Not all relationships last forever, and relationships tend to dissolve because transactions between two people — whether they’re exchanging love, emotional reassurance, or business support — change over time. What you once thought was perfect suddenly is rife with issues, and you’re not sure how to manage those issues except to walk away.
To notice this, and vocalize it, can feel scary. Business owners regularly go through such struggles, realizing that what once worked great for them isn’t panning out quite the same any longer. Whether it’s a long-time employee or a marketing strategy, things change, and responsive change is needed to address internal shifts.
Affiliate marketers are bound to deal with this tidal change at some point in their career: An affiliate they have long trusted no longer produces conversions like they once did; an affiliate marketing strategy they once relied on now performs poorly from week to week. How do you, as an affiliate marketer, deal with this? Do you just join a new affiliate network or do you attempt to rehab the one you have established? Do you keep affiliates onboard who aren’t performing well or do you go searching for new talent?
The reasons your affiliate network no longer matches your brand network can be vast, but one of the most common ways that existing affiliate networks drift away from your business’s current brand image comes down to a difference in perception and outreach — there is some communication breakdown taking place between you and your affiliates that is causing your affiliate strategy to go awry.
How can affiliate marketers identify these discrepancies and how can they be handled? Let’s take an in-depth look to determine what you can do to bring your brand image back from the fray.
Determine What Your Brand Has Become
It’s likely that your business has changed some since you started your affiliate marketing program. The affiliates you once signed to and tracked with affiliate marketing software may no longer fit your company’s tone, ethics, or interests. It happens. But what are some of the reasons that caused these differences?
Possible differences that could have appeared include:
- Your business decided to change its brand image, opting for something either more modern or more vintage, and an affiliate may be creating content that doesn’t fit your new image.
- Your company has updated your brand voice and language to be more inclusive and diverse, allowing for a wider audience to feel comfortable with your business, while an affiliate decides to not follow along with them.
- An affiliate is not performing as well as they once did, and it appears as if they no longer are trying to help your company succeed.
- An affiliate seems to be speaking about your brand or products disparagingly, or they are producing content that is generally cynical and not in line with your brand’s morals.
Whatever the cause of the difference between you and your troublesome affiliate, it’s something that you need to discover and take care of, as it’s imperative to maintaining the relevance and viability of your business’s affiliate network.
The 6 Types of Affiliates Who Don’t Fit Your Network or Brand
1. The affiliate who has lost touch
Affiliate marketing relies on relatability. There needs to be an emotional element present from affiliate content for an audience member to become interested in your brand. Without that, the likelihood of a viewer becoming a conversion is slim to none.
For numerous reasons, an affiliate of yours might end up losing touch with the core of your company and what their affiliate role entails. Their position is to promote your company in a natural way, one that is seamless and allows viewers to garner interest, which they will explore on their own accord. A lack of enthusiasm from an affiliate — to say they are phoning it in — is an easy way to delegitimize your brand and business. If your affiliates aren’t interested, why should a potential customer be?
If you are finding an affiliate has lost interest and simply isn’t trying to effectively care about your brand, it’s worthwhile to move on and find a replacement — particularly someone who is interested in promoting your company and who shares the same values as you.
2. The affiliate who hasn’t modernized
With the pandemic and societal unrest, marketers have had to change the way they speak to their audience. The way we market has had to become more empathetic and human than it already was. Furthermore, the ease of use that digital media offers has made communicating with and to customers simpler than ever before.
Nowadays, marketers have had to quickly modernize to meet the way the world changes around them, whether a social media app has gone through an update or some global event has caused significant changes that either require being addressed or which need to be taken into consideration regarding company language and content.
An affiliate that ignores all of this and chooses to stick to their guns, doing things “the way they’ve always been done,” will not work out with your brand, nor will they be a benefit to your affiliate marketing program. Even if they argue that they still have a niche of trusted users, the rapid change of the world is going to cause that to dwindle further with time, so it is imperative you have affiliates living and acting in accordance with modern affiliate strategies and methods.
3. The affiliate who only sells
After spending enough time on the internet, you’ve likely run into an influencer who is promoting content and businesses at all times. This person is always promoting a product, talking about a service, or tagging a brand in their post. It feels disingenuous. Why is that? It’s because they are always selling you something.
As said before, affiliate marketing relies on relatability, honesty, and sincerity. People don’t want to be told to buy a product; rather, they want to learn about a product and make the decision to buy on their own — so the purchase feels personal.
An affiliate who sells too hard will not make the conversions you need. While you won’t be spending too much money on them, due to the low conversion rate, the issue is that they make your brand look bad. By selling to everyone, it will give the impression that your business is casting too wide of a net, specializing in nothing at all. You want affiliates who know their audience and know how to sell without overdoing it.
4. The affiliate who hasn’t expanded
When you first start creating your affiliate network, you want to get experts across various platforms. These are legitimate sources for your affiliate network who can spread word of your business to their personal networks across YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
While you want to maintain the experts, it’s a good idea to begin getting affiliates who work across multiple platforms. Why? It’s a great way to have word of your business spread across the internet, from platform to platform.
If an affiliate has refused to expand their network, sticking to their singular channel, it might be time to move on. Even if they’re only promoting your brand through their YouTube videos, it’s exceptionally useful to have those videos shared to sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and more. That interconnectivity spreads word of your business with ease. Refusing to do so is a lost opportunity your business can profit from, along with your affiliate.
5. The affiliate who is unrelatable
Part of the success of well-known marketing campaigns is their authenticity. Authenticity is a simple way for companies to develop a trusted base of customers, as it offers a product with a company culture that emanates the ethos of the community it exists in. It’s like Bruce Springsteen: His music and artistry wouldn’t have been as popular if he didn’t portray a blue-collar American man singing for the common person of his age.
While you might think that any famous influencer will do, they won’t help unless they truly represent the morals and image of your company. Someone like Kylie Jenner might have a massive audience, but having her promote your business won’t feel natural unless it’s a product or service she would actually use in her daily life.
6. The affiliate who has lost interest
Just as your affiliate should be aligned with your brand, they should equally be interested in the products and services your company provides. An affiliate who has lost interest is someone who is not going to serve your brand well. Any affiliate you onboard should be excited about the process. If you find anyone seems to be disinterested, it might be best to look elsewhere.
Ways to Turn Your Affiliate Network Around
Problem affiliates happen, and they can be potential trouble for your affiliate network, but there are ways to protect and improve your network if you’re noticing business decline. Here are some trusted ways to keep your business afloat for the future:
- Be careful with those you hire.
Finding the right affiliate can take some time, but you don’t want to rush it, settling on the very first group of people that applies. Before you sign an affiliate, take the time to evaluate how well they fit with your brand. Make sure the person you hire understands your values, respects your style guide, and is willing to collaborate on content. You want a cooperative relationship that works for both parties — not one that is unbalanced and non-professional.
- Address your troubled affiliates.
If you’re having issues with a particular affiliate, whether due to them not sticking to brand guidelines or not putting in any effort while promoting your products and services, you should take the time to address it immediately. One way to take care of this is to make use of your affiliate software, communicating directly with them about their lack of performance and how it can be remedied going forward.
- Deal with your affiliates who have neglected your business.
Some affiliates might not stick around as long as you’d like. They may promote your business for a few months, provide you with a number of conversions, and then disappear entirely. It happens, and for many different reasons — maybe they became disinterested in your content or they received a more attractive commission rate elsewhere.
Whatever it is, you should regularly check in on affiliates through your affiliate tracking software, looking for dips in performance. Anytime you notice an affiliate has fallen off, reach out to them. Get to know what caused them to stop working for you. If they have any constructive criticism, take it to heart and consider implementing it into your strategy going forward.
- Stay authentic.
You can hire anyone off the street, but you need affiliates who fit your company. Find influencers within your niche and reach out to them. Ask them for similar contacts who would be willing to help. You want a team of affiliates that will work for you because they want to, not because they have to.
Turn to Refersion to Improve Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy
An affiliate marketing network should be fortified with affiliates who are committed to your business, brand, voice, style, and more. The people you choose to promote your business matter greatly, as they are just as much a reflection on your business as your internal customer service agency.
Consider reaching out to one of our experts at Refersion if you’re looking to turn around your affiliate network or are interested in attracting the right affiliates to improve your affiliate marketing strategy.