5 effective ways to grow your performance marketing network

Having a structured communication plan to grow your performance marketing program is fundamental for success.

As with all marketing channels, the first step is to look at the big picture, namely the lifecycle of your affiliate marketing publishers – acquisition, engagement and retention. Are you looking to extend your audience by acquiring new publishers? To engage with those who have already expressed interest in your network but still need your guidance? To retain your publisher base and make them advocates of your overall program/network? All of the above? If you are ready to grow your network, add these five types of email reach-outs into your communication plan today!


  1. Recruitment (Acquisition)

Just like acquiring new customers, recruiting publishers into your network is hard work. They might not know your product or services. Once you have identified a target list of the publishers you want to recruit, create content that highlights the benefits they will receive by promoting your product or service, such as:

  • our reward strategy
  • the cookie lifetime
  • your conversion rate
  • promotional guidelines

This will help filter out any publishers that are not in line with your promotional strategy, and those who are interested can register to your program/network. (Always include a link to sign up.)


  1. Welcome Emails (Engagement)

Welcome emails are the first touch point the publisher has with your brand after they have been accepted into your program/network. It is important to engage with your publishers directly with relevant information. To help them get started, state the advantages of your program: highlight your commission structure, the top products you would like them to put focus on, what regions you want to further grow your brand presence and any guidelines when promoting your brand such as keyword restrictions. Most importantly, make sure they know who their point of contact is for any questions.


  1. Activation Series (Engagement)

Activation emails are for those publishers who have shown interest in promoting your brand or service, but have not begun actively promoting. It could mean they lack an understanding of your brand or they need guidance for the links or marketing assets in your program. The program should be set-up through the eyes of the publisher. Do they need a custom discount or a different commission offering?

Do their promotional strategies match with what you are selling? Are they updating the content and links?
If the answer is yes, you might be missing out on great potential. Create a series of emails or personalized communication tailored towards the publisher, and provide information about what they might need in order to start selling your products or services.


  1. Promotional/Seasonal (Retention)

Holidays, such as Black Friday, Cyberweek, etc. provide a big boost for sales. Plan ahead to make sure you are taking full advantage of these opportunities. Engage with your publishers and inform them of your upcoming promotions. Remember to give them enough notice to make the changes on their site, a 24-hour turnover time is not realistic. Make sure you provide the discount details, and the duration of the sale along with any supporting materials. The Q4 holiday season is the busiest time for most online sales. Prepare well and communicate effectively, so you can enjoy the reward afterwards.


  1. Newsletters (Retention)

Newsletters are particularly successful if you manage a network wider than just your own performance marketing program.  Create a relevant newsletter that provides helpful insights into the industry, promotes events you are going to attend, and showcases your industry knowledge, involvement and presence. Newsletters are a springboard to promote other programs in your network. You can use them to highlight new program announcements, seasonal promotions, tips and tricks for your audience.
As subscribers tends to lose interest in newsletters very soon, work on appealing content, define a cadence you want to respect (avoid too many, as well as too few emails) and make your messaging clear.


Keep in mind that publishers have different needs according to the where they are in the lifecycle. These proactive emails can be a powerful tool to nurture relationships in every stage – acquisition, engagement and retention. Plan well and then watch your network grow!


Simon is a Marketing Campaigns Specialist for cleverbridge.