Do you need actionable tactics to set your financial services affiliate or partnership program apart from your competition? I’ve got you covered. In my role, I am constantly exposed to new trends and research studies around this topic, and I’ve assembled a list of tips to help you increase conversions and improve your overall program efficiency.
These tips are specially tailored for financial services providers that leverage affiliate and partner marketing to deliver on a host of different business objectives. Get quick wins and kickstart your 2020 growth with the following tips:
1) Show Them the Power of the Journey
Educate your CMO and CFO about partnership and affiliate. Many senior executives have misconceptions about affiliate and partnership that need to be dispelled if the channel is to receive the investment it warrants. If you are met with pushback, there’s now great industry data that show partnership is highly incremental and that, with the right tech and leaders, can meet the demanding needs of financial services companies.
Success in partnership and affiliate require a combination of expert channel knowledge and outstanding relationship-building skills. Specialty skills are particularly relevant in financial services programs because the various regulations regarding what you can and cannot say are made more complex with partnerships.
2) Focus on Clear Objectives and the Entire Buyer Journey
Powerful programs begin with clear objectives and goals. Clearly identify and share the KPIs for your program with your team and your partners. Your KPIs inform the right benchmarks for your business and its many sales channels, whether offline or digital.
Once you have clear goals, think about the entire customer experience. Active management of programs is essential to achieving outstanding results from partnerships. In our experience, content marketing generates 2-4 times as many leads as traditional marketing, and it helps put forth the reasons to try that can be so critical to get financial services seekers “off the fence.” Content publishers are particularly important in financial services marketing because so many people are actively searching for information on how to choose such products. For example, partnership automation tech provider Partnerize reports that 35-40 percent of financial services partner spend on its platform is going to content partners in the last several quarters. https://partnerize.com/
3) Identify Strategic New Partners
Doing a free search audit to see top publishers that rank well for relevant financial services is a great way to quickly find new partners. Top niche publishers can help drive lots of traffic to your site, so they are a great place to start when creating a program growth plan.
Further, influencers have become a hot tactic for marketers in every industry. Leverage micro-influencers that correlate to your service offerings, and whose followers mirror your target audience. Quality trumps quantity of followers when it comes to financial services companies choosing influencers.
4) Test. Optimize. Test Some More.
It is amazing how specific creative and messaging characteristics can affect conversion rates. In our experience, small changes in creative and messaging have even greater impact on clicks and conversion in financial services than in other business sectors. Set aside a small portion of your program to try new executions and messages to see if you can beat your current best performers. Run. Test. Adjust.
Then, what about partner experimentation. Once you know which partners are your biggest business drivers, ensure you maximize their individual value to your business. The single best way is to have direct, personal relationships with your “star” partners. Time invested here helps you take advantage of new opportunities and keep top position. Make sure as well that you explore new relationships with similar partners.
5) Pay Fair and Pay On-Time
You win every time your partners win. When your best partners are earning a great deal of money, realize that their commission is a by-product of your revenue. Sounds simple, but you would be amazed at how many financial services companies see big checks going to partners and start dreaming up ways to cut those fees.
If, say, 6 percent commission made sense when you fielded the program, you shouldn’t punish a great partner that is generating revenue because you think that their monthly commissions “look too high.” Remember, if they are making loads, you’re making even more!
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