Most business that run affiliate programs will employ an Affiliate Marketing Manager. The job of the affiliate marketing manager is to manage all of the different affiliates. These tasks involved spreading information about new products & services, running affiliate contests, relationship building, ensuring affiliates are abiding by the rules and regulations set forth in the affiliate contract, etc.
As an affiliate marketer, in some cases, you will be given an affiliate manager immediately after signing up. For other affiliate programs, such as the Amazon Associates affiliate program, you will only be assigned an affiliate marketing manager if you drive a high volume of sales.
Whether you currently are working with an affiliate marketing manager or not, it’s good to at least prepare for success by assuming you will one day be working closely with an affiliate marketing manager. As an affiliate marketer with quite a bit of experience working with affiliate marketing managers, I thought I could offer up some advice.
Contact Your Affiliate Manager Right Away
If you sign up for an affiliate marketing program and you are issued an affiliate marketing manager, don’t expect to be treated like royalty from day one. You might receive an automated message from the manager and you might not ever hear from them again. They probably don’t even know or care you exist. That might not sound warm and fuzzy, but it’s the truth. Why should they care? They are busy individuals and you’ve sent them zero sales and zero referrals. The sad truth is, the majority of people who sign up for ANY affiliate program never send a single dollar in sales. It’s understandable affiliate marketing managers pay little or no attention to new affiliates that just signed up.
What I suggest is to send your affiliate manager a QUICK email after you first sign up. Here’s an example that I might send…
Hello Mr. Affiliate Marketing Manager,
My name is Mike Rogers and I own the website AffiliateMarketerTraining.com. I just wanted to introduce myself and thank you for the opportunity to be a part of your affiliate program. My website is still pretty new and I don’t expect a high volume of sales right away, but I do want you to know that I’m working hard to build a great sales channel for you.
Do you have any tips or suggestions as I get started?
That short email covers several different things. First, I’m getting my name and website out there. Second, I am showing appreciation for my acceptance into their program. Third, I indicate REAL expectations (I’m not some get-rich-quick guy who’s going to give up in 2 months) as well as state what I am doing for THEM. And finally, I close the email with a question to help solicit a response.
Now, a few things could happen here. You might be completely ignored, you might get a ‘copy and paste’ reply, or you might get a real custom written reply.
If you get ignored, don’t worry about it. Just do your thing. Chances are your affiliate manager is busy and reserving all of his time and effort to established affiliate marketers. Don’t take it personal. Once you start driving some sales, you can contact the manager again with a much higher chance of a response.
If you get a copy / paste response, simply send a quick email thanking them for the information / resources. At this point in the game, there really isn’t much of a need for a back and forth relationship, so just continue working on your end and let your manager get to know you through the number of SALES you’re sending.
If you get a custom written reply, you can attempt to grow a relationship further. Don’t be too overbearing, but see if the manager would be willing to hop on a skype call or share ideas. Most affiliate marketing managers have a treasure chest full of inside information about their best performing affiliates. Try to capitalize on that by building an ongoing repertoire. If at any point you feel you are being overbearing, back off in order to not sabotage the long-term relationship.
If your affiliate marketing manager has a phone number listed, CALL THEM! Just say a quick hello and maybe have a quick question or two handy. If they have a mailing address, SEND THEM A HANDWRITTEN LETTER!
The key here is to separate yourself apart from the hundreds or even thousands of other affiliates you’re competing against. Having your name easily recognized by your affiliate manager can provide you with amazing benefits and access to custom services or information. With one affiliate partner, I have full access to their programmers, designers, and special access information, largely in part due to the relationship I’ve developed with my affiliate manager.
As A Newb, You Are Insignificant
Even if you have been accepted into an affiliate program and have been assigned an affiliate marketing manager, you are rather insignificant to them. Don’t expect to sign up and be catered to or treated like royalty.
Here’s the blunt truth about being an affiliate marketer – you are a source of revenue and profits. That’s it. If you haven’t sent them any business (or send them very little), than you don’t really matter to them.
I know this is a harsh reality, but that’s just how it is. Business, baby.
Here’s the good news… If you send a high volume of sales to your affiliate partner site, you become EXTREMELY VALUABLE.
With my best performing affiliate partnership, I am sending about $300,000 worth of revenue to them every year. By doing that, I make myself irreplaceable. They can’t just go out and find another affiliate to send that much revenue. They know what I’ve done has taken years to build and is one-of-a-kind. It can’t be replaced. To keep me from going to one of their many competitors who constantly hound me with offers, they treat me very well. Raises every year, free dinners… you name it.
The point is, you must prove yourself first. Don’t expect an affiliate manager to spend much time with you until you have proven your ability to make them money. Once you have, the tides turn and YOU get all the leverage.
Ask For Raises Online When It Is Deserved
One of the surest ways to ruin any affiliate relationship is to talk about raises too frequently. This is a slippery slope because most affiliate marketing managers will not automatically increase your commission percentage if you don’t ask. Reason being, whatever commission you gain, they may lose out of their own personal pocket.
With that said, you certainly do deserve raises when it has been EARNED. Say, for example, you are in your second year and your sales have doubled. Don’t you deserve a bigger cut of the pie after doubling your sales? Absolutely you do! Any reasonable affiliate marketing manager will understand that and won’t bat an eye at giving you a raise.
However, make sure you only ask for a raise once or MAYBE twice per year and make 100% sure it is deserved. Otherwise, your affiliate manager may actually avoid talking to you in fear that you will ask for “yet another raise.”
Get Input From Your Affiliate Manger
Think about all the people your affiliate manager works with every day. They work with affiliate marketers who are the best of the best. Most ethical affiliate marketing managers will refrain from giving away “secrets” that other successful affiliate marketers have and with good reason. You wouldn’t want your affiliate manager to be giving out your formula for success.
However, your affiliate manager can still help you in many other ways. Have him or her take a look at your website and offer up tips on how to increase conversion rates. Find out of they like your email marketing or social media campaigns. Chances are, they will be able to offer you some nuggets.
Give Your Affiliate Manger Input, Too
On the flip side, you should do the same for your affiliate manger by offering helpful tips or information. Just today, in fact, I sent my affiliate manager an email because I noticed a landing page wasn’t rendering properly on my iPhone. Sometimes I’ll let them know about broken links or forward emails I’ve received about their service (positive or negative). This helps to establish yourself as a true partner.
Your affiliate marketing manager is the closet thing you have to an ally in the affiliate marketing industry. This is a really cut-throat industry and extremely competitive, so make sure you at least form a great relationship with your affiliate manager. Treat this as a real business partnership where you are in it together.
I hope this advice has helped shed some light on how to handle an affiliate manager / affiliate relationship from an affiliate marketers perspective. If you have any questions or tips of your own, please feel free to share in the comment section below!