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Nov 10, 2020 · 17 min read

How To Encourage Dormant Affiliates to Become Active

Recruitment is only half of the process for successfully onboarding affiliates to an affiliate program. It is a common misconception that affiliates will become active straight away; however, additional steps are needed to activate an affiliate on an affiliate program.

We look at how advertisers can encourage their dormant affiliates to become active.


What is the Difference between Dormant Affiliates and Active Affiliates? 

Dormant affiliates are affiliates that are entirely inactive on an affiliate program; they have not driven impressions, clicks, or sales. In contrast, active affiliates generate impressions, clicks, or sales for a program. Dormant affiliates are ‘low hanging fruit.’ They have already expressed interest in promoting an advertiser’s affiliate program by joining, and now they need additional support and encouragement to start or continue to promote an advertiser (if they stopped).  Affiliates can become inactive or dormant for several reasons:  

  • Not having the tools or support to promote the program 
  • Not understanding the product, service or the brand  
  • Better offers or incentives offered by other advertisers 
  • Busy times of year (for the affiliate or generally) 

It is hard to determine what has made an affiliate dormant without asking them.  Advertisers should reach out to their dormant affiliates directly or collectively with a survey to find out the reasons for their dormancy and address those points moving forward. To help manage dormant affiliates, advertisers are also able to create a group for their dormant affiliates.  

Effective Ways to Motivate Affiliates

1. Schedule Newsletters & Bespoke Communication  

Sending regular newsletters is an effective way to encourage affiliates to become active on program. Advertisers should schedule and prepare content for newsletters on either a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis in advance, so content is ready to go.  

Advertisers should include any information that affiliates might find interesting to promote to their audiences: 

  • New product launches 
  • Sales  
  • Surplus or end-of-life inventory 
  • New creative assets  
  • Coupons 

Advertisers are now able to create emails and schedule them to be sent later, which can help manage the process.  

2. Strategic Commission Rates 

Advertisers can also encourage dormant affiliates to become active by getting strategic with their commission ratesOffering dormant affiliates a higher commission rate for a defined period means these affiliates have a greater incentive to become active on the program. 

When advertisers implement this strategy, it is essential that they communicate with their affiliates to make them aware of the increased commission and its timeframe. 

3. Reach out to Affiliates Directly 

Another effective strategy is to ask the affiliate directly what they might need to become active on the program. Sometimes it is only a matter of providing a more tailored creative asset to get them active.  

Advertisers can send a message to the group of dormant affiliates through the message centre asking how they can best support them to become active.  

It is also a great idea to attend industry (digital or physical) events to further build rapport with the affiliates, as this provides further incentive for them to promote the advertiser and become active.

4. Provide an exclusive code or bespoke offer 

A great way for advertisers to engage with dormant affiliates is to create a bespoke offer or code for them to advertise to their audience. Ican help start a conversation and build a relationship with them and it also demonstrates that the advertiser is willing to go the extra mile for affiliates on their program.  

5. Arm the affiliates with the tools they need 

Providing the tools and marketing assets affiliates need will make it easy to promote the brand/affiliate program and it also means advertisers have control over the brand and what is being shared. Furthermore, it provides guidance and inspiration when creating content or promoting the brand. Find out what the Golden Standard looks like in our blog post here  

6. Affiliate Competitions 

An alternative strategy is to coordinate a competition for the affiliates. Advertisers can set a goal similar to the commission rules strategy and provide a reward at the end of the competition. This could be product or a flat fee amount.  

An example of this is to set a sales threshold and offer the prize to the affiliate that hits this sales threshold first. Alternatively, any affiliates that reach the threshold could be entered into a lottery to be selected for the prize. 


Focusing on encouraging dormant affiliates to become active is important for the overall health of the affiliate program. These affiliates have already expressed interest in working with an advertiserthey just need that added support to get started with their promotions. Directly and effectively communicating will build rapport with affiliates, discover their needs and help engage them with strategic commission rates or bespoke offers or competitions. Providing the tools they need will create an engaged, active and loyal affiliate base and increase the revenue generated from the program.   

Our account management team is available for any support needed with the above methods or check out our Help Centre.

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