Building a successful affiliate program involves more than getting your affiliates to generate revenue. The competition is stiff for good talent, with more than 80% of brands running an affiliate program.
If you want to attract top-tier talent and get a share of those profits, being seen as a trustworthy affiliate marketing program is a great way to help you stand out from competitors. Below are some tips on how to build trust and credibility in an affiliate program.
1. Provide Hands-On Activation
Make sure your affiliate program doesn’t allow for auto-approvals. This way, you have complete control over reviewing the applications of potential program affiliates.
Your research should include a look at the new applicant’s website, how much traffic it receives, and whether it has managed to establish any domain authority. You want members who align with your chosen vertical and are a natural fit for promoting your products and services.
Be careful about who you let into your affiliate program. Steps you can take to make sure you bring in the right members include:
- Adding custom fields on your affiliate sign-up form to ask potential new associates for additional information that will help you learn more about the applicants.
- Manually review each affiliate application to make sure they are the right fit for your program.
- Check around for information about the reputation of a potential new affiliate, especially if they’ve worked with other affiliate programs. This might mean doing a quick Googling the affiliate.
- Review affiliates website and/or social channels. Review how much traffic, followers or engagement with their previous posts and whether they have any authority in your vertical. This will give you an idea of their creditbility as an influencer.
2. Make Onboarding Easy
You should have a streamlined affiliate onboarding process in place to welcome new members and help them get started. Send a welcome email that includes everything they need to get up and running with promotions. Make sure members have any necessary affiliate promotional materials and creative content that outline what your brand represents.
If your new affiliates are sending traffic but generating a low conversion rate, you may need to help them refine the pitch the member makes to their audience. Offering incentives like a higher percentage of sales for the first month or a promotional gift can encourage affiliates to boost their efforts.
3. Communicate With Members & Review Affiliate Stats
Stay on top of new members’ progress by viewing their affiliate traffic and activity through your dashboard. If you notice a lack of activity on their end, reach out and offer to help them get started. Make yourself available to affiliates when they need assistance. In addition, provide quick responses to any questions or concerns that may be holding them back.
Provide affiliates updates through newsletters that advise them of upcoming incentives or any changes to the commission structures. Send a steady stream of educational material and links to resources designed to help affiliates strengthen their marketing efforts. Your outreach efforts can generate positive word of mouth from your members and increase your program’s appeal to other potential recruits.
4. Offer Transparency
Provide new affiliates with a written or electronic copy or link to your affiliate policy. Use clear and consistent language that makes it easy for your members to understand the program’s requirements. It can help to include examples of how different policies apply.
Encourage affiliates to come to you with any questions about any unclear or confusing sections. Members should clearly understand what they get by participating in your affiliate program.
5. Pay Members On Time
Continue building trust with members by paying affiliates them based on the terms outlined in your affiliate program agreement. Being late with payments can cause tensions and lead to negative word of mouth about your program. Stay on top of your programs by scheduling time to go over commissions and finalize payments earned by affiliates.
6. Keep Your Program Updated
Look for ways to refresh the content in your affiliate program, and make sure you pass those updates on to affiliates. You always want consistent messaging in the branding and content used among all members for websites, landing pages, and other creative material. If you don’t have a lot of experience in content creation consider hiring a graphic design service or a company to write for you.
Perform frequent reviews of your commission structure and how it benefits the affiliate program and your members. It is generally best practice to leave room for incentives rather than reducing affiliate commissions. If something doesn’t seem to be clicking, look for ways to refine the formula to more effectively reward your affiliates’ efforts.
7. Use Trusted Tracking Software
It’s important that affiliates feel that you’re accurately tracking their promotion efforts. Invest in tracking software that:
- Lets you create and track customized commission rates for different members
- Provides a portal where members can keep up with recent activity
- Helps affiliates keep up with how much they’ve earned in commissions
Provide reports to affiliates that outline your overall earnings, how many sales you’re making each month, and what you earn from specific affiliate links. This allows members to feel more confident about the program and encourages them to remain involved.
8. Monitor Activity
Affiliate members may sometimes act in ways that could harm the reputation of your programs. Watch your dashboard for any unusual changes in activity like an unexplained spike in sales or a sudden surge of traffic from a specific affiliate link.
Pay attention to complaints brought to you by customers about issues like invalid coupon codes, misleading promotions from affiliates, or instances of being forced to click through affiliate links. Track down the source of the problem.
Affiliates should be transparent to an audience about the fact that they’re earning money through affiliate link clicks. Avoid any perception of impropriety by making sure members are:
- Following Federal Trade Commission guidelines on disclosing affiliate links
- Using clear, unambiguous language to inform visitors about the member’s use of affiliate links
- Using the same affiliate language throughout the member’s website to avoid any confusion
Keep an eye out for affiliate term violations like:
- Bidding on trademarks
- Providing incorrect information about discounts
- Mass sharing of exclusive coupons
- Impersonating a trademarked brand or website
Monitor and enforce affiliate policies you outlined that apply to members who violate their program agreement. Punishments can range from a warning to terminating your association with the member. Don’t hesitate to remove members who behave in ways that reflect poorly on your affiliate program.
Make Credibility Your Top Priority
You’re more likely to establish a viable and long-lasting affiliate program if you gain the trust of your affiliates and advertisers. Make the effort to keep your program transparent and free of fraud, and provide your affiliates with marketing tips.
You can stay on top of the performance of your affiliate program with LeadDyno affiliate software. Attend one of our demos or try the LeadDyno platform free for 30 days.