Customer Promotions versus Affiliate Motivation

With the Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the peak of the online holiday shopping activity coming up, it is sad to see some affiliate program managers (and advertisers) mixing, and often misunderstanding, the target audiences for these two types of promos.

The traditional meaning of sales promotions has always implied giving “consumers a short-term incentive to purchase a product” (Schultz, Robinson & Petrison, 1998, Sales Promotion Essentials, p. 5). I call these customer-oriented promotions. Affiliate-oriented promotions, on the other hand, aim at motivating affiliates (through short-term extrinsic motivators) to sell a product/service.

So, while it is extremely important to keep affiliates updated on the sales promotions (or customer-oriented campaigns) that you are running, advertisers must word their newsletters in a way that does not suggest mistaking affiliates for customers. By all means, do tell them about the hottest offers to push, but don’t forget to also include an affiliate-oriented promotion in your newsletter. Give your affiliates an additional incentive to push those hot offers! This time of the year, there is no deficit of customer-oriented offers. Give affiliates a reason to jump on yours, and here are just a few ways you can do it:

  • One time monetary bonus (e.g.: $100 once they reach a $1000 threshold)
  • Regular monetary bonuses (e.g.: $20 with every 3rd referral)
  • Tangible (and popular!) prize (e.g.: iPhone, weekend getaway for two, etc)
  • Temporary commission increase
  • Tiered commission opportunity (the more they sell, they more you pay them)
  • Permanent commission increase and/or cookie life extension

Use that right brain; stay creative, and make it fun not only for your customers, but also for your affiliates!

2 thoughts on “Customer Promotions versus Affiliate Motivation”

  1. Geno, from an affiliate marketers perspective (sometimes struggling affiliate marketer) I’m sometimes frustrated at the lack of incentives for the affiliates and the consumers, and as a professional Internet marketer I’m occasionally perplexed at how some programs don’t differentiate between a coupon, incentive or just a basic advertisement. I understand the challenges that e-commerce managers are often up against, and I hesitate to call it mismanagement, but more than likely the lack of support for affiliates is a result from a lack of experience, time constraints or upper management’s unwillingness to allow the AMs to control the reins.

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