Building a business is hard work. It takes a lot of time, effort, new ideas and flexibility to maintain any business model. It also takes a smart marketing program if you want brand recognition, and thus sales, to grow. While social media marketing, print marketing and word of mouth are all effective, affiliate marketing with an affiliate management team can offer a unique growth opportunity.
Affiliate Management is the process of building and growing a channel of marketers to drive traffic to your store, business or offer.
Basically, using an affiliate management company can help connect your brand with their users who, in turn, can share your information, sales, coupons and other deals with their followers. While affiliate management can be massively beneficial for many brands, it may not work for them all.
Does My Company Need Affiliate Management? No.
There are some basic questions you can ask yourself to help determine this answer:
Do I have an online business? Can people purchase items through my site and is my website easy to use?
- Affiliate management for a company that does not have a good online position can be difficult. You want affiliates to be able to promote your offer and people who want to take advantage to be able to easily do so on your site. Make sure your online game is glitch free before worrying about affiliate management.
Is your company new?
- Companies that are brand new and that don’t have brand recognition yet may not benefit from affiliate management. The affiliate managers job is to promote your value, not to help you create it. Make sure you have a well operating plan before you start!
How much in online sales does your company earn?
- Generally speaking, companies have a hard time breaking even with affiliate marketing if the online sales are less than $5 million a year. There are fees and payouts included and if you are breaking even, affiliate management is not helping you much.
Does My Company Need Affiliate Management? Yes.
Affiliate marketing management is a very useful tool to grow your business and brand. If you have online revenue of over $5 Million and are an established brand, it can really advance your sales and thus, income. Good affiliate managers can be hard to find, however, so it is imperative that you do your research. We will talk more about that below.
So, you have the sales number that will draw attention, you have a solid marketing plan and you want significant growth. But, you do not have an internal team that handles affiliate marketing and you don’t have solid affiliate connections. Hiring an experienced and reputable affiliate manager may just be the way to go.
What do I Look for in an Affiliate Management Company?
The slippery slope of choosing a company to work with is that in this vast world of information, there is enough good and bad out there to confuse anyone. There are some areas you can check out, however, that can help you weed out the ones that may not be a fit for your company.
The Team: There are a lot of small and start up affiliate managers who may have a great reputation but may not have the time and talent necessary to meet your company’s goals. Having full time, affiliate program managers, in the office day in and day out is important.
- Ask some questions. Don’t be shy. How much experience does the team have? What kind of affiliates does their platform bring in? What industries do they specialize in and, if they have a new client, how do they vet and learn about that client’s needs and wants?
- Ask about their affiliates! Do they establish relationships with power affiliates or curate relationships with a spectrum of influencers? What are the requirements tom become an affiliate with them?
- How many affiliate programs do they run and can they provide statistics to back up their claims of success?
No questions should frustrate or cause discomfort to the agency. They love talking about their business and how it can help yours. They should present an open-book image!
Reporting: Getting accurate and comprehensive reporting from the affiliate management team is imperative. It helps you decide where to go next with your own program, what is working and what is not, and how to proceed.
- Do they have the ability to take the raw data from the network and turn it into meaningful information for you? Detecting trend lines, and giving insight from that data is important and their experienced team should be able to do that for their customers.
- Your affiliate management team should provide growth tools to you like list buys, help with recruitment and other tools to make your program run smoothly. They should also give you access to high-value affiliates that you can choose to work with or not.
Making sure that you are being provided the most comprehensive reporting and tools to make your program work for you is important. Reputable agencies put this information front and center, clearly mapping out the benefits of each tool.
Compliance: The FTC is powerful. Fraud can be an issue. State tax laws need to be understood. Affiliate management companies bear a responsibility for making sure all compliance issues are tracked and monitored and effective.
- State law tax codes vary. It is imperative that someone on your affiliate manager’s team is monitoring those laws and keeping clients informed on any changes. You don’t want to be caught holding the bag for a miss on their side.
- Marketing under the monitoring of the FTC has changed. There are new rules to help us navigate the online world in an equitable and fair way as possible. Though affiliates should be aware of any regulations, your agency should also have in place policies and guidelines that help affiliates comply correctly.
- Making sure your affiliate management team has tools in place to help prevent and even recover from possible fraud is more important than you may realize. Once a fraud happens it can be a lengthy and expensive process to undo. Prevention is key and your manager should be able to provide information on their process.
You yourself should be aware of these things as well, but when you hire the agency they should be transparent about compliance.
Cost: Now we get to the nitty gritty. How much does affiliate management cost? The true answer is: it varies. Managers make money on affiliate conversions which means, if you are not converting, they are not earning. Great incentive, right? Yes, but the flip side is that percentages taken out of conversions may be higher with some firms than other. Therefore, the agency is making more with less profit for you.
- Make sure you understand all cost structures before you sign on the dotted line. But do consider affiliate management to be part of your marketing budget as the goal is to help you convert more sales!
Deciding to work with an affiliate manager is the easy part. Which one to use can be a more tedious process. Do you research, ask your questions and make sure you understand the process from start to finish.
To learn more about iAffiliate, our experience, reporting and costs, contact us or get more information on our website. We are more than happy to answer any concerns or questions!