Season 3 / Episode 022

5 Key Strategies for Newcomers

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In this episode, Jamie Birch, Founder of JEBCommerce, shares invaluable insights for newcomers to the affiliate marketing space. He emphasizes the importance of building relationships, dispels the misconception of the “build it and they will come” mentality, and highlights essential resources available for success. Jamie stresses the necessity of putting in the work, utilizing tools like BrandVerity and FMTC, and tapping into industry organizations like the PMA and MartechRecord. He also underscores the significance of having a solid plan in place, encompassing tracking, commissions, consumer offers, compliance, and more. For further guidance or assistance, listeners are encouraged to reach out to JEBCommerce at

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[00:00:48] Jamie: Hello everyone. Welcome to the Profitable Performance Marketing Podcast. I am your host, Jamie Birch and founder of JEBCommerce, your award winning affiliate management agency. We actually just celebrated 19 years in October headed straight into 20 years in business. Pretty crazy.

[00:01:06] Today we’re going to talk to new uh newbies in the affiliate space, and we’re gonna lay down five things that you need to know if you’re just new to the space.

[00:01:15] Before we get started though this podcast brought to you by That is the award winning affiliate management agency I just spoke about.

[00:01:23] Started that 19 years ago going strong and one thing we just put in place a new CEO. One of the things he brought to us are four new service packages clearly outlined that provide transparency to our clients so they know what they’re getting, and what they’re paying. Something that’s been missing in the agency world is a real clear idea of the different service levels that are available.

[00:01:47] So we have that now. You can go to and you can see and choose from these four packages to pick exactly what you need. Whether you need the top shelf, white glove, all hands on decks type of service, or you need something on the other end of that spectrum, just to make sure things keep moving along. Applications get approved, things like that. We have packages to fit your needs. So head over to to check out those packages today.

[00:02:17] All right. So let’s dive into it. What are the five things that a new affiliate manager needs to know? Well, the first one you really need to know, and if you only get one, this is probably the one you need to get, and that is this is about relationships.

[00:02:32] Now I’ve been saying that, many of us in the space have been saying that for 25 years now, and that’s one of the things that’s never really changed. So maybe you’re coming to the space from search engine marketing, or from display, or influencer and social media, or from catalog marketing.

[00:02:50] There’s a lot of different paths to affiliate marketing. In fact, if you listen to our podcast, it’s one of the first questions I ask everyone on the show is what’s their origin story. And you’ll find there’s no single one that’s the same. We’ve had guests that comes from politics, come from search, come from everywhere.

[00:03:07] So you need to understand that this is a little different than these other channels. It is about relationships, is very much about who you know, and who knows you, and how you take care of those. So you need to understand if you’re in the space and you don’t have those relationships, now’s the time you get the opportunity, the exciting opportunity of forging and building a ton of new relationships.

[00:03:32] We’re going to go over a few things that can help you do that, but primarily you want to start reaching out to partners that you work with, and you want to start building those relationships because unlike other channels, it’s not a lever you pull. You really have to know your partners, you have to know what’s important to them, you have to be able to communicate with them regularly.

[00:03:52] And, one wrong move can keep you from working with an affiliate partner for decades. It’s happened. I’ve made my mistakes and there are still some partners that it took a long time for us to get back after a mistake was made early on in my career. So it is about relationships. It’s about taking care of the other person.

[00:04:09] You want to work on win-win negotiations. Both parties you want to be successful. This is different than other channels. Like I said, it’s about your relationships. Know your partners. And there’s a couple other podcast episodes where we talk about what you can do to build relationships. So definitely go check out the podcast.

[00:04:29] The second biggest thing you need to know and a misconception is it is not a “build it and they will come” channel. A lot of people launch an affiliate program and then walk away from it and they think, “well, everyone knows my brand. The affiliate channels here, people want to promote it. I have it all. Tracking’s working. There’s links in there. Everything is ready to go and I should be seeing sales.”

[00:04:52] I’ve managed some very large brands everything from Hilton Hotels, Johnson and Murphy, Zappos, and others. Not a single one was it set it and forget it. So even the biggest brands in the world in their affiliate marketing, they still have to do the job. They still have to do the work.

[00:05:12] You can’t leave this channel and let it go for a number of reasons. Number one is it’s about relationships. So if you’re not building those relationships, you’re not getting sales. It’s just not happening. And two, it’s about compliance. There are regulatory issues you need to be worried about. There are liabilities that you have that you need to make sure you’re protecting your company against, and then optimization. Every affiliate partner is different. They do different things and they need different things. They reach different audiences. So you need to interact with them. You need to spend time with them. You need to understand them so you can understand and discover what you can do together. And that has to happen and that can’t be in a set it and forget it type of mindset.

[00:05:55] It is not the field of dreams where you build it and they will come. You’re going to have to work. And that’s probably the second biggest misconception about the program.

[00:06:05] And one thing I want you to know as a newbie is you’re gonna have to put the time in. So what’s that time look like? Well, it looks like emailing, communicating, spending time on each of those affiliate partners sites so you get to know it. Become a member of their site, start using it and then reach out and make phone calls.

[00:06:21] I know for a lot of people, phone calls is not something you want to do. I even bristle when I get a phone call now, I would prefer to do text, but you can’t build relationships over email or over a cell phone text. It just doesn’t work. You have to spend time together. You have to be talking together.

[00:06:39] My preferred method is Zoom, so video calls. 90 percent of our communication is not verbal. So not having 90 percent of that, you really don’t know a lot about the person you’re working with. So there are affiliate partners that have been to my wedding. There are affiliate partners I have vacationed with. These people that know me and know me well, and I know them well.

[00:07:02] You want to put the work in, reach out to them, get to know them. There are two services that you want to get used to and that’s BrandVerity and FMTC. BrandVerity allows you to monitor your SEM traffic with your affiliates in a very, very easy way. The founder and I have been friends for a long time, in fact he’s been on the podcast before.

[00:07:23] That is a great tool to make sure affiliates are adhering to your terms and conditions as far as SEM. And then FMTC is a coupon deal and product aggregator that most of the affiliates work with. FMTC is a great service and you definitely want to make sure your products, and coupons, offers are there as well. Like I said, many of the affiliates use that service to populate their website. So you want to make sure you’re there.

[00:07:53] Number four, you have resources available. You’re not in this alone. Unlike when I started and my peer group back then, we all had to kind of figure it out together. And that community really helped. Well, that community has stayed for a very long time and still here today. Everyone really wants to see everyone be successful.

[00:08:11] So, the first place I would go to is the That’s our industry organization. They do a lot of studies and reports, and if you’re new to this and you now know it’s about relationships and you got to put in the work, but where do I build these relationships and put that work in, reach out to the PMA and get involved.

[00:08:30] They’re always looking for volunteers and that’s going to be a perfect way for you to rub elbows and network and build relationships with some of the most exciting, well known, experienced people in this space. So get over there, volunteer. Martech Record is also one you want to check out. They also have a Slack group that is great to meet people. Michael McNerney has been on the podcast. He’ll be on this season as well. So definitely check out that. So let’s add to number three, BrandVerity, FMTC and Martech Record, but they’re also a resource.

[00:09:05] Affiliate Summits. You may not know that there are two Affiliate Summits in the US and they’re all over the world that allow you to get together face to face and network with people. And I can tell you after running this company for 19 years and having a lot of affiliate managers, a lot of assistant managers come through, get trained stay or go on and do great things at at other places. The first time they go to Affiliate Summit, they level up tremendously because they get to meet with hundreds of people. There are thousands of people there, but they get to meet face to face with hundreds of people. Definitely get involved in the PMA, get involved in Martech Record, and go to these Affiliate Summits.

[00:09:46] And then you have some really good resources from JEBCommerce. So if you go to JBCommerce. com and check out our media section, we have a blog and a podcast. There are three seasons of podcast episodes right now, and we don’t hold back. We try to teach you everything you need to know the way that JEBCommerce does it so that you can just be better.

[00:10:08] And then if you find that you need our help, then we’re only a phone call or an email away. We also have a YouTube channel. That has tons of videos of weekly updates, tips, tricks, interviews all sorts of stuff. So check out our blog, our podcast, and YouTube.

[00:10:25] And number five, what I want you to take away from this and what you should know as a new person is you’re never going to get where you’re going without a plan. Just like every other channel, you have to have a plan and that plan should consist of your tracking, your commissions, your consumer offers. It should include compliance. Let’s add a sixth thing here.

[00:10:48] There are FTC compliance regulations that you need to be aware of. You can Google FTC and affiliate. You can go to the You need to know about those things and that needs to be included in your plan. So, new affiliate recruitment, those targets need to be in your plan.

[00:11:07] Optimization targets need to be in your plan. And we talk about that a lot in the podcast and the blog, so go check those out. But if you don’t have a plan, you’re not going to get to where you want to go.

[00:11:19] So those are the five, six-ish things that you need to know if you’re new. Again, it’s about relationships. You have to put in the work. You want to check out BrandVerity, FMTC, and Martech record. You have a lot of resources at your disposal to learn how to do this. The PMA, Affiliate Summit, the JEBCommerce blog, the JEBCommerce podcast, the JEBCommerce YouTube. And you need to have a plan.

[00:11:44] If you need help with any of these things and you don’t know where to start, you want to learn more just email us at We will be more than happy to spend some time with you on this.

[00:11:56] And if you found this podcast helpful, send it over to someone who you think would really benefit from it. Please share it on Facebook, LinkedIn, and X and any other social media outlets you have. And leave us a five star review. Those five star reviews go a long way to getting exposure for this podcast.

[00:12:13] But anyway, I hope these five, six-ish things helped you as a newbie to know what to do next and what things you need to be aware of, and I hope you have the best of success in this next year. Thanks.

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