Choosing the right Affiliate Management Agency is an important part of a successful affiliate program. While Affiliate Program Strategies may vary, this article explains what every brand should expect – and receive – from their affiliate manager.
The goal of every great affiliate manager should be to add value to both the merchant and the affiliate. Nothing about successful affiliate program management can be done on autopilot. Many affiliate programs are run by the owners of a company, marketing people with 22 other jobs, or just someone assigned to figure out what affiliate marketing is all about. Unfortunately in all three scenarios, the affiliate program will struggle simply because the people in charge don't know what they don't know.
A good affiliate manager understands the importance of the client/manager partnership and is responsive to any questions, concerns, or ideas that you have about the program. You should expect an affiliate manager to respond to your questions within 24 hours. It's our job to be helpful in a timely manner and we truly hope you do the same.
If the email requests something that takes time to put together, the manager should still acknowledge the email as received and, if possible, offer a time frame for when that information will be completed.
Hiring an Affiliate Management Agency is meant to help you save time and money by hiring a team of experts to manage your affiliate program so that you do not have to. At Apogee, every account has a dedicated account manager, affiliate manager, and outreach (recruiting) manager as well as a managing director and CTO who oversees all programs to make sure best practices are being implemented on a daily basis.
Your affiliate management team will share the processes that are being implemented in your program and thoroughly explain the full strategy of how these tasks work together for the overall success of the brand. There should not be any “gatekeeping” between a brand and a manager as the success of the program relies heavily on this partnership.
Being an Advocate for Merchants and Affiliates
A good affiliate manager will always be an advocate for both the brands and the affiliates. While the goal is always to grow the affiliate program for the brand, making sure that the affiliates are supported with what they need is a crucial part of that.
Affiliate Managers should be constantly coming up with ideas for campaigns, promotions, and content to keep affiliates active and engaged in the program. In addition, managers should stay in the know about trends and opportunities to help affiliates earn the most that they can.
Affiliate managers should also communicate any issues to the brand that affiliates experience such as datafeed issues, coupon redemption, and other user experience struggles. When affiliates notice things like this, everyone benefits because it could be affecting the merchant in all marketing channels.
Running a Clean Program
Apogee is committed to running clean affiliate programs that uphold the integrity of the brand. We do not allow every discount or savings affiliate to join a program — even though doing so might increase affiliate sales. Instead, we focus on quality affiliates who will always present the brand and products in a favorable, positive manner.
Corporate savings and loyalty sites are an important part of the customer journey, but we only allow the top 2-3 to join so that we can control the usage of coupons and discounts in the program. Additionally, we do not allow for paid search or paid social from affiliates as that drives up costs for the brand's own paid search initiatives.
VIP Commissions Based on Performance and Effort
In the past, affiliate marketing and influencer marketing have been thought of as two totally different channels with totally different KPIs. However, the merging of these two strategies continues to be the most beneficial path forward for DTC companies, and reallocating budget is a vital part of that.
Through the affiliate marketing channel, you can offer Influencers a bit less than their usual fee for content creation because they have the added bonus of being able to make commissions from the same content. Content Creators who have an active and engaged audience and understand affiliate marketing know that they will make far more on commissions than a flat fee.
At Apogee, we run sponsored content campaigns alongside our affiliate programs to increase brand awareness, social proof, and revenue for the brand while ensuring that the content creators are compensated for their time and effort.
Monthly Newsletters to Affiliates
Communication with affiliates is one of the most important aspects of running a successful affiliate program. Content Creators join programs with the best of intentions, but some never create content or even share a single link. Without constant communication, the program can quickly be forgotten and lost in the shuffle of the dozens of pitches good creators receive.
Apogee sends out several affiliate newsletters each month that equip and encourage affiliates to get or stay active with the program. These newsletters contain content ideas, keyword research, best practices, promotions, and more. Affiliates are also encouraged to reply to these emails with any questions or requests, and our team responds quickly.
In addition to program newsletters, Apogee supports affiliates and content creators by offering training opportunities, free affiliate audits, and live free webinars. We also maintain a highly engaged Facebook group where we share opportunities, tips, challenges, and resources to help every affiliate make the most revenue.
Honesty and Professionalism
The Apogee affiliate management team is comprised of professional affiliate managers and content creators who each have more than a decade of experience in the digital marketing industry. We understand every angle of the industry and work together to provide a holistic approach to affiliate program management.
It does not benefit anyone to not be completely honest and keep realistic expectations for this unique marketing channel. Affiliate marketing has its challenges and the industry is constantly evolving to try to keep up with customer behavior, algorithms, and market shifts.
Your affiliate management agency team can — and should — be one of the best partners to help you grow your DTC sales. We bridge the gap between you and your affiliate sales team to increase business across the board. We take care of recruiting, activation, coupon management, content creation, brand awareness, customer influence, and, of course, revenue growth. Working together and alongside your other marketing initiatives will offer the best ROI for your affiliate marketing channel.