5 Ways To Motivate Your Affiliates

Here’s a common sentiment across businesses with affiliate programs: Every time they check their affiliate marketing KPIs, they feel the affiliate program can bring a little more sales.

As a result, they try and promote their affiliate program to bring in more affiliates.

Now, there’s no doubt that more affiliates = more sales. But there’s one more way to maximize affiliate marketing ROI: Motivate current affiliates to promote more and better. Unfortunately, many companies skip this step ⁠— if yours is one of them, this article is for you.

Learn how to motivate your affiliates and see your affiliate revenue skyrocket without adding a single new affiliate.

How To Motivate Affiliates? 5 Methods:

1. Share promotion tips

Some affiliates have an audience, but they don’t know to promote an offer effectively. Simply teaching them what they can publish to get more clicks or tweak to get more conversions can go a long way for both of you.

You can send them an email, invite them to a webinar, or video chat with them to teach how they can sell more of your products.

For example, here’s Cloudways’s email to a new affiliate on how to sell more:

Cloudways' tips to their affiliates
Cloudways’ s email to motivate their new affiliates

2. Increase commissions

This one always works because people sign up to affiliate programs for the commissions.

And typically, they stop actively promoting your product or service because:

  • They discover an even profitable affiliate program;
  • They find a better product to recommend;
  • Or, they simply lose interest in promoting your products.

Adding some cash in the system and distributing (in the form of extra commissions) can re-motivate your affiliates.

You can choose one of these three methods to motivate your affiliates with commissions:

  • Increase the commission rate forever: For example, you can switch from 8% per sale to 10% per sale. This will dig a hole in your pocket but will likely get you more sales.
  • Increase commissions for a specific time: If you can’t afford to pay high commissions till eternity, you can increase commissions for a limited time too. For instance, you can bump up the commissions during Christmas or Black Friday.
SEMRush's limited-time bonys to motivate affiliates
Here’s SEMRush doing it with a limited-time welcome bonus commission.
  • Launch tiered commissions: A tiered commission structure highly motivates affiliates with the potential of bringing more sales. For example, if you pay 10% commission on the first 100 customers an affiliate brings, and 15% after that, affiliates with 60-70 sales will be excited to reach the 100 customers mark.

Pro Tip: Never decrease your affiliate commissions. When Amazon slashed its commission rates, the affiliates were furious with the decision. As a result, many switched to other programs.

3. Send random bonuses

Imagine: You finish a task for a client and are expecting $1000 for it. Instead, the client pays $1500 with an appreciation note attached. How happy would you be?


For affiliates, making successful sales on your behalf is kind of their job. And if they feel appreciated, they’d want to keep promoting your offer. Therefore, send bonuses from time to time ⁠— it can be cash, extra commissions, your new product samples, exclusive tickets…anything!

4. Develop personal relationships

A corporate body that pays performance-based commissions is always replaceable. But, on the other hand, if you build good relations with your affiliates, they won’t leave you in a snap of a finger.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure great relations with the affiliates:

  • Initiate a conversation.
  • Encourage communication.
  • Conduct regular check-ins.
  • Send out surveys to see what they feel and what you can do better for them.
  • Assign an affiliate manager, especially to your top affiliates.
  • Invite them to in-person events.

5. Keep improving your product/service

Most affiliates are in the public eye. So they can’t afford to promote subpar products or services, as it puts their credibility in jeopardy. Plus, they themselves wouldn’t want to recommend a wrong product to their hard-earned followers/visitors.

Even if affiliates were to promote a below-average product, they’d notice a dip in conversion rate (because of other users’ reviews and complaints about your product). This leads to them switching to another program.

Therefore, the quickest way to ensure affiliates keep promoting your solutions (and not switch to other programs) is to improve your product and service.

Anything that keeps the affiliate a hero in their visitors’ or followers’ eyes (for recommending the right product) works. Plus, if your product is genuinely the best, it strengthens the affiliate’s conviction and word of mouth.

Final Thoughts

Motivating your current network of affiliates to promote your brand more and better is the quickest way to increase total affiliate revenue. And hopefully, the above mentioned tips will help you increase revenue per affiliate.

Before ending this article, here’s one more tip: Sign up for big companies’ affiliate & referral programs to observe how they motivate their affiliates. Learn, and implement what you like.

That’s it for this article. Subscribe to our newsletter for more insightful pieces on affiliate marketing and e-commerce growth.

If you currently don’t have an affiliate program, here’s our guide on how to launch a successful affiliate program for your business.

Affiliate Marketing
Published on
August 6, 2021
Written by
Juhil Mendpara
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