Affiliate Management Guide for 2024 [+ Tools]

Affiliate Management Guide for 2024 [+ Tools]

Vlad Orlov

Vlad Orlov

Brand Partnerships at Respona

Affiliate Management Guide for 2024 [+ Tools]

Getting people to join your affiliate program is one thing.

Getting them to actually generate profit is another thing entirely.

In order to get the most out of your program, you need a solid affiliate management process in place.

And in this article, we’ll be taking a look at the specific steps of affiliate management, as well as some tools for it.

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What is Affiliate Management?

Affiliate management refers to all of the processes required to find, recruit, and manage affiliates for your program.

So, everything from finding potential affiliates to automating payouts falls under affiliate management.

Every stage in itself involves multiple steps, which we’ll be breaking down in detail – so let’s get into it.

Recruiting Affiliates

Recruiting affiliates comes down to three steps:

  • Prospecting, or, in other words, finding potential affiliates
  • Choosing the incentives for your prospects to join (such as your commission structure and other benefits)
  • Outreach – whether through email, social media, etc.

While not necessarily being an affiliate management tool, Respona can help you with email outreach – more on that later.

Prospecting

Finding potential affiliate partners is fairly simple.

A good place to start is by asking around your already existing network.

After that, an even better place to look would be your competitors.

You can easily find your competitors’ affiliates if you find their affiliate links.

Leveraging backlink monitoring tools like Ahrefs and Semrush, you can effectively identify your competitors’ affiliate links by searching for common affiliate tags. The most prevalent affiliate tags include:

  • ?fp_ref
  • ?via
  • ?deal
  • ?_from
  • ?_by
  • ?_get
  • ?_go
  • $r
  • ?ref=
  • ?tap=
  • ?gspk
  • utm_source=partnerstack
  • utm_source=referral
  • ?fpr
  • Grsm.io
  • ?fp_ref=

To start, simply enter a question mark (`?`) in the target URL filter within Ahrefs or Semrush. As most affiliate tags contain this character, it serves as a quick way to pinpoint affiliate links.

Iink with an affiliate tag example

Scroll through the search results until you identify URLs containing the affiliate tags mentioned above.

list of all competitor affiliate links

Copy and paste these tags in the target URL filter to generate a comprehensive list of your competitors’ affiliate links.

Just keep in mind that different competitors may be using different affiliate tags.

Once you have compiled this list, you can export it as a .CSV file and upload it into Respona for efficient outreach and management.

Incentives

But before moving on to the actual outreach, you need to sit down and think about the incentive you’ll use for recruiting your dream affiliate team – aka your affiliate offer.

What affiliate marketers really care about is none other than your payment and commission structure – but that’s far from it all.

Other incentive worth considering for your pitch are:

  • Performance bonuses and exclusive deals
  • Marketing materials and support resources
  • Dedicated support
  • Exclusive events for affiliates (webinars, Q&A’s, etc.)
  • Leaderboards and competitions

Here’s our template for affiliate recruitment outreach, more specifically, for securing product reviews:

Hi there,

Loved the review you did on ahrefs. It’s very thorough and well-researched.

I’m wondering if you’re open to writing a review for respona?

Contrary to Ahrefs, Respona automates the entire partner recruitment process in minutes (it’s the highest-rated outreach tool on G2).

We’ll be offering a free trial of Respona, inviting them to join our affiliate program, and, of course providing all of the assets needed to update the article.

How does that sound?

Outreach

Now, for the actual email outreach process.

In step 1, once you’ve selected your email template (or written a new one), we recommend also doing the following:

  1. Check for spam words with Respona’s reply chance calculator
  2. Add an unsubscribe link
  3. Set the follow-up delay to 3-5 business days
  4. Add an AI variable
respona email sequence builder

By default, Respona offers 2 AI variables – an Icebreaker, and a “P.S” – but you’re more than welcome to create your own, custom variables and provide GPT with additional instructuons.

These instructions can be as simple as “Write in a friendly tone” and as complicated as training the AI with examples of your previous manual personalizations.

Using AI to diversify your email templates can help increase reply rates, deliverability, and your overall outreach success.

When everything’s ready, feel free to move to step 2 – opportunities.

email finder and ai personalization settings

That’s where you can import your .CSV sheet – and then run a contact search along with your AI personalizations.

Respona will handle the rest for you on auto-pilot.

Once the automation is finished, you can move to the last step – review & launch.

respona review & launch

Here, you can review your personalizations and make manual edits where necessary.

After launching the campaign, all you have to do is look out for responses – and Respona’s shared inbox is here to speed that up as well.

Onboarding Affiliates

Once people start accepting your invitations, you’ll have to onboard them to educate them about your business and affiliate program.

Training

When affiliates first join your program, they need to have a clear understanding of your products and services.

Start by offering comprehensive training sessions that can be facilitated through webinars, detailed tutorials, or in-depth FAQs.

amazon associates faq
Image source: Amazon

These educational resources should cover not only product knowledge but also best practices for promoting your brand and maximizing their earnings.

The best approach would be face-to-face, of course – so you may need the help of an affiliate manager.

Resources

Beyond initial training, providing ongoing support through a wealth of digital marketing materials is essential.

Your affiliates should have easy access to a variety of resources such as high-quality banners, product images, and pre-written copy.

hubspot affiliate tiers
Image source: Hubspot

A well-stocked resource library empowers affiliates to maintain consistent and impactful affiliate marketing efforts.

Additionally, consider setting up a dedicated support channel where affiliates can get quick answers to their questions.

Compliance

It’s important to establish clear guidelines and expectations from the outset to maintain the integrity of your brand and ensure legal compliance.

You should have a guide that covers crucial aspects such as FTC disclosure requirements, acceptable marketing practices, and the proper use of your brand assets.

Regularly updating and communicating these guidelines ensures that affiliates remain aligned with your brand values and adhere to legal standards, thus preventing potential issues that could arise from non-compliance.

Managing and Optimizing Affiliates

Once your affiliates are onboarded and actively promoting your brand, the focus shifts to effective management and optimization of their performance.

This stage involves regular communication, constructive feedback, tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), and ensuring timely and accurate payouts.

Here’s how you can streamline these processes:

Communication

Maintaining open and consistent communication with your affiliates is essential.

Regular check-ins, newsletters, and updates about new product launches or changes in policies help keep your affiliates informed and engaged.

Tools like Slack or Discord can facilitate real-time communication, while emails and webinars can be used for more structured updates and overall better affiliate relationships.

Feedback

Constructive feedback is a critical component of affiliate management. Providing timely and specific feedback can help affiliates improve their promotional strategies and align better with your brand’s goals.

Consider setting up regular review sessions or sending performance reports that highlight strengths and areas for improvement. A feedback loop ensures that your affiliates feel valued and supported, fostering a more collaborative relationship.

KPIs

Tracking the right KPIs is vital for understanding how well your affiliate program is performing. Key metrics to monitor include:

  • Conversion Rates: The percentage of referred visitors who make a purchase
  • Total Sales: The overall revenue generated through affiliates
  • Average Order Value: The average amount spent per order
  • Active Affiliates: The number of affiliates that are actively driving traffic, brand awareness, and sales
  • Retention Rates: The percentage of affiliates who remain engaged over time

Payouts

Money, money, money – the whole point of affiliate marketing to begin with.

Establish a clear payment schedule, whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, and stick to it. Automating payments through affiliate management tools can help reduce errors and save time.

Additionally, providing various payout options such as bank transfers, PayPal, or cryptocurrency gives affiliates flexibility and convenience.

Top 6 Affiliate Management Tools

Now, on to some tools that can help you manage your affiliate program more effectively.

Trackdesk

trackdesk homepage

TrackDesk was designed to be the best affiliate tracking software for businesses of all sizes.

Offering a suite of powerful features such as customizable affiliate dashboards, real-time tracking, and advanced reporting, TrackDesk makes it easy to monitor and manage affiliate performance.

Its seamless integrations with major e-commerce platforms and CRM systems simplify setup and ensure accurate data synchronization.

TrackDesk also provides flexible commission structures and automated payout systems, enhancing transparency and trust with affiliates.

Pricing: starts at $67/month.

Rewardful

rewardful homepage

Rewardful is a user-friendly affiliate management tool that integrates with Stripe and Paddle. It’s designed to help SaaS businesses launch and manage their affiliate program efficiently.

With robust features like flexible affiliate payment terms, link and coupon code tracking, and mass payouts, the platform enables effortless management and accurate real-time affiliate tracking.

Users can easily track affiliates who perform best and ban bad actors. Its dashboard provides valuable insights, allowing businesses to optimize their affiliate marketing strategy.  

Pricing: 14-day free trial, starts at $49/month

Special mention: if you’d like to learn how to build and grow a successful program for SaaS, consider signing up for the Rewardful Academy’s free affiliate marketing course.

Reditus

reditus homepage

Reditus is a specialized affiliate management platform tailored for B2B SaaS companies, focusing on simplifying the affiliate marketing process and driving growth.

With its intuitive dashboard and robust tracking features, Reditus offers comprehensive insights into affiliate performance, allowing businesses to make data-driven decisions.

The platform supports tiered commission structures and automated payouts, making it easy to manage financial relationships with affiliates. Additionally, Reditus integrates effortlessly with popular SaaS tools and CRM systems, ensuring a seamless experience.

Its emphasis on transparency and user-friendliness makes Reditus an ideal choice for B2B SaaS companies looking to scale their affiliate programs effectively.

Pricing: starts at $69/month.

PartnerStack

partnerstack homepage

PartnerStack is an all-in-one partner relationship management platform designed to help businesses scale their affiliate, referral, and reseller programs.

Known for its robust and user-friendly interface, PartnerStack offers a suite of powerful features including automated tracking, detailed reporting, and customizable partner portals. The platform supports various types of partnerships and provides flexible commission structures to incentivize performance.

Seamless integrations with widely-used CRMs and e-commerce platforms ensure smooth data flow and operational efficiency. PartnerStack also emphasizes partner engagement through built-in tools for communication and resource sharing.

Its comprehensive approach makes it an excellent solution for businesses aiming to grow their partner program and drive sustained revenue growth.

Pricing: contact PartnerStack for a quote.

Everflow

everflow homepage

Everflow is a leading affiliate and partner marketing platform designed to simplify complex affiliate management tasks for enterprises and small businesses alike.

Its feature-rich environment includes advanced tracking capabilities, real-time analytics, and customizable reporting tools that provide deep insights into affiliate performance.

Everflow supports multiple attribution models and integrates seamlessly with a variety of third-party tools, enhancing its versatility. Additionally, its intuitive user interface and automated workflows, such as rule-based optimizations and real-time fraud detection, help streamline operations and ensure compliance.

Everflow empowers businesses to scale their affiliate programs efficiently while maximizing ROI.

Pricing: contact Everflow for a quote.

FirstPromoter

firstpromoter homepage

FirstPromoter is a versatile affiliate and referral tracking platform specifically designed for SaaS and subscription-based businesses.

It simplifies the process of managing affiliates and influencer marketing campaigns by offering robust features like automated tracking, comprehensive analytics, and flexible commission structures.

With an easy-to-use dashboard, FirstPromoter provides real-time insights into affiliate campaign performance, helping businesses optimize their strategies.

The platform also supports seamless integrations with popular payment gateways, CRM systems, and email marketing tools, ensuring a smooth and efficient workflow.

With its focus on usability and efficiency, FirstPromoter is an ideal choice for businesses looking to grow their affiliate and referral programs effortlessly.

Pricing: starts at $49/month.

Link building cheat sheet

Link building cheat sheet

Gain access to the 3-step strategy we use to earn over 86 high-quality backlinks each month.

Download for free

Wrapping Up

So, to sum it up, affiliate management consists of:

  • Finding and reaching out to potential affiliates
  • Onboarding and training new affiliates
  • Monitoring performance, and optimizing your affiliate program

If you need help with the first stage (finding and reaching out to potential affiliates), don’t hesitate to start your 14-day free trial with Respona to see how we can help.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is affiliate management, and why is it important?

Affiliate management involves overseeing and optimizing relationships with affiliates who promote your products or services in exchange for commission-based payments.

Effective affiliate management is crucial as it can significantly increase your sales, broaden your market reach, and enhance brand credibility by leveraging the influence of trusted partners.

How do I recruit high-quality affiliates for my program?

Recruiting high-quality affiliates starts with identifying individuals or businesses that align with your brand values and target audience.

Utilize affiliate networks, social media, and direct outreach to find potential affiliates, and provide them with compelling reasons to join, such as competitive affiliate commission rates and robust support resources.

What tools can help streamline affiliate management?

There are several affiliate software tools designed to simplify affiliate management, such as AffiliateWP for WordPress, Post Affiliate Pro, and platforms like ShareASale and CJ Affiliate.

These tools typically offer features for affiliate tracking, managing payouts, and providing marketing materials.

How do I measure the success of my affiliate marketing program?

Measure the success of your affiliate program by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as conversion rates, total sales generated through affiliates, average order value, affiliate activity levels and retention rates.

Using analytics tools provided by your affiliate marketing tool can help you continuously monitor and optimize your program’s performance.

What are common challenges in affiliate program management and how can they be addressed?

Common challenges include affiliate fraud, low affiliate engagement, and tracking issues.

These can be addressed by implementing robust fraud detection mechanisms, offering consistent communication and incentives to keep affiliates motivated, and using reliable tracking and affiliate management software to ensure accurate commission payments and transparency.

Vlad Orlov

Article by

Vlad Orlov

Managing brand partnerships at Respona, Vlad Orlov is a passionate writer and link builder. Having started writing articles at the age of 13, their once past-time hobby developed into a central piece of their professional life.

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