Understanding Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing represents a very powerful channel where you to provide a merchant, as the developer of intellectual property such as a product or service, with a partner who is innovative and entrepreneurial, and who will promote their product or service on a pay for performance basis. We will focus on online intellectual property here but it can be either online or a bricks and mortar business.
In any affiliate program the merchant’s risk is minimal – if the affiliate doesn’t perform they don’t get paid. Unlike other types of online marketing, such as pay-per-click and banner advertising where merchant’s risk money upfront, affiliate marketing is strictly pay-for-performance.
Successful affiliate programs have several features in common
They have dedicated affiliate managers responsible for the success of the program. You need to be dedicated with the experience and talent to build and maintain the program and extract the most from the affiliates you recruit. You may well have a marketing or marketing management background.
A good affiliate manager provides the merchant with a range of services including recruitment; maintaining regular communication with affiliates; assistance or responsibility for web design; advertising and promotion; reporting; program strategic direction; and setting and maintain benchmarks for measuring the successful performance of the program amongst other things.
Affiliate Management is a business. As such you need to be very clear about what you are doing and where the effort needs to be applied to obtain the desired results.
Your job description reads like this:
1. Reporting to Merchant. Maintain regular contact with the merchant, monitor their program, and discuss any issues about program direction and revenue goals.
2. Maintaining Affiliate Management Software. Select the appropriate management software for you to operate your business and check to ensure the merchant website is properly tracking affiliate sales.
3. Providing General Affiliate Marketing Support. Provide support, advice and consulting for the day to day operation of the affiliate program including training and support to affiliates to improve conversions.
4. Affiliate Recruitment. Find and recruit high-traffic, high revenue generating affiliates and handle all communications between affiliates.
5. Motivating Affiliates. Actively motivate affiliates to perform. This might be through special revenue generating promotions, contests, goal setting including special revenue-sharing deals with selected and known top industry performers. You will also create and distribute newsletters including price variations, specials, activations and new affiliate material
6. Responding to Affiliate Inquiries. Provide timely responses to affiliate inquiries as well as developing and maintaining FAQ’s and a knowledge base.
7. Marketing Your Business. Developing your business further by finding new merchant clients and new affiliate programs where you can add value.