As Affiliate Managers, our #1 job is to make life easier for all our publishers. Sure, that covers a wide range of activities from helping them optimize their sites to making barrels of cash for everyone! There are loads of tips, tricks and best practices for achieving any and all of the above. Yet, still to this day, some affiliate managers spit in the face of convention and see their programs spiral into oblivion.
Running an affiliate program, just like any other job, involves following the rules. Not legal rules per se, but established practice, attitudes and unspoken laws. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to follow these rules either. Many are just plain old common sense. Worried that you may be mistreating your affiliate base? Clueless where to start?
Fear not, for iAffiliateManagement has ventured deep into the National Affiliate Archives to unearth the most precious of all rules. Yes, at long last, we present to you the 10 Commandments of Affiliate Management. Ignore these at your own risk of being smited.
1. THOU SHALT NOT ANNOY THINE AFFILIATES
Your job is to help affiliates, not pester them into submission. If you send an email and don’t get a response, give it some time. Don’t follow up five minutes later with a call and another email and another call. Affiliates will get in touch with you when they need you.
2. TEST THY CODES AND LINKS
Nothing ticks off an affiliate more than getting an email with a great offer, except the links in the email don’t work. Or the coupon code has been set up incorrectly. Do your homework and check every link and code before you send them out!
3. HONOR THY PAYMENT SCHEDULES
We lied. There’s one thing that ticks off affiliates more than bad links and codes: not getting paid. Your affiliates don’t want to hear excuses, they just want their money. So pay them. On time. Every time.
4. RESPOND QUICKLY TO YON AFFILIATE QUESTIONS
Whether you know the answer right off the bat or need to do some digging, you should always get back to your affiliate’s emails and calls a.s.a.p. Even a quick, “Got your email, I’m looking into it!” is better than nothing. Otherwise you come across as not caring about your affiliates, in which case, why should they care about you or your program?
5. NE’ER COLD CALL
Unless you have an incredibly personal relationship with a specific affiliate, you should never cold call them. For the most part, affiliates hate the phone. They’re busy people, posting articles, adding links, checking reports, etc. Oh, and that’s for hundreds of other merchants just like you, so being interrupted by a phone call from one specific merchant won’t really make them too happy. Instead, send an intro email requesting a phone call and set up a time if agreeable.
6. LOVE THY CREATIVES
Adding a variety of banners and text links will greatly increase your affiliates’ chances of racking up more conversions. Be sure to load up your interface with plenty of both, and constantly refresh them!
7. KNOW THY AFFILIATES
When you’re set to call or email an affiliate, take the time to get to know them and their site. Spend five minutes clicking around their website, as well as delving into their analytics. That will not only help you get a better grasp of what is and isn’t working for that particular affiliate, but it will help make any communication much more personal.
8. THOU SHALT NOT IGNORE ANY AFFILIATES
Whenever any affiliate in your program asks for help, do not ignore them. That goes for any affiliate whether they have only 2 clicks per month or 2,000,000. Remember, that little guy who’s asking for help could very quickly turn things around and shoot to super affiliate status. So treat all affiliates equally when it comes to answering their calls to help.
9. THOU SHALT NE’ER PHONE IT IN
Can an affiliate program run itself? Technically, yes. You can set it up, turn on auto-approval and never deal with it again. It will run itself, but before long it’ll be running itself into the ground. No, you need to be pro-active with your program. Don’t sit idly by and let things never grow. Change up creatives, reach out to affiliates, try different offers. In other words, be as active in your program as you’d like your affiliates to be!
10. DO NOT COVET ANOTHER AFFILIATE’S CREDENTIALS
While you’re neither a lawyer nor a psychiatrist (well, maybe you are, but that’s not the point), your relationship with each and every affiliate should be kept confidential. Any numbers, statistics, revenue, even commission percentages of one affiliate should not be shared with another. Your affiliates need to trust you, and you better give them a solid reason to do so.