A successful affiliate partner program is becoming a staple for established businesses as well as evolving brands. Low in risk and high in reward, this marketing strategy helps companies generate more leads, target new demographics, drive extra sales, and increase visibility and revenue.
That said, it’s not enough to launch the program and wait for it to succeed. The growth and success of your partner program depend on how you plan and execute it, ranging from attracting quality partners to keeping them engaged to addressing the challenges in the affiliate lifecycle and more.
So, how do you start to grow a successful affiliate partner program? Here are the top 7 steps to follow:
Step 1: Find and Onboard the Right Affiliates
Given that affiliates are the backbone of your program, you must take extra care to find and onboard partners who are best suited for your business. Choosing the right partners from a vast pool of candidates, however, is easier said than done.
One of the best ways to fast-track the process is to invest in affiliate recruitment software and software. The services and tools offered by Grovia, a leading partner marketing solution provider, is a good case in point. It is a proprietary partner discovery engine that leverages the power of automation and analytics.
Grovia’s technology-led tools and solutions accelerate affiliate discovery, outreach, and activation. Finding the right partners is how HLTH Code and Grovia grew the affiliate partner program by over 3.5x in 3 months.
Step 2: Equip Affiliates to Generate Leads Online with a Personal Referral Link
It’s not enough to onboard the best affiliates – you should also enable them to maximize lead generation. Furthermore, you should have tools to track leads coming from various sources, including websites, social media platforms, and online forums.
Partner platform providers like Kiflo can come to your aid here. Using Kiflo, you can create personalized links which your affiliates can share online to tap into the customer pool. These links are trackable, making it possible for affiliates to check whether they are given ownership of the leads they generate and receive commissions for the converted ones.
Step 3: Stay Top of Mind with Your Partners
Reports show that over 80% of brands have affiliate programs. Do you know what it means? Your affiliates could be part of several other partner programs, so you should have a solid strategy to stay on top of their minds.
The best way to keep your affiliates active is through meaningful engagement. Quick and real-time access to data is crucial for the success of any affiliate marketing program, so create a partner portal where you share all documents with your affiliates. It ensures that your partners have quick and easy access to all relevant information about your company and the program.
Staying engaged will produce happy partners that will your sales force. Grovia client Gorgias reports that 50% of their sales are attributed to partners that Grovia has recruited.
You should also have a communication strategy to keep your partners engaged. Kiflo allows you to share a partner portal, updates, news, and documents with your partners in one place.
Step 4: Avoid Channel Conflicts with Affiliates
Let’s admit it – channel conflict is the worst nightmare of every brand running an affiliate partner program. Given that you are onboarding a large number of affiliates who might be targeting the same customer demographic, you cannot avoid conflicts altogether. The key, however, is to identify conflicts and mitigate them before it starts affecting the program. Fortunately, there are tools and strategies you can use to keep channel conflicts at bay.
Improper tracking of lead generation and conversion is the top reason for conflict between partners and sales representatives. You can tackle this issue by using a channel conflict tool, like Kiflo, that allows you to track all incoming leads and sync them to your CRM. It will also help you ascertain the source of each registered lead and pay partner commissions accordingly.
Step 5: Cultivate Trust and Transparency
Building a culture of trust and transparency is the clear path to success – there are no two ways about it. As an affiliate marketer, you should be transparent about the program, its policies, terms, commission structure, and above all, data regarding lead generation and conversion.
For your partners to trust you, they need to have visibility into the leads that are coming from their referral link. Providing partner portals and affiliate dashboards where partners can see statistics on leads they have generated and commissions that have been paid is one of the best practices in this regard. It will help build a relationship based on trust and transparency.
Step 6: Track Commission to Keep Your Affiliate Partners Happy
Making sure your affiliates are paid correctly is the key to keeping happy partners. Not only will manually calculating commissions each time likely result in payment delays, the amount of time it will take you to calculate each commission will not allow you to scale your program.
It’s in your best interests to invest in a rewards tracking and calculations tool that will help fast-track the payment process. Once you have defined the reward system, the commission will be automatically calculated based on how many leads have entered or deals have been signed.
Kiflo has one of the best partner relationship management (PRM) tools on the market, making organizing partnerships so much easier.
Step 7: Measure the Performance of Your Affiliates and Program
Finally, the success of your partner program is directly proportional to the performance of your affiliates. The more you invest in high-performing partners, the better your program will be. It’s crucial to evaluate the performance of your partners and measure the effectiveness of the program at regular intervals of time.
The first step is to define the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) you need for your program and partners. Metrics could include traffic from affiliates, conversion rate, revenue, number of active and dormant affiliates, Average Order Value (AOV), and chargeback rate, among others.
Regular performance evaluation will help you define your priorities, shape a robust digital strategy for your brand, and optimize your efforts. Don’t forget to reward high-performing affiliates to keep them motivated.
Wrap it up Dustin…
While there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to creating a successful affiliate partner program, the steps mentioned above will help you get off on the right foot. When it comes to optimizing the program, your focus should be on quality – quality affiliates bring quality leads, which results in quality sales.
And our two cents? Don’t shy away from using technology-enabled solutions. Leveraging the power of technology is sure to give your digital marketing efforts a competitive edge. Grovia and Kiflo together can give you the power you need to scale your program.
Ready to take your affiliate program to the next level? Find out what Grovia can do for you and set up a time to chat today.