How To Move Your Affiliate Program To a New Network
With the Google Affiliate Network shutting down there has been lots of talk about how to move a program to a new network. There aren’t too many places that give step by step instructions. Each program will have their own certain features and quirks but here is a run down of some things you should be doing right away.
#1 Send an email out to your affiliates letting them know what is going on. Even though you don’t really know all the details yet yourself. Be as honest as you can and let the affiliate know as much as you know. Tell them they will get further updates as you find out more. Communication is the most important thing you can do at this point. Let them know you were as blindsided as they are by GANs decision.
Get as much info as you can. In your email encourage the affiliates to keep up to date with you by following you on social media. Make sure you have a phone and an email address for affiliates so they can reach out to you. You may want to think about some sort of activation bonus and get the affiliates prepared to move.
You also need to identify your top affiliates and send them a personal email. Remember the 90/10 rule. Your top affiliates are busy and need a handholding throughout this process.
#2 Gather a list of your current affiliates. Download it off GAN because they may pull the switch on you at any moment. Do not do this tomorrow. Stop reading this and go do it. Don’t worry about reading the rest of this post, it isn’t going anywhere.
#3 Gather all your sales reports off GAN. They will be going bye bye and you will need them for your end of the year reporting. Your boss is going to care that your first 4 months of reporting are not in your new totals on the new network. It sounds stupid but a lot of managers don’t think about this until it is too late. You should have a folder called migration and put all the stuff you are pulling off gan into it. Also back it up.
#4 Gather your creatives. You may already have these saved somewhere else but if not get them off GAN and put them in the folder. You won’t have a shot after they pull the plug.
#5 Take a deep breath and see what the other networks have to offer. Hopefully you have started some research and you are ahead of this. Sign up as an affiliate to the networks and see how you like the interface. Do yourself a favor and don’t just put your program on a network that is the most expensive. Just because they cost a lot doesn’t mean they are right for you. If your affiliate program is a good program your best affiliates will follow you to the new network. I could go on and on about how to chose an Affiliate Network but that is a post for another day.
Personally we run our programs on the Shareasale network. I would also look at Avantlink, they have some cool tools over there that I like. Don’t join a network that claims they are the biggest. That doesn’t matter to you, what should matter is the quality of the affiliates. We all know Gan sucked at this so why would you put your program back into a situation where you are spending your time policing your affiliates. Your top affiliates will follow you no matter what network you go to unless they were doing something shady and they are not allowed into that network. For which you wouldn’t want them back in your program anyway.
#6 Prepare another email for your affiliates. Reassure them that you are moving asap and you will have every resource possible to help them make the switch. Make the emails personal and about how much better the program will be on the new network.
#7 Chose a new network and get the ball rolling. Load up your creatives (especially your top performing ones). Make sure you have a creative of all sizes represented as your affiliates will let you know if you don’t. This includes text links.
#8 Send an email to your top affiliates letting them know which network you choose asap. You may want to send out a press release announcing which network you are moving to. This will get picked up by all the Affiliate news sites and news will spread very quickly. Then go to as many affiliate forums you find and announce it there.
#9 While you are doing that send another email to your GAN affiliates letting them know where you moved and what bonus you will give them for their trouble of changing links. Usually $5-10 will do it. Take a deep breath and wait for the applications to start coming in.
#10 Get on the phone with your top affiliates and ask them if they need any help switching. Once again they are very busy and the last thing they want to do is swap out links. The sooner you get them up and running the sooner you will be back making money in the affiliate program.
We are encouraging merchants to reach out to Outsourced Program Managers such as Team Loxly and GTO Management for help moving to a new network. Merchants can get both short term help with moving and long term management from firms like these.