3 lessons from Empire Today to create an effective affiliate marketing program

By Christa AvampatoJanuary 22, 2015

If you watch even a modicum of network television, the jingle “800 588 2300 Empire” along with the animation of an Empire Today workman laying flooring is a familiar refrain. It’s one of the most successful interior design businesses in the US with over one million satisfied customers who have helped it achieve a level of expertise unmatched by its competitors. Flooring is known as a difficult and messy process; with Empire Today, customers have myriad flooring options with installation that’s efficient and tidy at an affordable price point.

In addition to direct advertising, referral programs and expert recommendations such as Angie’s List, Empire Today also employs a robust affiliate marketing program as part of its lead generation efforts. If the establishment of an affiliate program feels like a fit for your brand or if your current affiliate program needs a makeover, here are three key points to consider:

Choose a specific product or service for your affiliate program

While your brand may offer a number of products and services, it’s best to choose a narrow subset for your affiliate program. Because you’ll be paying each successful lead that results in a sale, you may choose the product or service that generates the most profit. Conversely, you may also choose your newest product or service to use affiliate marketing in order to raise public awareness of your new offering. Narrowing the set of products or services in your affiliate program will make it easier to track metrics, drive engagement among your affiliates and bring clarity and focus to the program.

Reach out to your dream list of affiliates

Don’t sit back and expect affiliates to find and contact you. Proactively make a wish list of affiliates you want in your program. Pitch the program directly to them as you would pitch your products and services to direct sales leads and explain why the program would be beneficial to their businesses. To make your affiliate program a successful sales tool, you need to sell it into the right sites that have the right visitors (and plenty of them!) who will connect with your brand. For example, if you’re selling flooring like Empire Today, you would look at remodeling or interior design websites that have a high volume of traffic and feature products and services with similar quality and price points as the products your company offers.

Let the information and collateral flow

Once you have affiliates in your program, regularly touch base with them to see how they’re feeling about the program and find out what they need to improve their results. They are a rich source of information for your brand because they have a direct line to your end customer. That information is low-hanging fruit that you can capture through effective communication with your affiliates. Maybe your affiliates need better creative from you or maybe the offering through the affiliate program needs to be tweaked. Showing your affiliates that you care as much about their success as your own and that you’re willing to go the extra mile for them will motivate them to be your brand champions.

If you’re interested in learning more about effective affiliate marketing strategies and pitfalls to avoid, LeadsCon Las Vegas 2015 is offering a panel entitled “The New Elephant in the Room: Affiliate Call Fraud” from 3:40 p.m. — 4:20 p.m. in Grand Ballroom BC at The Mirage Hotel & Casino. Dan Altman, marketing manager at Empire Today, will be one of the panelists.

Click here to register for LeadsCon Las Vegas 2015.

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