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Affiliate marketing represents an enormous opportunity for brands. In fact, it's responsible for 16 percent of all e-commerce sales in the United States and Canada. If you're working with affiliates and not seeing the results you expect, it may be time to refine your onboarding process.
By making sure new affiliates have what they need to succeed, you’re also improving your own odds of attracting new customers and boosting your revenue. It can also help keep your partners motivated and happy so that they continue to make an effort to promote your brand.
In this article, we’ll discuss why your affiliate onboarding process is so important and offer five tips for making it as effective as possible. Let’s dig in!
Why Affiliate Onboarding Is Important
Onboarding is about more than just providing training for new affiliates (although that's part of it). Instead, it should be a process that aims to make your new partner feel as welcome and comfortable as possible while acclimating them to their role.
Your onboarding process should set out clear expectations for each new affiliate, and provide them with all the tools they need to be successful. That way they know exactly what they're signing up for and how to get started.
An effective onboarding process equips your affiliates for success and sets them up to be as effective as possible. This benefits both you and them. The better they are at making sales, the more money you'll both earn.
A comfortable onboarding also helps build goodwill and a strong relationship. Again, happy affiliates sell more products. Additionally, a positive experience encourages them to stick around and promote your program to others.
Finally, an informative and thorough onboarding process minimizes confusion and potential conflicts. This means less time spent dealing with repetitive questions or issues, freeing you up to focus on building your business.
5 Tips for an Effective Affiliate Onboarding Process
Creating a truly effective onboarding process isn't difficult, but it does require some thoughtful consideration of the needs of your affiliates. These five tips should get you on the right track.
1. Use Simple Language
One of the most important things you can do in your onboarding process (and any communication with affiliates) is stick to plain language. Avoid using industry jargon or “legalese”. Keep messaging clear and concise.
Remember, not all of your affiliates may be familiar with industry-specific terms. Plain language can prevent confusion. It also helps ensure that everyone is on the same page about your program, products, and expectations.
2. Walk Your Affiliates Through Their First Sales
Helping new affiliates successfully complete their first sales can build confidence for when they're out on their own. It also helps foster excitement about your program. This is especially important for new affiliate programs that are still trying to recruit partners.
Walking newcomers through their first sales also enables you to catch and address any issues with their sales techniques, ensuring better results in the future. While it may take some additional time to get this hands-on, the early momentum can pay dividends down the road.
Initially you can do this yourself, but as the number of affiliates in your program grows, you can also set up a mentorship system so experienced partners can help new members get started. This both frees up time for you and fosters a sense of community among your team.
3. Answer Questions Before They're Asked
If you've been running your affiliate program for a while, you may have noticed that you receive certain questions over and over again. You can save yourself a lot of time (and frustration) by anticipating these inquiries and providing the answers upfront.
You can also take it a step further and spend some time imagining what questions you would have if you were joining your program. Chances are your new recruits are wondering the same things, so go ahead and provide the answers.
Some common questions that might come up include:
- Who to contact with questions or problems
- How to find creative materials to use in marketing
- When and how affiliates can expect payments to be processed
- How frequently affiliates can expect to hear from you
- What expectations you have for members of your program
The best way to handle these common queries is to create a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page and add it to your Affiliate Dashboard using Easy Affiliate. To do so, create your FAQ page, then navigate to Easy Affiliate > Options > Dashboard and click on Add page in the Custom Nav Pages section.
4. Check In Frequently
It's important to proactively check in with your new affiliates both during the onboarding process and after. Doing so serves several purposes:
- Regular check-ins show new team members that you care about them and their performance.
- It humanizes your company and helps build stronger relationships with your partners.
- Frequent check-ins can detect and resolve issues before they have a chance to snowball into larger problems.
To get the most out of your check-ins, decide on a schedule and let your new affiliates know when they'll hear from you and what to expect. This gives them an opportunity to prepare questions and helps make these conversations more productive.
5. Ask for Feedback
Finally, once onboarding is complete, ask your graduates how it went. This enables you to gather feedback on what worked and what didn't, so you can continue to fine-tune your process in the future.
You can gather feedback using direct emails for a more personal approach, or you can use a tool such as SurveyMonkey to build a feedback form. Either way, finding out what your actual affiliates liked and didn't like about your onboarding process is a fantastic way to improve it.
If your affiliate marketing performance has you down, don’t fret. By improving your onboarding process, you can set your affiliates up for success, increasing your own revenue in the process. This aspect is often overlooked, but it’s essential to an effective program.
Just follow these five simple tips to jump-start your affiliate onboarding:
- Use simple language and clear communication to get everyone on the same page.
- Walk your affiliates through their first sales to build momentum.
- Answer questions before they’re asked.
- Check in frequently during the onboarding process to build stronger relationships.
- Ask for feedback from affiliates to further improve your onboarding process.
Do you have any questions about affiliate marketing or onboarding? Let us know in the comments section below!