e-commerce in AsiaWikiCommons

If you're a young international e-commerce start up trying to upsell your unique selling point with global persuasion, then you've likely dealt some cards in the affiliate marketing business.

You don't need a passport to cross continental borders online, but this universal privilege doesn't make penetrating global masses with your Internet start-up's service any easier, and if you're up to date with e-commerce news then Asia is undoubtedly one corner of the globe you want in on.

If you've tried out affiliate marketing in the past unsuccessfully, or if you're a newbie; here's what should have been on your radar and/or what you can do now to bring your brand closer to global.

Don't just affiliate, perform
There seems to be an inherent problem with and a lack of understanding over what affiliate marketing is intended to achieve for your business. The term "affiliate" marketing has received scrutiny in the past, leaving it etched with scam attached to its name. But don't let its history shy you from the benefits you can reap if you implement it correctly.

Understanding this misconception is the first step you need to take before you can trust that performance-marketing. The engine that drives successful affiliate marketing is what your business needs.

Preparing your content correctly is the second step and this involves the quality of copywriting you use, adapting your content to the local differences that exist within a global framework (including hiring locals to work in the correct language), making sure your content caters to a wider audience -- not just a niche -- and always being prepared for change, trial and error.

Marketing your content to actually rank on performance is where your affiliation with the right affiliate networks comes in.

Assuming you've done your share of market research, your goal now is to find and maintain a good working relationship with networks who can connect you with relevant, reliable publishers who can maximise your content's exposure at little to no cost. If you're confident about the quality of networking, how well your content performs in terms of reach then rests upon how well you deal with the aforementioned steps.

Analysing your campaigns -- Numbers don't flow in overnight, just like new customers don't turn into repeat customers until you've given them what they're looking for repeatedly -- see the logic there? Various tools, as rudimentary as Google Analytics or as advanced as search optimisation can get, are available for ongoing and post-hoc analyses you can run to determine how effective your content strategy has been.

Applying this practice from local to global

Although the local team behind the global venture had already proven that they had the technology and innovative strategy to successfully hit the local Dutch couponing scene, paving the road to some neighbouring European and English speaking destinations with relative ease as well; spreading to foreign continents like Asia required a level of cultural intervention that could only be met through patience and a flexible platform.

The language problem -- Because we started with India, followed by Singapore (both countries' working language being English), language variability didn't occur to us as obviously as it did in Europe until we hit the go button for Indonesia in Asia.

The mobile problem -- Similarly, the number of desktop and mobile users is more adjacent in Europe, the US and Australia that going mobile only became more of a concern while entering Asia.

You can get caught up generalising strategies that served well in the past that you become blinded by short-sighted success and fail to see that one size does not fit all. This is where performance marketing insights aid in identifying your pitfalls and successes, so that you can leverage and drive quality content more efficiently through affiliate schemes.

(Joanna Jaoudie is the country manager at Flipit India)