The success of any affiliate program is built on the relationship between the affiliates and affiliate manager. What do all successful relationships require? The number one element is trust. The goal of any affiliate – affiliate manager relationship is to not only have the affiliate know you, but trust you and know that they will do as much as possible to help them succeed. Building trust does not happen overnight, but in order to get it there are traits you must show including: dependability, being personable, being helpful, and understanding their business and what their goals are. Once trust is built the affiliates will be more eager to help you out by sharing things they see from their perspective.
How Affiliate Managers Can Help Affiliates
Communicating with affiliates is the only way to build a solid trustworthy relationship and showing them that you value their efforts will go a long way in their eyes. There are many ways affiliate managers can help affiliates grow their businesses; here are a few of them:
Provide them incentives to have their base commission increased. For example, if affiliate x increases their sales by 20% from the previous month their commission will be increased from 10% to 12% for life. This shows the affiliate that you value their time and effort and want them to succeed. Rewarding them monetarily shows your commitment to them.
Affiliates want to differentiate themselves from their competition just as merchants do, so, whenever possible/applicable, providing them with exclusive deals and/or promotions gives them the edge to convert more sales. It may also be the difference in them not promoting a competitor’s product or services. For example, a mommy blogger wants to promote nursing bras on her site; therefore, an exclusive deal (e.g. 20% off [product category here]) is created, but is available to only her blog and her audience.
Custom Creatives and Coupons:
Creating custom banners and coupons is similar to exclusive deals and promotions, but involves designing banners and/or coupon codes for the affiliate to use in their marketing efforts. For example, the mommy blogger (referenced above) affiliate would like a 468×60 customized banner with an exclusive code for the nursing bra sale, so as affiliate manager a banner is created using the color scheme of her site with an exclusive code (e.g. MOMMY20) only her audience has access to. The little things go a long way in building a healthy relationship with affiliates.
The affiliate knows their audience and understands what it takes to convert sales, therefore, as an affiliate manager being personable and helpful will assist in solidifying the relationship and making it mutually beneficial to both parties.
How Affiliates Can Help Affiliate Mangers
Relationships are a two way street and the affiliate – affiliate manager is no different. Once trust is built, the affiliate manager can rely on the affiliates to help improve the program and make it optimal for other affiliates as well. Here are two ways an affiliate can help an affiliate manager:
Feedback on What is Currently Working:
The affiliates are in the trenches daily and they see things that affiliate managers may not, so having a solid relationship can be advantageous in determining what promotions work best, what banners are most effective, and where the business may be trending in the future. In ways they can be considered consultants. They have invested time and money into promoting a merchants product, so they want to ensure the program is fully optimized for their success.
Suggested Improvement to Merchants Website:
This is very important to any successful affiliate program, but cannot occur without the element of trust. For example, the affiliate may be seeing a lot of clicks but no conversions and then they look at the merchant’s site and see a potential issue(s) that may be causing the conversion problem. It could be a variety of things causing the issue, but without the affiliates feedback it would continue to be a problem and cause a strain on the relationship and potentially hinder the success of the entire program.
Building a solid affiliate – affiliate manager relationship begins with trust. It takes time to earn trust, but showing affiliates that you are serious about their success will go a long way, whether it be increasing their commission or creating customized banners for their site. Ultimately, the hard work from both parties will pay off in a successful and profitable affiliate program.