How to Activate Inactive Affiliates (Evergreen Programs)

Why They're Not Active and What to Do About It

No matter what you do, any evergreen affiliate program with more than a few dozen affiliates is going to have some that become inactive. You can run the best program with the best commissions and have the greatest personality, but some of them just fall off the earth. Below I share the reasons why that happens…and what to do about it.

Activate affiliates in evergreen program

This is part two of a two-part series on activating inactive affiliates. Part one covered what to do if you are running a product launch. In this post, I’ll cover how to activate affiliates in an evergreen program.

WHY Are Some Affiliates Inactive? (and What to Do About it)

In part one, I shared WHY you need to activate affiliates. I explained why affiliates aren’t just automatically promoting you. They need a gentle reminder to get active.

In other words, you need to take action yourself to get them to take action. Activating affiliates requires intentional activity, not just crossing your fingers.

So why would an affiliate be inactive? Below I share five reasons.

It’s important to understand the exact reason as that will determine the best approach to take to activate them.

Reason #1: They signed up on a whim

Rick Perry debate oops

This happens more than I wish it did. Person A sees Person B promoting something, signs up and then quickly realizes one (or more) of three things:

  • This is not a good fit for my audience
  • I have no idea how to promote this
  • I don’t have time to promote this

With this group, there is not much you can do. If you find out someone mistakenly signed up, just remove them and move on.

Reason #2: They are promoting a competitor

This one hurts.

The reality is that no matter how awesome your product is, how great the commissions are, or even how solid you feel a relationship is, sometimes people leave for “greener” pastures. That’s the nature of our world.

When this happens, it’s important to understand their WHY.

In other words, shut up and listen. Don’t get defensive, angry, or try to convince them at first. Just listen to why they switch allegiances. It might be for any of these reasons:

  • The new offer converts better
  • The new offer pays better
  • The new offer has better affiliate tools
  • The promise of a reciprocal promotion

My advice when dealing with this type of situation is to stay calm, ask why they switched, and listen. Trust me, it’s best not to say anything initially. Give them some time and follow up in a few weeks to see if there is anything you can do.

If the issue is something like tools (graphics, copy, tracking) this is a sign you need to fix these things. Get them what they need and then tell them you listened. Here’s a list of basic tools you need to provide for your affiliates.

If the issue is conversions, find out what the competition is doing to beat you. Help them optimize their campaigns to convert better. Work on your sales funnel and get your conversions up.

If the issue is commission structure, make sure you aren’t underpaying. I don’t prefer to get into bidding wars over commissions, but I will make sure we are competitive. If someone leaves a program that is already paying 50% for a program that is paying 80%, let them go. It’s not worth killing your margins.

But if you are just being cheap and someone else is beating you, stop being cheap. Pay a competitive commission.

If the problem is that you can’t do a reciprocal promotion, reconsider your stance. It might be worth promoting them to keep them. Or consider other alternatives if you truly can’t do a reciprocal promotion.

Make sure you are paying the right commission to your affiliates. Here’s how to decide the right commission structure for your affiliate program.

Reason #3: They went out of business

It happens…and they’re isn’t much you can do about it.

Move on.

Reason #4: They don’t know how to promote

Sometimes an affiliate just doesn’t know HOW to promote your product. Or they haven’t done a good job of adapting to the ever-changing landscape of the marketing world.

Your job is to help them. <<< Is that clear enough? Your job is to help your affiliate succeed.

Jerry Maguire help me help you bathroom scene

That means doing things like:

  • Hosting training webinars to show them how to promote
  • Recording videos to show them how to promote
  • Getting on calls with them one-on-one to help them
  • Telling them to subscribe to my site (seriously)
  • Creating promo checklists for your affiliates – here’s a template of one

Remember again…it’s your job to help your affiliates.

Reason #5: They’ll “get around to it later”

There are two types of “get around to it later” affiliates.

Type One (0.13%): They truly have it on their calendar for the future. In fact, let me look at our promo calendar real quick…Yep, it’s this September 7-12.

Type Two (99.87%): They’re never going to “get around to it”…UNLESS…

You give them a nudge.

As I mentioned in part one about launches:

These affiliates are never going to take action unless you give them the nudge they need.

That means sending a specific email to get them to get off their virtual couch and start making sales.

I’ve sent more than 300 different versions of activation emails in my decade-plus of affiliate management. Along the way, I cataloged the BEST performers. And for the first time ever, I’m making them available to the public!

You can get ALL of my best activation email templates by   clicking here.

affiliate activation email templates

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