From the very beginning, the way we kick off any partnership—whether it’s for a third-grade science project or for your affiliate program—sets the tone for how that engagement plays out.
If a partnership doesn’t seem mutually beneficial, what is it bringing to the table? On the first day of your science project, if you were to bring the beakers, notebooks, and trifold presentation board while Billy only brought his third-grade optimism, how would you foresee the rest of the project going? Would you feel confident about the partnership and secure in that both parties will see wins through hard work?
Hmm… maybe… but, maybe not. And, truth be told, when it comes to partnerships of the affiliate variety, that’s a big no-go. So, my question is, if you’re a brand, how can you position yourself in the best possible light so that affiliates you’re interested in are inspired to work with you and your products?
We could answer this in a lot of ways, but let’s focus on the one thing that can truly make the first impression between a brand and affiliate: A compelling affiliate offer.
Now, what is an affiliate offer?
While there’s no Merriam-Webster definition for this one, I have one close to it. An affiliate offer is an agreement from a brand to pay an affiliate a commission for promoting their products or services.
Here’s how an offer usually plays out: A brand chooses a product of theirs that they want to promote and proposes a commission to the affiliates they want to work with. At that point, the affiliate either accepts or passes on the presented offer. If they do accept it, however, the affiliate earns commission when someone they referred to the brand purchases their product.
How do affiliates evaluate offers?
Depending on which affiliate you ask, the answer could vary, but there are some things that almost every one considers on some level. Let’s go over them:
- Product: You’ve got to present a product or service to affiliates that they can really get behind. Whatever you choose to have an affiliate promote, it should be something that lines up well with what they specialize in and what they and their audiences are familiar with. If the affiliate can promote a product to their audience that they feel confident will resonate, that’s a win-win.
- Commission: It may be an obvious one, but still important to cover. Commission rates will always depend on a few different things, but what’s for sure is that it’s something that all affiliates evaluate heavily. When you find affiliates that you’re especially keen on partnering with, the commission that you offer them plays a weighty part in whether or not they’ll accept your offer.
- Vertical: Just like the first item on this list, the vertical that your brand is housed under should match up with the content the affiliate puts out there and with their audience’s interests as well. If your vertical isn’t relatable to the affiliate or their audience, one of the less than fun outcomes could be lower conversion rates. Say your vertical is home goods and you’re trying to work with an affiliate that dabbles more in apparel and fashion. Because the interests don’t align, there’s a likelihood that you and your products may get overlooked by this affiliate’s fashion-focused audience.
- Niche: As a general rule of thumb, the more narrow and concentrated your niche is, the better. Why? There are a few reasons, but one is that the affiliate may get higher referral commissions by promoting a brand within a niche that’s highly specialized.
That’s just some food for thought. Now we’ve got a clearer understanding of the dynamics of affiliate offers. We know what an affiliate offer is, how to get the most out of your affiliate offer, and even how a lot of affiliates will evaluate the offers they receive. We’ve still got one more big thing to go over, though.
How can you create a compelling affiliate offer?
1. Promote your high-value products
We already touched on this lightly in the last section, but it’s important enough that we’re going to build on it some more. It may be tempting to solely market your brand to choice affiliates, but doing so may lead to more vague marketing and fizzle in the end. So, instead, try taking the avenue of promoting products that you’re proud of, are relatively high in value, and have good profit margins. Why, you ask? Simple. Because it’s mutually beneficial and may even allow you to offer a higher commission.
2. It’s the details that count, so leverage them
Oh, yes. Details, details, details. They matter, especially when it comes to your affiliate offer. What you choose to include in your offer can either make or break an affiliate’s decision to go with your brand. If you include the right things, you can start to attract affiliates that truly fit your brand.
But, what are the right things? Ahh, glad you asked. Here are a few:
- A comprehensive description of your brand and the product or service you’re promoting
- Where you’re looking to get conversions from geographically
- Any expectations you might have for traffic
- What marketing channels you do and don’t want the potential affiliate to promote on
3. Include a competitive commission rate
This part can be quasi-reminiscent of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in the sense that your commission rate should be just right. It’s easier said than done, too. While passion may inspire potential affiliates, they too have a business where they’re earning income and that has to be taken into account.
You want to avoid setting your rate so low that no affiliates want to work with you, but, in the same breath, you don’t want to set it too high or there’s a chance you could make less profit. See what I mean about the Goldilocks thing? But the good news is, there is a way for you to make calculated decisions about the commission rate you’ll offer affiliates.
The best way to find a sweet spot with your commission rate is by doing your research. The standard affiliate commission rate ranges between 5 to 30%, so you’ll want to do a little exploring and find out what the going rate for your industry is. Spend some time in affiliate networks studying the rates of competitors in your vertical. Also, make sure to stay up-to-date with the performance data of the affiliates that are currently promoting your products or services.
At the end of the day, remember this: a competitive commission rate can help attract the best affiliates to your brand, build loyal partnerships, and can even scale your program quickly.
That wraps up our foray into the art of creating compelling affiliate offers! Whether you’ve got an existing affiliate program and are trying to engage new affiliates or are building one from scratch, I hope that these tips inspire you when crafting your own affiliate offers. You’ve got this!
If you’re still a little iffy about how to craft an offer that will capture affiliates, then look to us. With the 10 years of data that backs our software and our Commissions Recommendation report that takes the guesswork out of how much to offer your affiliates, we can help. Click here to learn more about our automated affiliate management.