How to Build a B2B Affiliate Program in Seven Steps

How to Build a B2B Affiliate Program in Seven Steps

Dustin Howes 5 min

Affiliate marketing isn’t just for B2C. More B2B SaaS companies are recognizing the value of affiliate programs, as customers look to nodes of trust in their communities to help them choose products in a sea of options.


Affiliate marketing programs can be a great way to increase sales and grow your business. However, many brands fail to develop a winning affiliate strategy before carelessly creating an affiliate marketing program.


If your company is looking to start an affiliate program but doesn’t know where to begin, we’ll walk you through seven steps to create a program that will lead you to a successful launch and growth.


With the right affiliate marketing strategies, you can develop powerful partnerships with affiliates that will help promote your products and services.


Let’s go build your army of affiliates!


How do you start an affiliate program?

You’ll need to take seven steps to help your business create an affiliate program.


Step one: Choose the right platform for your product

Not all affiliate programs are created equal. You’ll need to find a platform compatible with your product and offers the features you’re looking for.


If you want to start an affiliate program, there are a few things you need to consider before choosing the right platform for your product.


First, consider what kind of product you’re selling and your target audience. For software products, you’ll want to ensure the platform allows the easiest connection and tracking for your sales funnel.


Another thing to consider is how much control you want over your affiliate program. Some platforms give you complete control over your affiliates and their commissions, while others take a more hands-off approach. Choosing a platform that offers the level of control you’re comfortable with is important.


Finally, be sure to compare the fees associated with different platforms before deciding. While some platforms charge monthly or annual fees, others take a percentage of each sale your new affiliates generate.


By taking the time to compare your options, you can be sure to choose the right platform for your product and business needs.


Step two: Set up your payment structure

How you pay your new affiliates will impact how successful your program is. You’ll need to decide how much you’re willing to pay per sale and develop a system for tracking sales and payments.


Start by doing a competitive analysis to see what other businesses in your industry are paying their affiliates. Use this information to come up with a fair and competitive commission structure for your own program.


Once you’ve decided how much you’ll pay per sale, you’ll need to figure out what will motivate partners to promote you over competitors.


Step three: Create promotional materials

Your affiliates will need high-quality promotional materials to sell your product effectively. This includes things like product images, banner ads, and email templates.


Be sure to create various materials in different sizes and formats so your new affiliates can choose the best for them. And don’t forget to include your brand guidelines so that everyone is consistently promoting your product.


One of the most important aspects of this step is creating a warm, welcoming email sequence that lets partners know:


  • Their affiliate link
  • Who is the affiliate manager
  • What to expect from the program
  • More about the company
  • Marketing assets that are available to them


You never get a second chance at a first impression, so welcome new partners with open arms.


Step four: Launch the program

Time to launch your affiliate program! Before you start promoting it there are a few things you need to do.


Create an announcement post or video that gives an overview of the program and what affiliates can expect. Then, reach out to your active customers via newsletter and ask them if they would like to join the program.


Finally, start promoting your affiliate program on social media and through other marketing channels. Be sure to track your results so that you can make adjustments to your promotional strategy as needed.


Step five: Recruit affiliates

Now, it’s time to start recruiting affiliates. Not just any partner will do. You are on the search for high-quality affiliate marketers to promote your product. But beware; this is the hardest and most tedious part of the job for an affiliate manager.


Start with developing a Partner Persona that will highlight the attributes of your ideal partner. The popular choices in the affiliate world include content publishers and YouTube influencers, but every brand has a different ideal partner.


Next, develop a wish list of affiliate sites you would like in your program. You will need to collect contact information for each website.

Once you have your list, start reaching out to each one with a personal message. If you don’t get a response, don’t give up! It takes a lot of perseverance to build a successful affiliate program.


For a complete list of marketing tools I suggest for recruiting affiliates, check out my list of affiliate management software.


Step six: Train your affiliates

After you’ve recruited your affiliates, it’s time to start training them on how to sell your product. The best way to do this is to create a series of video tutorials that cover everything from how to set up a banner ad to how to write an effective email campaign.


You should also create written materials like FAQs and product sheets that affiliates can use as references. By providing your affiliates with high-quality training materials, you’ll increase the chances of success for your program.


Step seven: Reports and maintenance

The final step in launching a successful affiliate program is to set up reports and maintenance. This includes tracking sales and clicks, monitoring affiliate activity, and paying commissions.


Executive visibility into the program is critical for its success. Set up reporting that gives you the data you need to make informed decisions about your affiliate program.

Dustin Howes 5 min

How to Build a B2B Affiliate Program in Seven Steps


If your company is looking to start an affiliate program but doesn't know where to begin, we'll walk you through seven steps to create a program that will lead you to a successful launch and growth.


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