Managing an affiliate program isn’t easy. There’s a lot to do, and it can be hard to divide up your time correctly. To help you achieve affiliate management success, we’ve compiled a list of five things you must do every day to ensure your affiliate program excels.
1. Reach out and touch someone (your affiliates, by email)
You can automate many aspects of affiliate marketing, but sometimes nothing beats a personal touch. Nurturing existing affiliates and activating new affiliates are the keys to any affiliate program’s success, so make a point of reaching out to your new affiliates to ensure they have everything they need, especially on the creative front. Your top affiliates can account for a huge proportion of your sales, so check in with them regularly and give them a heads up about new campaigns or products. Set aside at least a third of your time for engaging directly with existing affiliates.
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2. Think different and get out of the building
Your existing affiliates are vital to your success, but you can always be growing your program. Directly reaching out to prospective affiliates is a great way to bring them on board. While you don’t have to literally get out of the building to do this, it does help to attend networking events and meet new prospects face to face. No matter what tactics you select, create a recruitment plan and stick to it, making sure to dedicate about a third of your time to affiliate recruitment. This way, you’ll still be in good standing even if a key affiliate moves on.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Because you’re the expert in your products and services, your affiliates can only be as good as the information you give them. Create an assortment of communications and creative assets that will empower your affiliates to be as effective as possible. In particular, make sure your new affiliates receive a welcome kit with everything they need to get started, and don’t forget to design special programs and incentives to engage dormant affiliates. Plan to spend 10-15% of your time empowering affiliates with creative communications.
4. Put a number on it
As the saying goes, you’ll manage what you measure. Put in place a robust reporting system so you have a full understanding of which affiliates are bringing in the big bucks, which promotions are working well, and which areas of the business could use some attention. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) for your business that you check in on regularly, and pay particular attention to day-to-day sales. Ensure you spend at least 5-10% of your time on reporting (note that it will require some more time upfront to set up your reporting system).
5. Aim higher
No matter how well your affiliate programs are doing, there’s always something that could be a little bit better. Look at the results you’re getting and find ways to test new approaches and optimize your campaigns. In particular, look for opportunities to increase revenue or lower costs to boost your bottom line. Dedicating about 10% of your time to program optimization should get you good results.
Those are the tasks I’ve found to be effective for most affiliate managers. Are you doing these 5 things every day? How is it helping your affiliate program?
This article appeared in issue 38 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in May 2017.
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