Don’t Underestimate The Importance of Loyal Affiliates
So, you have a decent little affiliate program. Great. But one thing some merchants (don’t worry, we’re not pointing fingers here) can overlook is the importance of retention.
One of your top priorities should be creating loyal, long-lasting affiliates. Think of how many competitors are out there. Now think about what’s stopping your top affiliates from working with them. Not a whole lot, eh?
Luckily, there are some steps you can take to build a faithful, exclusive affiliate program.
1. Worthwhile Payouts
It should go without saying, but your affiliates have joined your program because they, well, want to make money. You need to have an understanding of what your direct competitors are offering in terms of commissions. Next, you’ll need to evaluate what you’re offering. Is it in the same ballpark? Is it way less?
You need to make sure you aren’t being eclipsed by your competitors because, sooner or later, that’s where your affiliates will go. Affiliates want the better deal. And can you really blame them for that?
2. Keep In Touch
One of the simplest ways to foster a loyal affiliate base is often forgotten: just stay in touch! If you want to build a long term relationship with your affiliates, it’s key to personally interact with them. Sending out emails thanking them for their work or congratulating them on hitting a certain milestone are two beneficial tactics. A little positive reinforcement and encouragement go a long way!
Feel free to pick their brains as well. There’s no shame in reaching out to your affiliates for feedback and suggestions. They may have some useful ideas about how to improve your program. And even if they don’t, you’re showing them that you value their opinion. Always add a human touch to your correspondence and keep the lines of communication open.
3. Create A Loyalty Program
It only makes sense that you should reward your best performing affiliates. These are the people you want to stay loyal and continue to drive sales for your business. You should be in close contact with your top performers and be willing to offer them special incentives.
Consider building a loyalty program, (e.g. the more sales an affiliate makes, the higher the commission). This mutually beneficial arrangement will help you build a good rapport with your best affiliates and incentivize them to stay with you.
4. Frequent Payments
Affiliates are people. And people LOVE instant gratification. That’s why you need to make sure you have a program in place that offers frequent payouts. The quicker you pay your affiliates, the happier they will be. You’ll want to make your payouts as close to instantaneous as possible.
With frequent payouts, your affiliates aren’t left wondering how they’re performing and when they’ll get paid for their work. That breeds impatience and annoyance. And, if your goal is retention, the very last thing you’ll want to do is create a conglomerate of irritated affiliates.
5. Knowledge Is Power
If you just throw your affiliates into a program and hope they know what to do, you may be making a crucial mistake. Some affiliates may not be familiar with your brand, its selling points, or have any real idea of how your program is set up. A bunch of overwhelmed and confused affiliates are not going to be able to perform well.
Needless to say, that’s not good. Their performance is paramount to them wanting to stay with you. If they can’t drive sales, they’re not getting paid. And if they’re not getting paid, they’ll be gone before long. Since their success is your success, it’s in your best interest to give them all the details about your product or service. It’s also a good idea to be in communication with them from the get-go in order to answer any questions.
Want some more insight into how you can retain affiliates? No sweat! The Coffee Time newsletter will teach you about 3 Even Simpler Ways To Create Loyal Affiliates.