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Tips & Guides — 01 Jul 2022
How to Create a Captivating Partner Portal
Partnerships drive higher revenues and brand awareness — no wonder a great chunk of businesses prioritizes partner marketing over other marketing channels. However, co-marketing brings the desired outcomes only when partners are engaged with a program.
Attempting to win over channel partners is a pain in the neck for many merchants. To tackle this issue, businesses may utilize partner portals. If employed right, this solution can help companies build strong, long-lasting relationships with partners and boost their partner program success.
The definition of a partner portal boils down to the self-service website or application, which facilitates partners’ marketing efforts. Ultimately, portal users can utilize these platforms to access the necessary resources and tools, undergo training, collaborate, and so on.
Below, you can see the homepage of Salesforce’s partner community. The company is famous for its CRM and partner management software, so it provides an A+ example of a partner portal. Their website for channel partners includes platforms for collaboration and training, a schedule of events, blog posts, and more.
It doesn’t matter what sector — B2B or B2C — a company operates in. Utilizing a partner portal can change the game for all businesses specializing in indirect sales and relying on partner marketing.
The merits partner portals may bring to the table can’t be overstated. However, it’s not always the case. Many of these platforms flounder to attract visitors, and, thus, all efforts put into creating portals fall flat. Worse, businesses don’t reap the benefits they potentially could. To help you prevent such a scenario for your business, let’s unpack the main tips to build an appealing partner portal.
The best tactic you can stick to is approaching your partner portal as carefully as you would approach your customer portal. And the cornerstone of a well-performing portal is seamless user experience. It means your partner portal should be easy to navigate.
Start with the moment a new user enters your portal — employ a single sign-on. Thus, your channel partners can access all your resources with unified credentials. For instance, this tactic is used in the Salesforce community, so partner account username and password fit for the partner portal, CRM, and marketing cloud.
To make navigation on your partner portal easy, stick to the following rules:
A partner portal is a perfect solution to provide your partners with fresh marketing materials and offers, educate them about your product or service, broaden their expertise, and so on. To take advantage of these opportunities, you may need to think through how you share information with portal users.
The first step is to find out what data your partners need the most to work efficiently. Try to explore use cases — what steps your partners take to achieve their marketing goals and where they stumble upon. The most frequent barriers due to the lack of information are exactly what you need to spot.
To meet the need for specific information, consider incorporating a FAQ section or a knowledge base into your partner portal. It may come in different shapes and sizes. For instance, in Affise, network managers can add links to their affiliate panel, so partners can access the necessary information from their dashboard. Such databases help your partners not only learn more about your partner program, pricing, or tools but also streamline their marketing processes.
If you decide to provide partners with online training, adapt your portal to eLearning. For instance, you can integrate a learning management system into your partner website. This solution will help administrate, track, and automate your learning program.
Precise knowledge bases, document templates, marketing playbooks, and well-designed online courses can either make or break your partner portal. There are few things more frustrating than spending hours exploring outdated content. Getting into such a situation may completely repel channel partners from your portal.
So, consider making a habit of banishing content that is no longer relevant. You may set the cleaning schedule according to your capabilities and the content obsolescence rate. During the regular cleans, optimize the content that requires minor corrections and relentlessly get rid of the out-of-date pieces.
Another thing that makes portal users irked is a contradiction between various pieces of content. To avoid it, appoint the persons in charge of the content on your partner portal. You may assign various roles for your teammates. Some have permission to post and edit content, others — comment, and third — read only. It will help you keep your brand messaging clear and consistent.
To run customer portals successfully, brands set KPIs and measure the site performance. The same strategy should be applied to partner portals. This practice allows you to evaluate if running a portal brings desirable results. Apart from it, monitoring the effectiveness lets you spot the areas that need improvements and hypothesize on changing a portal and a partner program in general.
To gauge your partner portal and program success, you may adhere to the following KPIs:
Apart from that, you may stick to other indicators of partner success depending on what your industry implies and what analytics opportunity your partner portal has. Learn about more ways your business can benefit from analytics and the useful features of statistics software in our intuitive guide.
Active communication and discussions are a surefire way to build a close-knit partner community around your brand. When a company interacts with channel partners regularly, it increases their loyalty and engagement. On top of that, communication helps partners improve their marketing results and broaden their expertise as they share insights and best practices.
Consider creating an opportunity for communication on your partner portal. Your partners need a built-in platform for communication, which is accessible without efforts or technical issues. To make interactions between partners more native and convenient, you may implement social collaboration tools such as tagging.
Another point to consider is partner activity in a community. Users are more likely to get involved in lively discussions and avoid adding comments into inactive threads. Thus, you may put some effort into creating new topics to discuss and actively share your opinion as well.
All of the tips listed above are a must for creating a partner portal your channel partners would be happy to visit. However, the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t provide 100% efficiency when it comes to building a partner portal, as the latter should be customized for your business needs. Thus, the partner portal main parts would change depending on the industry and type of business.
A partner portal does not necessarily require a stand-alone software solution. The same functionality may be a part of your overall business or partner management solution, as it does in Affise. Let’s explore what partner portal features Affise provides for affiliate marketing businesses.
Offers are a core element of affiliate marketing; thus, businesses need a careful management system for them. In Affise, network managers can create, configure, alter, and delete offers. The data related to them — the number of partners connected to the offer, conversions — is also available in this section. In their turn, affiliate partners may see offers they can take for promotion or already promoting and join interesting offers.
To make browsing through offers more convenient for publishers, Affise classifies them into three tabs:
Thus, affiliates can find offers more quickly in the needed categories.
Affise has a set of features for partner relationship management (PRM), which allow businesses to handle relationships with their affiliates successfully. You may start in the Affiliates section. You can create new affiliates manually and add them through the Import option or API if you need advanced customization.
Apart from it, there are options to search for a specific affiliate by ID, name, status, assigned manager. Moreover, you can filter affiliate partners by various criteria, such as their balance.
A great option to manage current partners is Affiliate Statuses. This feature allows you to filter and moderate publishers by four statuses — active, not active, banned, on moderation. Only active affiliates can access the affiliate panel.
The Affiliate Statuses feature relates to bot registrations prevention. To employ it, you may set the pre-moderation type for registration, so all new partners will have the on moderation status. Thus, a network manager can approve them manually and make sure only quality affiliates can access your offers.
There are a bunch of other ways to prevent bot registrations in Affise. Among them are setting more mandatory custom registration fields, enabling captcha for affiliates registration, and blocking registrations from specific locations. Read more about these options in the How to prevent affiliate fraud with Affise article.
Network managers may also need to manage advertisers. They can add and export advertisers using the ‘Advertisers’ section in their Admin panel.
Modern businesses should make data-driven decisions rather than relying on gut feelings. Thus, Affise has a robust set of analytics features to help you track your channel partners’ activity and performance.
A great option to start is a statistics summary, which encompasses more than a dozen various slices. All dashboards are fully customizable, so you can create your own layers of statistics and fine-tune reports according to your needs. For instance, below is the monthly performance statistics, which shows Countries, OS, earnings by affiliate managers, account managers, advertisers, and affiliates.
Another feature popular among Affise customers is Drilldown reports, which allows you to put several pieces of data on a single page. Thus, you can group your reports by an account manager, advertiser, affiliate, offer, and more.
Aside from the standard options, you may employ custom statistics, which allows you to view some specific and detailed data for a particular time frame. You can filter this data by nine criteria and create filter presets, so you don’t have to activate each needed tick all the time.
If you represent an affiliate network, you can share statistics with your advertisers. All you need to do is to create an advertiser account, add the email address to it, send the password to an advertiser, and share the link to a report.
As your channel partners, affiliates also can monitor their statistics in the Statistics section in their profiles. In the Statistics table, they can see their traffic, conversions, and finances. Keeping an eye on it helps affiliates stay on the same page with advertisers and avoid disagreements about performance and payouts.
Though Affise doesn’t have a built-in forum or social platform, it provides profuse communication opportunities for partners. The main of them is the ticketing system which allows affiliates to seek support. An affiliate can ask a question via the Support section. Here they also can see the list of tickets and their statuses.
Network managers see and manage ordered tickets in the eponymous section. Here, they can filter, add, activate, close, remove, reject tickets and reply to them. Apart from it, there is an option to send an outgoing ticket to any affiliate.
Affise also has an out-of-the-box solution to notify channel partners about the company’s updates, marketing campaigns, special offers, and so on. It’s the News feature available both in the merchants’ and affiliates’ accounts. The most important news can be pinned to get more attention. Also, advertisers and network managers may apply custom colors to make the piece of information more noticeable.
A partner portal is a complex undertaking, which implies a lot of moving parts, but may bring in much more than you’ve spent on building it. The main thing to consider is your partner portal customization for your business needs.
If you look for a solution to improve communication with your partners and streamline your processes, give Affise a try. Thanks to the robust set of features, Affise lets you efficiently manage offers, marketing materials, and publishers.
If you have doubts or questions about whether Affise fits your needs as a partner portal functionally provider, you can test it and decide for yourself. Start with our 30-day free trial to make up your mind.
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