The Covid-19 crisis has affected businesses around the world, including those involved in affiliate marketing. As we move onto the ânext normalâ, affiliate program managers need to start thinking about how this is going to affect them and their business practices.
Let’s take a look at the best way to navigate the next normal as we get into it.
What’s the next normal?
One phrase that has been used a lot over the past few months has centered on finding our new normal.
The problem is, we’re still trying to figure out what the ânext normalâ will be. The next normal is the present. It’s this time between coming out of a strict lockdown to figure out what to do next as we go through the changes this pandemic continues to bring to us.
While we have all realized that reverting to the current situation might not be an option for months to come, we need to consider how we are adapting our processes and strategies to deal with the here and now. While we must continue to promote and sell our products and businesses, there is still a lot that governments are doing to help prepare people for what could become the new normal in the months to come. So what can you do today – as an affiliate manager to prepare your own program and expand your affiliate relationships for this new age?
Dynamic commissioning and open dialogue
The first area you need to tackle will be dynamic provisioning. Now is the time to maintain an open dialogue with partners and define clear KPIs for delivery. You need to make sure that you have the right tools for monitoring, analysis, and management, and that your software adapts to your individual needs. Now is not the time to step back and save on brand promotion, but rather innovate and spend where you can complete your acquisition and target quality customers in niche areas online using your affiliate partners to do this. Brands that actively promote and spend wisely will remain more visible to their publishers, and being visible means making the most of ad hoc opportunities as they arise. If you feel like you don’t have the clearest picture of what’s going on with your affiliates, you may need to look for new software that can help you see more detail to make better budget choices.
How are customers converting to your brand? Which customers are the most profitable, how can you reach them while reducing your excess margins and program costs.
These are all important questions that you need to answer in order to know if your dynamic provisioning is doing everything it should. If you can’t answer these questions, you may not be maximizing your affiliate marketing budget optimally compared to other digital channels.
Secure the protection of your brand
As you make changes in this uncertain time, you also need to make sure that your trademark is well protected. You will undoubtedly have made a lot of changes so far to help protect the integrity of your business as you go through lockdown and continue to engage your customers online. This means that you may have started to investigate some digital channels that you may not have used before, or that you have looked at other opportunities for your brand. Social media influencers and brand ambassadors or loyalty partners may not have been at the top of your affiliate list in the past, but they could now play a central role in helping your program to expand its reach. scope. You need to make sure that there are open lines of communication here between your affiliates or content publishers and your brand. Make sure they follow your terms and conditions to the letter, and always make sure they don’t infringe on your brand in a way that harms you on these crucial social and visual digital channels.
Accurate reporting and data insight
Comprehensive reporting is another important consideration for navigating the next normal. If you are considering switching providers or taking your program in-house, you need to make sure that you have the right tools to manage your budgets more effectively. Keep in mind that there is a cost to performing a program audit and migration and many moving factors that can influence your profit margins during this time.
It’s imperative that your tech stack supports the initiatives you want to push and also helps you manage your budget and partner compensation. One size fits all for all of your program strategy approaches will no longer be effective. Your affiliate technology must work in conjunction with the other digital channels available to you. Reports are essential, so don’t forget to devote time to them.
Editors Pricing and Compensation Changes
If there has been a time for you to review your pricing structures, it should be now. This is a great time to potentially introduce a flexible pricing system that your affiliates can adapt to, whether they are new converts or have been with you for years. The affiliate commission rulebook is about to be rewritten. Media and traffic sources and trends will dictate how programs pay their partners. We’ve seen big programs like Amazon cut commissions in the past in an effort to maintain trade margins and costs during this time. This immediately impacts your partners, and the repercussions of lower prices compared to alternative remuneration should be considered over the long term of managing your relationships and promoting your programs. Introducing changes to your incentives might be a good idea for income reasons, but how you negotiate with partners should also be considered. Timing is going to be imperative and empathy and caution are recommended. While now is definitely a great time to try and cut your margins where you can, take a look at some of the areas where you can cut costs and try to implement them quickly without sacrificing your standards and performance.
What will affiliate marketing look like in the future?
As with many other aspects of daily life, it is clear that we may not be returning to our normal lives anytime soon before Covid-19. Many of us must find new ways to adapt our current lives and businesses to ensure optimal success. With the help of comprehensive reporting and the right strategies, affiliate managers should be able to take the actions and changes they need to move their brands forward. What will the next normal look like for you? Only time will tell.
Lee-Ann Johnstone, General Manager of Lee-Ann Johnstone