Running your affiliate program on auto-pilot is one of the worst things you can do. It’s No. 1 on our list of 10 affiliate program management mistakes to avoid. If you want your affiliate relationships to grow and produce results, you’ve got to nurture them and communicate with affiliates in the right way.
Affiliate management takes time and effort. If you fail to put in the time, it will show in the results. One area that needs your attention is your plan for effectively communicating with your affiliate partners.
Set the Stage for Communication With the Onboarding Process
When building your plan for communicating with affiliates, set the stage right from the beginning of the affiliate activation process.
During the affiliate onboarding process, provide information that affiliates need and the tools to get started. You’d be surprised by how many affiliate programs launch with poor documentation beyond what’s listed on the affiliate sign-up page.
You need to clearly show how your affiliate program works. This should include:
- Commission rates
- When payouts occur
- How disputes are handled
- Brand guidelines
- What’s allowed and what’s prohibited
Set the bar from the first contact and establish your expectations. If you provide this information during the activation process, you can also make sure you get the right people applying for your program.
Complex or confusing language can be a significant barrier to communication. So can making it difficult to find information or obscuring it. Be clear, be concise, and tell affiliates what you mean.
Transparency does not mean sharing every little detail of your business, but highlighting your plans and getting affiliates excited about where you’re heading can go a long way toward getting people engaged. Direct, honest communication does exactly that.
Personalize Your Communications
You would not send a form letter or generic email to someone you ask to invest in your business. Treat affiliates as you would your investors. Be positive, professional, and — when you can — personal. When you build a more personal relationship with your affiliates, your odds of success increase significantly. Try to ditch the corporate speak and talk to them as friends and valued partners.
Communication is the foundation of building successful relationships with your affiliates. They may have partnerships with others, so the more often you remind them of who you are and the benefits of partnering with you, the more likely they are to promote your products versus your competitors’.
Share Your Successes
Everybody wants to align with a winner, so share your successes. When you hit sales milestones, take time to thank your affiliates. When your product or company gets attention in the media, let your affiliates see it.
Share Your Marketing
Maintaining a high profile helps build your brand and keeps your affiliates happy. Make sure to keep your affiliates informed about your marketing efforts. It is one of the things they are counting on you to do to help everyone.
When you share your marketing and show best practices, you encourage your affiliates to align their marketing efforts with yours. This magnifies the effectiveness for everyone involved.
Letting affiliates know the current trends and performance of their counterparts provides them a way to see how they stack up. Affiliates should know whether they are underperforming or exceeding industry averages. It is essential to provide tracking and measurements for key performance indicators.
Top-affiliate boards can give recognition to your best performers and provide incentives for other affiliates to up their game.
Produce Regular Newsletters
One of the easiest ways to communicate with your affiliate partners is by writing newsletters to keep everyone informed. It’s a great way to keep your affiliates up to date about incentives, promotions, and new creative material.
If you set up a monthly newsletter sharing information, you’ll keep your brand at the top of your affiliates’ minds.
Provide Affiliate Surveys
Consider creating affiliate surveys. The information you get can be valuable in measuring affiliate satisfaction. Surveys can help you find areas you can improve in and where your affiliates need help. Shorter surveys have higher completion rates, so sending out two or three questions every once in a while will likely get you more information than one long survey.
Surveys are one more way to keep you front and center with your affiliates and show them that you care about their success. You can share the results in your newsletter along with any suggestions you get that you decide to implement.
Offer Webinars and On-Demand Videos
Provide training and teaching opportunities through affiliate webinars, marketing materials, and on-demand videos or demos. Let your affiliates share in your best practices, unique promotions, product information, and new opportunities.
You can consider having your top performers participate as well to provide tips and tricks for other affiliates.
Reach Out Directly
Reaching out to affiliates directly is necessary at times. For example, sometimes, you need to call out affiliates for violating your program terms or conditions. This calls for one-on-one communication rather than addressing your affiliates as a group. You might also want to reach out to inactive affiliates or below-average performers to try to encourage their participation and offer suggestions for ways to boost sales.
Don’t forget about your active affiliates and top performers, though. Reaching out directly to active affiliates and thanking them for their participation can go a long way in incentivizing them. And it will make you stand out from other affiliate programs.
One effective strategy is to rank your top affiliates and make personal contact with top performers by working your way down the list. If you do one or two a day, you can reach all of your best affiliates each quarter.
Grow Your Affiliate Program
At LeadDyno, we have everything you need to launch and grow your affiliate program. From affiliate recruitment to affiliate management, affiliate websites, payouts and commissions, campaign tracking, and lead management, we have the tools you need to develop and run a successful affiliate program. Contact LeadDyno today and let us go to work for you. You can try our product free for 30 days.