20 Ways to Motivate Stagnant Affiliates to Activate

Stagnant affiliates are a common problem. It isn’t unusual to see affiliate programs in which at best about 10 percent of affiliates are responsible for 90 percent of all activity in the program. I would go as far as to say that 99% of all affiliate programs experience this problem at one point or another.

How to motivate those who are inactive?

Re-engaging those affiliates who once decided to join your affiliate program, but never activated, is a challenging endeavor. By now, their time and attention is likely focused on other advertisers or possibly even totally different niches. However, activating them is not an entirely doomed idea.

Enter the RITS framework… “R” for Resources (to educate with), “I” for Incentives (to motivate by), “T” for Tools (to equip them with), and “S” for Support.

At a recent Affiliate Summit I presented the above-referenced framework in a session which was ranked one of the conference’s top sessions by audience growth. The interest in the presentation was hardly surprising. As mentioned at the outset of this post, most affiliate programs out there really do experience the program of inactive affiliates: firsthand and on a daily basis.

In my presentation I offered the audience 20 ways to motivate stagnant affiliates, and I’d like to bring them to you today as well:


1. Approval email

2. Textual content (static)

3. Textual content (dynamic)

4. Visual content


5. Activation incentives

6. Performance incentives

7. Contests


8. Blogger plugins

9. Widgets

10. Content about product

11. Lists of bestsellers

12. Keywords

13. Product API access

14. Mobile-oriented tools


15. Being reachable

16. Segmentation

17. Motivation through examples

18. Tailored suggestions

19. Surveys

20. Follow-ups

If you have 20 minutes to spare, here is the full video on the “20 Ways to Get them Cranking:”

Here is also the complete slide deck for you to follow along:

In conclusion, let me emphasize that the ways to motivate affiliate activation are far more than the twenty outlined above. Look at the larger RITS framework, and think what else you can fit into the broader categories of Resources, Incentives, Tools, and Support. You will easily double the suggested list – especially if you actively brainstorm on this internally.

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