So you've done your research, or even received some affiliate consulting and you've put together a great offer for your affiliate program. You have a higher than average commission rate and cookie period. You have built a solid brand for your business and have had steady sales growth from all channels. So why aren't affiliates rushing to join your program and generating traffic and sales right now?
There are a few things that run through an affiliate's mind prior to joining or activating on your program. If they do join, you can guess they probably have something in mind with your products or service, but you could be anywhere on their priority list, from top to bottom.
Just like businesses that get burned by affiliates, any affiliate that's been in the business for longer than a year or so has also surely been burned by a merchant. Understand that this is always on the table for that affiliate when they are evaluating your program.
First off, are you a fairly new business? It doesn't take much for an affiliate to do a bit of research on your company to see how long you've been around. A quick Google search will reveal if your site has any mentions or has been reviewed anywhere. Professional affiliates only want to spend the effort and time to build a campaign or site for a program when they know the business will be sticking around, and will have the cash to support the program for a long term.
Even if you've been in business for a while, and have a solid reputation, is your affiliate program new? Countless times proprietors and businesses have jumped into affiliate marketing, and were disappointed because sales didn't jump through the roof immediately, and they didn't have 500 active affiliates earning within the first few months. They kill the program within 6 months and completely write off affiliate marketing as a total failure. This happens way more often than not, and affiliates know this.
Time is on the affiliates side. Most affiliates already have many programs they are promoting successfully and profiting from. Unless something unforeseen happens (like one of their big earners in your same market changes a policy or drops off for whatever reason), most affiliates are happy to keep spending the majority of the time tweaking and enhancing their existing promotions. They can easily sit back and wait for a while to see if your program has the legs to stay around, and only until they are satisfied will they start to devote a portion of their time to building a campaign around your products or services.
Consider how you run your businesses. You have built supplier relationships that are stable and supply products that you're able to sell at a profit. Suppose a new supplier calls you up and would like to start selling their products through your business. Will you drop everything and jump in with that supplier right now? Probably not. You have to weigh the effect on your current suppliers, and also have to determine is it worth it to invest with a new supplier, especially when what you have is working already. This same process basically occurs for an affiliate as well when a new program comes knocking.
Besides not getting the immediate big impact sales from their program, businesses initiating a new affiliate program might not realize just how much work is involved in setting up and maintaining a good program. Perhaps they've undertaken the job themselves, or dumped it on their web designer or SEO/PPC guy. Well, affiliate marketing is not their speciality, and usually ends up at the bottom of their priority list. They spend time on the things that give them the biggest and most visible impact, and those are the things they know.
Outsourced affiliate program management agencies have a big advantage in weighing whether or not a program will stick around. A good agency will have managed the expectations of a business, so they aren't expecting a massive flood of revenue from the program in the first few months. Also a good agency will have built the program well and avoided common pitfalls and gotchas that snag up affiliates and detract from the program. And thirdly, a good agency knows what's involved in setting up and maintaining a good program. A professional affiliate knows an affiliate program won't be neglected when managed by a solid outsourced affiliate program management firm.
Now these are just a few of the things that an affiliate weighs when deciding on the effort they will put into a program. I hope though you have a better understanding from an affiliate's point of view, and are able to be patient, be diligent and invest fully into your affiliate program's success.
I hope you find this useful, and for other general and getting started affiliate marketing tips do check out our AMWSO Affiliate Marketing Help page. Also, if you have found this useful, please do throw us a Like via Facebook or a +1 via Google+ (widget below).