Affiliate marketing isn’t the same way it was a decade ago when there was a lot less competition and wider margins. Now it’s harder than ever to create an affiliate program that people want to promote, and it can also be very costly. With that said, throwing an affiliate program up for your web sites or online store simply won’t cut it. You need to get out there, recruit affiliates, keep them happy and offer them what others aren’t.

In this post we are going to break down some of the most important ways for an affiliate program to attract and retain affiliate marketers. With so many ad networks and revenue generation methods out there, it’s now harder than ever to keep affiliates active and happy. Follow the methods below and you will see long term success with not only your affiliate program in general, but also motivation, drive and attention from your affiliates.

Be Active in Recruiting and Treat Affiliates Like People, Not Numbers

As an affiliate marketer for over 15 years, I can tell you that there is nothing worse to veteran affiliate marketers than getting treated like a number, especially when you can push more volume than the average affiliate. Ad networks and affiliate program managers need to take the time to cater to their top affiliates and make them feel wanted. Instead of sending out automated and mass mailings to all of your affiliates with your latest ad copy and top performing offers, take the time to send individual emails out, be personable and make yourself available.

Reward Active Affiliates with Bonuses & Prizes

affiliate rewards featureOne incentive that many networks find work well is they offer monthly tier bonuses or contests for their affiliates. Some affiliate marketers prefer cash prizes, while others will strive to earn enough rewards points to get free bonus prizes such as gaming systems, gift cards, sports tickets or even bigger prizes. The prizes and rewards offered through your affiliate program will vary, but in the end it’s just another way of rewarding your top and most active affiliates. Also don’t forget to create prize and rewards amounts for your smaller affiliates. Just because they aren’t pushing as much volume as the bigger players, you still want them to feel appreciated and have a chance at winning your contests or taking part in affiliate promotions.

Affiliate Managers Need to Make Themselves Available At All Times

A growing trend in the world of affiliate marketing is that your contacts need to be able almost 24 hours a day. With many affiliate networks and programs, the affiliate manager is making a commission or bonus based off the performance of their affiliate’s marketing efforts. Since most affiliate marketers are running ad campaigns 24 hours a day, being able to get in contact with their affiliate manager is extremely important. If not by instant messenger chat, skype or email, top affiliates should have a direct phone line for their affiliates, and all other affiliates in a network or program should at least have a email support system with a max contact delay of 12 hours.

Cater to Your Affiliates: Custom Ad Copy, Payment Methods and Higher Payouts

affiliate payout levelsYears ago, if you joined an affiliate program you would have access to a few banners and text links that you could promote their web site with. No many networks and affiliate programs have their own in house design team and can offers affiliates exclusive landing pages, ad copies and whatever else they need. With so many different advertising methods out there such as Facebook ads, media buying, non-traditional banner sizes and pop unders, it’s important to offer affiliates the ability to run as many ad copies as they need.

The same holds true for your affiliate payouts. Most networks and affiliate programs are offering payments through check, paypal, ACH and wire transfers. In the past, most networks focused on only sending out checks, but most affiliate programs offer at least check and paypal payment methods. Speaking of payments, being able to pay your top affiliates a higher commission based on their performance is also key. Many networks will promise the highest payouts, and if you can’t beat another competitor’s payouts and conversions in the same niche, it will be tough to keep your affiliates happy.

In the End, It’s All About Your Affiliates

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to entice and cater affiliates to join your affiliate program. It doesn’t matter if you decide to go with an affiliate network, custom solution or even the iDevAffiliate platform, what matters is how you treat your affiliates and create a program that works for them. Your affiliate program is only as good as the product that is being promote. Take care of your affiliates and make sure that you continually focus your efforts on increasing overall conversions on your site and landing pages.

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