Publisher activation – the core of an affiliate program

by Marcel Chaudron
publisher activation

The success of an affiliate program is driven by the core: the publisher’s activity. Once we have recruited the wanted publishers and they are willing to start promoting your program, you need to make sure the publisher will become active on your affiliate program. Active means they are driving clicks, sales or leads.

First step is the connection to your affiliate program. Invite the publishers to the program when they already have an account for the affiliate network or platform where you have your affiliate program running. If not, guide them through an account creation set up.

The best way to do this is, is by creating an onboarding guide. In this onboarding guide you should explain step by step on how to create an affiliate account. Also include information about the program; Description, Commission model, T&C and tips on how to drive sales for your affiliate program.

The first days after the publisher have agreed to join your program are crucial to onboard them to your affiliate program, so make them active asap. Since publishers are contacted by hundreds of other affiliate programs it is vital to make sure that they are connected to your affiliate program asap. Give them all the information and support they need. 

Before a publisher starts, make sure that they are in the right agreed commission segment and have access to all the needed assets. They also need to accept the program terms and conditions in order for them to start driving traffic and sales.

The second second step is the most important step – they need to activate your affiliate program by adding textlinks, vouchercodes, product feeds, content or banners on their website. This is the most crucial point because here the publishers will start their journey of adding value to your affiliate program!

Communication and Dedication is needed in this step of the process. Next to the recruitment document you should have an activation document with all partners on the program that are not active so that you can follow the activation process.

Since most partners are working with +100 programs, you need to have dedication and don’t stop after your first activation email. In most cases you should follow this process:

  • First activation email
  • First reminder max 7 days after first activation email
  • Second reminder activation – 7 days after first activation mail
  • Third reminder with the questions if they are still interested in the program – if not remove them from the program to keep the program clean

Next to emailing the fastest way is to call the most important publishers to get them onboarded and active.

When the email bounces – try to see if the website is still online. When the website is not online anymore, remove it from your affiliate program. When the site is online, search for a new email address and start sending the activation emails.

Questions to ask or ideas to get the publisher activated on your affiliate program:

  • What do you need to start becoming active?
  • Provide them a commission increase on their first sales in the next 30 days
  • Give them a small CPC for their first clicks
  • Book exposure or onboarding package

Activating publishers should be a weekly process just like supporting and answering questions from your publishers.

When they have generated the first clicks for at least a couple of weeks you need to move the publishers to the next phase – Optimization.

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