Season 03 / Episode 005

Program application approvals – I have to review these?

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Jamie tackles the subject of affiliate applications, the importance of reviewing them, the frequency, and what to do right now to get back on track.

So many of our prospective clients come to us and their program has zero fundamentals tasks being executed on their behalf. One of those is reviewing and approving (or denying) applications to the affiliate program. These should be done daily. Approve those affiliate applications!



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[00:00:48] Hello, Profitable Performance Marketing listeners. No wait … that’s Profitable Performance Marketing podcast listeners. I’m in recording mode today, so days get a little ahead of me, but thank you for joining us. My name is Jamie Birch. I’m your host of the podcast and founder of JEBCommerce, your award winning affiliate management agency.

[00:01:12] Today is a solo episode. We don’t have a guest for you this week, but we do have a topic that’s been top of mind for a while. So we’re going to talk about affiliate approvals. But before we get started JEBCommerce is an affiliate management agency we’ve been around, this October 23 will be 19 years and October 24 will be 20 years.

[00:01:34] We have been around for a while, managed hundreds of programs. If you are looking to figure out what your strategy is going into Q4, Q1 of 24 and beyond, if you’re trying to figure out how to deal with this public relations aspect of affiliate marketing, if you’re looking for help, try to figure out how to handle attribution, how to increase, Incremental revenue, how to increase the amount of new customers being introduced to your brand and how to manage the different parts of the funnel within your affiliate program, then let us know; is the email address you want to use. Let us know what your biggest problem is, and we’ll set up a half hour to spend time with you and figure out what the right course of action is. And maybe we get to work together, but we will share everything that we know to help you achieve your goals this year.

[00:02:24] So anyway, we want to talk about daily affiliate approvals today. Now you’re probably saying, “Jamie, this may be the most boring part of affiliate management. Why are you talking about that?” I will answer that for you.

[00:02:37] We have and do every month review many prospective clients who need help with their affiliate program. One of the first things we do is we do a quick audit. We go in and look at the main points of the affiliate program, your fundamentals, and we see how it’s doing. Sometimes we get an advertiser that comes to us and their fundamentals are strong and they’ve run a really good program. And there may not be a lot we can do for them, we let them know.

[00:03:04] The vast majority of prospects that come to us don’t have a single basic thing taken care of. And a lot of what we’re talking about this season is fundamentals of affiliate marketing. While all this new and exciting things are happening with PR and mass media and AI, Chat GPT and all those things, new publishers coming into the fold… it’s a good time to refocus on those fundamentals and look back and see how you’re doing. And one of the fundamentals that we see, and it’s almost a hundred percent across the board is a large queue of affiliates in your program.

[00:03:43] So let’s take this back as far as we possibly can. If you’re new to affiliate marketing this will be a really good episode for you. In order to work with an affiliate, they need to apply to your program. You need to approve them and then they go through a process to evaluate you after the fact. So there’s a lot of legwork that happens before they even apply to your program.

[00:04:06] You got to convince them to make a decision, to log into their network, go in and find your brand, click apply. Maybe they’ll read the terms and conditions. So you’ve done a lot of work there, or they, maybe they just found you. They, a lot of affiliates every week, every month, they’ll go through and see who’s new or you will have in many affiliates, they have individuals who are just focused on a certain vertical within the affiliate channel. And they go through every once in a while and see if there’s anyone they’re not working with. So they approve that affiliate. So you’ve got them. They already made a decision that they want to work with you. So they applied and then nothing, they don’t hear anything.

[00:04:49] Sometimes for years, we’ve had programs we go into and they have thousands of applications in there and they’ve never approved anything beyond the first month when they launched that program.

[00:05:01] So imagine that you’ve already made the decision: “you know what? I want to work with brand X. I’m going to go work with them. I’m going to apply to their program. I’m sure I’ll hear tomorrow.” And now I get to start working on a campaign and maybe while their application is in the approval status, the pending status, they start working on campaigns for your brand. And then they don’t hear anything. So that affiliate can not work with you if they’re not approved in your program.

[00:05:31] So let’s get the fundamentals right. We’re talking about passing the basketball, not even dribbling right now. We’re talking about just getting the other people engaged. Maybe we’re not even talking about passing the ball. I always think of basketball when I think of fundamentals. Probably cause I was so awful at it.

[00:05:47] But it’s just getting another person on your team to get out on the floor with you. Now they’re out on the floor with you. They said, “yeah, I would love to come play basketball with you.” Okay. Get them on the team, get them their uniform, get them the playbook. So those approvals, they should be done daily.

[00:06:05] I like to do them first thing in the morning. Once I get in and I have my power hour, I get a bit of work done and then I’ll go through my applications. It’s gotta be done regularly. The one thing or a thing, that a lot of people don’t realize is publishers talk amongst themselves. So if there’s a program that no one’s contacted them, no one’s approved their application for months, that’s going to get around and that’s going to hurt you later on. It’s hurting you right now.

[Ad break]

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[Episode continued]

[00:07:38] So if you go and in your network, your affiliate program, you have a large queue of applications, this is a problem. It’s a key indicator that your fundamentals are poor. So you may be trying to dunk from the three point line, but you can’t dribble pass the ball, or run a play. You’re having trouble running down the court and catching the ball. That’s a huge indicator.

[00:08:02] When we look at that, we see the program was not managed well. And there’s huge potential. You’ll have all those partners in there. New partners, they come about and they go through and they apply to everything that they think they want to work with.

[00:08:14] So you got to go through and approve those quickly. You just never know what application is going to be the best. So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to take 15 minutes on your calendar every day. I want you to go put it on your calendar right now and title it affiliate approvals. 15 minutes. If you do 15 minutes every day, you’re only managing one program.

[00:08:36] You do 15 minutes a day. Your program is going to grow significantly more than it has before. Now you may be thinking it’s not a big deal. These are just approvals. It’s the lifeblood of your affiliate program and just getting them in. Then you allow them, let them go through and find all their links and everything, but let them in, especially if they fit with what you’re looking for.

[00:08:59] Now, when we talk about who to approve and who not to the way that I look at it is in my approvals, I’m not looking for someone specifically to approve. I’m looking for people to deny because I don’t know what the next… who thought chat GPT would be so big this year. I didn’t not until it was out and I was using it to write emails.

[00:09:20] I had no idea. I’ve been doing this since 1999 and I have a few partners that I’ve worked with that were nothing when they joined my program. They had no sales, but they had an idea. They had a business plan and they had a tenacity not to quit and they kept going. Later on fast forward five, six years, they sold to a big company.

[00:09:42] This happened multiple times. So you don’t know what’s going to come through, but you may know what you can’t have. You may not be able to work with any adult themed websites. Pretty common, makes sense. You may not be able to work with coupon sites, or you may not be able to work with any incentivized traffic or lead gen type affiliates or SEM or anything like that.

[00:10:03] So really what I do is I go through and I look at the ones that I know I don’t want in the program. At JEB, we work on, 30, 40 programs at a time, we’re able to see a lot of those applications across many advertisers’ programs. So we’re able to see who is good and who’s not across those channels.

[00:10:22] But for the ones that we don’t know, we let them in and we monitor them daily. When they get their first sale, we monitor them. There’s a lot you can do here, but what I want you to do now is it just, note: I have to do approvals more frequently. I’d say every day. Go to your calendar, put 15 minutes on every business day for you to go through those approvals. You won’t need more than that if you get ahead of it.

[00:10:49] So if you’re looking in your program and see hundreds, you’re probably going to need to spend a couple of hours going through those. I wouldn’t decline or approve all of them in one fell swoop. I’ve had the inclination to do that at times, but you do want to go through them because you may find some that have potential. You want to reach out and help them reach their potential. And that’s a good thing to do.

[00:11:09] So approve your affiliates or deny them. Go through that queue every single day and you will find yourself with a much better, more successful, more profitable affiliate program.

[00:11:23] Now, if you found this helpful, please share it on all your socials, Facebook, X, is that what we’re calling it now? X? Or LinkedIn. If you know someone who needs this particular message, maybe it’s your affiliate manager, you need to send that well, welcome affiliate manager. This has been sent to you by your boss. It’s time to approve those applications every day. But send these along, share it, and the best way to help get the word out about this podcast is to leave us a five star review at Spotify, Apple Podcast, or the podcast player of your choice.

[00:11:54] Now we’re always looking for guests. So if you think you’d like to be a guest, or you know someone who should be a guest, then email us at Now if you have a question, many times we’ll turn a question that one of our listeners has into one of an episode just like this.

[00:12:09] Just let us know send that question in to I promise you, we answer every single one. And sometimes, like I said, we turn them into a podcast episode that you’ll have in the future to go back to and that is Have I said, get help at enough? I think I have, but there you go.

[00:12:28] Thank you for listening to this podcast. If you have any needs, anything at all that we can help you with, please just let us know. And thank you for listening to today’s episode.

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