A Guide to Brand Protection when using Affiliate Marketing

All consumers have had their fair share of bad online marketing experiences over the years. From ad fraud to misleading promotions, when you’re trusting various platforms to promote your brand, things can go wrong. With the potential to allow thousands of publishers on to your affiliate marketing program, protecting your brand’s reputation can feel like an uphill battle. Understanding how hard it can be to change the first impressions of consumers, marketers should be doing everything in their power to leave a good one from the off. Thankfully, we’re on hand with some top tips to avoid your affiliates becoming a poor reflection of your brand and its values. 

What happens when affiliate marketing goes wrong?

While you’re awarding your affiliates with a commission to promote your brand, you can’t automatically assume that your investment will somehow pay off. On the most part, affiliate marketing mostly lives up to expectations and works well. However, not all publishers will have your best interest at heart. With an abundance of publishers out there, not all of them are fair, so, on occasion when you give them the option to represent your brand, it may backfire. 

From using intrusive marketing methods that can ruin shoppers experiences to promoting inappropriate content that goes against everything your brand values, affiliates can cause problems at times. 

So, what can you do to protect the reputation of your beloved brand? 

Invest more time into your affiliate strategy

When your affiliate strategy is ticking along nicely, and sales are coming in, it can be easy to allow your program to take a backseat. You really shouldn’t get complacent. Rather than just automatically accepting every affiliate onto your program, you need to invest some extra efforts into due-diligence. Furthermore, once they’re on the program, you should keep an eye on them regularly. Choose wisely – they’re about to become an extension of your brand. 

Offer affiliates plenty of information and resources

If you want your affiliates to represent your brand effectively, you need to set out expectations. Furthermore, you need to offer the resources to fulfil them. First and foremost, you need clearly written terms and conditions. Beyond the T&C’s, offering simple guidelines, acceptable marketing tactics and everything they need to know about your brand and strategy will make life a lot easier. 

Along with giving information, offer plenty of creatives too. The more resources you present your affiliates with, the more likely the content they publish will align with your brand. Don’t leave space for them to take creative freedom; do it for them. 

Communicate with your affiliates

If you’re not communicating effectively with your affiliates, how do you expect them to know what you want from them? From starting out with a simple welcome email to sending out regular communications detailing special offers, new products and any changes to your program, communication is KEY. 

With that said, too much communication may feel like spam. So, to avoid this, aim to reach out when you have essential information that will add value for both your brand and your publishers. For top affiliates, it’s important you communicate directly as well as via your affiliate platform. If you’re able to build relationships with affiliates, life becomes a whole lot easier. 

Less is more

Sure, the more, the merrier applies in some situations. But it’s not always the case when it comes to affiliate marketing. While it can be tempting to accept everyone and anyone onto your program, it’s easy to lose control over who is promoting your brand and how. In most cases, the top 10% of affiliates on your program drive as much as 90% of your sales. Others may become dead weight, so, don’t feel bad about getting rid, it just makes controlling the narrative more manageable. 

While these are some of our top tips, there’s a lot more than can be put into place to protect your brand. Of course, it’s a lot of work to stay in control. If you need a hand, get in touch!