Rethink Commerce Blog

5 Tips To Manage Your Long-Tail Affiliates

Posted on November 17th, 2017 by

It’s likely that only 10-20% of your affiliate pool drives most of your sales. Whether you call them top affiliates or trusted business partners, it’s normal to look at your affiliate program success largely through the lens of your most effective partnerships. However, don’t underestimate the rest of your affiliates.

Usually, a mature affiliate program includes over 2,500 affiliate partnerships. Most of these publishers are long-tail affiliates, the ones who bring you only a little income at a time. If nurtured properly, these long-tail affiliates can become a long-term investment that pays off, bringing you many perks and plenty of revenue over the years.

Here are 5 tips to take better care of your long-tail affiliates:

  1. Carefully screen your newcomers. Once a week, set aside half a day to review your new affiliates by digging deep into their activity. Browse their websites, get info on their owners, see what they promote and what other partners they have. Based on your research, decide if you will offer the affiliate special attention.
  2. Create a list for new affiliates to target. You will probably have lots of affiliate requests, and many of them will not be a good fit for your business. In time, you’ll develop a good eye for affiliate screening. Once you have your list of each week’s most promising new affiliates, start to contact them individually. Keep a document to track every conversation and the info that has been passed between you and your partners.
  3. Incentivize them. Offer your long-tail affiliates double commission for a limited period of time and see what results you get. Notice the most responsive and most productive ones and keep up regular communication with them. Let’s say you have 1,000 long-tail affiliates and 300 of them are generating one sale a week. After your proactive outreach campaign, these affiliates may suddenly register not one, but three weekly sales. In time, these numbers will skyrocket if your dedication to nurturing the long tail stays high.
  4. Provide regular feedback – and ask for it, too. Maybe your product would sell better if displayed in an ad on your long-tail affiliate’s blog. Maybe your discount should be bigger during certain days in a certain territory. Communication is key – offer your affiliates individual feedback if useful and viable, and always ask for their feedback in return. You may be surprised by how helpful your affiliates’ tips can be.
  5. Reactivate your dormant affiliates. Often, a group of affiliates will initially make sales for you but eventually stop. Their motives may vary: some of them will have closed their business, others have switched to other activities or products to promote, still others just lost interest in your brand. For each of these affiliate types, you have to have a solution – either clean up your affiliate pool or reactivate the dormant ones.

Managing an affiliate program is not easy – but making time for each component of your strategy is crucial for your long-term success, especially when it comes to unlocking the power of the long tail.

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