From detecting and preventing fraud to recruiting new partners, managing affiliate programs can be intimidating. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you learn how to manage an affiliate program.
Fraud is one of the things that you might be worried about if you have an affiliate program. But with a few checkpoints and a hands on approach, you can help to eliminate or prevent a majority of it.
There are other ways to determine, find and detect theft. But the strategies above are a good starting point. If you need more clarity on them, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me for a free scan of your program.
Once you know how to determine which affiliates to approve in, you need to go out and find them. Here are a few strategies that we use for recruiting affiliates for our clients’ affiliate programs.
Not all affiliates will be motivated. You need to work on activating them. Here are a few ways to do this.
Think about when you join a membership club, hire a new service or even buy a new tool/software for your job. What makes you want to log in and really learn the ropes or make it work for you? Those same things that will motivate you to get active with that new tool or membership can be applied to your affiliate program.
The best way to keep your partners motivated is to give them what they need, offer things they didn’t know they needed and by providing services that go beyond their expectations. Sometimes I’ll do a mini SEO audit of an affiliate’s website to help them discover certain errors or issues preventing them from growing.
Other times I’ll look for content they had a lot of success with and then create follow up, but non-competitive content for them and offer it free of charge. The content will also include their affiliate links so they can monetize it with my client’s products or services. Other times I’ll have a designer create a banner that is built specifically for their site and uses their site’s sizes. This is normally a very welcomed gift.
Being supportive and available is the key to keeping your partners motivated. Constantly inspire them with new ideas and be there to help them with implementation. That is what helps to keep them loyal and wanting to work with you.
Bonus campaigns and incentives tend to work well here. Whether you’re doing a gift card, a cash bonus or even product from your store for them to review, give them a reason to push your program even more. The first step is to find out what matters most to your affiliates. You could do this by sending out a survey. When you get the results, begin applying it, but don’t just think about a program wide bonuses, go niche.
You can write to your top partners and ask what would motivate them since they are your bread and butter. Then create a custom plan for them around their responses. Next try dividing your partners up into sections like top performers (more than 50 sales per XY period, between 15 and 49 sales per XY period and 1 – 14 sales per XY period) and then offer a bonus or incentive based on incremental growth by group. You can also go by niche or type of affiliate.
There are a ton of ways to create campaigns to help increase your partners output, it’s up to you to be creative. As a bonus tip, if you have marketing tools at your disposal that are normally too expensive for a smaller company or partner, use them to help your affiliates. Many will appreciate you helping to grow their business and may return the favour with more exposure.
Now start over and find new partners. Work on activating them and then see where there is more room for growth.
Having an affiliate program is a very hands on and labor intensive marketing channel. If you try a hands off approach, you’ll end up with no traffic or probably a ton of theft, poaching and fraud depending on how big your company is.
If you cannot handle the program on your own, hire an in house person who has experience or can be trained. If that isn’t an option, you can always outsource to an affiliate marketing agency like mine. If you do have time to manage it, remember that the more you put in, the more you will get, so don’t give up and keep at it.
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