One of the cornerstones of creating a successful affiliate program is to build a solid lead generation strategy that grows your affiliate partner database. Often, affiliate managers get bogged down with program management and daily administration tasks, leaving affiliate recruitment and partner discovery lying on the side of the road like roadkill.
Continual affiliate partner recruitment is integral to an affiliate program’s growth strategy.
Affiliate managers have a lot of functions to their job description, and “social selling” is yet another that teams should be using now to leverage organic opportunities for partner discovery and lead generation.
In this article, I’ll explain three simple concepts to help affiliate managers attract (and hopefully convert) more affiliates to their programs to drive consistent sales and growth development. By using these three A’s as the basis for your team’s social engagement, you can increase your partner outreach and keep growing your program organically using any of the readily available social platforms.
There are thousands of affiliate programs and networks currently in existence. It is a competitive marketplace and a fast-growing billion-dollar industry. Getting an affiliate’s attention is the first step to increasing new partner onboarding. With more brands turning online to engage and interact with publishers, how will you be standing out? Are you hosting virtual events to spark new conversations and interesting discussions through social platforms like Clubhouse, Telegram and Facebook?
Getting an affiliate’s attention to consider your program is only half the battle.
Your content strategy needs to grab partner attention. The easiest way to do this is to leverage your social channels using a variety of content — video commentary, polls (on LinkedIn, you can see who votes on your program polls and reach out to engage with them in person), etc. Offering up research and stats that can help them convert and sharing other affiliate testimonials about what it’s like to be part of your affiliate program are simple, attention-grabbing options for social selling content.
Even if you’re using a network to manage your program delivery, your marketing strategy to promote your affiliate program is as important as the strategy you’re using to promote customer sales. Mass outreach emails will no longer provide a steady stream of new leads because people have become immune to cold-call sales pitches. Affiliate marketers will need to take time to start and nurture meaningful two-way conversations that offer solutions to problems instead of being straight program upsells.
Once you have gotten their attention and engaged them in a conversation, you need to move on to attraction techniques to get them active in your program. In the past, this has always been to offer higher commissions than your competition. But pricing wars aren’t going to build long-term relationships. What really matters is that an affiliate gets the right support to grow their business along with yours. This means closer collaboration with your affiliate team, getting more human about account management and effectively onboarding partners at the start of their working journey with your program and brand.
Your affiliate account management team should act as influencers for your affiliate program.
Their first contact dictates how fast or slow an affiliate comes online to promote you. In addition, sales and commercial negotiation discussions should be quick to conclude, and this requires more skills-based sales training to be part of the role development within your marketing team. Brands that invest in their front-line account management workforce will naturally benefit from increased sign-ups to active affiliate ratios.
No matter how big your affiliate program is, there is always room to grow it. To grow, you need to have ambition. Your team needs to be ready to stretch, and you need to meet affiliates’ ambitions, too. (This comes back to attraction as well — if you can help solve their problems with ambitious business growth, you will find they’ll be more attracted to your program and give you more real estate as a result.)
Be ambitious with your marketing strategy and build positive outcomes that deliver month-on-month growth.
Affiliate teams should look to leverage effective but simple content strategies that build lead generation and, at the same time, effectively upsell the key unique selling propositions of your affiliate program. Everything you post needs to speak to the partners who have traffic in the niches you need for building sales growth.
Talk ambitiously about what your team will deliver and how you aim to partner with media, influencer, or traditional affiliate performance-based publishers. Get visible at virtual events, get seen and heard, and your ambitions will yield positive results. Find partners who can collaborate and leverage their networks for your ambitious growth. Recognize that we are living in an age of virtual attraction, which is currently one of the easiest ways to get new business done.
Understanding these three A’s of affiliate management and how they affect multiple aspects of your content, marketing strategy and social-selling affiliate recruitment or outreach will keep you moving forward with purpose in these somewhat uncertain times. With this framework on your side, you should be able to amplify your partner program and reach a host of new and interesting new partners, too.