Affiliate Activation Bonus? Serious or Superficial?

Just what is an activation bonus? Basically it is a reward (of some sort) paid to an affiliate for joining a program and becoming “active” by beginning to promote that program.

The Superficial Bonus
The most common Activation Bonus seems to offer immediate gratification in the form of: 1) Join my program and put up a link, 2) Send me an email showing me where you put that link, and 3) I will put a $5 bonus in your account. The amount may be different but I have seen a lot at the $5 level. Even if this scenario were to offer $50 it is NOT a good approach. I call this a superficial bonus because, while it may get a few affiliates to sign up, it does little for the serious growth of your program.

Imagine this scenario. The part-time, Mr. Moonlight Publisher, announces to his wife at breakfast. “Hey, Honey, I’m taking you out to lunch. I just made 20-bucks from Dandy-Merchant for putting a banner on my site. Yeah, and I just put it on top of the other forty banners*** on that page. We’re starting to make money – we had seven visitors on that site this month.”

Good? Not good? Do you really want that kind of exposure for your brand? You make the call.

Serious Activation Bonus
A more meaningful payout for the affiliate and a much better “activation” for your program might discourage that first affiliate but may attract an affiliate with an established following. There are many creative possibilities – but don’t just offer a cash-for-a-link deal. You might say that commissions on the first two sales will be doubled. If it is a relatively high-commission item that might be good incentive – and you will have some sales generated. You might also offer a (reasonable) increase in commission if two sales are made within the first 30 days and/or an increase in cookie life (maybe from 30 to 90 days). One that would certainly interest me would be an increase in commission level after making five or ten sales – with no time constraints. (Note that I am NOT advocating a tiered commission structure. Some well-experienced marketers love tiers but I do not – but my reasons would be food for another discussion.)

To which program do you think the serious affiliate would give consideration? Almost a no-brainer. Which affiliate would you rather have in your program. Again, a no-brainer. 🙂 Keep in mind, however, that the serious affiliate will look at more aspects of a merchant’s offer than just commissions before deciding whether or not to invest his/her time in activating your program.

*** Of course if you were not “Auto Approving” affiliates into your program you wouldn’t have that banner farm in there. heh

One Reply to “Affiliate Activation Bonus? Serious or Superficial?”

Comments are closed.