What do affiliates want?
We all come to affiliate marketing in the knowledge it can skyrocket our sales.
What we find when we get started doesn’t always reflect this though.
Signing up engaged affiliates can seem impossible and we’re left wondering exactly what affiliates want.
We’re here to tell you it’s not as complicated as you might think, and it’s certainly within your reach.
What Makes a Successful Affiliate Program?
Ultimately a successful affiliate program is one that achieves your goals. As affiliate marketing can serve multiple functions (grow sales, attract leads, encourage email sign-ups, and more), each affiliate program is going to have a different definition of success.
One thing all of them will have in common though is that they work for both the merchant and the affiliate.
Without this mutual benefit, affiliate marketing breaks down. You’re working as a team, and the more you can put processes in place to make this more efficient, the better your results are going to be.
Successful affiliate programs allow affiliates and merchants to work together seamlessly to maximize each of their abilities. When done well, they can be extremely lucrative for both parties.
What Do Affiliates Want?
Based on our definition of what a successful affiliate program looks like, getting to know what your affiliates want is pretty important.
Of course, you’ve got to balance these wants with the needs of your business, but there’s plenty of room for a happy balance.
So, what do affiliates want?
1. Enticing Commission and Reliable Payment
As our title suggests, commission certainly isn’t everything when it comes to attracting affiliates. That being said, it’s still very important, and it’s probably one of the first things would-be-affiliates are going to look for.
Affiliate marketing isn’t the passive income dream some affiliates are sold. Instead, it takes continued hard work and creativity to be successful. If affiliates are going to invest this time and energy into your business, then they need to know there’s a valuable reward at the end of it.
This also means reliable, regular payments.
Set up your payouts service to automate this process as much as possible so that your affiliates know exactly when they’re going to get paid. When it comes to money, we all want a level of certainty, and you can give this to your affiliates.
2. Fair Terms and Conditions
Affiliate terms and conditions are there to protect everybody. They’re a contract that sets out the relationship between the merchant and affiliate, and they bring stability to the process.
This is what good affiliates want.
They’re honest, hard-working people who simply want to understand the guidelines and work within the rules. If you give them well-written, plain English terms and conditions (and make them easily available), then they can immediately understand what is expected of them.
3. Easy to Use Platform
One of the worst things, when you’re trying to run a business, is time-wasting. Unfortunately, the world is littered with things that take time away from us.
If your affiliate marketing program is one of these things, then it’s going to turn affiliates off very quickly.
The basic details such as generating links, tracking performance, and viewing sales should be seamless. The more clicking, the more steps it takes, the more hassle it is for your affiliate.
A large blog can have tens of thousands of affiliate links. If your software is making it difficult for your affiliate to generate each one, then just think about how much of a time suck that is.
Generating links is just one part of the process, so you’ve got to have an easy-to-use platform.
4. Access to Analytics
Making sales isn’t easy. When you sell your own products, you try out different strategies to learn what works and what doesn’t.
The only way you can do this is with access to good analytics.
If your affiliates don’t have similar access to important insights, then how are they supposed to optimize their processes? It’s much more difficult.
Some affiliate programs simply give affiliates access to the number of clicks they’ve generated and how many sales they’ve made. This isn’t enough; they’ve got to have a deeper understanding of their performance:
- What products are getting clicks?
- What products are making sales?
If your affiliates don’t know the answers to these questions, then they’re going to find it more difficult to improve what they’re doing.
5. Efficient Onboarding
The ideal scenario is that your affiliates hit the ground running and start making sales from day one. As we said earlier though, making sales isn’t easy, and no matter how experienced an affiliate is, there’s always a learning curve with new products.
You want to make that learning curve as short as possible so your affiliates get an immediate taste for sales.
What’s the best way to cut the learning curve?
By sharing information through a comprehensive affiliate onboarding.
You know better than anyone else what it takes to sell your products, so share those insights with your affiliates. Welcome them to the team, put together helpful documents, and demonstrate that you’re there to help them get the most out of your program.
6. Add a Personal Touch
Affiliate marketing can be very impersonal. You’ve probably got affiliates all over the world that you’ve never met before, but this doesn’t mean you can’t add a personal touch to your affiliate program.
Ask marketers “what do affiliates want” and personalization probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, you can never underestimate the small details like making an affiliate feel like you care about their success.
Build the relationship, and allow them to create personalized marketing materials that show an exclusive partnership. This will help build sales, which is why AffiliateWP offers lots of different ways to personalize your affiliate program:
When you do this, you give your affiliates more control over their marketing, enabling them to maximize their skills.
7. High-Quality Creatives
Another thing you wouldn’t be able to sell your products without is creatives. Throughout your website, you use banners, images, videos, podcasts, and much more to grab the customer’s attention and make sales.
You can’t expect affiliates do the same thing without access to high-quality creatives.
Yes, your affiliates will probably be adept at creating different elements such as video reviews, but you own the brand, which means they rely on you for many of the creatives.
Be careful of affiliate marketing software that caps the number of creatives you can use in your program, as this can stifle your affiliates and limit your sales potential.
8. Long-Term Partnerships
There are an endless number of affiliate programs out there. As you might expect, many of them aren’t worth affiliates’ time.
The thing is, once they find an affiliate program that works, affiliates want to keep hold of it. They want the long-term stability a good partnership brings.
It’s the exact same thing for you as well! There are lots of sub-standard affiliates out there, so when you find a great one, you want to hold on to them.
Long-term partnerships are in both of your best interests, so make sure to highlight this. Demonstrate how committed you are to your program and creating long-term revenue streams for your affiliates.
One of the ways you can do this is by continuing to. Stay up to date with the latest goings-on in affiliate marketing, and make sure your affiliates always have the tools they need.
This one’s a little tricky, which is why we’re constantly working to bring new features to AffiliateWP so you can stay ahead of the game.
9. Repeat Business
Everyone loves repeat business because it’s much easier to get sales from existing customers than constantly finding new ones. This doesn’t mean repeat sales are easy though, far from it.
If you’re going to maximize sales from existing customers, then you need to nurture the relationship. This is one area where affiliate marketing gets overlooked because we tend to focus on the initial sale.
However, affiliates, and we’ll include influencers in this too, generally have strong, ongoing relationships with their followers. They don’t create one-and-done sales, instead, they provide a platform for repeat business.
Unfortunately, unless you’re offering lifetime commissions, there’s no incentive for your affiliates to make the most of this platform.
Repeat business is great for you and your affiliates, so it’s well worth thinking about how you can better incentivize it.
10. Regular Fresh Offers
Who doesn’t love a good offer?
90% of customers use coupons, which goes to show, pretty much all of us like a good offer. Who would have thought saving money is popular!
Even the biggest brands in the world run sales, so it’s something you need to consider for your business as well. Not only can it result in more sales, but it’s also a great way for affiliates to market your business.
Consider using Vanity Coupon Codes, which allow your affiliates to choose their own discount codes. When your offers are perfectly personalized for their intended audience, that’s when they grab attention and drive sales, so this is a super handy tool.
11. A Reputable Brand
When affiliates suggest your products they’re putting their reputation on the line. If a customer has a problem with your business, then they’re going to think back to who recommended you in the first place.
Working with reputable brands is important to good affiliates because it protects their reputation.
They will look to work with brands that offer an excellent customer experience, so you need to be able to live up to this. If you don’t then you’re much less likely to develop the long-term partnerships that give your affiliate program stability.
12. Regular Sales
The simple answer to the question of what do affiliates want is sales.
If you can’t take the traffic your affiliates give you and turn it into sales, then your program won’t work for anyone.
Luckily, this is something that’s in your control. If you work on all the things on this list, then you’ll find affiliates who send you plenty of traffic. Converting that traffic is in your hands, and there are lots of different ways to boost your sales.
When you boost your conversion rate, you boost your affiliates’ success, and there are few things that will make an affiliate marketer happier.
It All Starts with Your Software
None of the things affiliates are looking for are overly complicated. What it takes is a solid platform from which you can run your program and a little bit of time and energy.
Once you have a good picture of what affiliates want, then you can start to automate many of these processes, making your life much easier.
The important thing is that you’re constantly looking to improve your offerings, and AffiliateWP is the best partner to help you do this. You know what your affiliates want, now it’s time to give them it.