I have a list of all the things I must do as an affiliate manager to make sure my programs are ready for recruiting and activation leading up to Q4 2015. Many of these things are basics and should already be in place but as a member of my team noted today, it’s just good business practice to perform routine housekeeping. I promise you that as I go through this list, I will find things that need attention in my programs—and I’ll slap my forehead when I do. Fellow affiliate managers, this one’s for you.
Window Dressing for Recruitment
Use your personal affiliate account to look at your program from their perspective in the network. You don’t have one? Why? A personal affiliate account is a great way to see your programs as your affiliates see them. Nobody is suggesting you use an affiliate account to make money from programs you manage; that would be extremely unethical.
Program Description. Is it up to date or was it written in 2009? Can you add or delete any content to make it more relevant? When you read it, does it make you want to join the program?
Terms of Service. Are your terms written by a human or a lawyer? Affiliates are first bound by the network Terms of Service. They cover all the heavy stuff. Your Terms need to tell your specific program’s affiliates what they can and cannot do, in simple, easy to understand words. Besides that, make sure you aren’t missing any rules. In ShareASale, make sure your PPC guidelines are in place. Remember that unless you (or the network, or the law) forbid it, you’re giving tacit approval.
Commission, Cookie, EPC and other Vitals. Is your program competitive? Research the competition and see what you can improve on.
Auto Responder Emails. HTML or Text? You do have all of these written, right? Does any of the content need to be updated—like your program description above?
Signature. Do you tell affiliates who you are and how they can contact you? If not, why? Be proud. Own the program management. Don’t say its “The Affiliate Team”. I will make fun of you. Affiliates can find me on Skype, Facebook, Twitter and email any day. However, I don’t give out my phone number. Affiliate phone calls are scheduled ahead of time. I don’t need anonymous crazy people calling me whenever they want.
Bonus Campaigns. In ShareASale, affiliates can see if you have any open bonus campaigns. Maybe you should think of some; competing programs might lure them away if they do. (Taking Notes for myself and Cindy)
Preparing for Activation
Within the network interface, you and your team need to evaluate all of the following, compare each point to your competing programs, and see how you can optimize every detail.
- Actions that lead to commission
- Offers, deals and coupons
- Private bonus programs
- Newsletter Templates
- Who is approved? Who is declined?
- Who is active? Who is inactive? Who can do more?
- Are banners and text links relevant and up to date?
- FTP applications sometimes get lost in ShareASale. Make sure you haven’t missed any.
- Search keywords. Are they maxed out?
- Category. Are you in the right category? Can you add a second?
- Datafeed. Is it optimized and recently updated?
- Even if your catalog hasn’t changed in the past six months, upload a new feed so affiliates are not left wondering if the catalog from six months ago is still valid.
- Reports. Do you have a good system for reporting to your bosses?
- Tags and grouping. Useful for so many things, from reporting to setting custom commissions and private bonuses.
- Are you paying too much for one model of affiliates? Are you paying too little for another model? Not all are created equally. I pay affiliates based on effort, not volume. Think about it.
Just remember, good affiliates pay attention to the details. Managers need to be on their toes. You’ve got a little over a month until Q4 kicks in, so don’t waste time. Double check your programs.
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