When setting up an affiliate program it is sensible to clearly map out what behavior you want from it. This could vary depending on a whole host of different elements such as the size of the brand, the type of brand, the products it sells for example.
What is the main reason for the brand setting up a program? Are they after pure sales? New customer sign ups? Grow brand awareness? Getting to new audiences? Whatever the aim, the brand needs to get this set-in stone from the start.
How do you want your brand to be perceived?
See more in-depth examples below:
Example: If you are working with a high-end brand that wants to be perceived as luxury and keep a high-quality image, voucher and discount affiliates might not be for them
Firstly, consider the affiliates you want to engage with, pure content publishers, bloggers, price comparison, voucher, cashback, and many other types that will be available to you, you need a strategy to use them correctly depending on the type of brand you are. For luxury / high-end brands, they may want to work with high quality content providers, for online discount retailers, they may want to get offers out to deal seekers, so would be best to approach voucher, deal, incentive sites.
Do you already have a successful business driving sales already through other digital channels? If yes then you want to make sure sales being driven from your other digital channels, whether that be PPC, social, or SEO are not being cannibalised by your affiliate activity.
See example below
Example: PPC adverts driving customers into a site. The customer adds a product into the basket, they see a voucher box within the checkout. The natural behavior is to go and look for a voucher. 9 times out of 10 when you search for brand + voucher terms you will get a voucher code site. Once the customer has clicked onto the voucher site and picked up the code, (they are normally forced to click a get code button) this will then track as a sale for the voucher site (affiliate), attributing the sale to the affiliate, in which the brand pays a commission. Evidently it was the PPC click that won the customer, so you are in essence cannibalizing the PPC traffic.
As the example above shows, you need to put in place a strategy to stop this type of behavior – but you need to be sure that you would have won the sale if a voucher code was not on offer. If your competitors are offering codes and you’re not who would win the sale? (See voucher code promotion) Does offering a code make you the cheapest in the market? If so, there could be an argument the voucher site got the sale over the line, so it assisted in the sale.