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You are ready to set up your own affiliate program, but you realise that some affiliate programs seem to get better results than others. How do you increase affiliate enthusiasm and engagement, grow your list faster, and delight your affiliates into making you (and themselves) even more money?

Here are 20 Tips To Help Others Sell For You

  1. Start with a great offer.

This might seem basic, but it’s worth pointing out that this is your foundation, so build it carefully and make sure it absolutely fills your ideal customer’s most pressing need: Everything else you add (like great affiliate resources or big commissions) is actually just icing on the cake.

No affiliate is going to want to put serious time and effort into promoting a product that doesn’t stand out or risks generating refunds.

  1. Check out your competition.

Sometimes marketers forget that affiliates may be torn between two products, when it comes to which one to promote. If you have a great product that your affiliate is already a big fan of, that’s great. If she is trying out two similar products, though (yours and your competitor’s), and both are equally matched, sometimes a great affiliate program with better commissions and better resources can tip the balance in your favor.

  1. Never be late with affiliate payments!

If you’ve made a commitment to pay on the fifteenth of the month, make sure there is enough money in your account and those payments go out like clockwork. One late payment and you risk losing your more professional affiliates. Super affiliates in particular will not waste their time on someone who can’t pay.

  1. Make your affiliates look good.

A strong reputation will make good affiliates want to promote your products. You get this simply by delivering what you promised (and preferably a little bit more). If you offer to sell people a hammer, don’t deliver a nail.

Your affiliates are investing in you and giving you their trust when they recommend and refer people to your landing pages. Make sure the people they send have reason to thank them – and click on their next link!

  1. Listen to your affiliates.

Many of them will be more experienced than you are, when it comes to effectively promoting your type of product or service package.

If they want a different type of banner, create it (or have it created). If they ask questions, be there to answer them (or make sure you have someone assigned as their liaison).

  1. Create new FAQs or Tip Sheets from affiliate questions and requests.

Never think of questions and support problems as a waste of time. What they provide is a way to make your affiliate resource section even more helpful. If you repeatedly get the same complaints about tracking issues, for example, write a tip sheet on tracking that addresses these complaints. (And you will also save time, the next time someone complains, by being able to point them to the tip sheet.)

  1. Take into account your affiliates’ personalities, when setting up your offers and links, and tailor your resources to accommodate the different personality types.

It helps to know how many of your affiliates are:

  • Confident and comfortable with affiliate marketing – These affiliates don’t mind directly promoting links to products, and asking for the sale. They are more likely to grab your banner ads.
  • Uneasy about affiliate marketing – This type of more introverted marketer is often comfortable with reviewing products and providing a link or with promoting freebies.
  • “Super affiliates” – Long-time, established pros who get big results and often make affiliate marketing their career. Make sure you have lots of professionally-produced and proofed, top-level resources for this group. (Brandable PDFs they can re-brand for their list members are resources you’ll often see this group use.)
  1. Remember that Super Affiliates will require proof.

They’ve seen it all and done it all. Before they invest valuable time, they will want to see if your product is worth promoting. Send them screenshots of your tracking results, website traffic conversions or results from other affiliates (keep the names anonymous).

But even if you don’t have a big list, remember that if your product is genuinely unique and exciting enough, it’s still worth offering to send a review copy to the Super Affiliate fraternity.

  1. Don’t waste Super Affiliates’ time!

When you first approach a super affiliate through email, be up front about what you want, how your product would please their particular lists members and what you can offer as a reward or incentive.

Give them only the pertinent facts. And remember that your job is to make sure your Super Affiliate’s followers and subscribers think that she is a life-saving or life-enhancing heroine for recommending your product.

  1. Make your approach email stand out.

Imagine that top affiliates get dozens of requests for reviews and JV partnerships every day. How do you think they feel when they see these run-of-the-mill requests?

Now what can you do to customize your subject line and body content to make your request (a) get opened (b) stand out from the crowd?

Think of the biggest benefit your offer will bring the affiliate or her list members. Use that to catch her attention.

Nothing puts potential affiliates off faster than an obviously-“bulk” autoresponder request.

Write personally. And this is worth repeating: Keep it short. Let them know if there is potential for extra commission. Build your request round why your product is perfect for their audience – and a great complement to their own product.

  1. Approach those whose related products you have already recommended on your own blog, when first looking for affiliates (especially if these recommendations are long-standing).

Who better to promote your products than people in your industry who already have reason to think a lot of you, or be grateful?

  1. Make it easy for Super Affiliates!

Let them know their account is totally set up and ready to go, complete with review copy of your product. All they have to do is claim their affiliate link and grab their resources.

  1. Consider using Snail Mail

In spite of making perfect pitches via email, these may never be read… Even with great subject lines.

If you go to the extra effort of sending a proposal by snail mail, your potential affiliate may go to the extra effort of reading it.

You will need to decide whether or not to send just a query letter or a review package. If your product presents well physically, send a package, with a couple of information sheets as well as your letter (but don’t make it too thick a package – that can feel like junk mail).

  1. Ask for referrals from your networking partners.

Remember how LinkedIn wants you to contact your first connections and ask for introductions to their connections? Well, you can apply this method and principle to seeking new affiliates.

Ask those you have already built a strong networking relationship with – industry peers and marketing friends – to introduce you to potential affiliates who would be a good match to you and your product.

  1. Follow up after first contact

One of the most common mistakes people make? Not following up on first contact, when requesting someone review and promote your product as an affiliate.

It doesn’t matter whether or not they responded: Follow up still needs to be done.

If they wrote and said something like “my plate is full right now but ask me again in August”, that gives you the perfect opening to write at the beginning of that month, reminding them of your conversation.

If you didn’t hear back, it’s still perfectly acceptable to contact them asking if they received your request, reminding them briefly of what you said.

  1. Let your new affiliates know you are available for interviews

Sometimes the best resource you can give your affiliates is – you! Give them your expertise and your time. Offer to be a guest on their webinars, podcasts, and radio talk shows.

And in addition to posts provided in your Affiliate Resource section, offer to write custom posts for your most active affiliates – and their audiences.

  1. Create custom bonuses and gifts especially for your affiliate’s subscribers.

This makes her look good – and she, in turn, will be only too pleased to promote you and your products!

  1. Create seasonal resources for your affiliates

Creating fresh, season-themed material can give your affiliates extra incentive to create new campaigns for your product.

  1. Create an Affiliate Marketing plan

Above all, don’t just fumble along. Create a plan, month by month, for each upcoming year. Mark it with mini-goals and goals.

Punctuate it with:

  • Affiliate Contests
  • Actual meet-ups between you and your affiliates
  • Regular updates to affiliate content and resources
  • Event or season-timed extra promotions

Then share your goals with your affiliates, stressing that these goals are:

  • Achievable
  • Specific

This will help build affiliate confidence.

  1. Organize your Affiliates

As you build your affiliate network, you will soon realize they are capable of being categorized.

You will find yourself being able to identify specific groups such as:

  • Active affiliates
  • Occasional affiliates
  • Inactive affiliates
  • Affiliates who prefer specific types of promotions (e.g. freebies for lead generation only; sales only; bonuses and brandable reports for their own subscribers; writing reviews only; running contests only).

Organizing these natural groups into separate lists will allow you to easily target them with tailored content and incentives, analyze their results much more accurately, tighten your affiliate approval process – and deactivate chronically inactive affiliates.

You’ll gain a much clearer picture of where to concentrate or improve your efforts on your affiliates’ behalf to give all of you much better, more measurable results.

Plus One Bonus Tip To Help Others Sell For You

Create an affiliate community

If you want to keep people promoting your products and packages, you need to stay in constant touch. They have to want to promote your products; not just because the latter are great products, but because they like you. They feel you’ve got their backs, and appreciate their efforts (as well as rewarding them!)

To do this, you need to:

  • Maintain a conversation
  • Post new material in the affiliate center
  • Send out regular emails
  • Give your affiliates unscheduled, juicy “goodies”
  • Answer questions
  • Ask questions
  • Help, acknowledge – and thank your affiliates

Keep the focus on “helping” rather than “selling” – and encourage your affiliates to do this too.

Realising how important your affiliates are and letting them know you appreciate them in tangible and verbal ways can help you create an inspired affiliate team that out-performs even their own expectations.

What would you add to the list?


Sarah Arrow

Sarah Arrow is the content director at Leads / Launch / Leverage, the site where superhero entrepreneurs achieve digital marketing success by focusing on just 3 simples things.