You’ve found the perfect product or service to share with your audience. It complements what you sell in a beautiful way, you’re already a big fan of the brand, and you know your community will love it.
And better still: the brand has an affiliate program, so you can actually earn an affiliate commission for promoting the product! Sounds like a win-win situation.
But here’s the deal: You still have to apply for most affiliate programs and prove (to some extent) that you will be a good partner. Sometimes that just means filling out a form to share some basic information, sometimes it means sharing a detailed plan for how you will promote and support their brand.
So what is it that affiliate programs are looking for? How do you make a great first impression on an affiliate application and ensure the other company that you will be a good partner?
Before we dive in, it’s a good idea to gather some information about your top few affiliate programs — you can use our free Affiliate Marketing Tracker worksheet, which you can click to download here.
The affiliate application
Many affiliate programs require, at minimum, some basic information to enroll you and make sure you’re a good fit for the program. Questions you might get include:
- Personal information — ie: your name, address, and preferred payment method.
- Website information — including your website/business name, URL, and website/business purpose
- Audience statistics — including overall site traffic, number of social media followers on different channels, email list size
- Relevant tax information
I know that one of the first questions that will pop into many minds will be, “How many visitors/emails/followers do I need to have?” But there’s no one answer!
Some very exclusive programs may have minimum numbers that affiliates have to meet, and they should share that in their information and application. But if your numbers are small, don’t automatically assume that you will be rejected! Many just want to know the information.
Be a great affiliate partner
Some other things you should consider to be a great affiliate partner:
- Your website needs to be live and active. If you haven’t launched yet, you should have a clear launch plan before you apply (that you can share). If your website is outdated or inactive, you should make a plan to update or refresh before you apply.
- Show off your best stuff. Remember: quality counts! Make sure that your website shows off your best side. The affiliate program may be making a first impression judgement and so you want it to be a positive one.
- Read and follow the terms and conditions. You need to make sure that you read and understand all the rules to make sure that your planned promotions are acceptable.
- Accurate information. Double check that all your contact information is accurate, because some programs may want to contact you before approving your application.
- Have a plan. Be prepared to share how you plan to promote and sell for the merchant. Include as many details as possible. Remember that this is a partnership and that your new partner wants to know how you are going to support them as well as how they can support you. If you want to interview the creator or do any other collaborations, now is the time to pitch them the idea.
If your first application to an affiliate program is rejected, don’t take that as the final or forever answer!
Most affiliate managers are open to having a conversation, so be sure to follow up with an email. Start by asking (without being defensive!) why you were rejected (if they don’t volunteer that information). Then you can present a counter-offer that includes a valid reason for reconsideration.
For example, if you were rejected because your email list size falls short of their minimum, you might be able to demonstrate that you have high engagement rates on your list to help them reconsider.
My very best advice to you is this: do your due diligence before you apply so that you can make a great impression on your application. That’s why we put together the Affiliate Marketing Tracker Worksheet for you — to help you collect and organize all the information you need about each program you want to apply to, make a great first impression, and land the affiliate partnership of your dreams!