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Tips & Guides — 16 Aug 2022

How to start a successful partner program?

First Steps To Creating A Successful Partner Program

What is the first step for brands looking to launch their partner program? Some may think the answer is to find suitable partners, but a whole process precedes that. Thus, it’s critical to formalize your goals and performance metrics before launching any marketing initiatives, which goes for partner marketing too.

Launching a successful partner program in only 6 steps

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To help you better understand how to create a partner program, this article will show strategies to set clear OKRs and KPIs based on your goals. We will advise you on how to start implementing objective measures to develop a well-structured action plan for you and your team.

What should be the goals for your partner program?

When discussing new relationships, we strongly advise establishing long-term and short-term business goals. Partnerships should provide immediate benefits as well as foster long-term collaboration. Three goals are typically most commonly used for partner program objectives. Let’s look at both goals and objectives:

Increase sales: This is the most popular goal of companies developing partner programs. Here, the goal is to increase the number of new customers in your company. In this case, it is always beneficial to set clear numerical goals. With this in mind, it is possible to set precise goals, for example, increasing new customer acquisition by 15% in the first three months.

Acquire new leads: This goal focuses on increasing the number of people in your database who have opted in to receive marketing communications. This way, you can convert new leads into permanent customers, which brings huge benefits for continuous marketing activities.

Build brand awareness: In this case, we are focusing on building trust and credibility for a brand by establishing a partner program. Partners will work to make your product and services relevant, spreading the word to their audience. On the other hand, you need to deeply understand your audience and think about the profile of partners that would help you reach your potential customers.

Preparing for the launch of a successful partner program

Establishing goals and objectives is an important first step. If goals are not outlined and widely known from the beginning, excellent partnership initiatives often fail in the implementation phase. Below, let’s see how to avoid mistakes and start on the right track:

Choose a solution for running a partner program

Some businesses consider joining an affiliate network, but this is not the best alternative for entrepreneurs and marketers as it is associated with high fees and doesn’t allow you to build relationships with your partners.

Another option for running your affiliate program is a SaaS platform like Affise Reach, which allows you to find and create relationships with affiliates and track and manage your campaigns without charging the high commission fees usually associated with traditional networks and agencies.

Define your target market

One of the essential things to consider when choosing which partners to work with is understanding the demographic you want to reach. This is especially important if you want to target an audience different from your primary customers and prospects.

For instance, teaming up with international partners can be helpful if you want to reach the same audience in a new location. After defining what prospects you want to reach, having a clear picture of potential partners, such as bloggers, influencers, and others, will help you achieve your goals.

Research the competition 

Competitors can help you define the best strategy, especially when developing and polishing your partner’s marketing plan. Evaluate your competitors’ tactics, copying the successful ones and improving the unsuccessful ones. Keep in mind that the main goal of this exercise is not only to obtain the necessary data but also to learn from it and take action based on your findings:

  • Get inspired for your upcoming plans and potentially new prospects: Some of your competitors are better than others. You can find out what works and what does not by observing and comparing the progress of competing partner programs (commission rates, ads, offers, promotions, etc.) and their evolution in network ranking, brand reputation, and conversion.
  • Investigate potential partners: You can target the same partners as your competitor. For that, identify their profile and get inspired while creating your partner’s best fit profile. Moreover, you can contact these partners with a comparable or better offer.

Make sure your business model benefits from partner marketing

Partner marketing can benefit any business model and become a source of exponential profits, especially for eCommerce and online subscription businesses. By searching online for terms like “[competitor’s brand] + affiliate program,” “[competitor’s brand] + partnerships,” and others, you can find out and check how the partner program of big brands, such as Amazon, works.

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Create a competitive offer 

For partners, you compete with other merchants as you do with other brands for customers. For this reason, developing a distinctive and alluring offer is crucial. Your offer will be essential for attracting future partners. 

There are a few strategies you can think about while creating your offer. For instance, you can support new partners. One way to help them to develop into partner marketing is by offering training and collateral marketing materials. Another strategy is to provide relatively high commission rates to attract high-quality affiliates to your program.

Another essential point to consider is selecting the best alternative for your partner program’s payout structure. For example, a different payout model or strategy might work best depending on the product you sell: a subscription product works better with a CPL model, a bulk product can be promoted with a coupon, and so on.

How to create affiliate offers

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To sum up

In this article, we point out the first steps to start a successful partner program. Skipping or not paying attention to any of the steps mentioned here may lead to stress in the future. Before we finish, let’s recap the first steps mentioned here: 

Select a solution to run an affiliate program. We recommend a SaaS platform that will save you time and provide the tools you will need over time.

Define your target market.  Understand the audience you want to reach. Then determine which partners are best suited for that, such as bloggers, influencers, and others.

Research the competition. Learn from your competitors and evaluate their tactics. 

Make sure your business model benefits from affiliate marketing. Research your business model in depth and look for examples of partner programs from large companies to learn more about how they work and if they fit your business model.

Create a competitive offer. If you want to attract the best partners to your program, you should develop a good offer first.

If you want to start building your partner program in practice and explore a set of features designed to give you autonomy and grow revenue, you should consider Affise Reach. It’s a complete and modern SaaS tool that will allow you to build your partner program with all the support you need.

With Reach, you can find affiliates and contact them without any intermediaries. Another benefit is that the platform has an intuitive and customizable dashboard, giving companies and partners a good user experience.

Manage your successful partner program from scratch with Affise Reach

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Andressa Lara

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Andressa is a Content Marketer passionate about art and technology. She is curious, ambitious, creative, and motivated to learn new skills. She wants to write good stories that inspire businesses and also people. When she's not writing, she loves to travel and discover cultures from around the world.

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