You may remember some of the ways to communicate with your network from our Getting Started article (including in-app email and integrations with Mailchimp and Klaviyo). In addition to basic communication, here are a several ideas and best practices for motivating your crew:
Make sure your affiliates have the tools they need:
As a merchant managing your brand's affiliate program, your job is to make your affiliates’ job as easy as possible. Be authentic, send them information about specials, holiday promotions and upcoming new product releases. Don’t simply send them a graphic and say “post this.” Make sure your affiliates are educated on what your company’s larger marketing strategy is focused on -
Educate your affiliates in your communication (newsletters, emails, etc):
What’s the best way to showcase your brand/products? Is it via images on Instagram? Is it via a demo - better on TikTok or YouTube?
Provide affiliates with bullet points on what works to convert customers who are just finding out about your brand
What are hashtags you’ve noticed are popular for your brand/vertical/target customer/competitors? Let your affiliates know what these are!
You, as the merchant, will always know your target customer profile better than your affiliates. Make sure your affiliates know what you know to make their posts and promotions more successful.
Your communication to affiliates may often be repetitive. That’s okay! People need to be reminded of things. Make sure they know where in their affiliate portal they should go to access what they need.
Provide creative (so they don’t have to). Refersion lets affiliates self-serve in many ways, making your job easier. But if the creative piece is a blocker for one of your key promoters, this is a simple solution that won’t take you long.
Advise affiliates to use images over text! Images are typically more effective in getting someone’s attention
Even low-performing affiliates are accomplishing the goal of brand awareness
Even if affiliates post ONE extra time per month based on the tools you provide, this could result in exponentially more sales
Getting Affiliates to Sign Up:
Most importantly: Have an exciting elevator pitch about your brand
Is your website easily found online? Is your registration page easy to find?
Talk about your affiliate program regularly on your social media channels & provide sign-up links
Make your affiliate program a regular part of your general marketing cadence and/or post-sales marketing
More advanced options:
Do you have the budget to enlist an agency for help?
Explore tools that comb through your social media following to target who could be a good potential ambassador
Know your vertical! Who is your ideal customer, and who is TALKING to your ideal customer?
Follow hashtags for your brand to see who is talking about you / engaging in those comments
If you’re a vertical-focused brand, seek out celebrities in your space (beauty, health & wellness, etc).
If you have a small budget:
Stay within your vertical
Find LOCAL affiliates (local businesses, local news, local politics)
Use your customer list to find potential influencers
Promote your brand ambassadors on your social channels
How Can I Build a Community for my Affiliates?
More engagement makes affiliates feel like a bigger part of the brand. Meet affiliates where they meet you & give them an opportunity to connect w/other ambassadors
Group Slack channels
DM groups on Instagram
SMS (example of agency = Yotpo) -- SMS = the future of communication with both customers AND affiliates
Interview top-performers and share insights with community
Send an announcement. From your Message Center, you can send affiliates an announcement to cut through the noise — something like: “Hop Aboard the Flash Sale Train!” Affiliates assigned to that offer will see the announcement from their Dashboard.
Reach out directly, anytime. From Manage>Affiliates, click Export at the top right of the affiliate list. You'll receive an email with a CSV containing all of your affiliates, their emails, statuses, addresses, and other info about them. You can send a personalized thank you email to your top performers, or even send some swag to their house.
Tips for working with Publishers:
Building relationships with publishers takes time. Most larger publishers don’t start new partnerships with merchants in Q4, but Q4 can be used to start to reach out to these publishers and build the relationship for future months.
Refersion’s top 50 brands:
25% - 40% of their overall revenue is driven by affiliates.
It’s a channel you need to invest in over time. It’s iterative and requires constant management, experimentation, etc.
There are no quick wins!
Some of the most successful programs have a small - but very loyal - group of affiliates. Quantity is great, but quality is more important. If you have the bandwidth to have BOTH, then that’s ideal.
Set up a tiered commission structure so affiliates can see an opportunity to earn more based on their performance.
Keep up with your company’s reviews!! Incentivize / prompt customers to leave reviews. More important now than ever. Most (98%) customers look to reviews before making a purchase.
Purchase likelihood peaks when the average star rating of a product is between 4.2 and 4.5 stars. Negative reviews help establish trust and authenticity. Don’t worry about or delete bad reviews! Best practice is to provide great customer support and respond to the review in a timely manner.
How to encourage customers to leave a review: 73% of customers say they’d be motivated to write a review if they were offered an incentive: example - Tiered rewards like points, coupon codes, gift cards, % off next purchase. You can incentivize based on the type of review: i.e. videos worth more than static text post, etc.
Increase your access to zero-party data: This is when customers give you data/info about themselves willingly. You can use this to pass along to your affiliates to help them reach your target audience more efficiently.