By Andrew Kardon
I’ve been in the affiliate marketing industry for almost 15 years now. I’ve helped run all sorts of websites from online coupon sites to pop-culture sites to my current social shopping site JoeShopping. And over the past decade, I’ve learned a tremendous amount of things, most notably that affiliate managers can drive me nuts!
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate affiliate managers! I’ve actually gotten quite friendly over the years with many of them. They have a real tough job at times depending on the number of programs they’re managing, and many of them work their butt off to make my job easier.
But… there are still a ton of things that many affiliate managers do that just drive me up a wall. In the hopes of giving some insight to you affiliate managers out there, please take this constructive criticism as a wishlist of things not to do.
Never visiting my site
Before an affiliate manager calls or emails me, he or she should at least take all of 30 seconds to look at my site. See what sort of content I have on there, which affiliate links I’m currently using, what sort of categories I’m covering, etc. I shouldn’t have to waste time on the phone explaining what my site is all about. Instead, prove to me you know my site and it’ll go a long way towards establishing a fruitful relationship between us.
Not preparing for a call
Whether an affiliate manager does or doesn’t familiarize himself with my site doesn’t even matter, when they call me and say, “What can we do to improve our numbers?” I’m sorry, but YOU’RE the affiliate manager. Shouldn’t you be coming to me with suggestions? Do your homework. Come up with a plan. Be creative. Don’t just call and expect me to have a silver bullet solution. And don’t just say, “I can raise your commission by 2% this month.” I mean, that’s great and all but most of the time, the problem with low conversions isn’t the percentage. Give me ideas, ways to drive more traffic, get viral, etc. Prove to me how you can really think outside the box and that you personally care about my site, and you better believe I’ll be pushing your clients way more than anyone else’s.
A lazy affiliate manager is actually worse than a non-responsive one. If an affiliate manager just doesn’t return my calls or emails, that ticks me off, but I move on to the next program. There’s plenty of them out there. When there’s a program I really like, and I do hear back from the affiliate manager, I get excited. But when the emails are full of errors (wrong expiration dates, bad links, wrong creative, missing information), it just makes me angry. And you wouldn’t like me very much when I’m angry! So stop being lazy. Take the time to do things right. That means not just getting all the information correct, but again, using your creative brain. Don’t just replace last month’s link with this one. Switch up the creative angle. Try something new. Show me you care about this program enough to nurture it month after month, rather than just regurgitating the same information over and over.
Continually harassing me
Some affiliate managers (and no, I’m not naming names, sorry) are relentless. It’s one thing to believe in your product and be efficient. Being supportive is great. But it’s another thing to keep hounding me relentlessly about a program I already told you I’m not interested in joining. In other words, get the hint a lot faster, okay?
Taking too long
Affiliates are a fickle bunch. We live and die on the internet so we need to be fast. If a trend pops up, we want as many appropriate links/content as we can a.s.a.p. So when we contact an affiliate manager for info and resources, get back to us! The longer you take, the less likely I am to include your programs in my promotion. And I’m also far less likely to rely on you in the future, nor help you out when you contact me hoping to get some special placement for your program.
So if you’re an affiliate manager, please heed my advice. Take the time to learn about the affiliate you’re trying to establish a relationship with. Research their site, learn what programs they tend to run, and come up with a game plan before you even reach out to them. The more effort you put on the front end, the more you’ll get paid back in the end.
Andrew Kardon is the President and co-founder of JoeShopping.com and JoeVote.com, who’s been in the affiliate marketing game since 1998. His parents still have no idea what he does for a living.