Deciding how to structure the growth and management of your affiliate program is a huge decision.
The management of your affiliate program will be a huge factor in how successful the affiliate channel is and how quickly it grows. There are many things that enter into this discussion and many positives for both avenues.
Before we get into how affiliate management works its important to understand the definitions of common terms you will hear:
- Affiliates can be quickly defined as the partners that promote items or services sold by a merchant. They can be anything from coupon publishers, content publishers, loyalty publishers, etc.
- Affiliate Marketing is a type of marketing channel where said affiliates promote the goods or services of a merchant for a commission.
- Affiliate Management is managing the affiliates within the channel as a whole to promote the growth of the program for the brand or merchant. This can be done in-house or with an agency.
- Affiliate Managers act basically as middle-men between the client (merchant) and affiliates. This includes weekly or monthly reports, attending conferences, approving affiliates, maintaining creative and promotions, and having check-in calls with both clients and affiliates.
How Does Affiliate Management Work?
Some marketing managers think the affiliate channel is something you can turn on and off like you can with paid search or paid social. It’s not, affiliate partnerships are built on transparency and real relationships, not one-off transactions.
The overall goal of an affiliate program is to create a win-win framework for brands and their affiliate partners.
When managed properly the affiliate channel can make up a significant portion of a brand’s online revenue, with high ROAS and low CPA.
JEBCommerce prides itself in getting a program producing quickly and effectively. We guarantee $10M of revenue in 3 years for Fashion, Beauty and Skincare, Outdoor and Gear and Travel brands without incurring unearned affiliate commission costs.
We do this through a system of processes that we’ve used to launch hundreds of affiliate programs over the years. Here are a few of the major components JEBCommerce focuses on when managing an affiliate program:
Recruitment involves reaching out to potential affiliate partners to get them to join the program and start promoting the brand.
New affiliates can most easily be found in affiliate networks or through Google, social media or other search engines. Think of it as recruiting the best players for your favorite team.
Check out this affiliate program management case study to see how JEBCommerce was able to find high quality affiliates in a niche industry.
Activation can be thought of as a “welcoming” of sorts and often involves sending welcome emails and scheduling calls with newly approved or newly recruited affiliates.
The goal in mind here, of course, is getting the affiliate to drive traffic and ultimately sales/revenue.
Affiliate Channel Optimization
Optimization in a basic sense is monitoring the affiliate program and taking steps to improve it.
This can be through commission increases and/or paid placements with affiliates in exchange for additional brand exposure.
A great place to start is reaching out to affiliates down in clicks and revenue year or year.
Optimization also involves auditing promotions and content, as well as Trademark+ terms. There is a lot of strategy involved here – making it a fun component!
It’s equally as important in successful affiliate management to leverage the network platforms that each of your clients or merchants partner with.
Networks can be a powerful tool when utilized in full. They can assist with recruitment lists, placement options, and seasonal tips & tricks to fully optimize a program and its affiliates.
Affiliate management at its core is about building relationships – with network, client and affiliate contacts. Frequent and consistent communication with these contacts is necessary to successfully manage affiliates and affiliate programs.
When managed well, with the right partners, affiliate marketing is arguably one of the most efficient marketing models for driving new customers and incremental sales.