While Motivating Affiliates, Care for Little Guy Fostering Pride

Earlier this week I have received a newsletter geared at CSN Stores’ affiliates that have generated some traffic for their affiliate program, but no sales. The opening text of the newsletter read:

Congratulations! You have been chosen as a CSN Stores Affiliate Program Rising Star. All the members of this group have been able to bring in a significant amount of traffic to our sites over the last few month. We want to help you make sure those visits lead to sales and commissions! For the next month, April 1st- May 1st, the CSN Stores Affiliate program will be offering an exclusive promotion to the members of this Rising Stars group.

If in the month of April you can convert just 10 sales you will receive an additional $150 bonus on top of your commissions!

I’ve generated 14 clicks for them (some by myself, some my friends), and not one sale. So while the “significant amount of traffic” part constitutes quite a bit of an exaggeration, I can’t help but love the “Rising Star” hyperbole. This beautiful technique, and the whole text of this affiliate newsletter, reminded me of Bronwyn Fryer’s “Moving Mountains” article in a 2003 issue of Harvard Business Review where the author wrote that to motivate others effectively managers must have “a clear, unbiased understanding of the situation at hand, deep insights into the vagaries of human nature.., the establishment of appropriate and reasonable expectations and goals, and the constructions of a balance set of… incentives.” Fryer also proposed several practical techniques to make one a better motivator. Out of the ones that she listed I thought that immediately relevant ones for affiliate program managers are:

  • Start with the truth
  • Appeal to greatness
  • Make them proud
  • Stick to your values
  • Provide constant and consistent communication channel
  • Build trust
  • Care for the little guy
  • Set different incentive levels

It seems that the CSN Stores’ affililiate program manager has hit at least half of the above nails right on the head.

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