Ahh…affiliate onboarding. It’s one of the most important aspects of starting an affiliate program – and one you can’t afford to neglect!

Let’s face it: There are a lot of affiliate programs out there, and everyone does things a little differently. Affiliates might generally know what to expect, but in order to empower them to be their best, you want to make sure they’re prepared to succeed from the get-go.

In this post, we cover 5 quick tips for setting up your affiliate onboarding process to help you welcome your affiliates and get them promoting with ease.

1. Think about everything from the affiliate’s perspective

When setting up your affiliate onboarding process, consider all aspects from the affiliate’s perspective. Think about what you would want to know or have access to if you were a new affiliate, including:

Consider creating a “getting started” guide with all of the most important information your affiliates need. This not only makes the onboarding process smoother for them; it also cuts down on the amount of support you (or your affiliate managers) need to provide.

Also think about your target market; Is there any related information you’re willing to share with your affiliates? If you’ve already studied your audience, why not pass along those insights?

For example, do you know where your prospects hang out online? What topics they want more of? What keywords they search for? What competitors they consider? Affiliates can take that information and turn it into sales for your product.

2. List your terms and conditions in plain English

When was the last time you enjoyed reading through a mind-numbing set of overly-complex terms and conditions? My guess is…never?

Too much technical jargon and excessive information can intimidate your affiliates – and maybe even turn them off of your program entirely. Keeping this stuff simple helps you onboard your affiliates faster and leaves less room for confusion and misunderstandings.

As much as possible, try to create your terms and conditions in plain English – there’s no need for anything more complicated!

3. Help affiliates make their first sale

Part of onboarding affiliates is actually motivating them! After all, you want them to actually be enthused about promoting your products, right?

Momentum is a powerful thing, and helping your affiliates make their first sale can be all it takes to catapult them into becoming thriving members of your team.

This can be as simple as guiding them to the right products for their audiences, giving them trendy creatives, or offering marketing suggestions for first-time affiliates. If there are certain products that convert particularly well, let them know!

If you can, you could even send your affiliates success stories to give them good examples to follow; Illustrating some promotional techniques or strategies that have worked for you or others in the past helps to give them a head start!

4. Make communication easy

In order to get to know your affiliates and build meaningful relationships with them, it’s important to foster a sense of trust and transparency. Communication should be straight-forward and easy. After all, you want your affiliates to feel comfortable investing in your program – and you want them to stick around, too!

Whether you oversee everything yourself or you have an affiliate manager, make sure your affiliates know who they should talk to if they have questions or concerns, and make it as easy as possible for them to get in touch.

It might also be worth setting up an automatic follow-up one month after affiliates join just to check in with them and see how they’re doing. This makes it easy (and inviting) for them to respond to you with questions or concerns if they haven’t already.

5. Make them feel welcome

If you want your affiliates to thrive, they should feel welcome as a part of your team – and that all starts with onboarding.

If possible, give them something. You could give them a copy of your product, a free trial, a demo, or a branded t-shirt, for example. This not only helps to make sure they really understand the product they are promoting; it also helps to establish good rapport.

You also might invite them to Facebook groups, forums, or relevant Slack teams. Or, maybe you decide to introduce them to your existing team in some creative way, such as putting a spotlight on them in your newsletter.

The bottom line is that you want to set up your onboarding process to make your affiliates feel like they are a part of something – like they just joined a cool club and they’re warmly welcomed.

That’s the gist

While there are all kinds of things you can do to make your affiliate onboarding process as effective as possible, these are just a few of our top tips to get the ball rolling. To recap:

  • Think about what information and resources are needed from the affiliate’s perspective
  • Use plain English for your terms and conditions to avoid confusion
  • Boost your team’s momentum by helping new affiliates make their first sale
  • Make it easy for them to communicate with you
  • Welcome affiliates and make them feel like a part of your team

What tips do you recommend when it comes to setting up an affiliate onboarding process? Did we miss something in this post? Contribute to the conversation and leave us a comment below!

Mandy Jones

About the author: Mandy Jones is a product marketing specialist at Sandhills Development, a music maker, and digital product creator. A Minnesota native, she's a frequent traveler and animal lover with a passion for creative work and digital business. When she’s not writing blog posts and doing other marketing stuff for Easy Digital Downloads and AffiliateWP, she can often be found hanging out with other people’s pets.


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