Bonus Motivates Affiliates

Bonus Time: How to Motivate Your Affiliates

Whether your program needs to hit the ground running or needs a little pick-me-up; it’s time to inspire!

There’s more to running a successful program than willing affiliates and a good product. You must get involved with your program. Who’s in it? What are they looking for? Then you have to find what motivates them.

You see, affiliates have a lot on their plates. Brands are always reaching out for their help in promoting and if they’re a top-notch influencer, you can bet their inbox is full. That means you’re competing with other programs that might offer a higher commission, hard-dollar budgets, better promotions, etc. You don’t have to go revamping your program structure to compete; you just have to find ways to get attention and motivate.

Corporate Perks

Think about the typical ‘9 to 5’ job. Employers help take the routine out of their employees lives with perks. Sometimes it’s free lunches and other times it’s a nice bonus check. For a lot of affiliates, their work is their ‘9 to 5’. And, while they’re their own boss, they are still being asked to do work for others. Just like the CEO that wants to make sure their employees feel appreciated and want to work for them, it’s a good idea to do the same for your partners.

“Studies have shown that in sales positions, high performers are responsible for producing 67 percent more revenue than average performers. And in many cases, the only thing separating your average affiliates from your top affiliates is a lack of motivation. Cash bonuses are a great way to help boost affiliates’ motivation.” (Source)

Successful Options

Not every affiliate is created equal and therefore the bonuses offered shouldn’t be either. Here are some examples that we, at All Inclusive Marketing, have found to be successful.


These partners are great! They just signed up, so you already know you have their attention. Get them even more excited to start with our Top 3 Incentives to Convert.

1. First Sale Bonus

This can be any flat cash bonus given when they make their first sale. We recommend $20, but feel free to adjust per your business and budget. You can also put the heat on with a time frame.

2. Threshold Bonus

Instead of rewarding one sale, give your new partner a threshold to hit. This will motivate them past that first sale. An example of this would be $25 for $200 in Sales.

3. First Month Commission Increase

This is a great incentive for recruitment as well as sales. With an increase of 2-3% in commission for the first month, the program will look enticing and affiliates will want to work hard to take advantage in the first month.


Your veteran partners have done some awesome work for you in the past and maybe things have just slowed down a little. Get them excited to promote your brand again with these Top 5 Optimization Options.

1. Tiered Bonus

This is a tried and true technique when it comes to affiliate bonuses. With a set tier of possible bonuses, your partners will work hard to hit that top tier.

Tiered Bonus Affiliates
2. Commission Bump for Goals

Just like the Threshold Bonus, this gives your partners incentive to reach a goal instead of focusing on a sale. We recommend a simple 2% increase for a month after hitting the goal.

3. Category/Product Bonus

If you’re looking to promote a specific category and/or product, this gets your partners on the same page. Offer a commission bump or cash bonus for any sales on the category and/or product you’re looking to push.

4. New Customer Bonus

New customer acquisitions are always at the top of any good marketing strategy and your affiliate program is a great way to help your numbers. Take advantage of their new audience and offer a commission bump or cash bonus for new customer sales vs. returning.

5. Hot Streak Bonus

This is a fun one! Kind of like a game, the key to this bonus is to keep you on the affiliate’s mind for an extended period. No one-and-done bonus here; once a month’s bonus is unlocked, it can keep going – i.e. 5 sales in a 30-day period “unlocks” a higher commission bracket for the next 30 days, 5 sales in the next 30-day period unlocks another bracket for 30 days, etc.

VIP Affiliates

Treat your VIPs right! These top earners deserve to feel special and we have 3 Top Perks to let them know they’re important.

1. Exclusive Promotions with Exclusive Codes
2. Higher Commission Bumps and/or Cash Bonuses than other Affiliates
3. Exclusive Promotions on Categories and/or Products that Other Affiliates Can’t Get

Out of the Box Thinking

Money speaks the loudest, but don’t be afraid to think different. Get personal with other types of bonuses. Here are a few ideas to help you get creative.

  • Starbucks Gift Card
  • Free Product from Brand
  • Branded Coffee Mug
  • Cheese Basket

The real key is finding out what your partner wants and/or needs, then figuring out how you can use incentives to help drive your partners towards their goal. Keep in mind that not all platforms are created equal and restrictions may apply depending on what network you’re using.

Another thing to remember is that you don’t want to get too generous with these bonuses. Keeping these perks somewhat on the rare side will stop partners from getting into a habit of only converting during these incentives. Not to say that an annual bonus they can depend on during the holiday season isn’t a good idea. Just try to keep the other bonuses as surprises to really keep their attention.

For more insight on affiliate incentives and other successful tips, please feel free to reach out and talk to any one of our experts.

Ashley Klotz

Ashley Klotz

With 12+ years in marketing across a variety of verticals, Ashley brings a robust viewpoint to the creative side of affiliate and partnership marketing. With a knack for writing and her people skills, content marketing, and customer retention have been at the forefront of her success.

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