Besides affiliate links, publishers can get access to tracking reports (clicks, sales, impressions), additional promotional materials (banners, copy, email templates) inside the retailer’s affiliate platform. These platforms also handle commission payments so publishers can expect to be paid around the same time each month, usually by Paypal or direct deposit.
Once you’ve recruited your affiliates, you’ll want to keep tabs on them and the performance of your program. Regular communication is essential to establishing a strong affiliate program, and this can happen via email, as that’s the preferred method of communication for most affiliate marketers, per the AffStat 2016 Affiliate Marketing Benchmark Report.
Direct sales affiliate programs can be set up to your precise business needs and specifications. You decide the commission amount, payment structure, and what the rules are. Most advertisers offer their affiliates a 30 or 45-day window after the initial visit in which they’ll receive credit for a sale. Not everyone purchases instantly and many people take time to think it over before returning a few days later. If a visitor purchases within this time-frame then it’s only fair that the affiliate receives commission.
Always disclose your affiliate relationship. Most visitors will probably understand that graphic ads will lead to your getting paid, but if you write a review or use an in-text link as a recommendation, you want your readers to know that may lead to compensation as well. This ensures you retain transparency and trust with your readers, but also, it's required by the FTC's endorsement rules.
A Direct Message on Instagram is only slightly better. It can get lost in the mix of other DMs, and it’s often a crap shoot as to whether they will even read it since if they don’t follow you on Instagram, your DM will show up as a “message request” in their inbox. These are often just ignored. However, Influencers on the micro-level are more likely to check these DMs so for those with smaller followings, it’s worth a shot.
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As Target is the second-largest general retailer in the United States, their affiliate program is primarily for American bloggers or publishers who can route visitors to relevant products. Overall, the program works much like Amazon’s does in that publishers (bloggers) get a small commission on sales, but Target’s gigantic product base (over one million items) and high brand recognition make their affiliate program a great option for influencers.