Are you wondering through the forest of affiliate management, knowing where you want your program to be, but having no idea how to get there? Are you encountering obstacle after obstacle, setback after setback? Do you find yourself reacting to the environment and fighting fires, never really able to settle down and move ahead? Most likely, most of those reading this post answered yes to those questions. It happens, and I can tell you it happened to me for years. I would run around every week reacting instead of methodically marching forward on my programs. But, I don’t do that anymore, neither does the staff at JEBCommerce. We plan each quarter, adapt each week and move each program forward, systematically.
If you asked many of my bosses prior to starting JEBCommerce in 2004, organization, planning and detail may not have been at the top of their list of attributes I possessed or excelled at. I simply didn’t understand the process or the importance of it. That changed when I began managing more than one program. So there is hope, if I can get organized and plan ahead, so can you.
By reading my first few questions above, you can get a good idea of why a plan is important, but let me lay it out for you:
- Planning sets you in a place where you anticipate needs, obstacles, tasks (both tactical and strategic), avoiding many of those “aaahhh” moments.
- Planning helps you maximize your time, resources and expenditures, thus removing some of your daily stress.
- Planning moves you away from a fire fighting mindset into a progressive, “marching forward” work life that allows you to get more done and be more successful.
- If you want to get ahead, you need a plan, it’s just that simple. If you want to grow your affiliate program, you have to get it done, no less than quarterly.
Each quarter, our entire staff takes a few days and plans out the following quarter for each client. We look at 12 different items when we create a plan:
- Communication with affiliates
- Merchandising schedule
- Seasonality of client
- Recruiting of Affiliate Partners
- Activation of Affiliate Partners
- Creative/Tech Tools
- Publicity and Marketing
- Datafeed Availability
- Affiliate Incentives
- Paid Placements
- Competitive Analysis
We had the good fortune of delivering our latest quarterly plan to one of our premier clients at this week’s Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas. We walked through each area of our plan and then brainstormed with our client on new initiatives for this quarter. We came up with some great ideas that you’ll be seeing down the road from us, we are really excited.
Planning is vital, if you aren’t doing it allow me to challenge you today. Create a plan, analyze your program and determine the 10 things you are going to do this quarter to make it better. What things will you do to better take care of your affiliates, and what things will you do to better grow your program. Share them below.
Many of the things I outlined today are included in one of our Modules of our affiliate manager training program – My Affiliate Coach. We not only walk each student through the entire process, but our staff as well. Learning how to analyze your program and develop a comprehensive plan is one of our favorite sessions to teach. If you are interested, contact Jon@jebcommerce.com or Jamie@jebcommerce.com.