An affiliate program is a great way to allow your current customers a way to refer people they know to your business. This post won’t walk you through how to set up an affiliate program, I recommend checking out this post if you’re looking for an affiliate plugin recommendation. Here, I’m going to focus on how Customer Success Managers can utilize an affiliate program to grow company MRR, but first, let’s look at some of the reasons why it’s good to have one in the first place.
Why should you create an affiliate program for your MRR business?
An affiliate program is a great way to allow your current customers a way to refer people they know to your business while earning a little commission while they’re at it. Once you’ve established yourself as a trusted business partner to your current clients, offering a commission to have them refer people they know can help you scale your MRR hugely. A referral is golden! It opens up your business to a whole new audience.
However, running an affiliate program is a lot of work. Setting up, maintaining, and tracking everything all takes time and on top of that, your website must be good enough to convert people who are referred to you. Your affiliates will also expect top-notch resources to promote you, such as banners and content around your product. If it’s not up to scratch, you’ll see people leaving your affiliate program out of frustration. It’s great that you have top-quality affiliates referring people your way, but if these people aren’t your ideal client they won’t convert. Make sure you’re providing excellent resources to your affiliates that do your business justice.
When done right, an affiliate program can really help your business grow by getting you in front of new customers and it can help your company build further customer loyalty.
How can an affiliate program help you scale MRR?
There are professional affiliate marketers out there in your industry who you could target to join your new program. Partnering up means that your company will be in front of a new audience that you may not have been able to have reached before and because these people are marketers, they can potentially refer tons of new high-quality business your way. But, it’s not only full-time affiliate marketers you’ll want to tap into.
When you have a solid process of encouraging current loyal customers to join your program you could see a cycle of customer > affiliate > referral > customer > affiliate > referral which leads to huge growth. Social proof is huge when it comes to people choosing to spend their money, so when they see people they know recommending a service, they are not only more likely to sign up, but they’re more likely to spend more based on that social proof. It builds trust before they’ve even got to your website. Using an affiliate program is a great way to tap into an undiscovered audience potentially ready to purchase what you have to offer.
ConvertKit grew from $98k to $625K in 12 months by doing webinars with their affiliate partners. This social proof did huge things for ConvertKit!
How can CSM’s increase MRR by utilizing an affiliate program?
Review opportunities in your onboarding
You could be leaving tons of new MRR on the table if you’re not talking about your affiliate program somewhere during your new customer onboarding. Your onboarding process should educate your customers about the product they just bought and help them figure out how they can get the most value out of it. That also means educating your customers on your affiliate program and the opportunities they have to partner up with you! Consider adding in a quick conversation during your onboarding call with customers or adding in some extra information somewhere throughout the onboarding emails that you send. However you get the word out, consider timing. You don’t want to bombard brand new customers and overwhelm them by asking them to join your affiliate program right away, but there’s definitely an opportunity to share it at some point here.
When you ask for a review, let your clients know about your affiliate program
Are you regularly asking your customers for public reviews? Happy customers will jump at the chance to join your affiliate program, so if you’re already spending time reviewing internal feedback, why not let your customer know about the affiliate program at this point, too? Win-win!
Add information into the “My Account” section
Depending on the product or service you’re offering, you may give your customers access to an account section. This is a great place to take a look and see where you can promote your affiliate program to existing customers. Keep the content educational by sharing what’s in it for them. Going with a “me, me, me” approach and talking about how great it would be for you if your customer joined will only make your customers back off, but sharing what your customers will gain from joining the affiliate program will get them interested.
Encourage support reps to talk about the affiliate program
Customer Success can link up with support reps so that support is able to recognize opportunities when it comes to asking existing customers to join your affiliate program. Support reps speak with the customer more than anyone else in the business, so it makes sense that they know how to recognize an opportunity. The Customer Success Team can share examples with support of scenarios when it might be appropriate for the support team to flag up a customer for an affiliate program referral. Having a solid system in place for support reps to escalate these scenarios to Customer Success could mean catching many more opportunities to sign up existing customers to your program.
CSM’s could hold a webinar for existing customers
If you want to go one step further, webinars for existing customers are a great way to re-engage long-time customers as well as new existing ones. Talking about the affiliate program on a webinar specifically targeted to your existing customers gives your customers a chance to ask questions and learn more about what’s in it for them. Even if you don’t get any sign-ups from your webinar, this extra connection with your customers could be a great trust builder, potentiall leading to a reduction in overall churn! People love to put names to faces. 😁
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