How to Set Up Affiliate Marketing Relationships to Reach Success

Tips & Guides — 21 Sep 2020

Tips to Set Up Partner Relationships

How to Set Up Affiliate Marketing Relationships to Reach Success

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based online marketing that has been growing rapidly for the last decade. As marketers find new ways to promote products and services online, affiliate marketing continues growing and generating revenue for those who want to capitalize on it. 

Today, companies are expected to set up productive affiliate marketing relationships to reach success. To help you get started, this article explains how affiliate marketing works and how you can build strong affiliate marketing relationships. 

How does affiliate marketing work?

Any affiliate marketing relationship involves two parties – a vendor and an affiliate. A vendor refers to a business that’s looking to connect with a broader audience to increase sales. Vendors pay for every sale/conversion/click that an affiliate refers back to the vendor. An affiliate is an individual or business who advertises the vendor’s product and receives a share of revenue for every conversion they help generate. In order to track clicks and sales, typically an affiliate platform is being used.

In general, there are three payment structures that vary based on the personal preferences of vendors and affiliates. Affiliates can be paid a per click, per sale, or per lead. 

As many as 81% of marketers and 84% of publishers leverage the power of affiliate marketing to their advantage. And the research shows that affiliate marketing is here to stay. In fact, affiliate marketing spending is expected to eclipse the $8 billion mark by 2022. 

How to set up affiliate marketing relationships in 5 steps?

Now, as you have a basic idea of how affiliate marketing works, let’s dig deeper into understanding how to start affiliate marketing relationships. By following these five actionable steps, you can build strong affiliate marketing relationships and ultimately reach success. 

Step 1. Place the details on your website

As a vendor, the first thing you want to do is engage potential affiliates and let them know that you are interested in collaboration. The best way to do so is by placing the details visibly on your website. 

Have a registration form ready for those who would like to apply and walk your to-be affiliates through the application process. This will help you engage potential affiliates (e.g. content creators) who may be interested in your brand. 

Step 2. Initiate communication 

Now, as you’ve got a list of potential affiliates who are interested in partnering with you, how do you choose affiliates to work with? 

The key to successful affiliate marketing relationships lies in choosing affiliates who share the same niche as your brand does. This way, affiliates will deliver targeted traffic with higher conversion rates.

Initiate communication by regularly reviewing affiliate applications and sending out friendly emails to invite the best candidates into your affiliate program. Craft welcome emails that include your contact information and steps to help new affiliates get started. 

You can take the affiliate onboarding process to the next level by sending out automated emails. As a part of your affiliate onboarding efforts, create content with best practices and tips, and share those with your affiliates 

Another good tip is to share your expertise and experience of high tier affiliates to help the new affiliates get their first links live and keep them motivated

Step 3. Provide relevant information 

Once you’ve placed the details on your website and chosen affiliates to partner with, the next step is gathering and providing necessary resources. This implies up to date information that will help affiliates better promote your product. To help you get started, here’s a list of useful resources you can offer to your affiliates: 

  • Links
  • Text campaigns
  • Landing pages 
  • Banners
  • Product data feeds
  • Regular information on updates and promotions

You can share press releases, how-to guides, and other useful resources that will help affiliates build a comprehensive picture of your product. You can take it a step further and share marketing ideas to help them drive more traffic. 

Also, it’s important that you make sure to list clear terms of service. By sharing terms and conditions upfront, you will keep your brand safe from affiliates who create spam links to your products and other issues alike. 

Step 4. Segment your affiliates 

By segmenting your affiliates, you can develop unique strategies that will work best with each segment. One of the best ways to conduct affiliates’ segmentation is by rating them high, medium, and low. Let’s see how it works. 

  • 1
    High tier affiliates 
  • High tier affiliates pose strategic importance to your brand. They are often viewed as partners rather than merely affiliates. So, you should take the time to establish and maintain strong relationships with them. Provide your high tier affiliates with access to exclusive content and other extra benefits.
  • 2
    Medium tier affiliates
  • Medium tier affiliates generate a consistent level of net revenue. In general, these affiliates have a potential for continuing growth but are not yet as valuable as high tier affiliates. 
  • If you want to convert medium tier affiliates into high tier affiliates, create opportunities for more focused collaboration. Share the best practices and advice to help them improve revenues.
  • 3
    Low tier affiliates
  • Low tier affiliates are at the bottom of the affiliate framework. These are affiliates who generate minimal revenue over a continuous period of time. So, there is no need to spend too much time and effort supporting them. Even though it’s important to share the best practices to help low tier affiliates grow, it should not be at the expense of medium and high tier affiliates.

Step 5. Keep affiliates motivated 

Once you’ve segmented affiliates and completed the onboarding process, it’s easy to overlook the importance of keeping your affiliates motivated. That’s why motivating affiliates is the final step that will help you maintain successful affiliate marketing relationships.

 Keep your company in the affiliates’ minds by sending out a monthly newsletter. This will help you keep them engaged and informed about new offers, trends, and seasonal promotions. 

Make sure to show special attention to the high tier affiliates. Since, strategically, they are most important to your business, it’s better to target high tier affiliates with exclusive content and creatives.

Create content to keep your low tier affiliates motivated and help them increase traffic. You can use email as a medium to share the best tips and practices. Additionally, you can launch a bonus system to reward successful affiliates and keep the rest motivated. 

The bottom line

Finding affiliates and getting them to join your program is not even half of the battle. Most of the challenge comes in once you start building relationships with your new affiliates. Transparency and engagement are the key factors that will help you keep your affiliates motivated. 

Before you go, let’s quickly wrap up what you’ve learned today about building affiliate marketing relationships:

  • Any affiliate marketing relationship involves two sides – a vendor and an affiliate. For your affiliate relationship to be successful, both parties must be motivated and interested in the partnership. 
  • Setting up a successful affiliate marketing relationship requires you to follow five steps. 
  • Any affiliate marketing relationship starts with letting affiliates know that you’re interested in the partnership by posting relevant information on your website. 
  • To initiate communication with your to-be affiliates, you can send out friendly emails with all required information about your affiliate program. 
  • By sharing useful information and resources, you can keep your affiliates motivated and help them better promote your products. 
  • Following the Pareto Principle, about 80% of sales are generated by 20% of your affiliates. So, it’s useful to segment your affiliates based on their performance to allocate your resources better. 
  • Once you complete onboarding your affiliates, you must have a strategy in place to keep them motivated.

Congratulations! Now, you’re ready to launch a successful affiliate program!

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Head of PR and Marketing Communications

Anastasia Zaichko is a creative B2B marketer, passionate about helping companies achieve their sales, growth and visibility objectives. Weekdays she's all about identifying new opportunities for marketers to grow and get more value from affiliate channel. Weekends include traveling, partying and instagramming about all of the above. She strongly believes in the power of content, networking and the Universe.

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