A step-by-step guide to your first affiliate marketing campaign

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A newly created project has to deal with significant issues to survive the first year of operation. The key objective to achieve, especially in a highly competitive market environment, is to find product-market fit. Affiliate marketing offers a variety of instruments to achieve this goal. And more: it engages potential customers, who may become a target audience – and some may even become brand ambassadors in the future.

Here are some rock-solid tactics for launching a new brand, service, or app using affiliate marketing channels.

Related: Use Affiliate Marketing to Build a Loyal Audience

Why Affiliate Marketing Can Be An Effective Strategic Channel To Use

An affiliate partnership is based on a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) model. Advertising provides results in the form of targeted sales and actions, which results in direct profits. Note, the advantages of affiliate marketing are:

  • The absence of reckless risky investments.
  • Promotion only takes place among the relevant public.
  • The wide range of different niches to use effectively.

But the main thing is that the spent budget is under your control. The basic operating principle of affiliate marketing is that you get what you pay for.

According to Publift, 86% of audiences suffer from ad blindness, which means they simply don’t see the ads. To ensure that budget will not be wasted on irrelevant clicks (cost per click) or views (cost per view), rewarding affiliate partners depends on the success of the promotional campaign.

Having all these advantages of affiliate based tactics, it’s time to roll out our very first step by step affiliate marketing campaign.

Related: An Affiliate Marketing Program Could Be the Perfect Fit

Step 1: Create an internal affiliate program or join a travel affiliate network

Building your affiliate program is not a cheap exercise. However, big brands like Expedia or Booking.com could do it. So, finding a suitable travel affiliate marketing network would be a more realistic option. Their framework and experience combined with the right tools should also help you. Cooperation with external CPA platforms (i.e. Travelpayouts, CJ, AWIN, Partnerize or others) seems more manageable, especially for newcomers.

Step 2: Propose a suitable affiliate offer

It should be based on an analysis of competitors and business ROI models. The proposal should include the commission rate, cookie lifetime and payment policy.

Cookie duration is the length of time that a customer and an affiliate are associated. It starts from a customer’s click on the link and can last from one session up to a year. If it has expired, the partner will not receive a commission on a purchase.

Also consider determining a payment policy: a variety of actions, which are taken into account as targets and compensated. The pay-per-click (PPC), pay-per-action (PPA), and pay-per-impression (PPI) models focus on different goals – number of clicks, lead generation, and sales guarantee, respectively.

3. Get a list of top affiliates

A partner’s subscribers and followers should be your ultimate target audience. For example, if you have a coupon service, your partners’ potential user audience should be interested in travel deals, coupons, and discounts. Stay on influencers with high quality content. It doesn’t matter if they are local bloggers with less than 5,000 subscribers, compared to the most popular ones with 1 million subscribers or more.

Blogger subscriber numbers aren’t as important as audience quality – what matters most is how many sales a partner can attract. Affiliates with low traffic volume can also become a great source for your actual sales among the loyal and active audience.

Related: 3 Tips for Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing

4. Share your brand values ​​with partners

Affiliates will recommend your service to their audience, so they should be aware of your brand values. A simple solution is to create a promotion or landing page to share with potential partners. On this page, you can provide product features, highlights, tips, and more. Go even further and create a media kit with a detailed description. But remember that not all affiliates are ready to wade through a 30-page document. So be sure to create a summary that includes all the basics.

5. Analyze campaign effectiveness

Usually, when launching an affiliate campaign, it is enough to provide partners with affiliate links. By using them, an affiliate would provide and drive traffic to your site or a link for downloading apps. Effective cooperation can also encourage other means of contacting the public in the future. These can be formats as effective as search forms, banners or APIs. As affiliate partners attract their audience, your task is to analyze the quality of incoming traffic.

The main point of the first step is to inspect the effectiveness of the affiliate campaign (to improve it for the future). The initial traffic flow and sales will indicate further actions to take. For example, you can try to reach partners with different target audiences or use additional tools to attract a new audience yourself. You can also try changing the program terms or offering additional promotions. Traffic analysis is an eternal process for the optimization of the affiliate program, as well as the identification of anomalies and possible violations on the part of the partner.

Related: How Affiliate Marketing Can Work For Entrepreneurs

Be patient

Affiliate marketing is not a one-time game. So be prepared for different experiences with ad formats and channels. You might understand that social media promotion is a better way than travel blog traffic or vice versa.

This process requires flexibility, constant self-improvement and careful analysis of audience behavior. Do not panic if the first results of the campaign do not meet your expectations. Launching an affiliate program is just the start of a long journey. Affiliate marketing is, in our humble experience, the most profitable marketing channel worth taking a chance on.

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