6 Affiliate Marketing Automation Strategies to Grow Revenue

Learn 6 powerful strategies for automating your affiliate marketing efforts and driving revenue growth. Take your affiliate game to the next level today!
Image of author Nick Cotter

By Nick Cotter
Updated Jan 10, 2024

6 Affiliate Marketing Automation Strategies to Grow Revenue
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Picture this: It's Monday morning, and your inbox is already flooded.

One affiliate can't find the latest promotional assets, another's reporting metrics seem off, a third is pushing for an early payout, and yet another is negotiating a higher commission rate. Sound familiar?

Managing an affiliate program can sometimes feel like you're a referee in a never-ending championship game.

But what if there was a secret weapon to simplify it all, leaving you more time for strategy and growth?

Welcome to the world of automated affiliate marketing, where these challenges are tackled head-on. Let's journey into the solutions every affiliate manager wishes they had yesterday.

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Best Fit For: Global Channel Partner Management
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The Power of Automation in Affiliate Marketing:

Why Automate?

Why should you automate your affiliate marketing?

Here's the deal: automation can be a game-changer for your affiliate program. It takes the heavy lifting off your program manager’s shoulders, freeing up time and energy that you can direct towards growth strategies.

Let me paint a picture for you.

Illustration of affiliate marketing automation

Imagine having to manually track all the clicks, conversions, and payouts related to each of your affiliates.

First off, that’ll be difficult to accomplish, especially if you have a mature affiliate program with 100+ affiliates.

Second, that just sounds exhausting doesn't it?

With affiliate automation tools, this tedious task is taken care of - like magic!

Affiliate marketing automation also offers real-time tracking which means you get instant data about how well an affiliate partnership is performing.

The Shift in Paradigm

Now let’s talk shift – a paradigm shift!

Automation isn’t just changing how we manage our affiliate programs; it’s revolutionizing how your affiliate partnerships can continue to grow the partnership.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

In the old days (and I'm not that old), getting your affiliate partners to build more content and promotional tactics for your brand could take quite a while; weeks, maybe even months.

The process was fraught with back-and-forths, manual approvals, and a constant need for synchronization between partners. Each piece of content was a deliberate move, carefully planned, and painstakingly executed.

Example Chat GPT “Best” Affiliate Article
Example Chat GPT “Best” Affiliate Article

Now, with the advent of AI-driven affiliate marketing software, the landscape has dramatically shifted.

Automated Tools Every Affiliate Program Should Consider:

Let's dive right into the world of automation, and boy, it's a game-changer!

No more manual tracking or late-night data crunching.

Time to hit autopilot!

1. Affiliate Tracking Dashboards:

First off, let's talk about affiliate marketing tracking software.

I'm telling ya, they're like your own personal assistant who never takes a coffee break.

These virtual helpers keep everything organized in one place – from tracking links and commissions to analyzing performance metrics. And guess what? They do all this work while you're out knocking things off your bucket list.

Trackdesk affiliate tracking platform
Trackdesk affiliate tracking platform

There are quite a few options out there to choose from:

  1. Phonexa
  2. Trackdesk
  3. Rewardful
  4. Kiflo
  5. Reditus
  6. Upfluence

Read our top recommendations for affiliate marketing software.

2. Email Marketing Tools:

Moving on to email marketing tools now - another must-have in your tool belt!

You’re going to use email marketing automation to accomplish the following with your affiliate program:

  • Send program updates to your existing partner base
  • Send payout notifications to affiliates
  • Reach out to prospective affiliate partners
  • Set up welcome, onboarding email cadences

Having an affiliate marketing software with an internal email marketing solution is a huge bonus. This keeps everything within one platform, making things super easy to manage.

3. Affiliate Recruitment Software:

Another tool I’ve found super helpful when managing an affiliate program is affiliate recruitment software.

This software helps you to streamline your affiliate partner outreach, enhance deal negotiations, and understand where your most valuable affiliates are coming from.

Publisher Discovery Affiliate Recruitment Software‍
Publisher Discovery Affiliate Recruitment Software

Here’s just a few platforms we recommend checking out:

5 Tips to Automate Your Affiliate Program:

1. Automated Application Processes:

Imagine a high value affiliate applying for your affiliate program at 3 am (your time), but it’s really 8am (their time).

Are you going to wake up and start reviewing their application?

Illustration of affiliate program application

Most likely not.

So how do you get this high value affiliate partner approved and into your program so they can begin promoting your brand before you even wake up?

That’s where automation steps in.

With an automated system, applications can be reviewed anytime—day or night—and approvals can be sent out faster than ever before.

Here’s how this magic works: 

  1. An applicant fills out a form online, providing all necessary information like their marketing experience, audience demographics, promotional strategies etc. 
  2. Once they hit submit, your automated system gets to work instantly reviewing the data against predefined acceptance criteria (like audience size or engagement rate).
  3. If everything checks out fine – bingo! They’re accepted without any manual intervention required from you!

2. Instant Access to Materials:

Taking this from personal experience…

There's nothing more frustrating than getting accepted into an affiliate program and then having to wait days (or even weeks) for access to promotional materials.

That’s INSANE.

If you’re running an affiliate program, don’t do this.

Automation through your affiliate platform can take care of all of this.

PartnerStack’s Partner Resource Center
PartnerStack’s Partner Resource Center

With automation in place, once someone gets accepted into your affiliate program—they instantly receive all needed materials—banners, product photos, sample posts—you name it!

This means they can hit the ground running immediately instead of twiddling their thumbs waiting around for things to kick off.

3. Automated Payout Systems:

Affiliates run a business.

Don’t forget this.

Just like your other vendors, they want to be paid in a timely manner, as to what was agreed upon when taking on the contract.

If you’re having to run payouts manually each time, you’re risking 1) missing a payment 2) underpaying an affiliate 3) running into legal issues if you never paid an affiliate.

With an automated payout system in place, you set up a schedule (like weekly or monthly), and voila!

The system automatically sends out the payments for you. No more forgetting or scrambling at the last minute.

Reditus automated affiliate payouts
Reditus automated affiliate payouts

And trust me when I say this - Your affiliates will love it too. They'll appreciate knowing exactly when they can expect their hard-earned cash.

4. Real-time Reporting:

Next up is real-time reporting – another nifty feature of automated payout systems. This one’s all about giving you insights into how well your affiliate program is doing at any given moment.

Let's say it's 11 PM on a Tuesday night and you suddenly get curious about how many sales your top affiliate made today.

Impact’s real-time affiliate reporting snapshot
Impact’s real-time affiliate reporting snapshot

With real-time reporting features in place, all that info is just a click away...no waiting around till the end of the month!

Automated reports can show things like total sales generated by each affiliate, commission rates applied per transaction, and even which products are performing best within your program.

5. Regular Updates:

You’re building relationships with affiliates.

And with every relationship, comes communication. Without it, cracks will begin to form, and the relationship will slowly start to slip away.

Now, imagine trying to manually send out weekly or monthly newsletters to hundreds, or even thousands, of affiliates.

That sounds awful, right?

Well, that's where automation can step in.

How to automate regular affiliate updates:

  1. Leverage your affiliate tracking platform to send updates via SMS, Email, In-app.
  2. Purchase a 3rd party email marketing platform to send notifications; See if it can integrate with your affiliate tracking platform.
  3. Send manual mass emails to your partners via your ESP.

One of my favorite affiliate marketing platforms that offers great communication features is PartnerStack. Below, you’ll see their in-app messaging portal – it’s clean, easy to use, and keep you on top of communication with brands and affiliates.

PartnerStack’s in-app messaging portal
PartnerStack’s in-app messaging portal

The Dos and Don'ts of Automating Your Affiliate Program:

Now, with all of this automation talk, I want to reiterate some points about the role of automation in your affiliate program.

First off, let's start with the dos:

  • Do automate repetitive tasks: This is a no-brainer. If there are tasks in your affiliate marketing program that are done over and over again, automate them! It'll not only save you time but also increase efficiency.
  • Do use analytics: Automation tools often come equipped with analytics features. Use them to track performance metrics on an ongoing basis for continuous improvement.
  • Do keep communication lines open: Even though you're using automation, don't forget to maintain personal contact with your affiliates. Automated emails should be mixed with personal ones for a balanced approach.

Now onto the don'ts:

  • Don't rely solely on automation: While it's tempting to let software do all the work, it’s important not to lose that human touch completely. Don’t forget that building relationships is key in any business venture!
  • Don't ignore feedback: Listen to what your affiliates have to say about your program - their input can help improve processes even further.
  • Don’t send mass email every time: Build relationships with your partners, don’t just continue to send mass emails. They tend to be so un-personalized and seem as though you don’t care about the partner.

Wrapping things up

Automation in affiliate marketing is undeniably transformative.

It streamlines processes, grants us efficiency, and most importantly, gives us the gift of time.

With these saved hours, we can foster and nurture our most valuable affiliate partnerships, deepening those ties that truly matter.

However, as with all powerful tools, moderation is key.

While automation can handle repetitive tasks with unparalleled accuracy, the essence of affiliate marketing remains in genuine, human connections.

It's vital to strike a balance. Use automation to free up your time, but invest that time in building and maintaining authentic relationships. After all, in the realm of affiliate marketing, it's these genuine bonds that truly make a difference.

Nick Cotter

Nick Cotter

Founder & CEO
Growann

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.