To drive business results on the local level, your affiliates need to be in it.

Like, Leonardo-DiCaprio-in-every-movie-he’s-ever-been-in in it.

But sadly, that’s not always the case.

Because the bulk of affiliates aren’t fully satisfied with their local marketing programs. And when your partners are unsatisfied… they don’t give local marketing their all.

Knowing this, how do you turn the tide?

Try to win over your least-satisfied affiliates? Focus your energy on the affiliates who are actually happy? Try to get all your partners on board at once?

Here’s the first thing you need to know: You can’t win ‘em all.

In other words, you’re not going to get anywhere by trying to please everybody at the same time. The key to moving the needle lies within a select group of your affiliates.

Let’s dig into the data to explore which partners you should target to drive the most revenue and how to increase affiliate engagement.

If you want a deep dive, you can read the full report to get all the insights.

Which affiliates should you focus on?

Here’s the breakdown: Only 44% of affiliates are satisfied with their marketing programs, leaving 56% with varying levels of dissatisfaction.

Affiliate satisfaction with local marketing programs graph

Right away, you can declare your satisfied and extremely satisfied affiliates out of the running for your attention.

You might be thinking, “Why wouldn’t I focus my efforts on the affiliates who are actually satisfied?”

The answer is simple: These affiliates are already moving the needle for your brand. They already like, understand, and utilize your marketing programs. So, let these affiliates go on being the revenue rockstars they are.

Okay, so that means you should spend your time working on your not-satisfied affiliates, then, right?

Not exactly. In most cases, these partners are so disengaged that they may be a lost cause. In other words, your chances of winning them over are slim to none. And if you do, it’s going to take a lot of effort.

So, that leaves your somewhat-satisfied affiliates.

Aka, the middle of the pack.

The data shows that 40% of local partners are somewhat satisfied with their marketing programs. It may be hard to believe, but these lukewarm affiliates have the greatest growth potential.

Why? Because while this group isn’t in your personal fan club (yet), they aren’t so dissatisfied that trying to convert them would be a fool’s errand.

As it stands, somewhat-satisfied affiliates see 4.6% revenue growth.

Satisfaction level by revenue growth bar graph showing 34.8% revenue growth between somewhat satisfied and extremely satisfied affiliates

If you help this group shift from somewhat satisfied to satisfied, you’ll see a 19.5% increase in revenue growth. And if your nurturing efforts are really successful? You might even achieve 34.8% growth among this cohort.

How to boost affiliate engagement

So, now that you know why you should target your middle-of-the-pack partners to increase satisfaction, it’s time to talk about how.

Follow these steps, and you can expect affiliate engagement to skyrocket.

1. Identify the right affiliates

The first thing you need to do is figure out which of your affiliates are in the somewhat-satisfied group. There are a few things you can do to determine which partners fall within that category:

  • Check partner co-op use: Your somewhat-satisfied affiliates are likely the ones spending some of their co-op dollars but don’t use these marketing funds often or to their full extent.
  • Send a survey: Cut out the middleman by asking your affiliates point-blank if they’re satisfied with their marketing programs. You can send out a short, multiple-choice survey asking them to rate their satisfaction.
  • Participate in The State of Local Marketing: Okay, this is a bit of a plug, but it’s a guaranteed way to get partner satisfaction data. When your affiliates take The State of Local Marketing survey, you’ll get to view their responses to gain insight into their thoughts and marketing behaviors.

2. Determine their pain points

Once you know who your middle-of-the-pack affiliates are, you’ll need to determine their pain points. What do they dislike about your program? Where do they struggle? What’s slowing them down?

To get you started, here are some common complaints when it comes to channel marketing programs:

  • Too complicated/hard to use
  • Technology is slow/outdated
  • Too many co-op rules and requirements
  • Not enough useful features
  • Doesn’t offer the tactics they want

Once you get to the bottom of why your affiliates are unsatisfied, you can better devise a solution..

3. Pinpoint their priorities

Your affiliates have priorities when it comes to local marketing. And if your program doesn’t support these priorities, partner satisfaction goes down. That’s why it’s important to determine what your affiliates want out of your marketing program.

Our research found that affiliates’ top three program priorities are:

  1. Fund-matching
  2. Dedicated support
  3. Marketing recommendations and social media support

Does your marketing program offer these features? If not, it may be time to reevaluate.

4. Accommodate and deliver

Once you’ve determined your affiliates’ pain points and needs, it’s time to show them you’re listening and deliver. That means simplifying processes, amending areas where your partners struggle, and providing the features they’re asking for.

By accommodating your middle-of-the-pack affiliates, you show them you’re committed to their success and can expect their satisfaction (and your marketing outcomes) to improve.

Make local marketing seamless for your affiliates

Boosting revenue is a matter of increasing satisfaction and, in turn, affiliate engagement. By isolating your somewhat-satisfied affiliates and delivering on their needs, you can expect your revenue to spike.

For more insights on partner satisfaction, read the full report.

And don’t forget to keep an eye out for this year’s State of Local Marketing report featuring all-new marketing data!

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The 2023 state of local marketing series: Local partner satisfaction - how to keep your affiliates happy - read the report

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