Five vital tips for expanding your affiliate program globally

Expanding your affiliate program internationally is an exciting prospect. You may already have a successful program in the UK, with strong publisher relationships and a recognised brand amongst your users – but venturing into new markets can be like reaching out into the unknown. How can you ensure that the time and money you invest into your international affiliate programs will result in the growth that you want?

Here are our top five tips on expanding your affiliate program into new markets.

Boost your brand
If you already have a strong affiliate program in the UK, it is likely that you have already got a reasonably well-known brand that users can feel comfortable purchasing from. This may not necessarily be the case in your new markets, and your potential customers will still be influenced by brand recognition, regardless of price or perceived quality. If you don’t already have a presence in these countries then you will need to create one in order to ensure success, both within affiliate and through other channels. Consider investing in some above-the-line advertising in order to boost your brand to your target audience, as this will greatly improve their confidence when deciding whether to purchase your products. If budgets don’t stretch that far, don’t worry. By partnering with the key affiliates in each market, and using deals and commission rates strategically, local users will become familiar with your brand in time.

Think locally
It sounds simple, but a huge number of merchants can only offer an English language website and English creative for their international affiliate programs. Providing local language banners, a local language website, and allowing users to purchase in their local currency will ensure users don’t feel that they are dealing with a ‘foreign’ company, and will give them the confidence to purchase from you, rather than taking their business elsewhere.
The local collateral is perhaps one of the most important factors to consider. Without it your traffic, conversion rates and ABVs will suffer greatly, which will cause discontent amongst publishers as well as consumers. Providing local assets is absolutely essential if your new programs are to reach their full potential.

Watch out for postage
If your business provides physical goods to your customers, you will need to consider the logistics. If you already have a presence in your new markets then it is likely that this will be dealt with by local offices, however if you currently only operate from the UK then you need to consider the most efficient and cost effective way of reaching your new customers. You may decide to ship all goods from the UK, however you should ensure that this is made clear to your customers when ordering. They need to be aware how long their goods will take to reach them, and whether it is costing them any extra for delivery.

Be consistent
The way you run your program will naturally vary by market, as you will need to account for the differences in the publisher landscape and user trends. Nonetheless, it is important to maintain some level of consistency across all markets. Not only will aligning communications and promotion dates internationally make it simpler for you to manage, but it will make your program more attractive to top international partners who will have the power to promote your brand across borders, and can drive large volumes of revenue very effectively.

Leverage your network
You will need a team with the language and industry skills to maintain relationships with top affiliates and to spearhead the recruitment of new ones. Unless you have this resource available to you in-house, using a network may well be the best option.  Consider the markets you are targeting and ensure you choose a network with a strong cross-border presence in those countries – one that can offer local expertise combined with an international reach. You need to ensure that new publishers in each market will be able to access your program quickly and easily, and that you are able to maintain open lines of communication with all of your affiliates with the help of your network.

Vicky Bruce

I manage the portfolio of Thomas Cook brands, both in the UK and internationally. It’s my responsibility to drive growth within the UK programs through recruitment and strategic partnerships, as well as managing the local European programs from an international level to ensure the whole account is run smoothly and efficiently.

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