Although it may seem obvious, it seems some affiliate managers aren’t aware of the power of an optimised and streamlined partner onboarding process. Ensuring that as soon as your partners join your programme they can begin with the promotion process means a positive tone will be set for the relationship.

A positive relationship is crucial, both for the success of individual affiliates, but also the overlying success of your programme.

Providing ample support is just as important – brand loyalty is a prize that can be won by affiliate managers providing the support and help partners may need. This means existing, quality affiliates can be kept happy, but also new affiliates can get the most out of the programme, meaning your brand gets the most out of it too.

What is affiliate onboarding?

Simply put, affiliate onboarding is the process of getting new affiliates familiarised with your affiliate programme. Guidance, communication and support are key in ensuring that your affiliates feel that the partnership will be a success.

The onboarding process is highly important if you desire your affiliate programme to grow. Affiliate revenue is the aim of the game, and this can be achieved by increasing the amount of affiliates promoting your brand – this comes from a positive experience. The affiliate onboarding process is the first impression that a partner gets of your brand. If they receive little support and feel the process is messy, meaning they can’t get started with their promoting straight away, that is not going to create a positive relationship.

Here are a few handy tips for you to ensure your affiliate onboarding process is smooth and successful:

  • Make sure you’re completely set up behind the scenes. Ensure that your integrations are working properly, that your programme details are set up, you have your terms of service agreement set in stone, your sign up page looking good and ready to go, marketing materials are provided and welcome messages set up – this is all essential for a good first impression.
  • Communicate with your affiliates. It’s important that your affiliates are aware of all the details about your programme. Now is the perfect time to be honest; this will benefit both you and your affiliate in the long run. Whether you share this on your sign up page or in communications over email, it is important to get these details established from the get go. A newsletter could also be a great way to communicate on a regular basis. Providing information such as a run down of your products and services, a glossary of relevant terms and updates on things your brand is working on could be beneficial.Ensure your affiliates know how to communicate with you. Set up communication channels so affiliates know exactly where and how to contact you. Provide affiliates with an email they can send all affiliate-related questions and enquiries to.  In addition to having a dedicated email, it’s also a good idea to meet your affiliates in person (or through a video call!).
  • Personalise the experience. If a positive relationship is to be formed, it can’t just be a one-size-fits-all approach. Each affiliate will be different; some will have lots of experience, some will have none. Consider where your affiliate is going to be promoting – if they primarily use Instagram, consider chatting with them about the most effective posting times, or about creating video content for Reels. If your publisher is promoting your products on a price comparison site, chat with them about the way your products will be most effectively displayed.
  • Make sure you congratulate your partner! Keeping up communication when a conversion or commission is created can retain the positive conversation.

It can seem like the onboarding process is an easy thing to get right, but taking the time to properly think about it and how it is impacting your relationships can be the make or break of a successful affiliate programme.