While affiliate marketing is often praised as a win-win proposition for businesses and marketers, it is anything but passive revenue generation channel. To truly harvest its potential, you need to activate your affiliates effectively – and keep them engaged. So, whether it’s your first time activating affiliates, or you're looking for ways to reactivate existing ones, this article’s got you covered.
Here’s how you set up your affiliate program to keep partners engaged from the get-go!
Best Practices for Affiliate Activation
To set up the best affiliate activation plan, it helps to understand how the responsibilities are divided and what is expected from everyone involved. Let’s start with that.
The Company's Responsibilities
1. Offer a high-quality product or service
Your company must offer a high-quality product or service. Remember, your affiliates are essentially endorsing what you're selling. Their promotional efforts are important, but they can’t perform miracles. If the product or service fails to deliver, it reflects poorly on your company and the affiliates promoting it. Ensure that products are up to date, provide real value to users, and make it known that you take feedback seriously.
2. Set up an attractive affiliate program
There are plenty of affiliate programs out there. Make sure you have a clear answer on why someone should pick yours over the others. This will also help you draw in quality affiliates.
A well-structured affiliate program clearly outlines the commission structure, payment methods, and tracking mechanisms. Also, make sure you choose the best affiliate software for easy tracking on both ends to avoid confusion and conflict.
3. Provide resources and support
To make sure your affiliate marketers can win the battle, equip them with the necessary tools, resources, and support to promote your products or services effectively.
This might include promotional materials, training, and regular updates. Affiliates also value having a point of contact for any questions or issues they might face. Make sure you're easy to reach and can respond quickly.
If you're looking for ideas on how to motivate affiliate partners, consider creating a resource portal. Here, affiliates can easily download promotional materials like banners, product images, and copy for social media posts. You could also host webinars to train your affiliates on effective promotional strategies.
3. Foster a positive relationship with affiliates
Affiliate activation isn't a one-time thing. Building and maintaining a positive relationship with your affiliates should be part of your ongoing strategy. Treat them as partners, not just another marketing channel. This includes transparent communication, prompt payments, and recognition for their efforts.
Organize regular check-ins or video calls with your affiliates to address their concerns and discuss strategies. But also create a community and celebrate your affiliates.
The Affiliate’s Responsibilities
1. Effective marketing
Affiliates should know what they’re doing when it comes to marketing strategies. This may include content marketing, SEO, social media promotion, email marketing, or any other approach suitable for their audience and platform.
2, Honesty and transparency
Affiliates should disclose their relationship with your company to their audience. This includes being upfront about earning a commission for any purchases made through their affiliate links. But it goes beyond that: they should also be honest about your product, focusing on real benefits and not making any false claims. In the end, people who buy the product will always learn the truth, so best be upfront about it.
3. Staying up-to-date
The affiliate marketing world is dynamic. Therefore, affiliates must keep up-to-date with changes to their affiliate program, the product line, marketing trends, and the needs of their audience. As a company, you should be helping them with this through educational content, newsletters, webinars, and other forms of support.
4. Tracking and optimizing performance
Affiliates should monitor their performance – not just to learn how much money they’ll be getting. They need to look into metrics like clicks, conversions, and overall sales. Based on these insights, they can optimize their promotional strategies to improve their results.
Need to Re-Engage Existing Affiliates?
Do you have a long list of affiliates that you’ve fallen out of touch with? Perhaps you’ve noticed they’re not promoting your products anymore? First of all: that's completely normal.
But don't go running after new affiliates just yet. Re-energizing inactive affiliates is as crucial – but perhaps easier – as recruiting new ones. Here are some strategies:
1. Reach out and reconnect
The first step towards re-engaging inactive affiliates is to reconnect, and find out why they’ve become less active. This could be through a personalized email where you ask about their experiences, the challenges they're facing, and any support they might need from you.
Show genuine interest in their affiliate journey and offer support, but keep a human-focused approach: they’re people who can have a lot going on in their lives, not marketing machines.
2. Review and revamp your affiliate program
If the feedback shows that your affiliate program just isn't as attractive anymore, it's time for a makeover. Again, start by consulting your affiliates and conducting a thorough review to identify any areas of improvement. This could involve increasing commission rates, improving support, or offering more promotional materials. Also, look at what competitors are offering to identify opportunities to step up your game.
3. Offer extra incentives and challenges
Incentives and challenges can reignite the passion of inactive affiliates. It could be a limited-time increase in commission rates, a bonus for reaching a certain sales target, or a competition among affiliates. You can keep it simple and just stick with something like seasonal events or holidays. For example, you can run a "Spring Sales Challenge" where you offer an additional 10% commission for a month or a bonus for affiliates who achieve a specific sales target within a certain period.
4. Provide additional training and support
Inactive affiliates may simply be struggling with promoting your products effectively. You could host a webinar or create a series of instructional videos on effective marketing strategies, covering topics like SEO, content marketing, email marketing, or social media promotion. You can even ask successful affiliates to show them how they do it, to make it more ‘real’ and build a sense of community.
Affiliate Activation Kit
Now that we've set the stage, let's walk through what successful affiliate marketing activation can look like.
Step 1: Onboard your affiliates with all the essential information
When you onboard your affiliates, provide them with an all-inclusive guide about your program. Include details about your company, the products or services they’ll be promoting, the commission structure, and your expectations from them.
Step 2: Schedule a welcome call or webinar
A welcome email is great, but a call is better. This personal interaction allows you to outline your expectations, clarify any doubts, and start building a relationship.
A first call, whether it's one-to-one or in groups, helps in establishing a personal connection with your affiliates. You can use this as an opportunity to understand their needs and discuss effective strategies. You might even walk away with some fresh ideas or new insights.
During the call, walk them through the affiliate dashboard, show some best examples and let them know how to reach out to you. A little goes a long way.
Step 3: Provide your affiliates with promotional materials
Your affiliates likely aren't (all) great designers, and you want to stay on brand wherever your products go. Make it easy for your affiliates to start promoting your products/services in a way that truly represents your style. Provide them with a variety of promotional materials like banners, product images, and pre-written emails.
Step 4: Regularly update your affiliates with helpful information
Keep your affiliates in the loop with regular updates about anything related to your affiliate program. To make this a habit, you can send out a monthly newsletter. This could contain information about new product updates, seasonal promotions and ideas for campaigns, updates to your affiliate program, and success stories from top-performing affiliates. It doesn't always have to be long either: just make sure you share what really matters.
Step 5: Nothing motivates like appreciation!
This last step is as important as the first. Everyone likes to feel appreciated.
Regularly acknowledge the work your affiliates do, celebrate their achievements, and provide incentives for them to continue working hard.
You could run a quarterly "Affiliate of the Quarter" program where you spotlight an affiliate who has performed exceptionally well. Share their story in your newsletter, offer a bonus commission for the next quarter, and send them a certificate or a trophy.
You could also create an affiliate's "Hall of Fame" in an online community, or highlight them on your social media.
Or you can revisit your commission structure and offer high performers a slightly higher commission rate once they achieve a certain number of sales.
Get Ready to Activate Your Affiliates
The right approach to activating your affiliates can completely transform your success.
It’s all about having that solid foundation from the first interaction—and Rewardful can help you with that. Our SaaS affiliate management software is loved by both businesses and affiliate partners; try it out. See what our packages include, and how we can help you.