Google Affiliate Network
After the shutdown of the Google Affiliate Network, many affiliates found themselves migrating. This raised a whole litany of problems for marketers including client interruption and loss of revenue. Now that the larger migration has settled down, it’s a good time to take a look back on the things that we’ve learned during that process.
Migrating to a new affiliate network doesn’t have to be the disruptive force that some have found it to be—following these seven simple tips will help any transition you make be as smooth and seamless as possible for you, your business and your clients.
Seven Steps for Migrating to a New Affiliate Network
- Planning for Communications—You should always implement a plan for your communications as this will eliminate possible costly time-gaps that arise form communication issues. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should address any concerns your publisher community might have. This includes things like providing assurance that the commission structure will not be interrupted or altered, or if it will, why this is happening and how it will benefit your publishers. Address the timing of the migration and set up some FAQs ahead of time so your community sees that it’s a well-planned and well thought out move.
Be certain that you understand and convey the exact time frame that your old network contractually requires before you’re allowed to resume communications with publishers. Plan and pre-schedule the messages to be delivered to minimize confusion during the migration.
- Analyze any Potential Gaps in Performance—Next, be aware of publishers that are in your current program that won’t be in your future network. Use tools like Hitwise to figure out which publishers are consistently driving strong, conversion-minded traffic to your sales sites. Take data such as SKU numbers, year-over-year results and each publisher’s performance over your busiest times of the year.
- Cater to Your Top Publishers—Send personal notes to your best publishers and let them know that nothing has changed except the affiliate network. They’re still your go-to guys and you’re still there as always. Now is a good time to work closely with your network account team to fully understand the needs of your publishers. This will make a strong statement that things have changed, but for the better. It will also drive hoe stronger results per campaign.
- Shape Up or Ship Out—As for your publishers who haven’t been performing as well as expected, now is a good time to assess their value. Are they worth a little extra work to help motivate them towards being profitable? If so, do it. Implement some goals that they can meet and if they don’t meet them after some motivation, it’s time to cut them. For those publishers who aren’t worth the effort, don’t bring bad luggage over to your new affiliate network—severe all ties now and put more effort into your top performers as they’re your bread winners.
- New Beginnings all Around—Next, think of your move to a new affiliate network as a fresh start not only for you, but for your campaigns as well. Now is a perfect time to evaluate what is working and what isn’t. Refresh your creative ideas and implement sound strategies that have proven themselves to be money-makers time and time again. Coming with fresh material will also inspire confidence in your publishers that you’ve made the right move in migrating right now.
- Redo Your Affiliate Pages—Another great way to make the “new all over? vibe stick is to completely redo your affiliate pages. This will help energize the way you view your operation. Plus, it gives you the perfect chance to fix anything that wasn’t working out quite how you expected. Take the “fresh start? attitude and combine it with your knowledge and experience—this is an amazing opportunity for you, so embrace it to the fullest. Really hammer down the FAQ page to get proactive about things.
- Follow Up on the Process—Finally, after the migration is completed, check in with your publishers every few weeks or so to make sure that everything is running smoothly on their end as well. Transition periods can leave other feeling abandoned and less than likely to speak up about it. Don’t let the silence fool you—get proactive about things and find out anything before it interrupts productivity.