I was recently asked by an industry colleague about resources they should be making available to their affiliate partners and what affiliates want and need to be more successful. My colleague had seen channel partner and reseller programs with robust portals that included product 1-pagers, sell-sheets, etc., that was made available to approved partners. But, are affiliates looking for the same types of resources when they join an affiliate program?
Yes, and here’s why. For affiliates, once they’re approved for a program, there’s a lot of information they need to curate in order to set up a new merchant on their website. And, depending on the type of affiliate, there can be quite a bit of work involved. That said, many merchants have still been slow to make necessary marketing materials and other resources available to affiliate partners.
Some merchants are concerned about having resources publicly available to affiliates on the website, which is understandable given the risk of savvy competitors being able to access certain product information. However, there are ways to ensure only authorized affiliate partners are accessing the information by hosting the assets behind a secure login, either on your website’s affiliate portal, or making resources available through the affiliate network.
What Affiliates Want But May Not Be Asking You For
Creating a repository of marketing materials and relevant resources for affiliates can be a means of creating sustainable growth in your affiliate program. These should include:
- Content: Approved copy to be used in merchant and product descriptions
- Brand Guide: Guidelines that clearly defines how affiliates can advertise your brand and products on their website, logo usage, brand colors, fonts, etc.
- Marketing Collateral: Sell sheets or marketing collateral for top selling products or categories, with competitive differentiators
- Creative: Optimized banners, email templates, and other assets that are approved for affiliate use
- Program Updates: Ensure affiliates can easily find information around current promotions, contests, and other relevant information program information
- Automation Tools: Widgets, APIs or data feeds that will help affiliates ensure they’re advertising the latest products and offers on their website
Making these resources available to new affiliates can make it easier for them to add you to their website — and, in some instances, give you priority as a new merchant. For your existing affiliate partners, having access to resources will ensure they’re always promoting the current offers and products.
The Business Case: A Means To Drive Sustained Growth In Your Affiliate Program
Because each affiliate program is uniquely different, it’s always a good idea to start a dialogue with different affiliate partners to figure out what they find most valuable. Try to get feedback from different types of affiliates you’re working with.
While input from your active affiliates is important, also take into consideration affiliates that are not active. Maybe there’s something they need from you to start promoting your program, but haven’t had an opportunity contact you about it. You never know, you could find yourself with an opportunity to activate a new affiliate partner in your program.
When I asked the team at Offers.com about the resources they find most valuable, Paul Snyder shared: “Information about top selling products or categories and top converting offers are all very helpful. If there are a limited number of products or they are fairly complicated, a one-pager explaining the features and benefits helps our editorial team when they are preparing content.”
So. when setting up a program that makes sense. But, is there any value in having these resources available to existing affiliates that are already in the program? According to the team at Offers.com, the answer is yes: “While the main time we need that information is during setup, we like to make a pass every quarter or so when looking for optimization opportunities with merchants we’re working with.”
Empowering Your Affiliates Is A Good Thing
While I try to avoid clichés, when it comes to affiliate marketing, “knowledge is power.” Making resources available to affiliate partners so they can more effectively advertise your products and offerings makes sense. If you don’t, you may see some traction with affiliates, but it will be more difficult to sustain growth and incremental revenue in your program.
While there may be concerns about making too much information available, if your affiliate program is well managed, you can minimize the risk of product materials or other information ending up in the hands of snooping competitors. Making these resources available to partners shows affiliates you are committed to them being more successful and providing them the tools to make more money, making the reward much greater than any perceived risk.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.