One of the keys to running a fruitful affiliate program lies in understanding that not only should there be a robust affiliate recruitment strategy in place, but also a continuous activation of the recruited affiliates into becoming producing affiliates.
Affiliate activation is one of the most frequently overlooked components of affiliate program management, especially by newly launched programs.
Sooner or later, every merchant realizes that success is not measured by the numbers of recruited affiliates, but rather by the numbers of those whom are truly active.
Over the years of experimenting with different ways of motivating affiliates, I have realized that the best way to activate affiliates is to expose them to activation offers in each step of their interaction with the affiliate program.
Just as banners with a clear call to action outperform those that do not, affiliate programs with a compelling call to activation outshine other affiliate programs.
There are three phases of affiliate engagement… the recruitment phase, welcoming phase, and routine phase.
Here you want to motivate affiliates to not only join your program, but also to put up your links and refer their first orders/leads. This can be done by remunerating the desired actions with a tangible bonus or a commission increase.
This should be practiced throughout the recruitment process – from the outgoing e-mails soliciting affiliates to join the affiliate program, to the very text of the program description on the merchant’s website.
Stop your reading here and take a new look at the application approval e-mail that you are currently sending. Do you sound motivating enough for them to set aside their other projects and put up a few links for you? Does it inspire them to start a few new paid search campaigns to generate a couple of orders for your program within an X number of days after signing up?
Convincing calls to activation in the text of the welcome e-mails are like seeds falling on fertile soil. It is evident just from their application that they have intentions of promoting you. They applied, and you approved their application.
Don’t just send them a “welcome-aboard-you’ll-love-working-with-us” message. Offer them a reason to jump right on it, or you may well be put at the very end of that endless merchants-to-develop queue.
It is the routine that has “an unbelievable power to waste and destroy” (cf Henri de Lubac). Do not waste your affiliates’ time with predictable monthly newsletters. Turn this part of your routine into fun for them. Run especially aggressive monthly activation campaigns for the affiliates that are already in your program, but are not yet performing.
The market of affiliate programs will only continue to grow more and more competitive. If you want your program to succeed, make it stand out, and weave the calls to activation into the very structure of it.
Geno Prussakov is the Founder of AM Navigator, and author of “A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing” and “Online Shopping Through Consumers’ Eyes.”