Just the other day, I was hearing something all too familiar …

Yeah, we have an affiliate program – have had one for years. The problem is: it’s such a low part of our sales. We set it up 4.5 years ago and it never really took off. I guess it just doesn’t work for our business.

You would be surprised at how many of new clients come to me with a similar response – nearly 80%.

While there are a lot of industries and business structures whereas their business model doesn’t really allow for a good fit to use an affiliate program, many SaaS based businesses that cater to small to medium sized businesses  – can create an extremely powerful affiliate program…even if it’s been dormant for years.

Here is some good steps to take to assess your dormant program and provide a foundation for getting it back on it’s feet.

1)  Pull the Data.

Hopefully, you have an affiliate program that you can, at the very least, see: How many sales were referred, by what affiliate, and when. By tallying up who is your top affiliates, you can pinpoint who to reach out to gather feedback like, “What are some struggles you face with promoting our product or service through the affiliate program?” If you have the referring URL’s (the URL links of the affiliate’s pages for which a prospective customer first clicked to come over to your website), you can analyze and see how your product/service is being marketed.

If you don’t have any top performing affiliates (meaning your affiliate program is pretty stagnant) the next best area to focus in on is: Your customers. Survey your customer’s on how they found your product/service and what they like most about it. (This later can be used to pitch new affiliates on the top attributes to keep in mind when marketing to their audiences about your products).

2) Force a moment of clarity: what is working and what is not?

Are your commissions competitive? Are you really dedicating enough time to not only proactively recruiting affiliates but also policing current activity for compliance and fraud? Are you on the right platform to track affiliate sales, collect tax forms,pay affiliates – and does that platform work For your affiliates?

If this is a lot to process at one time: I am with you; scaling and managing an affiliate program can be complex. I find the easiest assessment is finding the most obvious pain point your program might be struggling with, tackling it, and moving to the next.

3) Reach out for advice.

Sometimes the best course of action is to find an affiliate program, perhaps not in your direct competitive space but similar size and target, reach out to their affiliate manager or CEO and see how they solved similar problems or arrived at comparable solution. Or you can reach out to me and the UpFoundry for advice: through a call or email. Happy to help.

Thanks for reading.


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Taylor is the Founder of The Up Foundry. 7+ years starting, managing and growing affiliate programs for Technology, subscription, and SaaS-based companies, Taylor works with clients all over the world to generate millions in sales and revenue from their affiliate programs each year.

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