Launching an affiliate program in an international market is a huge commercial opportunity, but it doesn’t come without challenges.

If you are considering expanding your affiliate program overseas, take a look at our seven quick tips to set you on the right tracks!

1. First things first: choose the right affiliate network to partner with. Your network should be able to give valuable insight when it comes to local opportunities. To give your program the best head start, aim to work with a network which has operations in the countries you wish to enter. They will know the market and should be best placed to turn their knowledge of each market’s unique characteristics and trends into a strategy that works for your brand.

2. Be mindful of cultural differences. While you may have a successful UK affiliate program, be careful not to fall under the illusion that you can replicate the campaign in an international market with the same success. It pays to take the time to get familiar with the affiliate landscape in different cultures.

For instance, the US affiliate market is wider and more established than the likes of the UK and typically you might expect to set aside a larger budget for good exposure. Consumer behaviour varies widely from country to country, with a greater emphasis given to coupons and cash-back in the US compared to elsewhere. In other markets, such as Australia, affiliate marketing is still in its infancy. While such countries might have some catching up to do, this could offer a great opportunity to establish your brand in these untapped markets as they grow.

3. Keep on top of local opportunities. With a little bit of research you can uncover local opportunities you may not have thought about – your network should be able to help out with this. Make a note in your diary of the key calendar dates in the countries in which you operate to make sure your program capitalises on hot shopping dates and events including the likes of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

4. Brand awareness/brand presence. The chances are that your brand may not have the same level of presence that it does back home. For this reason it is all the more important that your affiliate program presents your brand to new audiences in the right way and establishes your position in this new market. Ensure that you build strong working relationships with affiliates from a standing start and get them on board as ambassadors for the brand.

5. Being aware of seasonality. Can you change how your website appears to customers depending on their location? Bear in mind that while we might be wrapping up for Winter here in the UK, lucky Australians are getting ready to make the most of their summer sun. That said, make sure your website is flexible for different customers and targets them with content and products that are relevant to their needs. After all chunky knits and scarves promoted in December aren’t going to be a big seller for Australians who are after a bikini to hit the beach in!

6. Overcome the language barrier. This might seem like an obvious one, but making sure that your website is translated into the appropriate languages is a quick win when it comes to increasing conversion rates. Delivering your campaign in the local language will not only ensure that customers are engaged but it means affiliates are more inclined to join your program too. Remember to translate all pages of your website and don’t neglect your customer service and ‘About Us’ pages – they are key for those all-important first impressions when introducing your brand to a new market.

7. Currency and shipping. Aim to remove any potential barriers which will deter international customers. Offer your affiliate campaign in the local currency and make shipping costs transparent, or better yet, where possible try to run free shipping offers.

For a bit of further reading on international affiliate campaigns, we’d recommend the following articles:

http://www.swan-e.co.uk/running-international-affiliate-program/

https://econsultancy.com/blog/7183-affiliate-programs-five-worst-practices-to-avoid#i.eykvtcg93fbapm

http://performancein.com/news/2013/09/30/what-every-advertiser-should-know-about-international-affiliate-marketing/

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/11/21/performance-marketing-series-tips-managing-international-affiliate-relations