So You Created an Affiliate Program—Now What?

Mark Jacobs
By Mark Jacobs

Estimated read time: 4 minutes, 17 seconds

Congrats! You’ve taken the first step and created an affiliate program—which is great—but you might not know where to go from here. Maybe your program is technically live but seems to be stagnant or inactive. Maybe your program has some activity running through it, but it’s not quite living up to its full potential.

Either way, managing a revenue-driving affiliate program is not a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. The tips below will help you make the most of your new affiliate program.

1. Include Helpful Information in Affiliate Welcome Communication

This may seem like a no brainer, but you would be surprised how many people go through the setup wizard and never revisit the actual setup of their program. There’s a lot of optimizations that you can do to make the onboarding experience as painless as possible for your affiliates and reduce the time to affiliates’ first action.

Configuring your system messages like the welcome email to include specific information like links to resources and your product information, you will empower your affiliates to learn more about your products and encourage them to take the first steps towards being productive. Think of this as your first opportunity to create an actionable message for your affiliates.

2. Provide Current Brand Messaging and Visuals

You also want to make sure you have the right content available in your program to make promoting your program as seamless as possible for your affiliates. Remember, the work of your affiliate partners is a reflection of your brand, so make sure you’re giving the most up-to-date assets. A great start is making separate text links for each page you would like your affiliates to send traffic to such as individual product pages, specific campaign landing pages, or even your blog. Make sure to provide graphics to your affiliates so they can easily create display banner ads on their sites.

Common sizes for affiliate banners are: 300×250, 250×250, 160×600, 300×600 and 125×125.

Hopefully, you already have some basic branding and product information ready but if you don’t, start with the most essential items like product descriptions, logos, and branding guidelines. Then, make these resources readily available to your affiliates so they can quickly learn the most important things about your company and products, and feel prepared to share it with their audience. If you plan to have affiliates create reviews of your product to share with their audiences, it might also be a good idea to create a short reviewer’s guide where you can summarize key product information and competitive comparisons like feature lists, pricing, etc.

A reviewer’s guide helps to focus on affiliate messages on what you think best represents your brand, but encourage affiliates to build on the guide and share their own experience with your products as well!

3. Open a Channel for Direct Conversation with Your Affiliate Partners

Affiliate marketing is a two-way street and having a conversation with your affiliates about what they want and need will enable you to focus your efforts on building a revenue-driving program. If you have personal relationships with your affiliates, you can jump on a short call to see how they are doing in your program. If that’s not a feasible option, you can create a survey for your affiliates to ask a few questions about what is working for them, what they would like to see, and how you could improve it. This survey can help you take action based on the responses.

On the topic of conversations, a good guideline is to think of the messages you send to your affiliates as marketing to and for marketers. Take into consideration what you would ask any other marketer for and think about what they would need to achieve a given task, then provide as much of the information and resources they would need upfront so they can take action quickly without too much back and forth.

4. Develop a Communication Strategy

We will get more in-depth with specific messaging strategies another time, but having a strategy for communicating with your affiliates is crucial to the ongoing success of your program. A monthly newsletter where you share any upcoming news with your affiliates, product promotion information or program updates is a great place to start, but depending on how your affiliates work, you may be able to benefit from other information strategies such as product and ad feeds that can be used to automatically distribute information they can then share with their audiences.

A simple schedule and structure for your messages will also make affiliates more likely to open your messages and take action. For example, a short intro paragraph with the latest news, bullet points of any offers and suggestions for how to promote a given offer to their audience is a great way to keep a message focused and actionable. Affiliates can then anticipate an upcoming message and make time in their schedule to support it if it will work for their audience.

These tips should come in handy at any stage of your affiliate program. Visit the FastSpring website to learn more about FastSpring’s Affiliate network.

Mark Jacobs

Mark has worked in the creative space for most of his professional life. From being an office manager and planning creative projects to coordinating digital marketing campaigns, managing resellers, channel sales and even being a photographer and videographer. Prior to FastSpring, he managed the Skylum affiliate program where he developed practices that are still in place today.