Inspiring the excitement, energy and engagement from affiliates is one of the many coveted skill-sets affiliate managers proudly possess. And, it’s one that can be the most challenging.

LinkConnector’s Tara McCommons took the stage at Affiliate Summit in NYC last month to speak about ways affiliate managers can gain attention from affiliates; she also shared difference makers to spark affiliate growth.

Tara started with underscoring the importance of understanding what may motivate one type of affiliate, may not work for another. Whether it be a Google AdWords affiliate, a blogger or a social media influencer, each type of affiliate has different needs at different times. Techniques to find out what those needs may be and glean the needed ingredients that will boost growth include:

Ask Questions

Questions aren’t only important when you are unsure of something or trying to figure out something new–they are a catalyst to deepening discussions. Harvard Business Review published a study noting how “asking questions unlocks learning and improves personal bonding”. An example of one powerful question to ask of affiliates is “What can I do to make our brand’s promotion better for you?

To demonstrate value learned from asking thought provoking questions of affiliates, Tara spotlighted award-winning blogger, social media influencer and LinkConnector affiliate partner, Kim Rowley of who shared the following as items that empower her to thrive when promoting merchant partners:

“120 x 60 banners, and images sized for social media,
True top selling products – not simply those showcased on merchant homepages,
Vanity coupon codes tracked exclusively to me,
Higher payouts attainable for bloggers and not solely available as a bonus to the top-selling affiliate,
Unique content from merchants,
And, Sharing my posts is so appreciated!”

Show Strengths

Tara expressed how  merchants commonly highlight their average order value and conversion rate as key strengths. She encouraged the affiliate manager audience to also expose other strengths and badges of honor that could help affiliates see the merchant’s brand (and program) from a different angle.

Examples of such included recognition awards (being an Internet Retailer Top 500 merchant), company focused charitable initiatives, the fact that your brand is Veteran Owned, or perhaps all your products are made in the USA – all examples of potential differentiators that could prioritize interest from affiliates and empower their promotion.

Tara recommended affiliate managers include images or videos when communicating strengths – people retain 80% of what they see versus only 20% of what they read.

Recognize Success

Tara expressed that feel-good energy we all get when giving or receiving a high five and stressed the impact it could make in an affiliate relationship when an affiliate knows their first conversion or record month is being recognized by their merchant partner.  As Sam Walton once said, “Words of praise are absolutely free and worth a fortune.”

Want to learn more? Contact Tara McCommons (tara.mccommons at; if you attended ASE18, be sure to check out the video of Tara’s session – Affiliates, What Powers Their Growth?

As an affiliate manager, what have you found to be effective in growing the performance of your affiliates? As an affiliate partner, what are game changers you’ve appreciated most from affiliate managers?  We would love you to post your thoughts below.

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