Q: I am the marketing manager for a software company and I am exploring ways affiliate marketing can help our business. I wondered if you could point me in the direction to see if affiliate marketing would be right for us?
A: I guess the easiest thing would be to take a look at your competitors and see if they have affiliate programs.
If so, dig around at the nuts and bolts of how they’re operating… the affiliate networks or software they’re using, the commission rate they’re paying out, type of affiliate program (revenue share, cpc, per lead), EPC, etc.
The ideal approach would be to create a real affiliate site yourself and apply to the affiliate programs of your competitors.
By doing this you can get an insider view on how they are running the affiliate program. Run the offers and get a sense for their conversion rates, review all of their correspondence, and creative, as well as checking out any public stats available to affiliates for the performance of links.
Also, try asking some questions as an affiliate to see how responsive they are to you.
I’d say it’s a positive indicator for that company if they have a dedicated person or team that gets back to you quick.
If your competitors have well staffed, thriving affiliate programs, it is a sign that you ought to launch one yourself.