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A Guide to Building Thriving Affiliate Relationships

Learn about the crucial role of impactful affiliate communication in building effective affiliate relationships for brand growth.

3/29/2024

How to Cultivate Affiliate Relationships for Thriving Partnerships (A Communication Guide)

Consistent and effective affiliate communication is crucial for building close personal relationships with them. How you communicate with your affiliate partners also plays a crucial role in keeping them engaged and growing your affiliate program. By cultivating healthy affiliate relationships, your brand will be in a much better position to uncover benefits, such as long-term affiliate partnerships, increased brand exposure, enhanced brand credibility, and continued growth for both your affiliate program and business.

This article will cover how you can cultivate thriving affiliate relationships through effective and impactful affiliate communication. Read on to learn how to build and nurture stronger affiliate partnerships and take your affiliate management efforts to the next level.

5 Ways to Bolster Communication with Affiliates

Without strong affiliate partnerships, developing a thriving affiliate program may seem like an uphill battle for many brands. But when communicating with your affiliate partners, what should you be talking about besides product updates, upcoming events, and how-to guides? What core topics should you prioritise?

The key thing to remember is to only communicate what is relevant and essential to your affiliates within the context of their motivations (both internal and external). During the onboarding process, for example, you can let them know that you’re invested in their success right off the bat. Discuss their motivations for joining your affiliate program and provide them with the resources they need to help them succeed and achieve their personal goals. Give them access to creatives, a dedicated partnership manager, or samples of your product that they can try out so they’re better equipped to make their first sale. Simply put, it’s best to equip your affiliates with everything they need so that they can start making sales as soon as possible.

Remember that your affiliates are human, too. And by treating them as individuals and making your program more accessible to them by removing barriers to entry, you’re equipping them for growth.

Prior to executing these strategies, it’s also important to develop affiliate communication guidelines if you don’t have one yet. Implementing these from the outset will help you create more consistent communications with affiliates, ensure transparency, and nurture trust and mutual understanding. To do this, you can start by:

  • Opening up several communication channels to make it easier for affiliates to connect with you regardless of their preferred channel
  • Assigning dedicated partnership managers to help you support and monitor affiliates.
  • Developing a clear and consistent communication schedule, which can help your affiliates stay up-to-date and engaged

Whether you’re connecting with affiliates via email, your affiliate dashboard, or social media channels, the strategies shared below can help you facilitate better affiliate communication.

Email Communication with Affiliates

Email is an efficient and cost-effective way for you to communicate consistently with affiliates. To effectively communicate with them via this route (and drive more revenue for your business), it’s crucial that you understand your audience, aka your affiliates. Segment them into major and longtail affiliates so you know who to focus on. Working with a skilled partnership manager allows you to prioritise more affiliate partnerships more effectively. 

You can also use email to send newsletters to affiliates and keep them in the loop. With that in mind, your newsletter for affiliates should be on-brand and should contain the following elements:

  • Advance notice of upcoming offers or events
  • Product or service highlights to further educate affiliates about your offerings
  • Easy access (like links) to branded creative assets like banners. This not only helps them save time in promoting your offers but also makes it easier for them to communicate important information to their audience.
  • Your contact information. Give them easy access to support whenever they need it by providing them with your contact details or your partnership manager’s contact details.

Organise Competitions

Gamification encourages healthy competition among your affiliates, where they push each other to do better. This not only helps improve their performance but also keeps them engaged. Some of the gamification techniques you can use include quizzes and leaderboards. You can also consider holding monthly contests to motivate your affiliates to boost their performance. One way to go about this is to ask your affiliates to write a review comparing your product to a competitor's. Have them list why your product should be chosen over the competitor’s. The affiliate who provides the best review wins.

Encourage Open Communication and Create a Collaborative Environment

Open communication helps affiliates feel that support is readily available. Use your communication channels, website, and social media accounts to let them know about your availability. Regardless of your preferred communication channels, responding promptly to your affiliates’ messages is important. You can indicate your estimated response times to let affiliates know when to expect a response. The rule of thumb here is to implement shorter response times, ideally within 24 hours (minimum) to 48 hours (maximum).

In addition to these points, always let your affiliates know they can share their ideas, challenges, or feedback at any time. This not only encourages open communication but also helps create a collaborative environment. You could also do the following:

  • Check-ins or informal meetings to provide affiliates with alternative communication venues where they can provide valuable input.
  • Appoint a dedicated person, such as a partnership manager, who will handle all affiliate-communicated comms

Use the Affiliate Marketing Tools that Match Your Needs

Having the right affiliate marketing tool or software can strengthen affiliate relationships. For example, trackdesk’s native messaging feature allows users to create custom messages for their affiliates at different touchpoints, such as from onboarding to performance monitoring. 

Picking the best affiliate network software is crucial for your long-term success, make sure you consider the key aspects like ease of use, reliable tracking capabilities, and real-time, customisable reporting features to ensure efficient management and growth of your affiliate program.

Work with a Skilled Partnership Manager

Working with a skilled partnership manager can save you a lot of time when it comes to affiliate management. That’s because they can do the leg work for you. trackdesk’s Partnership Managers Marketplace connects you with top partnership managers who can help you find, recruit, onboard, and manage affiliates. Our partnership managers can also help you build a proprietary affiliate partners pool, allowing you to have better control over your affiliate program.

Why Should You Be Regularly in Touch with Your Affiliates?

88% of consumers are more likely to trust recommendations from people they know. This includes the content creators or influencers they follow. Furthermore, 74% of shoppers say that ratings and reviews help them learn more about a product they’ve never purchased before. And the cherry on top? 93% of buyers consider ratings and reviews as the most important factor that makes an impact on their purchase decision.

Why should you communicate with affiliates? How else can regular and fruitful affiliate communication pave the way for business growth?

Increases Engagement, Motivation, and Performance

Affiliate relationships become more effective when you have close personal relationships with affiliates. Plus, you can keep your affiliates happy and engaged. By focusing on engaging and motivating affiliates, you’re being more proactive in driving better results not only for your affiliate program but also for your business in general. Doing so nurtures affiliates’ loyalty, which encourages them to promote your brand consistently.

One way you can approach this is to build a strong and steady brand presence while providing affiliates with updated offers.

Why consistency?

Consistency helps keep your affiliates’ interest in your brand and lets you build an easily recognisable and memorable brand identity. It also keeps their audience from becoming more and more confused. Furthermore, every time you share updates or new information, you’re creating an opportunity for you to build a stronger relationship with your affiliates. Moreover, consistency allows your affiliates to feel more connected to your brand on a deeper level.

Streamlines Your Affiliate Marketing Program

Consistent affiliate communication helps facilitate better collaboration among affiliates. This equips your business for growth for several reasons:

  • Improves engagement among affiliates because they feel that they’re playing a significant and bigger part in growing your brand
  • They’ll be part of a community where they can get the support they need along with a dose of (healthy) competition
  • Makes it easier for you and your affiliates to reduce or eliminate issues with regulation compliance
  • Promotes brand consistency across the board

Educates Affiliate Partners About Your Brand

Affiliate communication lets you tell affiliates what your brand is about and what your program’s goals are. Doing so also helps make your brand feel more human and relatable to them. By sharing things like updates, your brand’s mission and goals, and what sets your product or service apart, you’re making it easier for affiliates to understand what your brand is about and promote your product or service more effectively to their audience.

Doing so also allows you to effectively communicate how your program works to affiliates. This allows you to provide them with important information from the get-go (during onboarding) and gives you a better opportunity to find the right people to work with for your program.

Measures the Effectiveness of Your Campaigns

Regular communication and performance monitoring allow you to maximise your affiliate relationships. Aside from tracking key metrics, affiliate communication lets you exchange feedback with your affiliates, as well as share best practices or tips, which help you improve your program and create better, more effective campaigns. For instance, you can look at your data to see how well your affiliates are performing and identify any areas for improvement. If you find any gaps or issues, you can use your preferred communication channels or affiliate dashboard to tackle these problems and share how an affiliate could potentially improve their promotions.

Nurtures Affiliate Productivity and Loyalty

Effective affiliate communication is key to building a successful and thriving affiliate program. Without proper affiliate management and communication, it can become challenging for brands to create top-tier affiliate programs, attract and retain the best affiliates, and maintain their competitive edge, especially within the context of the ever-evolving online business landscape.

Affiliate relationships aren’t just a one-way street; they’re mutually beneficial transactions that stem from effective communication. To build thriving affiliate relationships, you must cultivate transparency and foster trust among your affiliates.

By focusing on transparency and building trust, you can nurture a sense of reliability, which helps reassure affiliate partners. Furthermore, this helps build your brand’s credibility, which can motivate affiliates and encourage them to work towards aligning their actions with your brand’s vision and business goals.

Furthermore, affiliate communication helps you stay on top of the minds of your most influential affiliates. This, in turn, enables you to have a bigger share of voice, which corresponds to a higher share of the market.

Source: https://theroachapproach.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/screenshot-2020-06-29-at-15.21.53.png?w=1024

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that by building long-term and healthy affiliate relationships through effective affiliate communication, you’ll be able to create a strong affiliate network populated by individuals interested in seeing your brand grow and helping you achieve your business goals. Through excellent affiliate communication, you can stay on top of the minds of the most impactful affiliates, provide them with the tools and support they need, activate affiliates and help them maximise their potential, educate them about your brand, and encourage them to be a part of your affiliate program for the long haul.

trackdesk comes with practical features that make it easier for you to develop a more effective and impactful affiliate communication strategy. Features, such as custom affiliate terms and conditions, an all-in-one-affiliate dashboard, and powerful affiliate management capabilities, allow you to optimise your affiliate communication so you can focus on building stronger and healthier affiliate relationships. See how trackdesk helps you revolutionise your affiliate management and communication strategies.

Author:
Geri Mileva

I have a passion for storytelling. I believe that a good story delivers value while capturing, influencing, and sustaining its intended audience. This has always been, and always will be, my primary aim as a writer.

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