Q: We have been running an in-house affiliate program for about six months now. We are struggling to sign-up good affiliates and are considering joining a network for better exposure. Do you think this is the way forward and which network would you recommend for a European based merchant?
A: There are many issues to consider when deciding whether to stay indie or go with a network. Two things to consider are your resources and relationships.
Do you have a dedicated affiliate manager or team to recruit, activate and retain the affiliates? No matter what you do in the future, you will need to proactively recruit targeted affiliates – the super affiliates won’t join organically in most cases.
Assuming you have one or more people focused on the affiliate program, your affiliate management will best serve you if they have existing relationships with affiliates they can tap for your company.
Also, your brand or lack thereof will play a big role in the ability to attract affiliates.
Networks can deliver volumes of affiliates, and the exposure will certainly aid the growth of your affiliate program.
As far as which network to choose, I am not attuned to the European market as well as some others. AMWSO.com has a list of European Affiliate Networks.
Lastly, I’d encourage you to participate in the Affiliates4U affiliate marketing forum to keep up on issues in the European affiliate market.