How to Engage Your Affiliate Base

Recruiting affiliates is one of the most important aspects of program management, but what comes after the recruitment?  The next step is to effectively engage and interact with your affiliates to get the most out of what should be a mutually beneficial relationship.  At the forefront of this engagement is working with your affiliates on an individual level.  Do this and you’ll be ahead of the curve for most affiliate programs.  With that said, there are times when communicating with affiliates on a group level can be both efficient and effective.  Below we’ll dive into some of the affiliate management practices this we use within our agency.
Affiliate EngagementCommissions
The quality and quantity of traffic from your affiliates varies widely so a one size fits all approach to commissions usually doesn’t make sense.  Some affiliates target current customers and influence additional purchases, others target new customers and some affiliates bring you customers that have a high life-time value.  Evaluate the quality of your affiliates’ traffic and reward them accordingly.  We’ve managed campaigns where increasing the commission for an affiliate generating a high customer acquisition level yielded great results.  In other programs an affiliate’s traffic had low value but instead of expiring them we reduced the commission to be in line with the traffic quality.   Other affiliates prefer an increased customer offer (coupon, deal, etc.) and reduced commission because conversion rates will rise and hence their overall earnings.  The overarching theme is that all affiliates are not equal so adjust commissions where it makes sense.

Be Creative
Creative campaigns should be used within your affiliate program to mix things up and test the program for new sources of traffic.  If you have a services based offering try running a free trial program attract new customers.  Running a free trial program will open your program up to new sources of affiliates that only run these types of offering.  If you have a product, contact bloggers and give them a product in exchange for a positive review and link.  Run a one-day flash sale where you sell product at cost in order to bring in new customers that you can re-sell to in the future.   Introduce an affiliate bonus contest where the affiliate with the greatest percentage increase in sales wins a prize or money.  Being creative with your program will attractive new affiliates and get them exciting about working with your marketing program.

Communicate
Communicating with your affiliates is extremely important but you need to do it correctly.  Sending the same monthly newsletter over and over again won’t generate responses and results.  Sending a monthly newsletter is good but make sure to add in new content.  Put something about your newest line of products, a coupon that can only be found in the newsletter, tips and tricks to help them market, etc.  Don’t be afraid to call up your affiliates.  Phone calls will generate a two-way conversation where you and the affiliate can come up with ideas, build your relationship and genuinely work together as partners.  When you get an affiliate on the phone, ask them what would make them promote your program.  This bit of information is priceless because so many times affiliates never become active in a program the affiliate manager is left wondering what went wrong.  This answer will tell you what you need to adjust or if your program is hitting the mark.  Don’t always feel compelled to send out a flashy, image heavy HTML newsletter each time you communicate electronically.  Many affiliates appreciate a short and simple text based message that gets right to the point.  Remember that affiliates receive hundreds if not thousands of communications each day and don’t have time to dig for the hidden gem of information in your message.  The main point is to communicate with your affiliates regularly but do it with a set goal in mind that is not just checking a task off your to-do list.  Approach each communication as if you were the affiliate recipient and ask yourself “would I want to read this”.  It’s a simple question but can drastically change the way you approach your communications.

These are just a few ways in which you can close the gap between recruitment, engagement, activity and ultimately results with your affiliate base.  Engaging your affiliates will pay the biggest dividends for your program and generate long-term results.  It’s an activity that should take place on a daily basis.  Feel free to contact our marketing team for more ideas on how to engage affiliates to increase your affiliate program’s growth and sales.

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