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6 Tips For Affiliate Managers
I'm not sure how many affiliate Managers put themselves in the affiliate's place when using Control Panels, when choosing what products to display, or waiting to sell for the first time. But I can tell you about some items - the things really look different depending on which side you are.
So, let's discuss about 3 essential elements in understanding the affiliate behavior:
- Affiliate typology - are all the affiliates the same?
Are all the affiliates the same?
First of all, there are a lot of misconceptions about thin affiliates, the (regular) affiliates and super-affiliates. We have the thin affiliates that just sign-up on any affiliate program because of the shinny ads on making passive income very easily.
They usually have a "just started" site, a lot of initial excitement and no experience at all. The (regular) affiliates have already some experience with affiliate marketing and they also do some sales, usually as a complementary business line or supplemental income to a full time job.
The super-affiliates on the other hand, are really a special breed of affiliates that need special conditions/services and support to sell at their full potential.
So, if they are so different, which one should you focus on? Well, on all 3.
Affiliate Marketing is an efficiency-based system to promote your products: from the thin affiliates you will most likely get free advertising (if they don't sell anything), from the (regular) affiliates you will get the steady consistent sales, and supper-affiliates will be the cash-cow of your affiliate program.
Now, actually things can be a little complicated when dealing with all the 3 affiliate types because they look for different things:
- Thin affiliates: quick copy and paste some banners on their sites
Affiliates and Control Panels
What are the most dreadful issues for an affiliate when working with the Control Panel? I have plenty to report; just say when you want me to stop:
Complicated sign-up procedures
Let's say, I have converted from your site to the sign-up form. I'm very excited to have a look at the products and give it a go with the program. But wait, I have a complicated sign-up form that requires me a lot of details, some of them which might not be at hand: bank account, multiple verification procedures, or tax forms to fill in. Of course, if I'm a regular affiliate or a super-affiliate, I will take my time to fill in your forms, but frankly it's not the best way to start an "efficiency based" collaboration.
Hard to browse products
If you have more products (for the affiliate networks we are talking about hundreds) not being able to filter/search the products on the criteria I'm interested in, is a major setback. Thin affiliates will simply look by the highest paying commission, but the rest will have to look for the product in their niche. Here I'm talking about relevant categories, keyword-based searches and conversion reports.
Products not available in the program
Affiliates that really make sales usually work on niche products- they have a targeted audience that they can approach only with specific products. As they are not signing-up programs randomly but based on market evaluation, the approach on finding products to promote and sell is a little different: they come to your regular site, have a look at the products, then, if you have one that it's interesting they check what affiliate network of program you use and sign-up. If the product it's not there, of course they can contact you and ask for it, but isn't this your job (having the products enrolled in the affiliate program)?
Unable to link to the pages I need
Because the process of selling online is very complex, affiliates might be using different techniques to promote the products. That's why giving credit only to the buying links is not really effective- I might need to link to your awards page or anything else on your site and if the visitor buys, it means I did my job and I should be credited for my sale.
Advanced affiliates might do their own creatives or maybe request some custom ones from you. But still, If I only need a banner, why should it be so difficult to find one that fits and looks nice?
Add-ons for performance
Talking about supper-affiliates (but not only), they use powerful mechanisms to trigger sales. They need special marketing tools to do the job, and they usually require direct human interaction with the Affiliate manager and:
- Special discounts and coupons. Usually unique coupons that will give them a time limited advantage when promoting the product.
- Accurate tracking systems to evaluate all the aspects of the marketing actions. A/B testing, conversion reports.
- Efficient and custom landing pages on the merchant site. If your site does not convert well, then the affiliates' efforts will be spent for nothing.
- Plan marketing campaigns with the Affiliate Manager. The Affiliate Manager should be available and offer consultancy on the products, targeted market, consumer profile and marketing actions.
Things really look different depending on your perspective. But no matter what's yours, affiliate marketing is hard work.
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