10 guidelines to start a successful affiliate program abroad

1/10: This blog entry is the beginning of a set of 10 blog articles, which we are going to publish due to our ten-year company anniversary: Each of our departments will write a small article about their online marketing channel – starting off with a whitepaper from our Affiliate Marketing Department: The whitepaper “Affiliate Marketing: Starting an affiliate program abroad” is a free download, so we would be pleased if we could get a tweet on that. Simply click the download button and post the precasted tweet, which will be shown on the next page. As a reward, you will get the whitepaper for free! >> Download the Affiliate Whitepaper   Doing affiliate marketing abroad is like competing in sports outside your home stadium’s comfort zone. It’s essentially the same game but the surroundings are different. You might not know the referee and the fans will behave differently from what you are used to. The hosting team always enjoys the home advantage. So what are the main things you should think about as an advertiser starting an affiliate program abroad? 1. The Online Shop Ideally, your shop isn’t a newbie and being brand conscious certainly helps. Additionally, it is crucial that the shop is in the country’s main language(s), delivery shouldn’t take too long compared to the competition and the shop should offer the region’s most common payment methods 2. Choosing Network(s) Both you and the network have choosing to do: You are looking for the right affiliate portfolio, they are looking for a truly suitable company to enhance their affiliate network. Send your enquiries to at least 3 networks and feel free to ask for a 6 month forecast on your program’s performance. A way to find relevant networks is to map out the competition and see where they run their affiliate marketing. In some countries it is quite common to work with more than one network, in others not so much. You will probably get a feeling for that when learning about your competitors and in which networks they are. 3. Working with Your Network(s) If you opt for more than one network let them know and launch the programs at the same time. It guarantees a fair competition between them and makes it easier for you to evaluate which affiliate network really pays off for your company. As always, the terms of agreement should be read carefully. Pay extra attention to the termination process, sale validation, start date and network commission. The network commission is between 20-30% on average or as a part of the revenue.  It can be calculated on top of the affiliate commission, in a 70/30 model or as a part of the revenue. 4. Affiliates The network might help you searching for affiliates, yet make sure you do your homework: If the network has an open affiliate portfolio you should use it to the max. There is research on what affiliates prefer and what they appreciate from an advertiser. Learning about it will help your successful launch abroad. 5. Affiliate Commission and Incentives In some countries it is very common to have different commissions depending on the publisher model. Cashback and voucher sites usually receive less commission than content sites. Just research closely what exactly will fit your program. When offering an affiliate promotion it is important to know what your partners prefer. Do the affiliates in the Netherlands prefer a sales rally or a higher commission for a limited time? 6. Media Ads The networks will usually let you know what size your banners should be, if a link generator is possible or necessary and so on. Some publisher models also require specific banner sizes, e.g. e-mail marketers. If this is an affiliate group you would like to work with pay attention to creating the right banner sizes for them. 7. The Country and Its Customs Be in time and be local! Getting to know how locals tick is the key to successful advertising. When are shopping peaks? Not everywhere is Christmas associated with huge shopping sprees and Midsommar or Queen’s Day celebrated. As a starting point make sure you know the region’s celebrations and public holidays. Tanzbär 8. Language Present program descriptions in the local language just like promotion newsletters. If at all possible, have your affiliate manager respond to affiliates’ mails in their own language. Not only does it help to avoid misunderstandings: It shows your affiliates that you are not planning to offer an English program in Italy but an Italian program in Italy. 9. Meeting Points Even if you don’t have the opportunity to meet the affiliates personally, you can still follow their tracks: Are they active in forums and blogs? In case they have offline meetings, try to attend some. Networks sometimes arrange different workshops or events where advertisers meet affiliates – well-worth visiting! 10. Take Your Time! As we have seen, research is key for an international start-up and takes time. Avoid the typical pitfalls like a program description in the wrong language or a poorly translated one. Make sure you are ready, well-prepared, and in tip top shape when you enter a foreign market for a great and trust-worthy first impression. Good luck and don’t forget: In sports the guest team also wins. Just make sure to study the market, the competition and their strategy – and prepare accordingly! Would you like to know more? Download the whitepaper “Starting an affiliate program abroad” here. Feel free to contact us at affiliate.international@explido.de for any questions regarding international affiliate marketing! Author: Andrea Sarmiento, International affiliate manager