7 Ways to Get More Loyal Affiliates

Written By: Guest Author, Haden de Boer

The number one question that any potential affiliate will always ask themselves before promoting your offer is “Will this thing make me money?” In other words, will this offer convert to my list (or my web-traffic)? But beyond creating a stronger product and a more compelling sales message, how can vendors improve their program and encourage affiliates to…

  1. Promote their product, and
  2. Promote any other products they may release in the future?

Fact is, these days it’s not enough just to put up some banners and swipe emails and leave it at that. To build a loyal group of affiliates who are motivated to promote what you have, you need to go that extra mile.

Here are 7 ideas to get you started…

1. Offer Personalized/Custom Landing Pages

No matter what your product, different traffic sources will give you varying conversion rates. This is simply because different people are looking for different benefits from your product. So if you can somehow customize your landing pages to target different groups of people you can create a much more targeted message… and convert more sales.

For example, the flagship product at SaleHoo.com is membership to a directory of wholesale suppliers. Affiliates have the ability to send traffic to landing pages that are customized based around product type, because prospects tend to be interested in finding suppliers for a certain type of product, rather than products in general. Customization can be as simple as different headlines, or even going as far as using alternate pictures and content.

Another way you might consider customizing your landing pages, is to create unique pages for individual affiliates. Now, obviously you won’t be able to do this for every affiliate, but when they have a proven track record this is something you should certainly consider to help them convert more sales.  You might even offer a special bonus or discount just for their leads.

2. Periodic Bonuses/Competitions

Another way to keep affiliates motivated is to offer incentives for top performance. This strategy is used regularly in major product launches, but there is no reason you can’t adapt it to a product that you already have on the market. The idea is simple: Just let your affiliates know that whoever sends the most leads/makes the most sales between now and a certain date will win prizes.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your prizes, but keep in mind that most larger affiliates will be more motivated by the cash than anything else. You might choose to run these contests monthly, or even based around events such as Halloween, Christmas, or a birthday sale. (If you’re in the dating niche Valentine’s day would be a good one to use).

3. Offer Multiple Products

This one might be obvious, but it’s worth repeating. Simply put, the more products you offer, the more chances affiliates have to find something that will fit with their list/market. Plus, you’ll find that once you have one good product under your belt (that converts), affiliates will be more receptive to promoting other products that you come out with in the future. In short, it’s about giving them what they want.

A good example of this is Affilorama.com which has four main products available for affiliates to promote in their affiliate program. Each caters to slightly different segments of the market, and has a different price point (all the way from FREE membership, up to a $497 course).

4. Offer Recurring Commissions

Carrying on from #3 (above) some affiliates prefer recurring products (while some would much rather promote only a front-end offer).  But by having at least one recurring offer (for example a membership site or monthly magazine) you cater to those affiliates who are looking for this type of offer. And what if your only product is a recurring one? Consider jacking up the commission to entice those affiliates who want all the cash on the front-end until you can come up with another offer for them specifically.

5. Offer Specific Guidance to New Affiliates

Not everyone who promotes your offer is going to be an experienced affiliate. Especially as your product becomes more well-known in the marketplace, you will find more and more ‘newbies’ are interested in promoting your stuff. New affiliates are good for business because they provide new potential streams of income. However, their inexperience can mean that quite often, they do not know where to start. So what can you do about this? Well, if you consider your affiliates as an important and indispensible part of your business, then why not help them out by offering your guidance and advice for free? In reality, many of these smaller affiliates may never even make a sale of your product. But some of them will, and others will eventually grow to be top promoters in the future.

To see an example of how we do this at SaleHoo (using an email newsletter) – go here and sign up as an affiliate.

6.  Test Test Test

You’ve seen it here on the ClickBank blog before, and I’m sure you’ll see it again. Testing is one of the most important tools in any marketers arsenal. Even if you have a great product today – and you don’t think there is any way to improve conversions… you should still be testing new ideas. The truth is, people change. And markets change. Promises that worked ten years ago (or even one year ago) do not necessarily work today. You can keep on top of what works in your market by keeping an eye on the competition, but if you really want to know for sure, you need to be testing new ideas for yourself.

(Note for Affiliates: If you want to check if a vendor is actively testing, have a quick peek at the source code of their landing page(s). If there is some code there for GWO, Optimizely, or some other testing software then it’s a good sign that the vendor is actively tweaking and refining their offer.)

7. Having a Dedicated Affiliate Manager

As your business grows, and the number of affiliates promoting your product expands, the more demands running your Affiliate program will make on your time. Using ClickBank is a huge help, but eventually you’ll still be swamped by requests, offers, and obligations. Making it hard to focus on the rest of your business.

If you want to keep growing (and still want to take good care of your affiliates) then you should seriously consider hiring an affiliate manager. They will be able to take care of all those tasks that gobble up all your time – like handling email requests, sorting out landing pages, and sorting through JV offers… while leaving you free to work on the most important parts of the business – like creating high converting offers.

About the Author: Haden de Boer is the Affiliate Manager over at SaleHoo.com. Please feel free to check out the SaleHoo Affiliate Program and their newest offer SaleHoo Stores.