Why affiliates must add value & drive for Quality(Guestpost)

Wed 24 June 2009 10:30, Editors

Why affiliates must add value & drive for Quality(Guestpost)

One of the best conferences around is A4UExpo. A4UExpo is organized by Matthew Wood. He is also a enterpreneur pur sang and a very nice guy I might add :). I constantly am struck by his young age and what he has accomplished in his young career,  it's all very impressive.

Matthew Wood is Managing Director at Existem, which organizes events like A4UExpo  and the A4Uawards www.a4uawards.com. Matthew himself is also an expert on the affiliate field. On the Existim website he states one remarkable fact: “Taught for 6 months in a school in Asia”. (!) Today Matthew writes about "Why Affiliates Must Add Value and Continually Drive for Quality", something much affiliates seem to forget.

Why Affiliates Must Add Value and Continually Drive for Quality

Earlier this Month I was lucky enough to be one of the judges at the UK's Affiliate Marketing Awards – the event which I founded back in 2007 attracted hundreds of entries from across the industry – It's a fascinating, lengthy, sometimes frustrating but rewarding task as you get to  the forefront of thinking and what's going on in the Industry.

The motto' for the awards are to reward 'Excellence and Innovation' within Affiliate Marketing – and its excellence and quality that now more than ever before is the element we should as existing or potential affiliates be putting at the forefront of any new start-up, affiliate project, or re-development strategy.

Why? Simply put the game has changed.  In-fact, we all know we're in a constant flux as an Affiliate  Marketing, Google and Search continues to change and keep us on our toes.  We're also up against large super affiliates with big budgets and teams unseen just a few years ago.

So how do we drive for quality and excellence as Affiliates?

Here are 3 critical elements you must consider, right now.

Be an Added Value' Affiliate

Trust me, advertisers will continue to delve deeper and analyse the real value they are getting from their affiliate partners.  Headed up by savvy digital agencies – think to yourself how would you shape up?

Perhaps its time to think about not being another voucher code, cashback or other cliched site – offer something unique, of added value to your customer but critically to your merchant partner and holistically Google too.

I'm not saying don't try a competitive niche, but if you go down that route be prepared to fight a competitive battle, build links and execute your project flawlessly (see below)

So how do you add value? –deep down you probably know.   Show you care, demonstrate you have the ability to drive higher customer revenue for the customers you introduce,  provide a better brand experience,  provide a direct relationship, consider activities that merchants sometimes undertake themselves, conduct re-targeting and interact with consumers in a way that aligns your activity with their brands values.

After all, we're affiliates, we're nimble and at the forefront of new technology, search and social media, right?

Excellence in Execution

A friend of mine recently said, Matt – it's all about the execution, and he was 100% right. Your idea must be thoroughly researched, considered and executed to perfection with great care and attention to detail.

Granted this is not always possible with limited resources in both monetary and manpower – but anything you do simply put must be to the best of your ability and consider all elements of the affiliate marketing mix .

Consider the following:

a) advertiser – How does my service add value to the advertiser?
b) affiliate – How can the service increase my ROI?
c)visitor – How am I differentiating my site to offer added value?

Be Transparent

A common theme throughout 2009 has been the quest for Transparency.  It's clear in some respects we are getting closer.  What affiliates don't often realise is that we too must be transparent in our activity – this is after all a mutual relationship. 

More and more networks and merchants are asking for NDA's to be signed for access to privileged merchant information given to the select but always pro-active few – I'd ask you as affiliates to make this a 2 way agreement.

Naturally there is a fine line between giving away all your golden secrets to traffic generation but you should be prepared to share your strategy with your closest merchants so you can align, grow together and build a successful, transparent and lengthy relationship.

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