While you are building your affiliate program, after having started and found your affiliates, you’ll soon come across a new challenge: affiliate onboarding.
This is the process of creating a positive relationship with your affiliates and it will be crucial to the success of your affiliate program. In order to see the success of individual affiliates, you will have to create a good relationship with every one of them, thereby creating a web of successful affiliate partnerships.
Why do I need to do it?
Affiliate onboarding is that first step to creating a strong and lasting relationship with your affiliate partners. It is their first impression of you, so it is important you get it right. Your aim is to get your affiliates comfortable with your program, and ready to start promoting your business. This will involve good communication, guidance and support from you and your team from the moment they sign up.
After all, it’s important for any affiliate program that both partners believe in the business, so that your affiliate partner can eagerly and confidently promote it to their audience, creating a more effective sale.
Affiliate onboarding is also important to the overall growth of your affiliate program. Mainly it will affect affiliate retention. How you recruit your affiliate partners will affect their decisions to work with you in the future. It is an ongoing relationship that you must nurture. The more active affiliates you have promoting your business, the more visitors will convert into customers.
Be ready for affiliates
Before you approach any partners, it would be best to make sure that you have everything in place to move forward. Test your integration and set up your program details ready to present to your partner, such as cookie time and payout methods. Have your Terms of Service agreement ready and your marketing materials ready to be uploaded as your partner needs them. Set up your email triggers and welcome messages and create a sign-up page on your site for affiliates to find you.
Communicate the details of your program with your affiliates. It’s important to be transparent and upfront to establish trust. You can share all the details listed in initial emails, like welcome emails or getting started guides, but it has to be upfront.
Outline the commission, including how much the affiliate is due and on what basis. Is it flat rate or a percentage of the sale? Following that outline the payout details. When will they get paid, and by what method?
Tell them what cookie length you’re looking at, referring to the amount of time between the last click and the conversation. The affiliate will then be credited for the amount of time until the conversation.
Lastly, refine your Terms of Service. Establish the parameters of your program, finalising the agreement between your brand and affiliates. This can include promotion restrictions, like prohibiting Pay-Per-Click campaigns on certain keywords or spamming tactics. This allows your affiliates to understand the finer details of your agreement.
Communicate with your affiliates
A big part of establishing trust is making sure that your or your team is available to your partners whenever they need you. Give them various means of getting in touch, so it doesn’t seem like you are avoiding them. Give them an email address that they can submit affiliate-related questions to, whether that is to you or a team member.
In addition, consider a video meeting to establish a connection with your affiliate partners to put a face to the brand. It would be useful for new affiliates looking for a more in-depth conversation, sometimes for no other reason than to establish trust.
Perfect your material
Have your marketing material ready to go so that your affiliate partners can start promoting right away. Look over all your image banners, Tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube and Vimeo videos, text links, product feeds and HTML5 banners.
Your partners can then share your materials directly or incorporate them into their regular content. Having them ready will make it easier for your affiliate to get started with including them in their content, which means they can get started right away and they will know exactly what you are looking for.
Make it a personal experience
Everyone loves exclusivity. As much as a car salesman says, “This is the car for you”, you can say “this affiliate program wants you because you’re…”. Tell your affiliate partners why you want to work with them, pointing out past projects that impressed you. Each of your affiliates will be at different levels of experience, so you should also tailor your approach to aid that. You can explain in more detail the ins and outs of your program to affiliates new to the process or skip the details when approaching a seasoned player.
This goes as far as the customers they are reaching. Approach affiliates that cater to the demographic you’re looking for and let them know that is who they are trying to reach, so that they can appeal to that demographic.
For more information, or more personalised advice, book a free call with a member of our team.