Whether you’re a brand manager of a booming company or a jack of all trades at a small startup, setting up a sweet affiliate program should be something you think about every night before you go to bed. It doesn’t really matter how far along you are with your business, it’s imperative that you, from day one, start focusing on how to monetize your work.
If you run an online business, the answer is traffic, of course.
Online businesses are like cars and traffic is the fuel that keeps them running. It doesn’t really matter how expensive, well-constructed, or designed your machine might be; if you don’t put enough fuel in it, the damn thing won’t take you anywhere. And if it doesn’t really take you anywhere, then it’s useless. It won’t take you long to figure out that you’re sitting behind a pricey piece of junk, waiting for it to slowly rust away.
Regardless in which niche or market you operate, quality traffic is always really hard to acquire. Getting that fuel is never as easy as it might look at first because the Internet is full of businesses that basically offer the same things as you do. The competition is fierce these days, so it’s imperative that businesses do everything in their power to grab as much traffic from their competitors as possible.
This is where affiliate marketing can help. It doesn’t really matter if you plan on working with an agency or doing your own thing in-house. This particular form of promotion can open up a new revenue avenue for your business. It is a performance-based system for making sweet money that doesn’t really require you to go through all the hard work that comes with running various marketing campaigns.
The Dark Side of Affiliate Marketing
Even though everything written above is true, however; running a successful affiliate business is still hard work. Anyone who tells you that becoming an affiliate superstar is easy as pie is definitely lying.
A lot of business owners still think that all you need to do is set up a site, select an affiliate partner, and let him do all the work. In their eyes, it’s all about being patient. If you set it up right, it’s only a matter of time until the money starts pouring in.
In reality, things aren’t really like that.
Setting up and running a successful affiliate program demands a lot of work. It takes time and effort. In most situations, there’s a lot of competition out there, so you’re not going to see any real money in your account for quite some time.
It doesn’t really matter if you buy your media on relevant sites and networks for an agreed period of time, usually in a form of banner; you still need to know things like:
- How to choose the right network (or publisher) that will help you generate visits you’re currently after;
- How to smartly plan your budget;
- Optimize sites and landing pages;
- Keep track of what’s hot in the industry, what’s not, who’s making money (and how), and who’s not.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Setting up a successful affiliate system demands a lot of strategic thinking, planning, networking, and focus. Even though it sounds easy, buying media for beginners can easily become a complete nightmare. This form of marketing demands strategic investments of time and financial resources, building steady relationships with those who own important and well-visited channels, killer negotiation skills, etc.
But it’s not just that. Affiliate programs need to be managed on a daily basis. According to the statistics, more than 60 percent of affiliates are only focused on their efforts, and less than 20 percent on networks. If you aren’t really managing your network, the chances are your efforts in this department will start to make very little sense.
That is why all the top traffic sources and sellers have account affiliate managers.
What is an Account Affiliate Manager?
This is usually a person responsible for building and nourishing strong affiliate relationships with important accounts in his or her assigned niche or market. An affiliate account manager is basically the point of contact for affiliates, and he or she is responsible for one or more accounts.
This particular person often works with various departments like sales, marketing, finance, tech and customer support. His or her job is to advise, prepare, and plan various marketing activities for his or her accounts.
But not just that. He or she also needs to keep a close eye on all the links in the chain and make sure that the publisher, management, and clients are happy.
An affiliate account manager is usually an experienced, well-connected, highly-competent, omnichannel digital marketing professional, who has a proven track-record of running successful marketing campaigns via multiple channels. He or she turns growth strategies into actual media plans and does everything in his or her power to help you execute them correctly.
What are the Benefits of Working with Such a Person?
Having all this in mind, as an account, you can really benefit from frequently communicating with your affiliate account manager. The benefits of working with an affiliate agency are almost endless, especially in regards to having a seasoned manager with established affiliate relationships to help you quickly get the ball rolling.
Your newly-developed affiliate program will surely profit from the credibility and expertise of a well-known agency. Even though the cost of the service might seem steep at first, in the long run it will surely pay off. The challenge is to find an agency that can guarantee that you come first, that you have a person (yes, an account manager), dedicated to your success in this department.
A good affiliate account manager is always fixing problems. Especially the ones you didn’t even know you had. So, in regards to that, it’s pretty important that you do your best to create a good relationship with your affiliate account manager. The rewards you can gain from it will certainly make it worth your trouble.
Testing new exclusive offers, keeping up with everything that’s going on in the industry, acquiring higher payouts, more leniency, faster approvals and response rates, better traffic optimization – these are just some of the main things you can get out of frequently communicating with your affiliate account manager. They’ll greatly appreciate your interest and will be more likely to go out of their way for you.
The only trick is, you need to know what to ask. Your relationship with your affiliate account manager shouldn’t be built on small talk, but on business. Sure, it’s cool to talk about everything and anything, but you must remain focused on the nature of your relationship.
Ask them what targeting backs out the best on the offer. Ask them to review recent traffic, so you can adjust everything accordingly, in case your efforts aren’t really driving results. Listen to their advice and be open to shutting down specific campaigns, if they aren’t performing correctly.
Be responsive. Don’t let your account manager’s emails sit for days in your inbox. If you notice some issues regarding your traffic, you need to address them immediately. Keep your AM (Account Manager) in the loop. If you’re planning on shutting down a campaign, be sure to inform your AM and ask him or her for suggestions regarding new targeting and copy. Every AM will certainly be interested in keeping your business safe and in the clear, so you can rest assured knowing the he or she will provide you with the right feedback.
Over to You
Thank you for reading this article. I hope it gave you some clear insight on what affiliate account managers really are, and why they are important for your success in this particular department. You should always do your best to keep your AM close and on your good side. These are usually highly-experienced business professionals whose knowledge and contacts can certainly help you get better results with you affiliate marketing efforts.