Attracting and retaining skilled affiliates in a competitive world is challenging enough. But you may also be facing questions from your brand’s own leadership about the value of affiliate marketing compared to other growth strategies.
Use these tips to communicate the success of your affiliate program, both internally and to your affiliates.
Why Communicating Wins Matters
As an affiliate manager, you are involved in the details of your affiliate program every day. But the rest of your company may not think much about it, which can be an issue. There are three main reasons communicating your affiliate wins matters.
- Prove the value of affiliates. Avoid assuming that other people understand the value of affiliates. Communicating wins regularly helps reinforce the value of your affiliate program. For example, you might decide to present a monthly or quarterly report demonstrating how much revenue affiliates bring to the company.
- Overcome negativity bias. There is a well-known tendency in people to focus on bad news and threats. For example, senior management might fixate on one or two affiliates that cause PR problems and consider canceling the entire affiliate program. If you show that the other 99% of affiliates are doing well, using data and stories, you can justify keeping the affiliate program.
- Prepare for your annual review. The third reason to communicate affiliate wins regularly is more personal. It is easier to impress your boss during your annual review when you can point to a long list of wins from your affiliate marketing program.
Six Ways To Communicate Affiliate Wins
Look at the following six tips as a communication toolbox. Pick and choose from the tools as you need them to celebrate the value of your affiliate program.
1. Report Your Wins Regularly
Regularly reporting your results is a proven way to build trust in the business world. Every quarter, companies on the stock report are required to report their financial results to the public. At the same time, most companies also allow investors to pose questions to their executives. Adopt this process of regularly reporting your wins internally.
Here’s how you can put this tip into action:
- Choose a schedule. The most popular choices for reporting are monthly, quarterly and annually. As a starting point, start with quarterly reports to have adequate time to prepare your report.
- Translate affiliate wins to business goals. Keep in mind the audience of your report. In this case, it’s senior management. They are not experts in the complexities of affiliate marketing. So make sure your report answers fundamental questions like, “How much money did we earn from affiliates?” and “How is customer retention trending?”
2. Show Metrics
A business report without numbers is unlikely to be taken seriously. As an affiliate manager, spend some time digging into the data available in your affiliate management platform. Next, think about the metrics (e.g., revenue, cost, customer satisfaction) that your business is focused on.
To make your metrics meaningful, follow these two tips:
- Use a mix of metrics. Ideally, combine lead indicators with predictive value (e.g., number of affiliates signed up this quarter) and lagging indicators (e.g., how much revenue we earned from affiliates this quarter, increased average order value (AOV)). Presenting two to five metrics is generally enough. For more inspiration on the right metrics to use, read about the most important KPIs of Affiliate Marketing.
- Show changes in metrics over time and offer commentary. The longer your affiliate program is active, the more data you will have to analyze and report on. Once you have a year’s worth of affiliate data, provide commentary on changes over time (e.g., how did this year’s holiday season compare to last year’s). Likewise, be ready to explain your results if the affiliate program metrics show a decline in revenue.
3. Share Stories
Numbers matter in affiliate marketing, but they do have limitations. Therefore, you should always keep an eye out for intriguing human interest stories to tell. For instance, you might come across an affiliate in Alabama who used a highly creative approach to promote the product. In that case, consider highlighting that successful affiliate.
Tip: Include photos of your affiliates in reports from time to time to show that affiliate wins come from real people.
4. Identify and Recognize VIP Affiliates
Not all affiliates are created equal in terms of productivity and contribution to the business. If you observe this pattern in your business, consider offering additional recognition to your top affiliates.
Put this tip into action:
- Identify your top 10 affiliates. Make a list of your top 10 affiliates by revenue generated.
- Recognize your affiliates. At a minimum, consider sending them a thank-you card or a gift. Proactively expressing your appreciation for affiliates can make a difference in keeping those affiliates working with you.
5. Show Affiliate Contribution to Business Goals
Don’t assume that VPs and the C-suite will connect the dots on how the affiliate program contributes to the business. For example, your executives might focus most of their attention on organic sales. Counteract this tendency by clearly showing the value of the affiliate program to business goals.
For example, if your business has a goal to grow revenue by 20% this year, you should demonstrate exactly how much the affiliate program has contributed to that goal. In addition, you may want to point out the cost-effectiveness of affiliate marketing compared to other strategies.
6. Request Time To Present Affiliate Wins
Preparing a report and emailing it to your executive team is not always going to work. Many executives have email backlogs and simply cannot get through everything. The solution is simple: Ask for time to present.
Start by asking for a small amount of time (e.g., 10 minutes at the monthly business review meeting). Before your meeting, distribute a copy of your report. Take notes on questions you are asked in the presentation so you can make your next affiliate wins report even better.
Get Started This Week
Start off simply. Set aside 30 to 60 minutes this week to gather metrics and stories about your affiliate program. Once you have that data organized, communicate your results to your direct manager.
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