opinion

Affiliate Partnerships Tips for Boosting Pleasure Brands' Digital Presence

Affiliate Partnerships Tips for Boosting Pleasure Brands' Digital Presence

If you work in the adult industry, you probably know that affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy where individuals promote a brand’s products or services and receive commissions for each confirmed sale or referred customer. But did you know that affiliate marketing revenue is projected to soar to a staggering $36.9 billion by 2030? That’s according to a report by market research firm Astute Analytica.

With such exponential growth on the horizon, it’s evident that affiliate marketing offers immense opportunities for brands looking to expand their reach and boost their performance. However, navigating affiliate partnerships requires more than just signing up affiliates and hoping for the best! Below are some top tips to help you excel in this marketing field.

Success in affiliate marketing is not just about numbers; it is about fostering genuine connections.

Set Clear Goals

Setting clear goals is essential for your affiliate program. Are you aiming to expand your brand’s reach, locally or globally? Attract new customers to grow your base for re-marketing? Identifying your objectives guides your choice of affiliates, prevents you from veering off course, and enables you to clearly communicate your program’s profile to affiliates and potential partners. It also helps you determine which promotional strategies, such as voucher codes or educational content, best fit those goals. Additionally, if you’re running a program with outsourced assistance, having clear goals helps ensure that they work in your best interests.

Let’s Talk Money, Baby

It is also very important to define your commission structure, which determines how you will reward affiliates for their efforts and plays a significant role in attracting and retaining high-performing partners.

How you structure commissions depends on your program’s objectives. Will you pay commissions based on product margins, publisher/affiliate types or product categories? For instance, if your aim is to drive sales of high-margin products, you may offer higher commission rates for those items. It is essential to align your commission structure with your overarching goals.

If you choose to run your affiliate marketing through a third-party affiliate network/platform, keep in mind any limitations imposed by that network regarding the number of commission groups you can have. Understanding these constraints allows you to design a commission structure that optimally supports your program’s objectives while adhering to network guidelines.

Identify Your Audience

Knowing your audience is key to successful affiliate partnerships. If your brand caters predominantly to males, target brands with a similar demographic. Understanding your audience enables you to create tailored creatives that resonate with both the publishers/affiliates and your brand.

Tracking for Success

One critical step when establishing your affiliate program is to ensure proper tracking implementation. Tracking monitors user behavior in order to accurately attribute sales to specific affiliates and/or marketing channels responsible for the conversion. It provides invaluable insights into the origin of each sale, whether it is through your own social channels, paid advertising, organic search, affiliates or other avenues.

We have encountered clients who had trouble interpreting data from analytics platforms such as GA4 or Piwik because they did not set up their affiliate tracking effectively. By simply updating the tracking, we were able to help our clients gain a better understanding of how much of their traffic was driven through affiliate marketing, facilitating informed decision making going forward.

Quality, Not Quantity!

Expanding your affiliate activity isn’t about accepting every affiliate who comes knocking. While it may seem like more affiliates equals better results, prioritizing quality over quantity is key for compliance and effective performance management. Whether you manage your own in-house affiliate program or connect via a third-party affiliate network, it’s crucial to be discerning and cautious about whom you accept, ensuring their promotional methods align with both your brand and guidelines.

Take the time to examine how potential affiliates are likely to represent your brand’s products or services across a multitude of platforms. Are they also aligned with other brands in your niche? Do you grasp their promotional methods, whether through content, discount codes, social media platforms or influencer collaborations? Keep in mind that some affiliates may operate within subnetworks, which work with other affiliates.

Remember, your due diligence doesn’t stop there. You should regularly monitor your affiliates’ promotional efforts to ensure ongoing compliance throughout the partnership.

Bad Guys, Bye-Bye

Even when you conduct thorough due diligence before accepting affiliates onto your program, that doesn’t always guarantee that they will play by the rules. It is therefore crucial to integrate checks into your process to ensure that affiliates are adhering to your standards and compliance guidelines.

For brands operating within restricted verticals such as sexual wellness, sextech, CBD and vape, affiliate marketing can serve as a valuable tool for navigating compliance in regulated marketing. For affiliates, however, working with restricted brands means navigating various limitations. For instance, sex toys cannot be promoted via Google Shopping, and vapes cannot be promoted on social media platforms. If an affiliate engages in underhanded tactics like these, it reflects poorly on your brand and could lead to trouble with regulatory bodies like the Advertising Standards Agency or Federal Trade Commission. Such breaches of trust could also damage your brand’s reputation. That’s why it is essential to have a clear noncompliance policy in place that everyone is aware of, enabling you to address issues swiftly and decisively.

Sharing Is Caring

Once you have accepted affiliates into your program, your work is far from over. To enhance performance and foster a stronger partnership, it is crucial to engage with your affiliates.

Regularly sharing valuable insights about bestselling products, the latest discount codes and high-performing content that drives traffic demonstrates your active involvement and investment in your affiliates, strengthening the relationship. Sharing insider information empowers affiliates to be more targeted with their endeavors and aligns their efforts with your business goals. If you have overstock and need assistance in selling more, don’t hesitate to let them know! Affiliates can be an effective extension of your team, helping your business achieve more in the digital realm.

Furthermore, it is important to engage with top-performing affiliates. Are they satisfied with the program? What do they need from you to further their success? Are there specific banner sizes or images they prefer to promote on their platforms? Additionally, they may offer valuable insights and suggest creatives that could benefit your affiliate program. It is crucial to continuously optimize and develop partnerships in order to foster mutual growth and success.

Fly High, My Friend

Strategic planning and clear goals are essential for success across all your marketing channels, not just affiliate marketing. Identifying the right audience, implementing effective tracking mechanisms and maintaining quality partnerships are key factors in navigating the complexities of modern marketing strategies.

As you venture into the world of affiliate partnerships, remember: Success in affiliate marketing is not just about numbers; it is about fostering genuine connections, maintaining brand integrity and continuously optimizing for success. With dedication and diligence, you can master affiliate partnerships and unlock the full potential of your brand’s digital presence.

Lauren Bailey is the client account manager at Sciart Marketing, a U.K.-based data marketing agency that helps brands navigate and deliver improved business outcomes across various marketing channels. She has more than 15 years of experience in the affiliate space in various capacities.

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