How to Activate & Motivate Affiliate Partners to Drive Sales

Discover effective strategies to activate and motivate your affiliate partners to boost sales. Learn how to optimize your affiliate program for success.
Image of author Nick Cotter

By Nick Cotter
Updated Jan 10, 2024

How to Activate & Motivate Affiliate Partners to Drive Sales
The content featured on this page includes products from our partners, who may provide compensation to us. This partnership can affect the selection and placement of products we discuss. Nonetheless, our assessments remain unbiased and are solely based on our independent judgments.
Table of contents
Wait a minute...
Don’t you want to find creators from your online store?

Upfluence integrates easily with:
  • Amazon
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • Magento
  • BigComerce
Get Started

Are you tired of dealing with stagnant affiliate partners who are not driving any sales to your business? 

It's time to change this.

Reviving your affiliate program can not only revive sales, but also help in strengthening your brand and expanding your reach.

In this post, we will dive into 9 proven tactics I've used to activate your inactive affiliates and turn them into high-performing partners.


De'Longhi & Mercedes Benz use Kademi's PRM software.

Want to know why?

Email us.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Why is Activating Affiliates Important?

Activating affiliates both from the start of their partnership and through ongoing optimization is crucial to the overall health of your affiliate program for several reasons.

For one, you’ll set your program up for success if you have measures and tactics in place to motivate affiliates to promote your brand from the start.

Affiliates are part of hundreds of programs, and they’re trying to balance both their time and media property space for other partners.

Share why they should grow with your brand and program from the start.

Second, if you have stagnant affiliate partners, but have a huge potential to elevate your channels growth. Using tactics to re-activate them can have huge implications for your affiliate program growth.

Now, let’s dive into what these tacts are…

9+ Methods to Activate & Motivate Affiliate Partners:

1. Auto-approve affiliate applications.

This is one method I see that’s a missed opportunity from the start.

Many affiliate programs I’ve analyzed do not have automated affiliate application approval process in place. This is a huge miss for the brand.

Why though?

You’re probably thinking, “well I don’t want to accept everyone into my program” or “I don’t want affiliates that will misrepsrenet my brand”.

True, and I’m with you there, but… You can put measures in place to mitigate this risk!

Many affiliate platforms have customizable questionnaires prospective affiliate partners must complete before joining your program.

If you set this up in a way to ask all of the necessary questions, you can then automatically identify high-value affiliates and get them into your program right away.

This is so important.

Affiliates have applied to your program for a reason. 

They have a place on their blog, YouTube channel, etc., and are ready right now to promote your brand!

Don’t have bottlenecks in place to deter them from this!

2. Set-up automated drip email campaigns.

Another missed opportunity many brands don’t think about is having automated drip email campaigns in place once an affiliate partner is approved to your program.

You’ve done all of the work needed to recruit the affiliate into your program…

Now keep them motivated and your brand top of mind!

You should have a regular email cadence set up through your affiliate network or affiliate software that follows a schedule such as;

  • Day 1: Welcome & onboarding emails
  • Day 2: Reminder about the program
  • Day 3: Affiliate challenge!
  • Day 7: 1 week check-in
  • Day 14: Share some promotion tactics
  • Day 30: 30 day check-in with performance report
  • Day 45: Keep going! (Motiviation)

Of course, this is not the only emails schedule you can follow. You should strategize internally and map out the email cadence that works best for your brand, especially if you have partners automated triggered into different partner tiers.

3. Set-up regularly recurring meetings.

Image of affiliate calendar

Ah, meetings…

While your calendar may already be packed as it is, you should make some time to be available to your top-tier affiliate partners.

We’re talking about the affiliates that drive real revenue.

These are the affiliate partners that move your program forward, therefore, should have much more time allocated to them.

When setting up recurring affiliate meetings, follow these steps:

  1. Identify your top revenue driving affiliates
  2. Idnefity your potentially high-value affiliates
  3. Provide a specific suggested cadence; Weekly, Bi-weekly, Monthly, and Quarterly

Within these meetings with your affiliate partners you should get the most out of your time. Follow a schedule with action items;

  • Performance
  • Hurdles
  • Opportunities
  • Next Steps

When you have a meeting with a clear schedule in place, you’ll be able to get the most out of your affiliates and really form a long-term partnership with them.

4. Provide monetization tips.

Affiliate partners run a business. They’re in the business of making money.

One really cool way you can continue to activate affiliate partners is be providing them monetization tips and startegies for their business.

You’re looking at their business at a different perspective, therefore, you should be able to provide a few tips in how they can further monetize their blog, YouTube channel, social media following… and so on.

Here are some key points:

  • More compelling landing pages
  • Article keyword intent, compared to the offer intent
  • Pop-ups, bottom banners, etc.

In the example below, you can see how this blog runs in-text affiliate offer placements, but a missed opportunity may be to include a sidebar banner to drive clicks.

Image of affiliate blog

5. Launch affiliate program challenges.

Image of affiliate challenges

Another way to activate affiliate partners would be through the use of affiliate challenges.

When the affiliate joined their program, they may have been excited about the potential earnings. But, after a month, they realized they only made $25 from commissions, and therefore, lost intereste in promoting your brand further.

Now, here’s where affiliate challenges come into play.

You can launch a challenge in a few different ways:

One time placement fee:

This is when you offer a one time affiliate placement fee in return for the partner to include you in their media property (blog, newsletter, etc.)

Generate x customers and receive x bonus commission:

With this challenge, and working backwards from your ideal customer acquisition costs, you can provide a one time cash bonus to affiliates who bring you a certain number of new customers for your brand.

Generate x customers and move up your commission by x%:

With this challenge, you’re enticing a longer-term partnership that continue to motivate them. When they bring you a certain number of set customers within a given time period, you can then bump their commission structure.

While these are just a few examples, you can be a bit more creative and relevant to your affiliate program when building these out.

6. Provide a one-time affiliate placement fee.

This is a fee offered to new affiliates to incentivize them to promote your brand. 

The fee can be a flat amount or a percentage of sales generated by the affiliate and is typically paid out as soon as the affiliate starts promoting your products or services.

This tactic works great for both net new affiliates and existing partnerships.

When building out your affiliate placement fee, ensure it doesn’t cut too far into your target customer acquisition costs for the channel though.

7. Meet in-person.

Meeting affiliates in-person can be a great way to build personal relationships, establish trust, and provide valuable information about your brand. 

This type of interaction can help ensure the affiliate has a clear understanding of your brand and what you hope to achieve through the affiliate partnership.

Now, we only suggest this with your high-value affiliate partnerships or you can also try to meet with other partners are conference and event syou’re already attending!

8. Set up tiered affiliate programs.

Image of tiered affiliate programs

Affiliates want to make money… and they want to make more money and grow the partnership!

A tiered affiliate program rewards affiliates based on their performance. 

The higher the sales volume generated by an affiliate, the higher their commission rate becomes. This type of program can provide motivation for affiliates to increase their efforts to promote your brand and generate more sales.

If you have an amazing tiered affiliate program structure in palace from the start.

Promote this. Sell this. Educate your affiliate partners about the earning potential.

They may not be making thousands of dollars from yoru program today, but, if you can sell them on the future, they’ll be more motivated to get there.

9. Send monthly performance reports.

Image of affiliate performance report

Providing affiliates with regular performance reports can be an effective way to keep them engaged and motivated. 

These reports should include key metrics such as sales, conversions, and click-through rates, as well as any incentives or bonuses being offered. They can also provide valuable feedback to help affiliates refine their strategies and improve their performance.

And That’s How You Activate Your Affiliate Partners.

So there you have it.

One of the most important factors for a successful affiliate program, yet the most overlooked. Don’t go through all of the trouble with getting affiliate partners into yoru program and then forget about them!

If you do, your program will fail.

Set you, and your affiliates up for success from the start. Use some of the affiliate activation tactics, iterate on them, gather feedback from partners, and grow your program!

Image of Kademi logo
Best Fit For: Global Channel Partner Management
Growann Rating ★★★★★
Try a partner platform that drives real growth – really.
Kademi has all the tools you need to increase sales through your partners, dealers, retailers and distributors. #ad
Free Trial
Subscribe for More
Enjoying this article? Join the thousands who get the latest from Growann’s blog emailed other week.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Nick Cotter

Nick Cotter

Founder & CEO

With over 7 years navigating the intricate realms of marketing, and specifically B2B partner marketing, Nick has forged collaborations with top-tier tech brands, prominent agencies, and some of the industry's foremost B2B publishers and content creators. His deep immersion in both marketing landscapes showcases a trajectory of expertise and innovation. Identifying a significant void in specialized resources, he founded Growann.The aspiration? Deliver unparalleled insights and guidance, carving out a dedicated space where the broader marketing and B2B partner marketing communities can flourish.