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How to Motivate Your Affiliates?

Why are there affiliates that aren’t productive?

Mainly because some of them need a gentle reminder to get active, you have to get them to go active and not just wish and wait for them to go active. But why would they be inactive, right? Let me share five reasons why affiliates could become inactive:

First reason: They signed up on an impulse

Unfortunately, this happens very often. The usual scenario here is that a person sees her friend promoting a product so she signs up but then as she finished she realizes a couple of things:

It doesn’t match the audience that they have.

They have no idea about the product and how to promote it.

They’re too busy to promote it.

When this happens, don’t expect any miracle and remove them from the group because there’s little to no chance that they’ll go active anytime soon.

Second Reason: They’re an affiliate for your competitor

We’re talking about greener pastures here and no matter how good your products and commissions are, greener pastures are just a great reason to leave. That’s not just in marketing but that’s how our world works. But don’t get mad, don’t go deaf, instead seek the answer to why this happens?

Your competitor’s new offer has better conversions.

The new offer pays way better.

They could also have better affiliate tools.

They go as far as offering a promotion.

When in a similar situation don’t lose hope and of course don’t lose your cool, stay as calm as you can be. Try to ask why they switched and make sure that you listen. Give them time to do what they’re doing and if they aren’t back after a few weeks, ask if there’s something you can do. And if they respond telling you it’s because of something related to tools then you know what to upgrade, once you’ve upgraded let them know that they listened to their needs.

Now if they switched because of conversions try to know what your competition is doing to get more conversions than you. Make sure to help your affiliates optimize their campaigns in order to gain more conversion and make sure that you’re working on your sales funnel in order to bring in more conversions.

If it’s because of the commission structure then make sure you’re also not underpaying. Ideally, it isn’t good to get into bidding wars when it’s something related to commissions, but it’s still important to make sure you’re still competitive. If your affiliate is already in a program that pays 50% but they say they switched because they were offered 80%, just say goodbye because that’s not worth lowering your margins. But if you’re just being greedy and cheap and that’s why someone’s beating you, then bring in some game and start being competitive.

If the problem is because of promotion issues then assess your business and the affiliate, if they’re worth promoting and it’s would do more good for your business then promote them. But if you really will benefit from having them but you just can’t promote them yet try to offer alternatives.

Third reason: They went out of business

That really happens and unfortunately, you can’t do anything about that so just move on and wish them well.

Fourth reason: They have no idea how to do it

Sometimes there are affiliates that are new to this but you can see potential in them, some just haven’t tried it yet. And when you’re in that situation it’s your role to help them learn how to start. It’s up to you to help your affiliate succeed. How?

Host webinars to teach them how to do promotions.

Record videos they can watch over and over again to learn what to do.

If you have time you can have online meetings with them one on one.

Let them subscribe to sites where they could learn.

Make a promo checklist to help them.

Fifth reason: We’ll get to it later

There are two types of we’ll get to it and they’re quite the opposite.

First one would be the fewer of them, like .13% of them and they really have plans to get back on it in their schedules.

And the second type which is 99.87% of them won’t really come back unless you give them a tap on the back.

Let me share 6 things that could act as a tap on the back for them:

Divide them into different groups.

Understand what models of businesses your affiliates have.

Give them the resources that they would be needing.

Talk to them, communication is a good way to build a relationship.

Keep them motivated by different things like “gimmicks”.

Keep what you promise them.

Divide them

When you study your reports you would see that most of your sales are generated by around 20% of your affiliates. Knowing the top affiliates and creating groups would help you develop a strategy for each group. You can create Different ranks in order to strategize. For example:

Low rank

These persons here are the ones who generate minimal sales, so merchants aren’t expected to spend more and more on supporting them. But you should help them grow but not until they produce more profit compared to the other ranks. But if some of them excel then promote them to the next rank.

Medium Rank

They are the ones who are consistent in providing the same revenue and have great potential in continuing the growth. They could do better if they are given a more focused collaboration. Help them improve revenues and communicate with them.

High Rank

They are the special ones in your company and you should make sure you are still maintaining your good relationship with them. You can give them more content that is exclusive and give them access to things they would be needing.

Keep in mind that you need to keep a good relationship with all of your affiliates, and this ranking isn’t really unfair but it’s also a way to motivate the lower ranks to try more in order to rank higher. With more effort there’s more success, that’s why even if you’re just managing them you need to help them get better.

Your affiliates business model

If you were an affiliate, you would definitely prefer talking to people who have interest in what you’re promoting. And you know that when you talk to people who aren’t really interested then that’s just a waste of time. Now, it’s your role to have a sneak-peek on your affiliate’s site or ask and listen to what your affiliates business mode is. Don’t just jump in, if your affiliate can benefit from your offer then it would definitely be more easier for the both of you.

Give them their needed resources

In order for them to promote for you successfully, you have to make sure that your links, banners, text campaigns, landing pages, data feeds and all the other medias are up-to-date. You can also try to give them press releases and other important information to make them understand your product easily and target the right audience easily. You can also do this by sending them a monthly newsletter to inform them about new offers, promotions, and even trends. Also, make sure to put more focus on those on higher ranks. Know what they need, ask if they need special requirements and communicate well with them because will be the ones under immense competitive pressure. 

Communication is important

Start by going through your affiliate applications as soon as possible, don’t forget to make your welcome email friendly when you chose who to accept. Make sure that this includes the details on who to contact and some tips to start their journey with your company. When that’s done add them to your list. If they have questions within the day try your best to answer, that’ll make them feel like you have an open ear for useful criticism. Make sure to keep up being responsive and supportive because they will be the one to keep up your company reputation.

For your affiliates on the higher rank, set up monthly online meetings and talk about everything relevant like drops, increases, revenues, expectations, consumer promotions in the future, and changes if there are any. Just make sure you are communicating with them and you are also listening to what they have to say. Also, try to network events with your different ranks in order to build a stronger relationship and a community where everyone can learn from each other.

Keep them motivated

This is the most difficult part in affiliate marketing, but it’s said that contests and rewards are a good way to keep affiliates motivated. You can do a contest for who’d get the highest revenue on the next month and give them a reward for it. It could also be based on growth targets, there are a lot of ways to do it, you can also ask their ideas for the next contest during meetings. You can also try motivating them with tiered increases in commissions like they could start with 20% and if they reach $10,000 they get 30% and so on.

Promises are meant to be kept

Don’t make promises that you can’t keep. If you do that your affiliates would leave and worst no one will sign up for your affiliate program because you aren’t trustworthy. Don’t do anything that’ll compromise your reputation. If you get stuck in a situation accidentally make your affiliates understand by telling them the truth and try to make up for it even if it would take time. Doing that will make them understand and appreciate you for being honest. Appreciate them too because that’ll make them want to work with you. But always be genuine.


Unproductive affiliates are a common issue in this industry, especially on affiliate programs that have already matured. There are also some who joins but never go active, so don’t forget to try to re-engage with them.

Here are some things that could help you here. Resources:Approval email- Try to keep this as personalized as possible while still including all the relevant information to help your affiliate start.

Textual Content- Share everything that can empower your affiliates, send the press releases, and updates regarding promotions and changes.

Visual content

- Banners would be a good example for this and affiliates could be very useful for most affiliates.


Activation incentives- This could be given when your affiliates drive new customers or re-engage customers that have been inactive for a long time.

Performance incentives- This is when you give an incentive when your affiliates reach a goal.


Blogger plugins- Make sure that bloggers would have an easy time to work with you because they are very influential and could give you more conversions.

Product feeds- make sure that your products feeds are optimized.

Keywords- You can give your affiliates a list of keywords to guide them into the right audience.

Bestselling products- Make sure that your affiliates are updated on trends and which products are selling really well to help them deliver more sales.

Communication- Make sure that it’s not just you always talking, make sure you’re reachable and you’re listening to your affiliates.

Tailored suggestions- The affiliate scene is growing and growing more and there are different affiliates for different levels, dividing them into ranks would make it easier to mold them in what they are doing good in easier, and giving out the right resources for each type would be easier as well. 

Surveys- processes are best to be reviewed, finding out in which part you’re excelling in and where there’s improvement needed is needed in order to make them keep delivering results.

Motivating affiliates isn’t really easy, it never was. And given that there are different reasons why they’re unproductive, the best way is to start by understanding why they are unproductive. There are things that could be changed while there are some that are permanent, so move forward and just always do better in communicating with your affiliates and helping them do better.

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