In my article "Affiliate Marketing What Is It And Why Use It?", I stated that only 5% of your affiliates will do 95% of the sales. If you don't follow this guide, you might not even get that.
If you want to make your affiliates more productive, then you must make it as easy as possible to get them to do what you want them to do.
Provide them with as much help as you can, leave no questions unanswered, do as much for them as you can, so they can literally just tell people about you, your product or your service.
Provide them with banners, link text and example ads, this way they can just do a copy and paste and BAM, all their work is done (If that is all they want to do). However super affiliates will do much more than this, and thus require more care. I will talk about super affiliates in a separate article though.
Many affiliate programs just let the affiliate join then leave them on their own. This is great if you want an army of affiliates who will do nothing for you, but how many people want that?
What you want is an army of people actively going out and telling people about how great you and your website are. This will ultimately lead to more sales.
How To Do It
When you create an affiliate program, you must teach each individual affiliate what you want them to do, spell it out nice and clear. Then tell them HOW you want them to do it.
This might sound like a lot of work, but not necessarily so. You could just do the above, and put it into an autoresponder.
That way, whenever a new affiliate signs up, they will receive a handy dandy guide, giving them all the information they need so that they can start right away.
Also, it's a great idea to include an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). This will make it much easier for them to understand what you want them to do. Be sure to list every possible question that could pop into their heads, this will also reduce the amount of email support you have to carry out.
By Stephen Warren, the creator of http://www.marketershandbook.com, the completely FREE guide to marketing online, with useful articles and links.