The Thanksgiving leftovers are pretty much gone, Black Friday has come and gone (hopefully you avoided the melee at your local Walmart) and Cyber Monday has now been extended through Wednesday. Maybe it’s time now to start setting some goals for 2013? As an affiliate manager, what types of goals should you be setting? Now is a great time to discuss this as our affiliate managers are going through the same process, well maybe not this week with Small Business Saturday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Super Tuesday, Wonderful Wednesday and so on, but we are getting to it before Christmas.
Many times, and I do this myself (Procrastination), we don’t get to our goals until after the New Year has come and gone. We do ourselves a huge disservice. It simply too hard to reach a goal when you haven’t set it first. If I have one piece of advice it is to set your goals up well enough in advance so you can start planning for them. We have a great blog post on SMART goals. It may be worth a read now.
So what type of goals should an affiliate manager be making? I like to break my goals into 4 areas: Affiliate Program Performance, Reporting and Planning, Education and Career Development. Most think only of the revenue numbers, but you have more to think of long term than just the numbers. They are important, if you aren’t hitting them, you won’t be in your position long enough to worry about the other areas, but take time now to look ahead 12 months, 2 years even 5 years!
Affiliate Program Performance
This is probably the easiest set of goals to develop. Many of them, at least the top line goals, may be handed down from above (your supervisor, not Mount Olympus, although if your boss hands them to you in papyris scrolls, that is pretty cool). Here are a few goals we set for ourselves:
- Annual Revenue Goal
- Monthly Revenue Goal
- Number of Top 10 producers in your program each month
- Monthly affiliate outreach – how many conversations do you need to have with current affiliates, how many with new potential affiliates, each month/quarter/year/week/day to reach your revenue goals?
- How many new affiliates do you need in your program?
- Increase of active affiliates by X amount by XX/XX
- X number of new placements and exposure each month
- $X budget for paid placements – break this out by month
- New Creative Elements by XX/XX – have you been wanting to provide flash creative, datafeeds, or some other form of tool for the affiliates to use? Here is a great place to name it and claim it!
- Profitability goals. Revenue is great, but it isn’t if it is not profitable. You may have a great celebration one month only to find that all those orders cost more to get than they brought in. Maybe your goal is to establish a profitability formula for the program as a whole and also by individual affiliates.
Reporting and Planning
Every year you should be getting better and better at the reporting you provide to your organization, the analysis you develop and research as well as your planning. My first few years as an affiliate manager, I did a horrible job at being consistent at this. A quarterly plan is a minimum.
Here are some ideas:
- More in depth analysis of weekly reports – providing the data, insight and corrective actions.
- Delivery of quarterly plan 1 week before quarter begins.
- Provide profitability reporting by affiliate each month.
This is more of a long term goal, but with such a quickly changing industry, education is important. You have the advertising tax and many other legislative issues you now have to worry about. But what about your overall education, are there areas of internet marketing, or development that you’d like to learn? Here are a few ideas:
- Read one Internet Marketing related blog each day.
- Find one class in HTML and complete.
- Learn how to create, upload and update your datafeed in (insert network here) by June.
One thing I enjoy most about our MyAffiliateCoach training program is the mentoring of our students with their overall career. I help them find the areas they need to focus on to not only grow their program, become indispensible to the employer but also to identify the areas that they need to focus on to grow their career. These things may be some of the following:
- Finish degree.
- Become better at managing up.
- Provide better reports and cross channel analysis.
- Demonstrate benefits of affiliate marketing across the company.
Goals are important. They help us not only to look forward, but to determine where we are each and every day. Don’t let this time slip by without setting some yourself. In a few days you’ll have done all you can do to make Q4 successful. Then take the time to set some goals and plan.
I like to do this at our local coffee shop or the new NY Bagel cafe that just opened up. It helps to get away and I really encourage you to do that too. Even in the toughest economic times, you can still achieve lofty goals as an Affiliate Manager. You have to set your sights on them first.
Now go get em!
And hey, after you set your goals, why don’t you share a few of them here. Maybe I can help you refine them. And hey, if you want formal training in this aspect or any other of affiliate management, ask us about our 12 week MyAffiliateCoach training program.