Once your affiliate network is up and running, remaining profitable is a matter of vigilance. Keeping an eye out for any pitfalls, potential fraud, and network crashes are all critical. But by far, the most influential aspect of your affiliate marketing program is your relationship with your affiliates.
Nurturing your affiliates should be an integral part of any affiliate marketing plan. Nurturing can take many forms, but will always enhance the relationship between you. Members who feel respected, valued, and integral to your company’s success will perform their duties with more enthusiasm than those merely collecting a paycheck.
The key to creating a resilient affiliate marketing network is nurturing a positive affiliate relationship.
How to nurture affiliates
Making your affiliates feel like a valued part of your team is vital to their continued motivation. They need to feel like they’re in the loop, connected to your organization, and integral to your company’s success. Without this sense of connection, affiliates could lose motivation, and their sales could falter. There are many best practices to keep in mind when managing your affiliate program, and nurturing the affiliate relationship should be near the top of your list.
Even with a thriving affiliate network and a great product, it can be hard to maintain momentum. If your product has a particular niche, affiliates can run out of content ideas on what seems like an off-season. For instance, if you sell camping gear, affiliates might falter with how to advertise these items during the winter.
An obvious segue for these items is to promote them as holiday gift ideas. But when the holiday connection for your products is less obvious, content ideas can seem further out of reach. Having plans for a seasonal campaign that you can share with your affiliates will help alleviate this problem.
Running sales campaigns to offset the lagging sales of your off-season is a sound strategy in any industry. If you can capitalize on a pre-existing holiday sales experience, so much the better. Even if your products don’t have any overt ties to the season or holiday in question, a smart marketing campaign can tie them together in spirit.
Ensuring that your affiliates always have content ideas to fall back on is a great way to prevent a lack of inspiration from turning into a lack of motivation. Offer your marketing partners a plentiful supply of resources, ideas, and pre-made content templates to simplify the content creation process for them. Increased sales for them equals more profit for your company.
Stay in contact with your affiliates
It’s essential to stay in contact with your affiliates to keep abreast of any issues before they get out of hand. Make sure your affiliates know how they can reach you with any questions or concerns. A dedicated email address specifically for affiliate concerns is a must.
Creating an affiliate-only newsletter is a great way to keep your affiliates updated and feeling like they’re in the loop. Keep them apprised of upcoming campaign plans, the success of any past or current campaigns, and any social media trends they should keep in mind while moving forward.
Another great way to keep your affiliates connected is by offering virtual office hours. Letting them know that you are available to take calls or video conferences during a predetermined time will go a long way toward making them feel like they have recourse if they run into any issues.
Offer incentives to your affiliate network
Keep your affiliates hustling by offering rewards, bonuses, and/or quarterly leaderboard competitions. Letting your affiliates see how they rank against one another will infuse a sense of healthy competition into your network.
Offer a reward for reaching a certain sales goal, or randomly select active affiliates to win a prize. Offer multiple categories for success (such as most new orders, most new customers, and highest average order value) so that everyone feels like they have a chance to compete. A random drawing will keep up the spirits of any affiliate who isn’t doing as well at the moment, by letting them know you haven’t counted them as down-and-out.
Special rewards for reaching certain sales benchmarks is another great way to keep the fire going. Having tiers for affiliate bonuses or payouts can keep your affiliates motivated to reach the next level.
Prior to coming to Refersion, Pura Vida bracelets had a lot of affiliate sign-ups, but the majority of their affiliates had no sales to their name. They may have been initially excited by that sweet sign-on bonus, but quickly lost motivation and fizzled away. The solution? Tiered reward incentives that paid out at specific sales goals, as well as exclusive merchandise that only affiliates can access.
It’s just as important to remain engaged with your affiliates as it is for them to stay engaged with their followers. Fostering a sense of community and making your affiliates feel at home in your network is key to a thriving affiliate program. By monitoring affiliate performance, identifying weak points, and addressing issues as they arise, you will prove to your affiliates that you have their well-being at heart.
Managing your affiliates requires more than just offering pre-made content, however. While it’s great to offer pre-made content ideas and templates, the ultimate goal is to let the individual voice of each affiliate shine through. Conversions will happen more easily if your customers can sense the genuine enthusiasm of your affiliates.
How Refersion can help
All of this tracking, data management, and incentive structure is built into Refersion’s affiliate platform. From onboarding and verification, to payments, we have what you need to get up and get going. Whether you’re just starting out, or your program needs a revamp, Refersion is here to help you succeed.