If you’re beginning to look for an affiliate management agency, you know there are a lot of players out there. Some are fantastic. Others, not so much. And plenty fall in between. How do you know which one is the best fit for your business? We’ve put together a list of top things to consider when choosing an affiliate management agency.
How long an affiliate management agency has been in business is important. But just because an agency has been managing affiliate programs for years doesn’t mean they’re experts in managing a program around your core business. Do they have established relationships with top affiliates and partners that are relative to your brand? Ask them what similar programs they’ve managed and see if they’re currently handling things for any of your competitors. This industry is constantly changing at the speed of light, so besides finding an agency that’s been around the block a few times, be sure to see how up they are on the latest market trends for your business.
Account Manager Bandwidth
How many people will be assigned to managing your account? How many other accounts are they managing and will they bandwidth to take on an additional client (you)? This is an important consideration when choosing an affiliate management agency.
Perception and industry reputation matters, especially in performance marketing. If you sign up with an agency that’s mired in controversy or associated with some pretty questionable brands, it may reflect negatively on your program. Investigate what other clients think of an agency, as well as what other affiliates and partners think. It’s a big industry, but also a small one, where everyone seems to know everyone else. It shouldn’t take you long to learn what it’s like working with a particular agency.
Every company has a plan, some more detailed than others. Unearth a company’s strengths to ensure success for each of their clients. While an agency will always want to show you their best, it’s also interesting to ask about some of their non-successes. In those cases with less than stellar results, find out exactly what went wrong and what the agency did to make sure the same mistake won’t ever happen again.
Some of the best salespeople out there are fantastic actors. They’ve learned to tell you exactly what you want to hear. But are they really telling the truth? Can they back up what they’re saying and prove it with real results and real data? Ask if they have any case studies or success stories from customers similar to your business.
Like the internet itself, this industry is constantly in a state of flux. New trends, new markets and entirely new ways of communicating are popping up in the blink of an eye. Is the affiliate management agency you’re considering aware of the latest industry trends, challenges, and changes? What specifically are they doing to keep their finger on that rapid pulse? Ask the agency how it regularly gets involved with the industry. Find out which trade shows they attend annually. Do they put on webinars? Write whitepapers? What, if anything, are they doing to give back to performance marketing as a whole?
Before signing your affiliate program over to an agency, look at what you’ll be getting for your hard-earned money. Find out specifically what an agency is going to do for you. At the very least, you’ll want them to be continually fine-tuning your affiliate marketing strategy and increasing affiliate engagement. But what other services do they offer? Some may be able to develop affiliate tools, web design or content creation. Depending on the needs of your business, different agencies may be a better fit thanks to the added value they can bring to the table.
Some agencies work directly with only one or two networks, while others work with anyone and everyone they can. Find out how flexible an agency is before you sign on the dotted line. See if they’re limited to only a few affiliate networks or if they have the ability to take a partner directly and run the program themselves.
Doing your homework will make it easier to choose the best partner or affiliate management agency. By considering these factors upfront, you can make an educated decision when choosing an affiliate management agency for your business.