What is Affiliate Management and How Does it Work?

Before we get into how affiliate management works it’s important to understand the definitions of common terms you will hear.

Affiliate Marketing is a marketing channel where 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.

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.

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 guarantees $10M of revenue in 3 years for Fashion, Beauty and Skincare, Outdoor and Gear and Travel brands without incurring unearned 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 affiliate management focuses on to drive revenue growth.

Managing Affiliate Growth

Affiliate management is a huge factor in how quickly the channel grows and ultimately how successful it is.

There are many things that enter into this discussion and many positives for the various tools available.

Affiliate Program Recruitment

Recruitment involves reaching out to potential partners to get them to join the program and start promoting the brand.

New affiliates can most easily be found in networks, Google, social media or other search engines.

Think of it as recruiting the best players for your favorite team.

Affiliate Marketing Activation

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 to drive traffic and sales.

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 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 to leverage the network platforms that each of your clients or merchants partner with.

Networks are powerful tools when utilized in full. They assist with recruitment lists, placement options, and seasonal tips & tricks to fully optimize a program.

Affiliate management at its core is about building relationships – with network, client and affiliate contacts.

Frequent and consistent communication is paramount to successfully manage affiliates and affiliate programs.

When managed well, with the right partners, affiliate marketing is one of the most efficient marketing models for driving new customers and incremental sales.