How to Educate Affiliates Without Crossing Dangerous Line

In one of the affiliate programs we manage through Affilinomics we’ve had a new affiliate email us the following question:

I’d like to start writing affiliate featured posts for my blog. However, I am having a difficult time finding information on how to make the most of my affiliate status.

Is there a website you can refer me to, in order to help me feature your products better?

A seemingly easy-to-answer question (just send her to a few links to good blog posts by other affiliates, right?) can lead to consequences that you do not want.

There are two ways to reply to this type of questions:

Wrong way: Illustrate how other successful affiliates are promoting you by sending her URLs to their websites (unless, of course, you have prior permission from these affiliates as I did here). Why is it wrong? Because all affiliates compete against each other, and when an affiliate program manager starts showing any one (or even a group of affiliates) successful campaigns of another affiliate (again, without their prior permission) this is not right.

Right way: Educate them without giving out sensitive information. Here are just a few ways to do so:

  • Have an affiliate program support website with a detailed FAQ section to which you can refer them [see this example].
  • Remember to devote a separate section of the support site to the types of marketing may work well for affiliates aboard your program [as done here].
  • Maintain an affiliate program blog within the above-mentioned support website [example here].
  • If you have content that affiliates may use to marketing your product/service [as here], guide them to this content, making sure they understand to modify it.
  • If you publish your customer-centric newsletters and promos online [like here], make sure your affiliates know where to find it.
  • Finally, dynamic (i.e. real-time) lists of bestsellers, hottest deals/discounts, and other information that can be used by affiliates to market your product/service is always good too.

Good luck working with your affiliates, and if you can think of anything else (whether as an affiliate, or as a merchant with an affiliate program), please do chime in with your comments below.

8 thoughts on “How to Educate Affiliates Without Crossing Dangerous Line”

  1. This is really helpful, Geno. Do you think offering tools to affiliates like how to use PPC, tips on increasing their SEO, and using social media is received well?

  2. Excellent advice, Geno. Affiliates of the same program do compete against each other of course but they can also be quite supportive of each other when there is a sense of community (i.e., either in a forum, blog, social platform, etc.). One strategy that can work well is to provide affiliates with a place to have their promotions reviewed. Either you or fellow affiliates (or both) can offer feedback and help the affiliate make the best promo possible. They in turn can pay it forward.

    1. Very true (about being supportive of each other), Erin.

      Regarding the suggested strategy: I haven’t seen anything like this done before. The first thing that comes to mind is: if a promo/idea is really good, someone else will inevitably steal it. Maybe it’s just that I’ve seen too many affiliate burn themselves through being too open.

  3. I am a bit late in wishing but get my congratulations on winning Best Affiliate Marketing Blog at the Affiliate Marketing Awards last month, Geno.

    I want to know how effective is email marketing? How often should affiliate product information be passed so as not to fall in spamming category?

    1. Kavita, thank you for your congratulations.

      Re email marketing: I’ve seen it being used extremely effectively when we’re talking properly obtained (double opt-in, and everything) email addresses; the more targeted, the better. Then it yields high conversions, and everyone (customer, merchant, affiliate, and everyone who may function in-between then) is happy.

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