Today, 81% of brands depend on affiliate marketing programs to scale their business. Affiliate marketing is worth more than $12 billion, which is why many firms want to get into affiliate or partner marketing programs to increase their online presence and leads. As a result, brands are eager to improve this aspect of the business. 


If you haven’t already launched your partner marketing program, this article will help you understand how to undertake competitive research before setting one up. 


Undertaking competitive analysis will help you begin on the right path. Even if you have already launched your partner program, you can still use competitor analysis to gauge where you are and how you can enhance it to get the best outcome. 


Why competitive research is important


If you want to use your time, money, and efforts wisely, you should conduct competitor research before taking any further steps. Prior to doing anything else, make competitive research analysis part of your marketing strategy. Some of the benefits include


  • Market comprehension
  • Enhanced partner marketing tactics
  • Increased awareness of gaps in the market
  • Assistance with planning,
  • The development of a successful partner marketing program!


This article will break down all the core elements of competitive research so that you can concentrate on each aspect, such as


  1. Identifying your main competitors
  2. Learning about your competitor’s partner marketing programs
  3. Sales and marketing strategies
  4. Carrying out additional research
  5. Tracking down the social media presence of potential partners
  6. Increasing customer reviews


Your main goal when doing competitor research is to get to grips with the strategies companies are following and identify the principles your competitors are pursuing to succeed with their marketing efforts. 


partner marketing

Photo by UX Indonesia on Unsplash


1. Identify your main competitors


One of the first steps you need to take when planning to launch your partner marketing program is to look for key competitors across your industry. 


The simplest way to do this is to search online using the keywords and phrases you regularly use, the products you sell, etc., in your industry to identify which companies appear on the results page. 


Check the ads to see which company’s promotional material appears on the results page of the search engines you use via these keywords and phrases. Following this, prepare a list of competitors by noting their websites and social media pages. 


This information is crucial for your study. Carefully pick your competitors: all the insights you gather during this study will depend entirely on this selection. A good mix of competitors, large and small, is optimal.


2. Study your competitors’ landing pages


It is the landing page that potential partners first interact with before they sign up for a program. You should, therefore, check how your competitors have designed their landing pages. What kind of wordings and call-to-action phrases have they used to engage with the potential partners? 


You can find the answers to these questions when you check the landing pages that your competitors are using to promote their partner marketing programs


One of the easiest and simplest ways to find your competitors’ landing pages is by typing in the brand’s name and adding the partner or affiliate program into a search engine like Google. 


Here are some elements that you should keep in mind when analyzing the data on a landing page:


  1. Commissioning model
  2. Cookies duration: are they monthly or limited to a certain number of days?
  3. Payment methods on offer 
  4. Terms and conditions.: which actions do they consider to be violations or prohibited sources for traffic?
  5. Guidelines for branding


You can capture a lot of information if you spend time on your competitors’ landing pages. Doing so will give you insight that you can use to brainstorm with your team before developing winning strategies. 


3. Sales and marketing strategies


The next step is to analyze your competitors’ sales and marketing strategies. Learn about the key features of the products or services that they are selling. Are your competitors selling their products or services exclusively online, or are they also selling them through physical stores? 


Understand the touchpoints your competitors use for sales and learn about their distribution channels. Be as comprehensive in your research as possible. The more information you gather, the better it will be when launching your partner marketing program.


Once you have the data and analysis, understand the pros and cons of their strategies and approaches. Try to embrace strategies that will deliver the best results. At the same time, if you think some of your competitors are missing out on certain things, make a note of what they are so you can implement them in your own partner or affiliate marketing.  


4. Do additional research


If you want to learn more about your competitors, you should continue to do your research. Visit your competitors’ websites to check how they present their products and services to their customers. 


partner marketing

Photo by Mapbox on Unsplash


Here are some of the questions you should be asking during this process:


  1. Who are your competitors’ target audiences?
  2. Are they maintaining a knowledge base, a blog, or a resource center on their website?
  3. How often are they publishing blogs, and which topics are they concentrating on in their content?


Use tools such as Ubersuggest and Google Adwords to check what keywords your competitors are ranking for and start building content around those topics. 


Collaborating with bloggers or hiring a content creator to assist you with this segment is also wise. Work with content writers with a strong base in the niche our business is in or you are planning to enter. They will be able to give you better content. 


5. Track down their social media presence


Nowadays, almost every company that wants to make an impact online will have a strong online presence, especially on social media. When undertaking competitor analysis, you need to check the social media channels your counterparts are using. 


Here are some of the things you should pay attention to:

  • The social media channels they are using
  • How many followers they have
  • Engagement rate – check the number of comments and likes they receive on each post they publish
  • Note the social media influencers or publishers that they are using
  • Assess how often they post on each of their social handles, and at what time of the day they publish content 


These are some elements your analysis should capture when examining your competitors’ social media channels.


partner marketing

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash


6. Customer reviews


Before making a purchase, 93% of customers read reviews. Online reviews are therefore crucial nowadays: people rely on them to buy products or services online. You should, therefore, take time to check what your competitors are doing to encourage online reviews. Which are the platforms they use to get reviews from their partners? 


Make a list of all the sites that make product comparisons or allow partners or affiliates to leave their reviews. By spending some time doing this research, you will quickly find out how to increase your online reviews. 


In conclusion


Before beginning your affiliate or partner marketing program, conduct a competitor analysis to understand how your competitors are building their businesses. Even if you have launched your program already, doing this kind of research will help evaluate how you are performing compared to your rivals. 


Competitor analysis will help you frame strategies that can help your partner program succeed and generate revenue. 


It will also help you frame strategies that can help your partner program succeed and generate revenue for the company.