Affiliate Partner Onboarding: Creating a Seamless Experience
Welcome to the next crucial phase of your affiliate marketing journey! Your diligent recruitment efforts have yielded fruit, and you’ve successfully secured some valuable partners who are eager to work with your brand.
While it might feel like you’ve crossed the finish line, the reality is that the most critical steps lie ahead. Sending over the program terms and having your partners accept them is just the beginning. The affiliate partner onboarding process may appear deceptively simple, but it involves a series of meticulous steps that play a pivotal role in ensuring your partnership gets off to a strong and successful start.
At Acceleration Partners (AP), we specialize in navigating the complexities of affiliate partnerships. In this blog, we’ll share our expertise to help you create a seamless onboarding experience with confidence.
Why is affiliate partner onboarding important?
Affiliate partner onboarding is a vital step in the process of new affiliates joining your program and preparing to promote your products or services. While each partner is unique and initial negotiations may vary, there are common elements during the onboarding process that contribute to a smooth start to the partnership and relationship.
The affiliate partner onboarding process should encompass all the program essentials, providing new partners with the necessary resources, setting expectations, and fostering a positive beginning to the partnership. It should also help your affiliates feel welcomed and supported. Below, you’ll find our affiliate partner onboarding checklist.
Affiliate partner onboarding checklist
- Welcome Email: In most cases, you can automate the sending of a welcome email through the network when a new partner joins. However, we recommend going the extra mile, especially for partnerships that could have a significant impactful on your program. Send a personalized email introducing yourself and the team as the main points of contact. If you have a “Welcome Deck” or “Welcome Pack” to share with the new partner, this is the perfect time to do it!
- Welcome Deck/Pack: While not all programs have this, it can be a valuable addition to support and welcome your new affiliates. The deck can include information such as partner commission levels, promotional calendars (if any), newsletter schedules, payment methods, best-selling products, tone of voice guidelines, rewards, and how to earn them (if applicable). Include anything that helps partners better understand your brand and start affiliate promotions promptly.
- Review Commission Level: Some programs have different commission levels depending on the type of affiliate joining. It’s good practice to ensure that the affiliate you’re onboarding has been assigned the correct contract. This may seem basic but can save you headaches later on.
- Network Run-Through: While most affiliates are familiar with affiliate networks, some may need extra guidance. Offering a network run-through can be crucial. Show them where to find creative materials, tracking links, and how often they will receive newsletters. Offer any necessary support to get them started.
- Additional Marketing Materials: During initial conversations with the partner, you may learn about their specific needs in terms of creatives sizes or unique text or materials they require. Double-check that the partner has everything they requested to start promoting your brand. Additionally, proactively share links to a promotional calendar or brand decks that could be useful for the partner.
- Verify Tracking: As a best practice, make sure your tracking system is functioning correctly. For partners with more complex integrations, consider conducting a test transaction to ensure everything is running smoothly. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to tracking accuracy!
- Follow-up Email: Once the partner is ready to proceed, send a concise email summarizing the discussion, including relevant links and materials. Include the main points of contact for future interactions, and consider suggesting regular catch-up meetings to discuss performance and optimization opportunities. This follow-up email helps ensure clear communication and collaboration.
- Request Feedback: Continuous improvement applies to every process, including onboarding. That’s why we recommend asking your partners for feedback. Not only does it help build trust, but it also allows you to enhance the process for future affiliates.
Pro tips for seamless affiliate partner onboarding
In addition to following the above checklist, there are some key considerations to keep in mind during the affiliate partner onboarding process. While not all affiliate programs approach onboarding the same way, here are a few strategies Acceleration Partners implements to ensure a smooth and successful onboarding experience:
- Practice Patience: Recognize that partners may vary in responsiveness and familiarity with the network. Allow them the time they need to acclimate.
- Provide Support: Make sure your partner feels supported throughout the onboarding process. A positive beginning sets the tone for a strong partnership.
- Continuous Improvement: Learn from each onboarding experience and use those lessons to optimize the process for the future.
- Personalize Communications: Tailor your communications as much as possible. Personalized messages foster better chances of a quick and seamless onboarding.
By keeping these considerations in mind, you can enhance your onboarding process and set the stage for productive and lasting partnerships.
Ready to take your affiliate marketing program to the next level? Explore how Acceleration Partners’ industry-leading expertise and affiliate marketing management services can help you achieve your goals.
By: Tami Lison
Helping brands unlock growth through partnerships.