Affiliate marketing is becoming an essential sales strategy for many brands. It can boost revenue by 30% making it an important investment as part of an omnichannel marketing strategy. Creating an effective affiliate marketing program is about partnering with the right people and empowering them with the best materials to promote your brand.
The key steps to delivering a successful affiliate program are:
- Identify affiliates
- Reach out to selected affiliates
- Onboard your affiliate partners
- Track sales and pay affiliates
- Scale your affiliate marketing program
In this step-by-step guide, you’ll find practical tips to help you find the best affiliates for your brand and activate them effectively. A successful affiliate marketing program delivers high ROI and boosts revenue for the brand while optimizing program operations.
Choosing the best tools for your affiliate marketing program
Before you dive into running your affiliate marketing program, decide how you’ll manage campaigns and which tools can help. Effective affiliate marketing requires managing affiliate partnerships at scale, which can be hugely time-consuming if managed manually. You’ll also need to crunch the numbers to know how many sales have been generated and how much commission is owed. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to invest in a platform that offers end-to-end affiliate program management.
Using software such as Upfluence to manage your affiliate programs means that crucial processes can be automated. The energy-intensive stages of affiliate marketing such as recruitment, onboarding, sales tracking, and making payments can be easily managed through our intuitive platform, allowing your team to invest their time and energy elsewhere. What’s more, using software like Upfluence means you can run both influencer marketing campaigns and affiliate programs using one tool. This means that as well as saving money by using one tool for two jobs, you can leverage the full potential of your creator partnerships across influencer and affiliate campaigns.
In order to deliver a results-driven affiliate program you need to have a top affiliate marketing strategy in place. Follow this in-depth guide Building an eCommerce Affiliate Marketing Strategy
Scale your affiliate program.
- Scan your CRM, subscribers and followers to find exisiting fans and customers to invite to your affiliate program.
- Import your own list of partners you already work with.
- Search for new creators to collaborate within Upfluence’s extensive database of profiles. Pin point the right creators to reach your target audience using over 20 advanced search filters.
- Organize and keep track of all the creators you’ve shortlisted for your affiliate program using tags and filters.
Instead of paying to recruit through several different affiliate networks, searching a creator database or recruiting affiliates from your customer base is a better approach to hiring affiliates. Keep control over who you hire to represent your company by hand picking your affiliate partners from a list of profiles that meet your brand’s specific criteria.
Reach out to selected affiliates
- Write up a detailed brief to introduce your brand and outline the goals and expectations of your program.
- Send personalized bulk emails to invite your lists of creators. Use Upfluence’s email templates and merge fields to save time.
- Offer an attractive compensation plan for your affiliates, whether it be a percentage of sales or a fixed fee per sale.
Prepare your first outreach invitation so that it’s informative without being too overwhelming. You want to capture the interest of your potential affiliate partners and give them enough information about your program so they can make a quick decision about whether they want to learn more. If you’re using an email tool to send outreach emails in bulk, remember to use merge fields to personalize the message for each affiliate and increase your chance of getting a positive response.
Onboard your affiliate partners
- Share an affiliate agreement that sets out the terms of your campaign, including how compensation is calculated and payment terms.
- Let affiliates choose which products they want to promote.
- Provide a unique tracked link or custom promo code for each affiliate, automatically generated by Upfluence’s affiliate tracking tool.
- Watch sales pour in!
Preparing your affiliates to promote your brand is vital to the success of your program. You’ll need to make sure they can try out your products and create product reviews, how-to videos, and blog posts based on their real experience of using your products. With Upfluence’s one-click shipping, sending products to your affiliates is a hassle-free and quick process.
Track sales and pay affiliates
- Track total affiliate sales.
- Attribute sales to each affiliate to identify top performers.
- View commissions owed to each affiliate and issue timely payments in any currency with Upfluence’s Paypal integration. Upfluence is 100% commission free, so there are no additional transaction fees when you pay an affiliate.
- Build stronger and more transparent program with a creator-facing payment table.
To keep on top of your affiliate marketing ROI, measuring sales from your affiliates will be a priority. You need to know who is generating sales for your brand, and how much revenue they’re creating to gauge success and calculate the right affiliate commission. You should be sure to track average order value and conversion rate to assess how well your program is performing. Having access to this important data in one dashboard will help you to pay your affiliates in a timely manner and will help you decide who your strongest affiliate partners are.
Scale your affiliate marketing program
- Build a self-sustaining affiliate program. As you gain new customers, Upfluence will continue to identify creators to invite to your affiliate program.
- Incentivize and re-engage top performers to nurture long-term partnerships.
- Adjust commission rates for new campaigns or for individual creators based on past performance.
- Add a branded Affiliate sign up form to your website so that creators can apply on their own.
Once you’ve seen results from your first affiliate program, you’ll want to grow your network to drive even more revenue. Check out these strategies to scale your affiliate marketing programs. As your program grows, creating tiered compensation systems and experimenting with different incentives will keep your affiliates engaged and motivated to perform well.
Download an infographic showing you how to drive sales with a successful affiliate program