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It’s easy to fall in love with Performance Marketing. What’s not to like? Someone else does the legwork, and you only pay when your specific goal (whether that be a sale, lead, or download) is met? Brilliant.

Unfortunately, the majority of Performance Marketing campaigns experience significant setbacks and never gain the traction desired.  Even though you, as the brand, are required to pay only if a performance partner generates sales, it’s important to realize it is not only on the shoulders of your partner to create a winning program – there are things you can and should do to make the program work for both, and if you don’t, your partner can easily work with a competitor!

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That being said, we’d like to share with you 3 best practices for performance marketing, things we’ve learned after running successful performance campaigns for nearly 10 years, that you can apply as a brand to help maximize your efforts.

1. Choose a Smaller Number of Premium Partners

Who you choose as a performance marketing partner is one of the most important decisions you will make.  It’s easy to launch an affiliate program and let any 3rd party with the means and desire to help generate sales for your business. The problem is that letting anyone generate sales often leads to problems, like poor quality customers, higher chargeback rates, and a diluted brand image resulting from partners who lack the experience and/or desire to present your brand in the right light.

Instead, choose trusted and experienced partners, run a private affiliate program, and allocate more resources to those partners generating the best results. This will give your program a significantly better chance at success!

2. Be Competitive

Performance Marketing, despite being an attractive model, is more than a risk-free, hands-off way to generate more sales.  Unless you’re the only one in your industry, your affiliate partner has many options when it comes to deciding with whom they want to work, and successful partners will only choose to work with a company who will help them succeed. This is vital to remember.

When you’re competing against every other program in your vertical, and sometimes even outside your niche, doing everything you can to help your performance partner succeed is essential.

This includes setting your CPA (amount you pay per action taken) as high as possible for your best revenue drivers, as you’ll generally recoup any revenue ‘lost’ on single sales in increased volume and returning customers.

You can also help your partner by sharing as much data as you can with them and being open and available to listen to their needs.  You may find some of the best strategic ideas come from partners who spend hours figuring out how to generate and optimize traffic to your website.

3. Test, Test, Test!

This practice applies to all aspects of your business, but is especially crucial in performance efforts. Test payouts, order path, creative, landing pages… test everything! Your experienced eyes and gut, though valuable, are not statistically-valid resources – raw data is the ONLY thing that will really tell you if you’re making the most out of the traffic you’re getting.  Using tools like analytics, heatmaps, A/B testing, multivariate testing, and other tracking methods can help you figure out how to boost your conversions significantly.

Following these best practices are all smart ways to approach your performance initiatives, but they only scratch the surface. Performance Marketing is an industry that generates billions of dollars per year, and it takes skill, effort and often, an experienced partner, to maximize its potential to skyrocket your sales.

For more information on launching a performance campaign for your product or business, please contact performance@wpromote.com.

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