Affiliate marketing is a rapidly growing industry, especially as technology, internet, and online checkout and purchasing becomes increasingly more convenient and in-demand.
In fact, over 80% of brands reportedly make use of affiliate marketing programs, especially as a way to engage their current customers.
You probably know a few things since you’ve first ventured into affiliate marketing – but one of the most important things you’ll need to invest in? Keeping current affiliates highly engaged.
Engaged and nurtured affiliates are more likely to start brand conversations or promote their affiliate products. And because nearly half of surveyed affiliate marketers (42.17%) reportedly only prefer to market between 1-10 products, you need to make sure you’re an affiliate vendor people will love to be involved with.
How can you nurture successful affiliates to help them generate more clicks and sales? Follow this guide below.
Pre-Checks for Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy
Before we jump into the best practices that will help you engage and nurture your affiliates, be sure to remember these important things first.
Have a dedicated landing page to encourage affiliate sign-ups
You’ll want to put up a dedicated landing page on your site that highlights the main benefits of your affiliate program. This page not only serves as a marketing channel for you to capture more interested affiliates, but it’s also a way for you to give a great first impression to prospects.
Here’s an example of an effective affiliate sign-up page by hosting company Cloudways. According to third-party customer reviews, the company is known to successfully attract new affiliates with its unique affiliate setup – in a very crowded space, they allow affiliates to decide between two different promotion tiers, depending on their goals and publishing model.
Having a well-thought-out affiliate program is the number one prerequisite you should tick off. Once you’ve designed a program that’s highly enticing, then you can start reeling in and nurturing those affiliates for your brand.
Make it easy for interested affiliates to apply
Another thing you should ensure is that it’s easy for interested affiliates to send in an application to your program. Decide whether you want an application process that you and your team review, or if you’ll allow just anyone to sign up and get started right away.
To streamline the process, keep these tips in mind:
- Create sign-up forms that are easy to use. If your affiliate program lets anybody sign up, be sure to allow email verification to avoid spam accounts.
- If you review affiliate applications before accepting them, communicate the standard time it will take to hear back from you.
- Make affiliate sign-in pages easy to access. Include links in your affiliate program page, and optimize these pages for SEO.
Optimize for mobile
More than 50% of affiliate-referred traffic was reported to have come from mobile devices, so make sure every touchpoint in your affiliate marketing program can be viewed and engaged with via mobile.
Read this blog post to see more tips to help you optimize for mobile affiliate marketing.
Keep track of affiliate payouts
Have a system in place to help you manage your affiliate payouts and then reflect them in your business’ accounting processes.
You may opt to use robust affiliate marketing management software to help you keep track of affiliate-related expenses.
Sync these up to cloud accounting software like Freshbooks in order to see your affiliate expenses and earnings reflected right away.
11 Best Practices to Engage and Nurture Successful Affiliates
Now you’re ready to start engaging your affiliates and help them succeed. Follow these best practices to help you get started.
Keep an affiliate email list
First and foremost, you’ll want to keep affiliates in a separate email list. This is where you can centralize your communication with them, making it easier to get in touch or send announcements.
This step can be as easy as creating a new customer segmentation rule in your email marketing provider that’s just for your affiliates.
Create a dedicated email that your team can handle for all affiliate success-related operations as well. This not only declutters your other main email accounts but also shows affiliates that there’s a dedicated team that can help them if they have any questions or concerns.
Remember to only send the people in this email list newsletters and emails related to your affiliate program. Unless they signed up for your other newsletters, then they may not want to hear from you about other things.
Be fluid with commission prices
If you want to keep affiliates engaged with your program for the long haul, you may benefit from being flexible in your commissions or tiers.
One example of this is by allowing top-referring affiliates to earn more if they’re able to refer more sales in a matter of a few weeks. Say any affiliate who can refer 4 sales for every month will be able to enjoy 10% more earnings in the next month.
Another idea to keep your commissions interesting is to introduce limited time offers that feature higher commission rates.
For example, you allow affiliates to earn 50% commission if they can make referrals for the next two weeks. Consider implementing this tactic during major holidays, like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
You can use both these tactics at the same time to keep affiliates on their toes. After all, if your program never evolves or changes, affiliates may tend to forget about the program or your product altogether.
Provide pre-made affiliate marketing materials
Prepare collateral your affiliates may use to help them market your product or service. You can create banners, sidebar or Pinterest images for affiliates to use in blog posts or when sending emails to their own subscribers.
You should also consider giving them pre-written copy or swipe text to help make the promotion process simpler. But encourage them to put their own brand and personality into this copy to make it feel more organic.
With Post Affiliate Pro, you can generate image banners, coupons, lightboxes, and more.
The reason you want to do this is because you want to make promoting your product as easy as possible for your affiliates – the less work they’ll need to put in to actually market your product, the more chances you’ll have to get them on the road to affiliate success as fast as possible.
Be sure to include different designs and options, also to help you and your affiliates A/B test. For example, you can have several banner designs for affiliates to choose from, each with different elements or CTAs.
Over time, you might be able to track which specific affiliate marketing materials do best, so you can focus on optimizing lower-performing ones to contain more elements of the top performers.
Send affiliate guides for inspiration and best practices
From time to time, offer useful tips and inspiration to your affiliates. Can you share a story of a recent successful affiliate and what they did? Can you find examples of top-performing affiliate pages? One common trend among popular high ticket affiliate programs such as Clickfunnels is they often have tons of compelling testimonials.
Your affiliates might learn a new thing or two, or gain inspiration about ways they can promote your product.
You can also send new affiliates an onboarding kit that walks them through your affiliate program, so that they know exactly what to expect from here on out. Inside this kit, you can already include some examples of best-performing affiliates and what they did to make sales.
Be sure to include screenshots and links to better illustrate these inspirational tips or best practices.
Pay affiliates on time
One important way to keep engaged and nurtured affiliates is by paying their commissions on time. No one wants to constantly have to receive payouts late – affiliates may not be encouraged to keep doing business with you if they know you can’t process their payments on time.
If there are any reasons for payments to be delayed, be sure to communicate these to affiliates right away. And be sure to keep these instances to a minimum.
Over-communicate changes and updates
Are you switching affiliate management software? Are you changing up your commissions? Did you recently launch new marketing materials for affiliates to use?
Your affiliates have to be the first to know about the news, especially if it either affects or helps them along the way.
Keep these affiliates up to date by sending them important newsletters containing recent changes or new updates.
You can even take this further by opting to put banners or ribbons on relevant pages they might visit, i.e. on your affiliate-related landing pages or sign-in pages.
Feature your affiliates
Sometimes you can engage affiliates by featuring them and their success stories. This can be a win-win for both of you, and lead to more engaged affiliates down the road.
Think about it: if an affiliate knows they can get featured while getting their business or publication in front of your audience, they may be more likely to want to succeed in marketing your products.
To make sure affiliates are aware that they stand a chance to have their business be featured as a top affiliate by your company, regularly send out these features and include CTAs to let them know how they can be the next featured story.
Have open office hours for affiliates
Open your doors for hosting effective, strategic meetings with affiliates. There may be times where an affiliate has questions or wants to get in touch with representatives of your brand.
You can schedule these office hours on the regular or turn them into virtual group events.
For example, you may choose to host a monthly affiliate Q&A or seminar to help you either onboard new affiliates or engage with existing ones. Consider our previous tip and ask top affiliates to share their success stories on a live webinar or office hour session.
This is yet another way to show affiliates that you are serious about your success, and the more personal you can be in this approach, the more engaged they’ll be over time.
Give perks beyond commissions
Another incredible way to engage and nurture your relationship with your affiliates is to offer them special perks beyond their referral fees.
Can you offer them exclusive access to a new product you’re taking to market soon? Can you send them freebies in the mail?
Be creative and really have your affiliates’ best interest at heart. If they find that your brand truly cares about working with them, they may be inclined to find better ways to promote your products.
Ask for their feedback
Keep your affiliate program an ongoing conversation with your affiliates. Ask them for feedback about your program. What do they appreciate most? Where can you still improve?
By giving affiliates the opportunity to share their thoughts, you can show you’re serious about their success. And if they find that you’ve acted upon the feedback they gave, you can nurture a better relationship with them.
Reach out to influencers or related players as VIP affiliates
Last but not least, perhaps there’s an influencer or related business in your niche that you know would make a great affiliate in your program. Give them the VIP treatment by inviting them to apply.
You’ll need a great outreach strategy for this, but one good place to start is by offering them an exclusive commission rate that may be higher than other affiliates.
The personal touch can do wonders for inviting these VIP affiliates on board. Show that you’re serious working with them, and they might just be one of the biggest promoters for your brand.
Need some extra tips to find affiliates from scratch? Check out this blog post.
Any affiliate program is only as successful as its affiliates. To nurture your affiliates, you must first have their success in mind. Be sure to follow the tips and best practices above to help you design better strategies that truly engage your affiliates. Keep in mind that your affiliates’ growth and success can only attribute to your own business’ growth and success too.
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