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If you’re not familiar with what an affiliate program is, it’s a type of performance-based marketing where affiliates earn a commission when someone makes a purchase through the affiliate link they shared via social media, on their website, or in an email.

There are numerous benefits to having your own affiliate program. Here are a few of the main benefits:

Affiliate program

Reach a Wider Audience

Having an affiliate program allows you to reach a wider audience than you could on your own. Basically, affiliates give you ‘access’ to their community – people who might not have otherwise heard of your business.

Increase Sales & Grow Your Business

Growing and increasing sales is definitely a benefit of having an affiliate program. After all, isn’t the ultimate goal of a business owner to increase sales?

By partnering with others who are already reaching your target audience, you can quickly increase sales and grow your business – without having to put in all the legwork yourself.

If you’ve already got an affiliate program set up with some affiliates registered and have the swipes and graphics available, but things are a bit stale, running an affiliate competition will help boost activity and generate sales.

What Is an Affiliate Competition?

Affiliate contests are a great way to motivate your affiliates and encourage them to work even harder for you. Knowing they have a chance at winning some cold hard cash or other items is a definite incentive.

This is a win-win situation for both you and the affiliates – they are motivated to action by the prizes up for grabs and you benefit because of the boost in sales, new leads, brand/name awareness, and more!

Don’t let the thought of running an affiliate competition scare you. It doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, keep it simple – make things easy for both you and your affiliates!

How to Run an Affiliate Marketing Competition

Here are 7 tips to help you run a successful affiliate marketing competition to boost sales:

1. Determine the Goal 

The first step in running a successful affiliate marketing competition is to determine what the goal of the competition is. Ask yourself some questions:

  • Do you want to drive more traffic to your website?
  • Do you want to generate more leads?
  • Do you want to fill a new group coaching program?
  • Do you want people to sign-up for a webinar you’re offering?

One thing to think about – if you’re offering cash prizes, it doesn’t make sense to run an affiliate competition for something like a free webinar. Instead, the goal of an affiliate competition should be to boost sales for a product, fill a paid coaching offer, etc.

2.  Develop a plan

Once you’ve determined your goal for the affiliate competition, it’s time to take it a step further and come up with a plan. In this step, you’ll want to come up with the prize structure and the marketing strategy that you will use to promote the competition. It is important to be as detailed as possible in your plan so that you can ensure the competition runs smoothly.

When it comes to prizes there are a few things to determine:

Will the winning affiliates receive cash, bonus commission percentages, or specific items (such as an iPad, VIP Day, etc.)? Think about what would excite them the most – cash, products, or other things. If you’re not sure, you could even poll them and get their input if you want!

How many prizes will you offer? It’s common to reward a first-place, second-place, and third-place winner. But do you want to go further than that? The top five places? Or even the top ten places? It can be fun and a way to add more excitement for affiliates if you offer more than just the top three winners being rewarded.

Will you offer first-day sales bonuses and what will this look like? Does an affiliate need to make so many sales during the first day to earn an additional monetary bonus?

Will you offer last-day sales bonuses? Again, what will this look like?

How do you decide what you can afford to give?

While the idea of an affiliate competition is awesome, you need to take into consideration what you can afford to give and whether or not you are willing to sacrifice upfront profits in order to enjoy them long-term.

Sure, you will be boosting sales and bringing in an influx of cash, but you have to take into consideration how much of that will be paid out to your affiliates as well as how much the extra prizes will cost you.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t end up profiting up front! Is it worth it to sacrifice profits upfront to instead enjoy them in the long run?

Determine the dates

The last thing, when it comes to developing a plan for your competition, is to determine how long you want to run the competition and pick the dates! Be sure to put it on the calendar and ensure you’re giving yourself enough time to get all the things in place for this to run smoothly.

3. Graphics & Swipes for Affiliates

Affiliates like it when things are super simple for them so make it easy for them to promote you! This means providing them with promotional tools so all they have to do is copy and paste. When it comes to promotional tools, a good rule of thumb is to have three emails available as well as a handful of social blurbs and some graphics. You can create these yourself or outsource them! You can even make yourself available, to your affiliates, for podcast interviews, guest posts, and more, if you’d like!

4. Will you accept new affiliates for the contest?

Another thing to think about, when it comes to running a successful affiliate competition to boost sales, is whether or not you will open it up to new affiliates. If so, you may want to vet them. This can be done quickly and easily by setting up a simple form on your website asking for some basic information: name, email address, website, how they heard about you, how they’ll promote the contest, and anything else you feel is relevant that you’ll need to determine if they’re a good fit for your program or not. The last thing you want is an affiliate who is going to go about things in a shady way because your repetition is at stake!

5. Promote the Competition

Now it’s time to get the word out about the affiliate competition. How you go about this will depend on whether or not you want to attract new affiliates or not. If you want to keep the competition on the ‘down-low’ and available only to your current affiliates, you can promote it via an exclusive email to your affiliates. Or maybe you want to send an email to your list and let them know about it. If you don’t mind opening the competition to new affiliates too, you can share on social media as well – the key is to choose the method of promotion that will reach your target audience.

6. Communicate with Your Affiliates   

The time has come – the competition is ready to rock n roll and your affiliates are eager to get the ball rolling.

To keep things fun, exciting and most of all engaging for your affiliates be sure to offer regular updates of who’s on the leaderboard. You could do this with daily emails. This may even bring a bit of competitiveness out among your affiliates!

Not only is this a great way to create excitement around you and your business, but it’s also a way to encourage your affiliates to stay active even when you’re not running a competition.

Here’s an example of a communication schedule you can follow (not specific to daily updates if you choose to do those):

  • Day before reminder
  • Day after launch reminder
  • Mid-launch reminder
  • 48-hour reminder
  • 24-hour reminder
  • Last day reminder 

7. All Good Things Must Come to An End (Evaluate the Results)

Once the affiliate competition is over, it is important to evaluate the results so that you can learn from your successes and failures. This evaluation will help you improve your strategy and make sure that your next competition is even more successful.

And of course, the most important thing now that it’s over? Thank your affiliates for all their hard work and send out the prizes!

As you can see, there are benefits to running an affiliate competition and it can be pretty easy to run a successful one. All in all, an affiliate competition can be a great solution to not just boost your sales, but a fun way to get your affiliates engaged and working hard on your behalf again, as well as a way to make connections with other marketers that could result in future joint ventures.

Do you have an affiliate agreement? Did you know you could be held legally liable for your affiliate’s mistakes? Make sure you have an affiliate agreement in place before they start promoting your products.

Affiliate contests are a great way to motivate your affiliates and encourage them to work even harder for you
Affiliate contests are a great way to motivate your affiliates and encourage them to work even harder for you

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