You have done your part. You created a business or product that people want. You put in the time and the effort to make it happen. Now you need help getting it out in front of other people. It may be time to hire an affiliate manager. But what is an affiliate manager and what do they do?
An affiliate manager is a person that is responsible for managing your affiliate program online. An affiliate program is one in which you allow influencers, or affiliates, to promote your business or product through banner ads, links and other marketing material in exchange for an allowance per click or conversion on that material. It is a really good way to get more exposure to your company or product.
Deciding whether or not you need an affiliate program is the first step. Once you have done the research, it is up to you to find an affiliate manager, or affiliate management agency, like Commision Juncture, iAffiliate Management, or ShareASale - that can make your program as successful as possible. Even though this is an online marketing program, there are still real people behind the computer screen. So finding the right affiliate manager can be a very important decision you make.
A lot of companies hire and utilize staff to manage their affiliate program in house. But, more times than not, those people are also assigned other duties and the affiliate program ends up being lower on the list of tasks. Hiring someone you don't know can lead to another host of issues as well. Are they reliable? Will they have the same passion for my company or product that I have?
Before making any decisions, however, you must answer the question. Affiliate Managers: Who are They and What Do They Do?
Who are they?
As discussed, affiliate managers are people who manage your affiliate account for you. That job entails quite a lot. You need someone who is detail oriented, dedicated to the job and someone that has previous experience.
What do they do?
Everything, in short. But the basics of the job require the following:
Potential affiliates find out about your program from affiliate managers who send out alerts or by searching around for companies within their networks of affiliate management companies. But not every influencer, blogger or website is right for your particular company. Because of that, they have to be approved and someone has to go through those applications, sometimes hundreds of them, and approve them. This can be a very time consuming process as each one has to be looked at individually. Their reach, quality of content and genre of content all come into play. Most affiliate programs promise a response to the application within 24 - 48 hours so this is a fast turnaround process that has to be paid attention to.
Affiliates that are using the platform to promote your product or service need customer service as well. The affiliate manager has to be there ready to help not only you, but anyone that is trying to get links, banners and other marketing material for promotion. They also have to be there at hours that the rest of us would like to be done with work. Emails can come in at any time of the day and night and it is the affiliate managers responsibility to make sure that they are answered in a very timely manner. If not, your product may lose a very valuable affiliate as they move onto another product in an effort to push conversions for profit.
Someone has to create the graphics, affiliate links and other marketing material that potential affiliates need to promote your product or service. Affiliate managers now you and they know your goals, or at least they should. They also now their affiliates and what types of material they will likely promote. One company can have several products for affiliates to use on social media, within articles and on their sidebars. One size may not fit all so a variety of images, videos, link types and promotional material is necessary. Within those materials are also links that lead to the conversions that need to me managed as well. If an affiliate knows, through their own analytics, that 50 people clicked a link but they don't see the pay per conversion within the affiliate management platform, the affiliate manager is responsible for correcting the issue. This part of the job alone, especially for a smaller management company, can be extremely time consuming!
The reports. There are many. There are reports for the affiliates to see that tell them about conversions, the most popular marketing materials for their sites and more. Then there are the re-posts for the company or product. The reports tell you which parts of the program are working and which ones need more work or tweaking. These reports give you an idea on what is performing well also as you track any growth of sales.
Affiliate Management Companies also have internal reports that help them decipher the success of programs they offer. They use them to make determinations on how a graphic, link or rate of pay is working as far as fulfilling the requirements that they agreed to with both the company and the affiliates. Understanding what all of these reports say and mean is a job that requires detail work that many building a business may not have tome to pay attention yo.
As with any marketing program, eventually the life runs out. We can only say' Yo Quero Taco Bell' for so long. Just as marketing companies are looking for ways to push products and services consistently, so are affiliate managers. After all, if the program stops generating money, the company moves on, taking their funds with them and the influencers move on, taking a potential audience away. Affiliate managers must have the ability to think outside the box, to be creative and to be ready to change or tweak ideas very quickly.
There are rules in the affiliate marketing world and regulations that have to be followed. The FTC and other regulatory committees are becoming more and more sensitive to those who are trying to take advantage of online programs. It is important that an affiliate manager be able to spot someone who is manipulating a coupon code or mismanaging a freebie so that your product ends up flying off the shelves with no profit. It is also a red flag if the affiliate promoting your company or service has no content or material related to your product. You only want to be where your customers are. The risk of an affiliate trying to profit from your product or service that has no idea about it is that they could misrepresent or violate an industry standard, thus putting your program at risk.
If it looks like an Affiliate manager has a big job, they do. That is why it is so important that you do your research to make sure yours can fulfill all of the duties required with a professional decorum.
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