Drawing Out Your Affiliate Program Marketing Plan

One of the best things an affiliate manager can do for their affiliate program is to maintain consistent and regular communication with their Publishers.

Affiliate managers often say to me, “I don’t have enough to say to put out a monthly newsletter.” But you do!

Advertisers have much more to talk about than they sometimes realize.  And more importantly, it’s information that will make a marked difference on the program’s bottom line.

Take an hour to sit down and draft out an editorial calendar. By having a marketing plan in place for the year, affiliate managers will be more organized and ready to put out meaningful and rich communication to their Publishers.

The goal of planning out the year is to provide an overall marketing package that managers could provide to their Publishers that will spark interest and action.

Personally, I like to create a marketing plan with the following items: Theme, Marketing Tools, and Publisher Bonus.

Promotional Calendar Example

Promotional Calendar Example - click for larger version


The monthly theme is going to be the overall message or item that brings together all marketing tools provided for a given month.

Look for events that could tie into the product line such as movie and video game releases, sporting events, product launches, product sales seasonality, fashion shows, pop culture events, and even holidays.

If ever at a loss for a theme, there is surely a holiday in any given month that could be played up as a creative way to present Publishers with fresh new marketing tools.

For example, below are some events and holidays the will occur in the next two months alone.

  • March 2 – Read Across America Day
  • March 2 – Dr. Seuss Birthday
  • March 2 – Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Movie Release
  • March 8 – Purim
  • March 11 – Daylight Savings Time Begins
  • March 16 – 21 Jump Street Movie Release
  • March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
  • March 20 – First Day of Spring
  • March 23 – The Hunger Games Movie Release
  • March – National Nutrition Month
  • March – Nation Women’s History Month
  • 1st Week of March – Save Your Vision Week
  • 3rd Week of March – National Poison Prevention Week
  • March 9-11 – Short Track World Championship
  • March 10-16 – Girl Scout Week
  • March 26th – April 1st – Figure Skating World Championships
  • April 1 – April Fool’s Day
  • April 1 – Palm Sunday
  • April 6 – Titanic 3D Movie Release
  • April 7 – Passover
  • April 8 – Easter
  • April 13 – The Three Stooges Movie Release
  • April 15 – Income Taxes Due
  • April 22 – Earth Day
  • April 25 – Administrative Professionals Day
  • April 27 – The Pirates! Band of Misfits Movie Release
  • April – Cancer Control Month
  • April – Alcohol Awareness Month
  • 3rd Monday in April – Patriot’s Day
  • April 4-8th – Track Cycling World Championships
  • April 7-10th – Women’s Ice Hockey World Championships

Marketing Tools

Utilizing the theme selected for the month, create some new creative or highlight creative that coincides with the theme. This could mean providing a storefront of related products, creating new ad banners, publishing consumer coupons, or uploading related text links.

Publisher Promotion/Bonus

Provide Publishers with an incentive that will entice them to generate more sales for the program. Don’t be afraid to get creative with the bonuses and offer promotions in addition to the common cash for sales bonus.

If each month’s promotion is unique, it can help keep things interesting. Some examples of monthly promotions could include:

  • Product Sales promotions – Sell X number of specific product, earn Y promotion
  • Sales from a specific creative – Generate X sales from a specific creative, earn Y promotion
  • Placement – Send URL with placement of X, qualify for/ or earn Y promotion
  • Personal competition – Any Publisher that increases their conversion rate by X percent earns Y promotion. Or generate X percent more in sales for this month earn Y promotion
  • Rollover Promotion – Hit X target in sales for current month, earn increase of Y commission for all sales next month
  • Tangible rewards – Qualifying Publishers earn gift card, specific product, gift set, product every month for a year, etc.
  • Experiences – Large ticket items that could include a whole marketing plan in itself. ex. Trip to London for Olympics

Keep Track Of Successes

Always keep a record of how much interest monthly promotions generate. This will serve as a useful guide for creating the next year’s marketing plan. The data on which creatives, promotions, coupons, get the most activity  can be used to recreate similar promotions in the next year. And promotions can be dropped that were not as well received.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Affiliate Marketing | Affiliate Marketing Column | Channel: Content Marketing


About The Author: is the Sr. Manager of Merchant Development for ShareASale.com’s Client Services Department. She is responsible for providing strategic guidance and educational resources to Merchant partners that can be used to optimize and grow their affiliate program.


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  • http://www.experienceadvertising.com Affiliate Management

    Nice ideas! Most affiliate managers don’t manage with a strategy so these ideas are great. Most affiliate managers don’t ever attempt to get personal enough with their affiliates to form the kind of close personal relationships needed to increase production. The other reason they don’t attempt to do this, by including their phone number for example, is because they don’t have enough background or training in online marketing to even be able to help their affiliates out really. In order to truly deliver the highest level of affiliate management and increase productivity is to help your affiliates with education and actual strategies to get more traffic to their website and do social media better. As some that runs 50 affiliate programs and has done it for the last 10 years, affiliate management is all about the effort you put into bond with your affiliates, yes each and every one regardless of skill level. Of course, knowing how to recruiting new affiliates is hugely important to growing the program, so if you can’t do that effectively you’re not going to grow the program much or have a lot of people to work with! 


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