The sum of every
contact point you have with your affiliate sales partners creates
the overall affiliate experience, beginning from the point
he/she considers applying to your program. Remember - there is
rarely a second chance to make a first impression.
The experience continues into the application and decision
stage, and builds throughout the affiliate�s participation once
your program. The experience you create depends on your approach
to affiliate marketing.
What are affiliates looking for when joining programs? How
can you differentiate your program from competitors?
When recruiting affiliates, take the time to make your
affiliate program stand out from others. Your commission
rates should be reasonable, your affiliate agreement
well-written, and your promotional creative eye-catching.
Step 1: Program Information, Recruiting Potential
You can communicate information about your affiliate program in
several ways. Affiliates may learn about your program
through your web site. Make sure your affiliate program
link is prominently displayed throughout your web site.
Many affiliates often use
Directories and you can read more about them here.
The information promoting your affiliate program should
compel affiliates to apply to your program. Check out your
competitors affiliate programs and make sure your program stands
out from the competition. Be sure to clearly state your
commission rates, guidelines for approval, and explicitly state
what types of content and activity are acceptable. For
example, it is common today to not allow affiliates to purchase
competing Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising on search engines such
as Overture and Google. It is also comment to not allow
Now that your affiliate agreement and commission rates are
clearly stated, the affiliate is ready to join your affiliate
Step 2: Affiliate Registers for your Affiliate
The affiliate has agreed to your terms/conditions and submits
the application for your program. It is important to make
sure your affiliate signup page is straightforward and does not
require too much information. A lengthy signup process may
deter potential affiliates. Also make sure the signup
process is Secure by using an SSL certificate. This is
especially important if affiliates are submitting a VAT number,
Tax ID or Social Security number.
As soon as the affiliate hits the application's submit
button, it is time for the affiliate manager to make a big decision.
Step 3: Approving or Rejecting the Affiliate's
Although most affiliate software solutions, including
Affiliate Wiz, allow
you to automatically accept all affiliate applications, it
highly recommended that you use a manual approval process.
It is typical to get many unqualified affiliate applications.
In fact, it is well established in the affiliate marketing
industry that the top 5% of affiliates will bring most of your
As soon as the affiliate has joined your program, an email
should be sent automatically by your affiliate software
notifying them of the approval process. This email should
stand out to get read by the potential affiliate. Apply
the same tactics as you would for direct marketing consumer
e-mails - make subject lines and messages personalized and
If you decide to reject the affiliate, a similar polite email
should be sent to notify them why they were rejected.
Although the affiliate may not have been appropriate for you as
an immediate sales partner, remain open to the potential for a
future relationship. The manager of a site that
is inappropriate for your affiliate program is still a potential customer
for your products or services.
For those affiliates you accept, send them an eye-grabbing
email welcoming them to your program. Provide a link for
them to login to your affiliate software program so they can
begin the next step of the affiliate process which is creating
links for their web site.
Step 4: Creating Links/Promoting Your Web Site
Now that the affiliate has been approved, it is time for them to
place links on their web site and begin sending traffic your
way. The advertising creative that you supply to your
affiliates should be well thought out. Text links have
become an important part of any affiliate program as the success
rate of traditional banner ads has diminished. Other
popular creative include flash ads, submission and search forms,
product images, etc.
Be sure your links are categorized
into intuitive categories so affiliates can easily obtain the
links of interest. You affiliate software should allow
affiliates to easily copy and paste the links onto their web
site. Highlight top selling products and key categories to
promote. Include information on best converting links and
seasonal products. When new links are added to your
affiliate program, send the links to your affiliates by email.
In Affiliate Wiz this is accomplished in the tools section using
"Email Affiliate Links to
Congratulations, now that you have successfully recruited
affiliates, your traffic volume should increase. Along
with increased traffic should come higher sales. It is
vital that you monitor your affiliate program to see which
affiliates are providing the best conversion. Use the
"Clicks, Leads, Sales Summary" report in Affiliate Wiz to
monitor conversions. Consider raising the payout rates for
your top performing affiliates to entice them to optimize their
affiliate marketing strategy.
Now that your affiliates are driving revenue-generating
traffic to your merchant web site, it may be time to reward the
affiliates by sending them their commission check. To earn respect
from your affiliates, it is important to pay them at regular
intervals. Paying on a monthly basis is a reasonable
period. Most merchants choose a minimum payout such as $50
to avoid printing checks for a low amount. Affiliates who
earned less than the payout amount will continue to accrue
commissions until they meet the minimum payout. You might
also consider using PayPal
to pay your affiliates. Affiliate Wiz supports exporting
the payment data for upload to PayPal, or for importing into
accounting software such as Quicken and Quick Books.