How to get your affiliate program up and running this weekend
Already have your affiliate program planned and ready to go? Launching it isn’t as difficult as it might seem – and you can do it quickly if you make the right moves!
In order to get your new affiliate program up and running, the most important element is – well – the affiliates themselves! If you’ve got your structure in place, including things like your terms and conditions, commission rates / referral amounts, an affiliate platform, affiliate landing pages, creatives, the right cookie time period, and a plan for the products you want to promote, you can focus on a rapid-fire plan to draw affiliates out of the woodwork.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to get some affiliate action happening fast, so you can start bringing in the money!
First of all, you want to know what you’ve got to work with; you might have more lifelines at your disposal than you realize! Take a moment to recall and log all of the people and connections within your network, as well as all of the tools and resources you have access to. This can include customers, clients, colleagues, peers, partners, contractors, non-competing businesses in your industry, platforms, services, subscriptions, content creators, social media accounts, and any other pre-existing source of exposure, communication, and content. Once you have everything in front of you, it can be a lot easier to come up with ideas and a plan of action!
Make sure you have your ducks in a row
Do you have an affiliate platform, plugin, or system in place to handle sign-ups, manage accounts, commissions, and communications? Does it function seamlessly with your website? Be sure to avoid embarrassing hiccups and frustrating setbacks by checking for problems before you start recruiting affiliates. Have you decided on your terms and conditions, your product promotion strategy, chosen a cookie, designed your creatives, set your commission rates, and created affiliate landing pages? These are prerequisites that should be in order so you can get off to a running start. Be sure to check out some of our tips for launching a new affiliate program here, if you haven’t! Now, let’s talk affiliates…
The power of your existing customer base
Who are the people who already support your products and are more likely to have their own lines of business related to your industry? Your customers! These are the people who trust in you (and are interested in what you offer) enough to give you their hard-earned money – and you already know them well! Your existing customer base is not only prequalified to be affiliates by their trust, interest, and familiarity; they’re also more likely to have their own customer base that is relevant to your affiliate marketing efforts. Some of them might even have large social media followings, YouTube channels, or blogs with large audiences. So, what are some strategies you can use to get your customers (or others) onboard?
Send a newsletter to your mailing list
One of the best ways to reach your entire customer base quickly is with a newsletter. This gives you the opportunity to announce your program as well as all of the most important information prospective affiliates need to know, and can stand out in the customer’s inbox – particularly if they’re already interested in affiliate marketing. You can even send different newsletters to different segments of your mailing list. For example, you might decide to offer different deals, commission rates, and creatives to different types of customers based on the products they buy, their engagement patterns, or industry subsections.
Reach out on social media
With social media being a digital “world” of its own, social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are some of the best places to find affiliates. Posting on your company Facebook page, in your own Facebook group, in groups for affiliate marketers or related niche communities, on Twitter (with hashtags related to affiliate marketing, your industry, your products, or customer interests), on Instagram (in the form of posts, stories, or IGTV videos), or through LinkedIn posts and direct messages.
Facebook and Instagram ads can also be very productive if targeted correctly! You might run ads that are aimed at people who have shown interest in certain affiliate networks, affiliate marketing in general, live marketing events, blogging, passive income, “side hustles”, and the like. Or, you might decide to use social media to contact influencers, personalities within your niche, and other highly active community members who may respond well to cash incentives for promoting your affiliate program to their audiences.
Write a blog post on your site
You might also consider writing a blog post that announces your program and explains the details, along with any deals you’re offering. Pin the post to your homepage for maximum exposure – new and returning website visitors will see it every time! You can streamline the process by using the blog post as the foundation of your social media posts as well.
Come up with a good sign-up incentive
Want to get people acting fast? Show them some sign-up bonuses, incentives, or limited-time offers they can’t refuse! You might offer a special commission rate that’s exclusive to existing customers, offer a higher commission rate for the first week of the program, or a particularly killer deal for the first 10, 20, or 50 people who sign up. You could even offer cash bonuses like $100 for every 3 affiliates referred, or $100 if an affiliate converts a certain amount in two weeks. “Sign up today and get a $30 cash bonus!” gives an immediate payout to the affiliate with little work required on their end. Just remember that if you’re offering cash incentives, you’ll want to know how much you have to work with, and have some kind of cut-off point!
Offer quality, ready-to-use creatives
Making it as easy as possible for prospective affiliates to start promoting can add a lot to the appeal of your program – and offering quality creatives that are ready to use can be an effective incentive for getting people signed up in a timely manner. Combine the sense of urgency of a time-sensitive sign-up bonus with good creatives like well-designed banners, shareable social media graphics, and well-manicured ad copy in order to pack a lot of value into your offer, making your program too good to pass up. You might just open the flood gates! For visual banners, remember to take into account design specs such as dimensions, file size, and file format.
Utilize the king of content: video
Video is boss; it’s the one type of content that keeps proving itself over and over again, with no signs of slowing down. It’s one of the most effective media formats for engaging your audience, and it’s a way to communicate a lot in just a short time. If you don’t already, consider implementing video into your affiliate marketing strategy. “Showing face” can make the process much more personal, boosting your trustworthiness for prospective affiliates who aren’t already customers, and reinforcing the connection you have with your existing customers.
The weekend checklist
If you’re wondering how this all plays out over a single weekend, let’s take a look at the step-by-step process:
- Take inventory. Figure out what tools, resources, and connections you have to work with, so you can formulate your plan and know where to focus your efforts.
- Decide on incentives. Make a list of the different bonuses and incentives that you’ll be employing, organized by group (if applicable), such as “customers”, “influencers”, and “directory affiliates”.
- Set your commission rates. Assign any different commission rates within your affiliate platform or plugin. Make sure any the incentives you’ve decided on are factored in and functioning correctly. Test and test again!
- Get your creatives in order. This includes any banners, social media graphics, product descriptions, and copy you want your affiliates to use. You can create simple banners using image editing software (which is preferred), or web-based image editing applications.
- Double check any landing pages for your affiliate sign-up. Is the information correct? Are the right copy and graphics there? Are the incentives clearly listed?
- Create a welcome / recruitment video (if applicable). Get any video content uploaded, embedded, and ready to go.
- Create a a welcome newsletter, and include any resources and information your affiliates need to get started. For example, like, referral links, creatives, commissions, and payout information, as well as your direct contact information and, ideally, a personal message.
- Send a newsletter out to your mailing list. Announce your affiliate program, including all important details and any time-sensitive incentives or special offers.
- Post and/or advertise on social media. This can include your Facebook page, in a Facebook group, on Twitter, in an Instagram post, story, or live video, or on LinkedIn. Post unique content across the different social platforms if possible, and link to your affiliate landing page.
- Write a blog post on your website. Share the post in any relevant forums or groups, and pin the post to your homepage. It doesn’t need to be a novel! Just ensure it includes the relevant information and a bit of excitement to help generate interest in your program.
- Submit your program to affiliate directories. It can’t hurt to add variety to your recruiting efforts!
- Welcome your new affiliates!
After all of this effort, you want to be sure that your program is indeed ready for action! It wouldn’t be fun to get a bunch of affiliate sign-ups, only to get overwhelmed because you haven’t defined your commissions structure, your product promotion strategy, or worse – you simply don’t have the funds to pay out all of the sign-up bonuses you promised! You can get your affiliate program up and running this weekend, just be sure that you’re choosing the methods that work within your budget.
If you’ve got it all ready to go, it’s time to scan your existing customer base for affiliate possibilities. Get savvy, think outside the box, and take inventory of all the resources available to you; great affiliates can be found in some of the most unlikely places, so leave no stone unturned. Now, go forth and prosper!
What have you done to supercharge the launch of your own affiliate program? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!