5 Strategies to Successfully Onboard Affiliates

When you first launch your affiliate program you might think , “we have built it - now they will come!” in regards to affiliates signing up and promoting your products or services.

However, it often takes a more proactive approach to build affiliate relationships. After all - the best partnerships require effort and skin in the game on both sides.

In this post, I am going to talk about the 5 areas you should cover to ensure your affiliates have everything they need to promote your business and even more: build a solid relationship that will pay off for both parties in the long run.

Onboarding Strategy #1: Platform basics checklist.

It might seem advantageous to start inviting affiliates to join at the very second you launch your affiliate program, but you need to ensure there are certain settings completed in the Tapfiliate dashboard prior to affiliates joining your affiliate program What are those?

  1. Completing your cookie settings. That means how many days in your cookie life as well as reading up on how last cookie counts.
  2. Setting your payout methods and payout threshold for affiliates.
  3. Uploading your terms and conditions and ensuring they are public on your program signup page.
  4. Uploading marketing assets for your affiliates to use to promote your brand.
  5. Setup up your email sending capabilities.
  6. Running an affiliate test sign up to ensure all emails are firing to prospective affiliates when they do sign up.
  7. Run a test to ensure your integration is attributing activities correctly (Use Tapfiliate’s handy Integration Tester).

It’s really important you go through this process to make sure everything is setup correctly and that there are no gaps or confusion points for affiliates.

Onboarding Strategy #2: Welcome and connection email.

By default, Tapfiliate sends an email (once approved for the program) to each affiliate who joins your affiliate program with their affiliate link and how to sign in to the tapfiliate dashboard.

It’s often good to launch a separate welcome email that might include other items about your program not addressed in the default triggered tapfiliate emails.

Content that you might want to include is:
- reminder of commission structure, when and how they will get paid,
- your best converting pages or products/services,
- best ways to promote, (check out the 5 Things You Should Have in your Welcome Email for more insights into this).

Additionally - affiliate onboarding is primarily about building trust. Affiliates want to know there is someone behind the affiliate program managing it, and even more, willing to help them succeed.

That is why I always set up a connection email. A connection email is a simple triggered email (basic text coming from the CEO or the Affiliate Manager) asking the following things:

  • How are they planning on promoting your product or service? Is there any additional materials, stats, marketing collateral that I can provide, beyond what is in the assets section of the program?
  • Do you have a goal and how can I help achieve it?

This lets the affiliate know that a person at the company actually cares about the success of their affiliates and willing to reach out and communicate (subconsciously) that the affiliate program is well managed and active.

Confused on how you can accomplish this within Tapfiliate? No problem - all you have to do is setup email triggers. Here is a nifty guide on how to do that.

Onboarding Strategy #3: Affiliate bonuses.

It’s ok to give affiliates a little nudge or set a goal that will help prioritize promoting your product or services over other offerings.

In fact, the best time to do it is within 30 days of an affiliate signing up (as that is when they have intent and motivated by an idea to promote your business).

Learn how bonuses work in tapfiliate and set some up today.

Onboarding Strategy #4: A getting started affiliate webinar.

Even with the most personalized technology, we often find we lose a bit of the human touch when it comes to partnership building online. Even more, when affiliates sign up and don’t have all the information (or we leave it up to them to find it via knowledge base article), they often feel like they don’t have a lifeline.

In order to combat this, I would suggest you set up a “getting started promoting *your company/products*” webinar which would talk all about the affiliate program, how to get setup as an affiliate, and most importantly - best ways to promote your brand for success as an affiliate partner. As your program gets some traction, you can revise this webinar to include some use cases of other affiliates who have been able to make money in your program.

To get this going: You can start sending out a triggered email (as discussed above) to all approved affiliates each month, inviting to a webinar at the end of the month.

Onboarding Strategy #5: Affiliate User Feedback Survey

It’s always good to discover feedback from all types of users within your affiliate program. Some of the most insightful information I received from affiliates came from surveying affiliates who signed up and didn’t promote at all.

There was something that stopped them in their tracks (whether in or out of our control) that prevented them from wanting to promote and it is always good to find this out as it will give clues on what to do next with your program.

Here are some ideas on questions you could ask your affiliates:

  • How satisfied are you with the commission structure?
  • Is there anything you don’t like about the affiliate program terms and conditions?
  • Did you feel you had all the materials and tools you needed from us to promote? If not - is there content or affiliate support you’d like to see?

With an affiliate user feedback survey, you get granular, qualitative, data points that will help steer any changes you want to make in your program now or in the future.


Affiliate onboarding is easily one of the most overlooked aspects of running an affiliate program. It requires a willingness to be proactive and support your partners so that they can see success at the end of the tunnel. Even implementing a few of these strategies above will give you a leg up on your competitor’s affiliate programs and make your partnership with affiliates that much stronger.

Sign up to Tapfiliate’s 👉 free trial to start your affiliate marketing program

Taylor Barr

Taylor is the Founder of The Up Foundry; an agency that works with successful SaaS and technology companies to grow their affiliate program revenues and affiliate relationships. He also gives away free advice and guides on affiliate program management https://upfoundry.com/resources/

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