Forrester forecasts US affiliate marketing spend will grow to $4.5 billion by 2016. With this in mind the expansion of the US market is setting the trend for businesses, large and small, to expand their affiliate activity. Affiliate Window announced the launch of its US network in June this year, aiming to recreate the success and offer the same value as it does in the UK.
Expansion in such a vast country is no mean feat. There are a number of considerations and strategies in order to effectively make your mark, develop and grow. How to effectively expand into the US affiliate market can be divided into three main categories; know your market, get the basics right and provide value.
Know your market
Every market is at a different ‘stage’ of development when it comes to affiliate marketing. What works well for you in one territory may not be entirely replicable in the US. It’s important to understand brand power in such a vast country, but additionally geography is a key consideration. What might be popular could vary from state to state. Insight of the market is the best way to understand your strengths and develop your presence. Taking a user centric marketing approach means focusing on the consumer and their behaviour. How do they shop online? Where do they do their research? What are their buying decisions? How might they digest media and socially engage online? How can you use these considerations to understand your market and better target your onsite visitors?
Get the basics right
This may sound like a really obvious point but it’s a fundamental one. Expansion will only ever be achievable if the logistics are in place.
Communication is key and although being really basic it’s one that has a number of considerations in the US market. There is such a vast amount of publishers in the US which can be overwhelming for any advertiser to know the most effective communication strategy to use. The same goes for publishers, how do they know which offers are the best to promote, or the most rewarding advertiser partnerships to engage with? It’s important that any features are designed with the individual marketplace in mind.
For the US, Affiliate Window added benefits in State filtering options and detailed publisher / advertiser documentation meaning advertisers and publishers could make educated and profitable decisions about whom to partner with. Tools were built to manage considerations such as timezone differences, making communication easy and effective.
For a network this is imperative in an already well-established and mature market. However the same is true for advertisers and publishers. Value will serve to take you further from the competition, whether you’re an advertiser seeking the most lucrative publisher partners to work with, or a publisher looking for the best sites to send your traffic to. To expand you need to offer value that goes above and beyond.
What makes your product or service better than others? For Affiliate Window taking learnings from our expertise and value added to UK programmes means we were equipped to provide the same impeccable standard of support, technology, in-depth analysis and knowledge of the challenges faced for our US advertisers and publishers. Value for a network takes many forms but dedicated resource and availability is key in the US. It’s imperative to ensure that the US team in place are knowledgeable and engaged in the industry with a keen interest in strategy and development. This enthusiasm and commitment can take many forms, from hosting small local ‘meet up’s’ to a larger scale presence at expos and conferences. Twinning the learnings from other successful markets alongside local knowledgeable staff is key to growth and value.
The US industry can be a daunting marketplace to enter. Focussing on an understanding of your proposition and market, getting the logistics right and understanding your value-add should be key starting points for building an effective US affiliate strategy. The objective for Affiliate Window was clear – provide the best in market service we offer in the UK to all our US clients and publishers.