- Not choosing the right technology provider
Your technology provider should be able to give valuable insight when it comes to local opportunities – all over the world – yet often it’s something brands don’t think through. To give your program the best head start, opt for a provider that has extensive operations in the countries you’re hoping to move into, on a national and local level. They should be best placed to turn their knowledge of each market’s unique characteristics and trends into a strategy that works for your brand.
- Not noting cultural differences
We get it, you’re impatient to get going. But not taking the time to get familiar with the affiliate landscape in a new market, including different cultures and customs, can be detrimental For instance, the US affiliate market is wider and more established than the UK and Australia, and as a result you should expect to set aside a larger budget for good exposure. Consumer behaviour also varies from country to country, with a greater emphasis given to cashback and coupons in the US compared to anywhere else. On a local APAC level, advertisers moving into SEA need to consider behaviours such as mobile first – if your service has a poor mobile experience these markets are probably not the right move for you!
- Being locally unaware
Brands who don’t become experts in their target market miss out on many local opportunities they may not have thought about from the other side of the world. Start by making a note in your diary of the key calendar dates in the countries in which you operate – this way, you won’t miss out on any hot shopping dates such as Singles Day, Double Digit Days, Thanksgiving and various EOFY sales in each target market.
- Underestimating awareness
Many brands forget that they’re not well-known (or even recognised at all!) by key partners in other regions. For this reason, it’s vital that your affiliate program presents your brand to new audiences in the right way in order to build trust and strong working relationships.
- Not being seasonally savvy
As Aussies are gearing up for the summer sun, people in the UK are starting to rug up for winter. If your website isn’t flexible for different customers and doesn’t target them with content and products that are relevant to their needs and location, it can really impact your affiliate success.
- Your currency only
Not offering your affiliate campaign in the local currency can be a potential barrier that will deter international customers. You should also make shipping costs transparent, or better yet, where possible try to run free shipping offers.
- Creating a language barrier
This might seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at how many brands overlook delivering campaigns in the local language they’re targeting. Making sure that your website is translated into the appropriate languages is a quick win when it comes to increasing conversion rates. Remember to translate all pages of your website and don’t neglect your customer service and ‘About Us’ pages – they are key for first impressions when introducing your brand to a new market.
The world really can be your oyster when it comes to global affiliate marketing, but in order to make it work for your brand a new and considered (not replicated) strategy is what’s really needed.