Dominick Keenan Clickbank

107. How to Craft the Perfect Affiliate Strategy

 April 19, 2022

By  Will

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In episode 107 of the Customers Who Click podcast I was joined by Dominick Keenan from ClickBank, one of the biggest affiliate platforms in the world. We’re going to be talking through  what makes a good affiliate program, what mistakes brands make, and also what brands need to be aware of & cautious of when dealing with affiliates.

While it is a performance channel, affiliate marketing isn’t just a platform channel, its a relationship channel. You absolutely need to be building relationships with affiliates that you actually want to work with, and will perform for you, you can’t just signup anyone and let them do their thing.

Dominick is the VP of Sales & Account Management at ClickBank, an affiliate marketplace for entrepreneurs and ecommerce companies. You can connect with him on Linkedin or head over to https://www.clickbank.com/

Key highlights:

01:53 - 05:07 - Just How Big is the Affiliate Opportunity? - Obviously the affiliate space is huge, but the mistake a lot of brands make is to view it as just another performance channel. They sign up a few affiliates and those affiliates will drive business. Actually, whats possibly the bigger opportunity is that you can expand your marketing channels without needing to hire experts in those positions. You don’t need an email marketing expert, a paid social expert, a PPC expert, because you can find incredible people in the affiliate space who will do that for you, and on performance rather than salaries.

We’re not saying its that black & white, and that you shouldn’t hire those people in house, but the opportunity is in recognising that those experts are out there in the affiliate space.

05:26 - 06:11 - How Do Affiliates & Influencers Differ - The big difference is in the objective alignment between the 3rd party and your brand. Affiliates really care about performance. They care about how many sales you make because firstly it generates them commissions, and secondly it keeps the brand happy and so maintains the relationship. Influencers only really care about the latter. They get paid regardless, so while they do want the campaign to be successful and want to maintain that relationship, they don’t really care whether a post makes you 10 or 100 sales.

07:51 - 16:03 - How to Price Your Affiliate Program - You need to have a good sense of your numbers when it comes to pricing affiliates. Understand what your costs of acquisition are, what a good CPA for your business is, and use that to guide the commission you offer. If its costing you £100 to bring a customer in, then its not going to work if you offer affiliates £10. They’ll have an idea of what customers are worth to you and how much you pay anyway, but it’s also unlikely they’ll be able to drive customers at that cost anyway.

You can also just look at the market. Look at affiliate programs, look at cashback websites and you’ll get a feel for what your competitors are offering. If you try to lowball affiliates, they just won’t promote you. Bigger brands get away with the lower commissions because affiliates know customers will buy, so the bulk of transactions makes up for lower commissions.

You have to get this right though, and you need to understand what your payback period is on customers because one of the worst things you can do with your affiliate program is over promise to affiliates and then not be able to pay them because you don’t have the cash.

16:19 - 26:28 - What Makes a Good Affiliate Program? - The big one is to simply commit to it, and put the effort in. A lot of brands just stuck the affiliate program in their footer and assume affiliates will come to them. It doesnt work like that. Its a competitive space, they’ve got hundreds of brands to choose from if they want to.  You’ve got to put the work into building the relationships.

This effort also includes the website funnels that need to be built for affiliates. From Dominick’s experience, single SKU funnels perform far better. So when the affiliate is promoting a single product, can really focus their attentions on it, and drive traffic to it. If customers are left to browse websites, thats when conversion rates start to drop, they become browsers rather than shoppers.

Make it easy for affiliates as well. Don’t put too much red tape in front of them, make assets, brand guidelines, landing pages all available so they can just take them from the program dashboard and get going. If they have to request something every time they want to run a promo, they’ll get bored, frustrated, and move on to easier partners.

26:39 - 31:04 -  Affiliate Mistakes to Avoid - If you’re strong on certain channels, protect them. Don’t let affiliates infringe on that space and remove those who do from your program. If you’re smashing PPC and you let affiliates bid, you’re just increasing costs for both of you. 

Seeing the affiliate manager as more of an admin person. Really, these are account managers, they should own relationships, they should really know the affiliates and treat them as close partners to the business.  You want to be top of mind for these affiliates because if they suddenly have a big opportunity come up, you want to be the first person they call.

31:20 - 37:20 -  What Do Brands Need to be Cautious or Aware of - If you’ve put a lot of work into your brand, make sure you vet every single affiliate you work with. Where do they get their traffic from? What are their most successful promotions? Where are they based? Then be very clear with the rules of your program. What they can and can’t say about your brand, any particular images they can or can’t use (no alcohol in images for example).

Generally the good affiliates will obey the rules, because they know things will get tough for them if they get a reputation for breaking rules.

43:23 - Dominick’s Dream Lunch Guest

Justin Tupper, he built Revolution Golf selling golf lessons on DVD and ended up selling to NBC Golf.

45:45 - Dominick’s Must-Have Ecommerce Tools:

  • Loom for recording 

  • AdSpy & SimilarWeb

  • Facebook ad library

If you’d like to hear more from Dominick, you can connect with him on LinkedIn or head over to https://www.clickbank.com/


Will is a Customer Journey Marketing consultant, specialising in CRO, CRM and Customer Experience. Will has over 7 years experience working across a range of consumer facing businesses and has worked for huge brands such as MyVoucherCodes, Europcar, JackpotJoy, Virgin Games and Virgin Bet.


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