Affiliate management isn't an easy task. It's not about having a ton of members in your affiliate marketing program that may or may not share your links. It's not about having a popular influencer mention your product, which may or may not lead to conversions. It is all about developing the right relationships with the right types of affiliates.
That said, you don’t have to wait to hit a critical mass of customers to invest in affiliate marketing. In fact, with the decline of print and display ads, companies across many verticals have adjusted their online strategies to generate revenue through affiliate marketing.
Successful Affiliate Management Focuses On Relationships
While building relationships with affiliates can be more work upfront, the partnerships created tend to be stronger, better for your business, and more authentic. Affiliate program managers that leverage relationship building strategies typically have more affiliates in their programs that are aligned with business objectives, and can communicate a brand's story in a way that personifies that company’s mission and ideals.
It's no surprise that by 2020, U.S. affiliate marketing spend is expected to rise to $6.8 billion. Which is why we are sharing our 13 best tips for affiliate program managers looking to drive business growth in the very near future.
1. Utilize a Portal Registration Page
A portal registration page allows you to collect additional information from your affiliates, such as their website or other useful details. Once they enroll via the registration form, affiliates can automatically be logged into the portal for easy sharing. Think of it as a "home base" for program members.
2. Auto-Enroll Affiliates
For relationships you’ve established with existing affiliates, auto-enroll them into your program to make participation turnkey.
3. Kickoff the Program
Don’t just hope that affiliates will find your program. Announce your program launch through dedicated emails to start seeing results quickly.
4. Build a Program Overview Landing Page
Provide affiliates with a comprehensive overview of the program on a landing page. For increased visibility, link to this overview landing page in the header or footer of your site.
5. Enable Share Codes
Allow affiliates to create multiple links that they can customize and redirect to point to specific products. Share codes, accessed through the portal, provide affiliates with an easy, memorable way to share while gaining additional insight into which sources and mediums convert best.
6. Post on Social Channels
Continuous social promotion of the program will help you enroll new affiliates and remind existing ones to share. Social media is also a great way to engage with influential affiliates that you want to join your program.
7. Provide Promotional Assets
Within the portal, you can provide affiliates with assets - such as banner ads, promotional offers, even content - that they can embed onto their blog or website. Once embedded, these assets are clickable and trackable.
8. Create an Educational Guide or Video
Send a toolkit with all of the details of your program to new affiliates in a welcome email as well as a link to your program overview landing page. Include information on what and where to share, how to utilize the portal, recommendations for seeing success, and more. This is also a great way to introduce yourself as the program manager and start building a personal relationship with your affiliates.
9. Send Dedicated Emails
Encourage engagement by providing useful program information in dedicated emails. These emails can offer suggestions for seeing success or even recommended content to share.
10. Write a Blog Post
This longer format content channel can be used to provide more detailed program information. You can then link to the post in social channels or dedicated emails for further promotion.
11. Utilize a Revenue Share
Most affiliate programs offer a commission that is a percentage of the total purchase. Monetary commissions, such as PayPal, are most successful.
12. Offer a Dual Incentive
Rewarding both the affiliate and the referee can provide a substantial lift. Coupon codes, which can be presented within a customizable welcome message upon landing on your site, are a great option for incentivizing the referee to convert.
13. Set up a Multi-Event Reward
Keep affiliates motivated during long purchase cycles by offering a reward for more than one event. For example, configure an initial commission of a lower amount for a new lead in your pipeline and a secondary commission of a higher amount when the new customer completes the sales cycle.
The Power of Affiliate Marketing Partnerships
Using affiliate programs at all stages of the buyer journey - from discovery to ongoing customer engagement is the key to affiliate program management. Successful affiliate marketing managers understand the importance of developing long-term relationships with their program members. Once you establish authentic partnerships with members in your program that are aligned with business goals, you have the ability to grow your program with the right affiliates for your brand.