It is quite simple when you break it down. Creating a sales pumping affiliate marketing program, starts and ends with people!
While affiliate marketing is performance based it is not purely transactional. If you are looking for real results and long term success, meaningful affiliate relationships must be planted, built and maintained. Having a good rapport with your affiliates creates loyalty which means you get to spend more time empowering your affiliates and less time recruiting new ones. Affiliates who feel cared about and rewarded are more likely to become a better ambassador for your brand and will work hard to promote your products and services.
In this article, we’ve put together 6 vital tips from some of the leading affiliate managers who are building strong affiliate relationships so you can make sure your affiliate program is one that produces real results!
1. Build Trust
Trust is one of the building blocks of any strong relationship. It can make relationships thrive and can also break them in just seconds. Since affiliate marketing is based on performance and often times you do not meet your affiliates in person, a certain level of trust must be established between you and your affiliate team.
“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
– Stephen Covey
So, how do you create trust in your affiliate program?
Be upfront and transparent. It’s important to have lucrative commissions and opportunities for more, but one of the most effective things you can do from the on-set is to be upfront and transparent. Being transparent makes it easy for your affiliates to set their own expectations as a participant in your affiliate program.
Consider being upfront and as transparent as possible about the following policies.
- Commission breakdown .
- Rewards, bonuses and other incentives.
- Affiliate expectations as the affiliate manager.
- Guidelines for posting and marketing (this is huge).
- Products that you want promoted.
2. Collect and Receive Feedback
Not only is this important to find quality affiliates and to choose the right affiliates, it’s also in your best interest to receive useful feedback and insights from your affiliates which you can use to improve your program over time. What does this mean?
- Send out a survey to your affiliates asking questions.
- See who they follow across social media.
- See what hobbies they are into and where they post.
- Learn as much as possible about their marketing strategies.
- Gather feedback on the marketing materials you’re providing them.
3. Get Personal
Building a solid foundation with your affiliates, isn’t only about your interaction with them. It is really the culture and experience they have as a part of your affiliate program. This is where personalization can be incredibly impactful. Personalizing the affiliate experience gets them excited, engaged and it even creates personal bonds. Simple things as basic as even just using their actual names in your communications can make all of the difference.
- Categorize your affiliates into product or campaign specific email lists, so they only get the most relevant communications.
- Send a text or personal email checking in personalized emails to affiliates can help to drive more production, more often.
- Offer personalized support for things like co-branded creatives to make your affiliates feel valued.
Only 6.49 percent of affiliate marketers choose a program by focusing on their potential partner’s terms and conditions.
Source: Hosting Tribunal
4. Regular Communication
There are several reasons why staying in close contact with your affiliates is important. For one thing, people are juggling work, home life and that never ending phone they are holding in their hand at any given moment. Sometimes, affiliates unintentionally scale back or even drop off for one reason or another.
As you develop your program, you will want to keep your affiliates engaged so that they are armed and prepared to promote your brand and products and answer any key questions their potential customers have. An affiliate getting regular communication from you are more likely to promote your products/services than the affiliate programs they are feeling neglected by.
5. Make It Easy
Who likes easy? Affiliate marketers, that’s who. As the affiliate manager you should be doing everything you can to help them succeed. Their success is your success!
- Arming them with your contact information if they have questions or need support, they should know where to go.
- Give them access brand information, product pricing & updates, etc. can help them get started promoting your products and services quicker with a better understanding of what they are selling for you.
- Reaching out periodically to find out what works and doesn’t work for them.
6. Be Thankful
It’s the easiest thing in the world! Even if it is a general email expressing your gratitude, sent to your affiliates, it can go a long way.
“Hello [publishers name], I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all of the hard work you’ve been doing. We really value your partnership and hope to continue a successful relationship for many years to come.”
Just remember, all things take time!
All things take time to grow and flourish. Relationships are no different. They take a lot of hard work, and time. Having mutual trust, getting to know your affiliates, staying in close contact and providing them with everything they need to succeed are all the markings of a successful affiliate program and affiliate program manager. Play the long game. It will pay off!
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Jim Webster is the founder and CEO of iDevAffiliate, Inc. As one of the original developers of iDevAffiliate, he has been involved in the affiliate/influencer industry since the late ’90s. Yes, just about 25 years now! He still maintains an active role in the development, support and management of the iDevAffiliate platform and continues to contribute to the industry via tradeshows, affiliate conferences, speaking engagements, etc.
As an editor and author for our blog, Jim hopes to educate and advise people with more in-depth information & guidance on creating, building and managing profitable affiliate tracking programs.
Jim and his wife Robyn reside in Southern California and enjoy mountain bike riding, snowboarding and relaxing on the beach.