Running an affiliate program is great for your brand because it means you have a whole team of affiliates dedicated to promoting your brand to the best of their abilities. These people save you time and effort while giving you a bigger audience for your businesses. If you want them to do the best possible work, you need to make sure you’re communicating with them effectively.
Effective communication helps you accomplish a lot. It keeps everyone on the same page about things like brand standards, preferred messages, and best practices. As the brand owner, it’s your responsibility to kickstart this communication. How? By supplying your affiliates with all the materials and information relevant to the affiliate program.
That can be a lot of information! Your affiliates need to understand your brand, products, and the affiliate program itself to do their best work. Here’s a rundown of what to share with your affiliates, how to share it, and why it matters.
The first step to bringing your affiliates into your program is to onboard them. Your onboarding materials consist of all the information you want new affiliates to know right off the bat. Much of this information can be included in a welcome email.
Onboarding materials can include things like:
- Login /account information
- Terms and conditions
- Brand guidelines
- Commission information
You can also include anything else that you consider need-to-know information.
Your relationship with affiliates starts at onboarding, so it’s essential to communicate well right from the start. A great way to present your onboarding materials is through a checklist. The checklist helps affiliates walk through every element of the onboarding process without missing any steps. You can also pair the checklist with a specific webinar to make the onboarding process more engaging.
Your affiliates will be working with your affiliate platforms for as long as they work with you. They must understand how to use them if you want their work to shine. Providing them with clear instructions and walkthroughs for your chosen affiliate platform will save a lot of trouble down the road.
There are a couple of ways you can provide this guidance. If you’re using an affiliate platform, you can direct your team to the platform’s affiliate tutorials and instructions. You can also record video tutorials for navigating platforms or write walkthroughs for how you want your materials to be used.
Your business is constantly improving and growing, and you need to communicate that with your affiliates. A regular newsletter is an excellent way to summarize smaller updates and improvements. It can also help you keep regular contact with your entire affiliate team. Some of your affiliates are bound to be less dedicated than others, and a regular newsletter will help keep them involved.
You can use newsletters to share information like:
- Small updates
- Upcoming brand events
- Industry and company news
- Helpful graphics and marketing materials
Newsletters are best sent through email. You can build a newsletter template for routine weekly or monthly updates. Either way, the email format helps keep your brand top of mind for your affiliates and reminds them to check in with your website. Just make sure to keep your emails short and sweet, or affiliates might ignore them.
Most companies have regular sales and promotions to bring in new customers. If you’re selling through affiliates, you need to give them information about upcoming promotions before you make it public so they can plan content highlighting the deals you’re offering. This allows them to advertise your sale without pre-empting other content they had already planned on sharing.
Whenever you’re going to run a sale, make sure you tell your affiliates:
- The promotion’s length and dates
- The products covered by the promotion
- The terms, conditions, and discounts involved
- Any specific phrasing or marketing details for the promotion, such as tag lines or graphics to be used
You can send this information out in your regular newsletter to all affiliates, affiliate groups, or individual affiliates. You can also put it on your affiliate forums and your platform’s homepage.
Technology and Product Updates
From time to time, you’ll upgrade your affiliate program’s technology or the products you offer. This can significantly impact your team, especially if it means adjusting how they link to your products to track referrals. For larger product, program, and technology updates like these, you should send out dedicated messages.
Let your affiliates know:
- What’s changing
- How the change affects them
- Any adjustments they need to make to their practices
Make sure you share information like tech upgrades in several places well in advance of the actual upgrade. Send out an email at least a month in advance, pin posts to your affiliate forum, and announce it on the affiliate platform homepage. This helps your affiliates plan for the future and ensures they’ll see at least one of the announcements before the change goes through.
New Marketing Materials
Your marketing needs to change throughout the year to keep customers engaged. You can give your affiliates the tools to accomplish this by regularly sharing new marketing materials with them.
Types of marketing materials you might share include:
- New graphics for upcoming shopping seasons, such as banners or product photos
- Links to specific landing pages for upcoming events
- Updated brand guidelines and style sheets
- Taglines and copy suggestions
- Customer reviews to share
- Media and press coverage to use as resources and inspiration
One of the big benefits of selling through affiliates is that you don’t have to handle your marketing alone. Still, when you provide your team with these kinds of marketing materials, you accomplish two things. First, you make it easier for your affiliates to do their jobs, which means they’ll do more and be more loyal. Second, you can standardize your brand’s presentation, which is vital for long-term growth.
You can include links to these materials in your regular newsletter. You can also save your content in a single, dedicated location that your affiliates can access as necessary through LeadDyno’s convenient marketing material management solution.
Incentives and Rewards
There are a couple of reasons why you might want to reward specific affiliates. For example, they may have brought in a new customer or referred a new affiliate to your program. Either way, if you want to offer incentives and rewards for those actions, you should make sure to communicate about them to your affiliates.
You can let your affiliates know about these in a few ways. You can include a reminder about these incentives at the bottom of your regular newsletter, send out a specific email about them, or make a post on your affiliate forums. You can even do all three if you’ve just implemented the incentive program.
Some affiliate programs will set up offsite forums for the affiliates to talk and share tips. This can help build a community around your brand and gives you a place to communicate more casually with your affiliates.
You can create an affiliate forum for free by setting up a private/closed:
Before choosing a specific site, you should send a survey to your affiliates to make sure you know what they’re most likely to use.
Sometimes you want specific feedback from your affiliates. It can be helpful to know what updates they want from your program, what they like and dislike about a campaign, or just have them offer suggestions for new initiatives. That’s when you should send affiliates a survey. Email links are typically more effective because you can see who has responded and prevent duplicate entries. You can use platforms like Google Forms to send surveys to your affiliates and track their responses for accurate data collection.
When it comes to clear communication, nothing beats face-to-face discussions. This is especially true if your affiliate program is exclusive and only open to people you invite personally. Your affiliates may span the globe, however, so don’t worry about in-person meetings. Instead, you can plan monthly, quarterly, or annual virtual catch-up meetings with your affiliates.
These meetings can cover many topics, from simple discussions about how they feel about the program to feedback on their performance. The purpose is to keep your affiliates engaged and involved, so they continue to put in their best performance. You can perform these meetings on Zoom, FaceTime, or your preferred video conferencing software.
Take Your Affiliate Communication to the Next Level
Clear communication can make all the difference when it comes to the success of your affiliate program. When you know what to share with your affiliates, this becomes much easier. If you want assistance improving your affiliate communication, LeadDyno can help. With a robust affiliate dashboard, easy newsletters and emails, and a user-friendly design, LeadDyno makes it easy to share information and materials with your affiliates when and where you want.
If you’re ready to learn how LeadDyno can improve your affiliate program and communication, sign up for your free trial today. You can explore all the convenient communication solutions and discover how you can improve your affiliate marketing risk-free.