When new merchants integrate with AvantLink, the final step is to provide a written affiliate program description. Prospective affiliates use these descriptions to understand what the program offers and convince them to promote the brand. The AvantLink Programs page even displays each affiliate program and the description publicly, acting as a fantastic recruitment tool.

As the program begins to mature and grow, the description can be updated along the way. Crafting the right messaging for prospective affiliates involves more than just talking about cookie lengths and commission details. Here are six items for merchants to consider when updating a program description.

Origin Story

noun_337265_156bb4Nothing grabs attention like a story. Program managers who know this will jump on the opportunity to give the background story of their brand. These tales help bring a human element into the equation and satisfy a general sense of curiosity.

Lifestraw’s program description includes a magnificent origin story. It includes the “why” of the company’s existence, as well as the progress and major milestones that have been achieved since Lifestraw’s founding. Read the full story on the Lifestraw affiliate program page.

Management Support

noun_906646_156bb4Description pages should focus on answering this question that affiliates often have: if I need help, is there someone to reach out to? Veteran program managers are absolutely aware of the value of communication. If an affiliate needs help, then there should always be an option to communicate with the manager in charge to provide that help. If that is indeed a resource that is available to the affiliate, then it should be listed in the program description.

The Linux Foundation affiliate program, for example, is managed by Affiliate Manager, winner of AvantLink’s  Agency Of The Year award in 2016. On the Linux Foundation program description page, Affiliate Manager has made a point to say this program has “dedicated support” and that it is “professionally managed by AffiliateManager.com”. A new affiliate would have no question about the support level provided by this program.

The Tire Buyer description takes this one step further by listing the program manager’s name, email and phone number for readers to see. That information is visible to existing and prospective affiliates, undoubtedly helping sell new affiliates on participation.

Injection Of Company Personality

noun_754820_156bb4Offering glimpses into the culture and personality of a brand can really help separate one affiliate program from another. Take the Anakie program description, for example. This is their actual introduction paragraph: “Start with snowboarding, add 2 cups fun, 1 and 1/2 cups girls, 1 pound style, a pinch of powder, and a whole lot of Crazy. Stir and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Garnish with some goggle bang.”

Conveying that type of personality in writing is tricky. Add too much “fluff” and the writing can come across insincere or hokey. But do it correctly like Anakie has done and a program description can sell participation on affinity and not just quantifiable items like commission or cookie length.

Incentives & Perks

noun_202215_156bb4Many programs offer commission increase thresholds, bonuses or other monetary benefits to their affiliates on top of base commissions. But the most innovative affiliate programs highlight the less-obvious perks and incentives offered to their affiliates.

In the case of 3VGear, the perks associated with their program are repurposed highlights of the 3VGear brand. Take their third point listed: “We are a small company and work closely with our affiliates. This allows us to receive feedback, make changes to our products, and listen to what our customers say.” Wow! Most affiliates probably assume their programs want close collaboration with them, but when the brand says it outright, that changes how valuable the affiliate feels. Take a look at the other perks listed on the 3VGear affiliate program description page.

Restrictions

noun_534289_156bb4Many affiliate programs have restrictions on promotional tactics or participation by affiliates located in nexus states. Description pages are the best place to set these expectations early. The Yon-ka Paris program description page shows clear guidelines on the restrictions for trademark bidding and affiliate locations before any affiliate is allowed to participate.

Options to Learn More

noun_966373_156bb4Program description pages are, by design, a sales pitch. They tell the high-level reasons an affiliate should join, supplemented with key details about participation, but typically avoid specific and granular data about the merchant. AvidMax, for example, keeps a large number of brands in stock. Because there are too many to list on the program description page, their program manager instead includes a link to a page on AvidMax.com that lists each brand they work with. For interested affiliates wanting to learn more, this is a fantastic way to get more actionable information about AvidMax. See AvidMax’s affiliate program description page.

Bonus Item: Element of Enthusiasm

noun_753158_156bb4Similar to injecting company culture is including an element of enthusiasm. For affiliates, joining a new program can be exciting. Why not reflect that excitement in the program description? Altra running has a spectacular second paragraph on their description page that talks about the love of running. They also cleverly tied it into the origin story of the company. This love of running takes participation in the Altra affiliate program back to a place of enthusiasm and affinity. Read the Altra affiliate program description for yourself.

Crafting the right introduction message is key to encouraging affiliates to join a program. Integrating each of these elements into a program description page can help answer the questions and address the concerns affiliates will typically have before choosing a program to work with.

Did we miss any great program descriptions? Let us know which programs have crafted a great description or what other key items you feel are valuable to include in the comments below.

Chad Waite
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Chad Waite

Marketing Manager at AvantLink
Chad first got involved in the affiliate space in 2010 as an AvantLink network rep and has seen every facet of the industry since. Besides online marketing, he enjoys mountain biking, trail running, spending time with his wife and kids, any movie with Harrison Ford, and the "Random Article" button on Wikipedia.
Chad Waite
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  • Mike Hardaker

    “if I need help, is there someone to reach out to? Veteran program managers are absolutely aware of the value of communication. If an affiliate needs help, then there should always be an option to communicate with the manager in charge to provide that help. If that is indeed a resource that is available to the affiliate, then it should be listed in the program description.” This part stings on many levels as a long time affiliate publisher that has had a nightmare contacting “Your” Affiliate Merchants within the AvantLink system.

    It seems silly at best that AvantLink as a company would not make it mandatory to have a point of contact for each merchant. Perhaps this is due in part to the fact that AvantLink is actually managing some merchant programs in house. Not sure how that works ethically but we can have that convo on another day…

    We have a very active thread going on mentioning “Your” merchants that are either really bad at responding, don’t care or most likely are way over there head.

    A good portion of the emails you have listed for merchant contacts don’t even work. Datafeeds are not being updated, maybe its time for an audit??

    I would love to see AvantLink respond to some of the concerns of your affiliate publishers here. http://digitalmarketingsnow.com/forums/topic/avantlink-known-bug-list

    Currently 20 post of AvantLink bugs…. Paging Support, Chad, and the rest of the team.