Choosing your Affiliate Marketing: In-house or Agency?

If you already manage an Affiliate Partner Program, you’ll know how difficult it can be to keep up with the curve. Having an in-house resource is invaluable, but working with an agency can take your Affiliate Partner Program to the next level. Here’s everything you need to know before bringing an agency into the fold.

Staying up-to-date

You’d be surprised at how much the affiliate channel has grown in recent years (and even months). Keeping up to date with regulations surrounding influencer marketing, tools to monitor ROI and deciphering commission structures for publishers is no mean feat.

In a world where new social networks and technologies are being invented daily, it’s difficult for businesses to know what they should be getting involved in, and what is simply a waste of time.

These decisions are unique to each business, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to embracing new platforms. An affiliate marketing agency can help determine how digital changes may affect your business and how to make the most of industry shifts.

Keeping up with competitors is another lacklustre task. Although very valuable, it can also be time-consuming – not ideal when your typical in-house marketer is already a human Swiss Army knife.

Any affiliate consultant worth their salt will conduct ongoing competitive research, let you know when you’re lagging behind, and make recommendations on what you should do to keep ahead of the pack.

Building publisher relations

Creating successful partnerships is a key ingredient in building an effective campaign. However, the time and money spent on generating this may not be viable for all businesses.

The Silverbean affiliate team work with a wide variety of publishers, many of whom can cross over into working very well with different industries and clients. We have strong relationships with the top players, including voucher code and cashback sites, but also value our work with niche content affiliates and bloggers.

We work with some very specialist publishers, and having these connections allows us to find out first about the best ‘blink and you miss it’ opportunities. We’ll introduce you to key publishers, so you can benefit from these relationships too.

Changes to the marketplace have meant increased importance placed upon a varied affiliate mix. Brands should never be too reliant on one type of publisher or partner.

For example, when we first started working with ATG Tickets, the program was made up of nearly 50% voucher code and discount partners. The ticketing retailer was failing to reach new customers as well as those higher up in the sales funnel. Through careful assessment of existing partners, and acquisition of new publishers, we were able to reduce the program’s voucher code contribution from 43% to 9% – all while maintaining projected growth.

Content partners could be anything from global news networks to social media influencers. We know how to navigate this minefield and form long-lasting, relevant partnerships that will benefit your brand in the long term – all within your budget.

We’ve secured unique collaborations for our clients with big-name bloggers such as In the Frow, Glam & Glitter, and Lydia Millen Gordon. Our little black book is bursting with names of powerful and authoritative influencers already working with luxury retailers all over the world.

Additionally, our unique influencer network tool means that we have access to 3.5 million influencers across the world, with our bespoke dashboards providing detailed data on their impact and reach. This gives us the ability to work with the right influencers for your brand, ensuring they are reaching the right audiences and having the right impact on your business objectives.

Maximising budget

Businesses are injecting more and more money into their affiliate programs. In 2017, increased affiliate marketing spend helped generate 8.9 billion in sales. This 9.2 per cent growth is estimated to have created £16 return on every £1 invested. So, it’s not just about spending more but also spending smart.

Your agency is there to help you make the most of your budget. They’ll make sure you’re getting the very best ROI from your affiliate network.

For example, your consultant will check that your commission structure is set up so as to benefit you in the best way possible. They’ll also make sure generic and seasonal banners are kept up to date for affiliate use, promotions and deals are made visible on the network, and sales validations and queries are handled correctly and efficiently. It’s these small details that make all the difference in the long run.

Previously, by auditing affiliate programs and ensuring they are set up correctly on the right network for the client, we have been able to make changes without compromising revenue, thus greatly improving ROI. Want to know more? Find out how we increased ATG Tickets’ revenue, all while carrying out a strategic shift in the affiliate channel.

Ensuring compliance

It’s not always easy to maintain best practice. This isn’t because brands are purposefully trying to dodge the rulebook, but because there are simply so many regulations to keep up with and they’re changing all the time. Affiliate agencies have the time and knowledge necessary to ensure compliance. We’re always on the lookout for your best interests, so you can save money and increase revenue at the same time.

When bringing a new client on board, we’ll carry out a comprehensive audit. That’ll help us to spot any publishers that shouldn’t be on there, whether they’re not fitting with your brand or not maintaining industry standards.We never miss a beat. From the ASA’s strict guidelines for influencers disclaiming gifts and sponsorships to GDPR, we’re up-to-date with everything you need to know to keep campaigns compliant.

Future-proofing your affiliate program

We’ve been in this game a long time, nearly 20 years. So, we’ve ridden every wave of change the affiliates market has seen. For that reason, we’re not ones to sit still. As an in-house marketer, it’s not always easy to keep up with what’s going on in every niche of your industry. New networks and platforms might pass you by, while a sudden algorithm change could throw your entire strategy out the window.

That’s where your agency comes in. We’ve got our eyes on the ball and we know what’s coming. Not only are we always watching for any changes that will affect your program, but we’re also agile and keen to try anything new that pops up in the market.

That’s how we ended up launching amazing influencer campaigns for HelloFresh, Charlotte Tilbury and many more world-famous retail brands.

Don’t worry, you won’t lose control of your program by bringing in an agency. You will be assigned a key point of contact at Silverbean, who will act as a spokesperson for our team of expert consultants.

We’ll even train you and your staff to ensure you’re able to properly execute the agreed strategies. Educating and up-skilling the team has obvious value, and it also ensures that both Silverbean and your brand are able to plan more ambitious, exciting strategies as knowledge and expectations grow simultaneously.

Lastly, your consultant will work in line with your budget, saving you money where possible, tailoring the consultancy package to suit your needs and financial resources.

Now you know what you’re missing out on, what are you waiting for? Give us a bell and we’ll take your affiliate program to the next level in no time.

Please have an informal chat with one of our friendly team.

We always start with an informal chat. If you like what you hear from us then we can conduct a free no obligation assessment of your current affiliate & partner marketing and take it from there.

Schedule an informal call with one of our team to see how we can help you