Running an affiliate program isn’t always easy.
It takes a lot of work and for a lot of people who are new to this, finding the right approach can be a real challenge.
We should all know what an affiliate program is by now. In this guide, we are going to look at how to manage an affiliate program. First, we will explore what we actually mean by affiliate program management then we are going to show you 3 strategies that you can adopt to help run an affiliate program. They all have their pros and cons however they are the 3 most popular methods of affiliate program management that are being used today.
Let’s define affiliate program management
So, you have your affiliate program but this isn’t going to run by itself – at least not in the beginning anyway. You need to take a proactive approach to manage your program.
Being an affiliate manager is how you oversee and also develop the program for growth. For your program to be successful, you can’t just leave it to run on its own without any kind of input. You need to not only convince affiliates to join your program – an affiliate program without affiliates isn’t going to make money – and then motivate them to stay and do their best while they are with you.
There are several parts to affiliate program management but what are the best strategies to adopt?
Different approaches to affiliate program management
You can find several different strategies to take for your affiliate program but these 3 have shown to be the most widely used.
If you don’t have the expertise within your own team or by yourself (or perhaps the workload is just too much) there are several options to actually outsource the management of your program.
You can use an affiliate management agency to outsource the actual work and they will be highly experienced in what they do. This includes things such as gap analysis, optimising your program, complying with different policies and even setting up your program correctly in the first place. Payment can differ wildly between agencies with a retainer between $1000 to $5000 per month the most common however you need to remember that the agency won’t just be working for you – they will have many different affiliate programs that they manage.
That being said, outsourcing this work can be a good way to bring on expertise and experience that you may not possess or have within your team.
Automating your program is actually one of the most common methods of managing. Having your program on an affiliate network gets you access to a large number of affiliates and many people think that this is enough to make the program successful.
The problem with the ‘setup and forget’ method is that it doesn’t encourage growth. You may get a few affiliates to sign up that make money for your program however if you leave everyone to their own devices then how will you actually grow the program itself? A lot of brands go down this route but it is an approach to be wary of. When you do get set up and your name is a trusted one then a lot of the work is done automatically but a fruitful affiliate programme still requires a lot of work rather than a purely automated approach.
Lastly, we have a delegation. This approach works by appointing someone within your organization to look after the program.
The issue with this strategy is that the person appointed isn’t always experienced in affiliate program management and it isn’t likely to be their sole responsibility. In fact, it can be an added job on top of everything else that they have to do and this can lead to dissatisfaction and perhaps the program not receiving the attention that it deserves to be successful, keep affiliates happy and facilitate growth. The best way to use this method is to actually hire a professional who is experienced with affiliate programs and can dedicate their time to working towards its effectiveness.
Successful managing your affiliate program
These 3 approaches to affiliate management are the most commonly used.
What one you choose to go with depends a lot on what resources you have available – both financial and personnel – as well as how you want to grow your program. These approaches have different advantages and disadvantages and what might work really well for one program might not work well for another.
Remember if you want to increase your brands reach with an affiliate program then adopt the right strategy to meet your needs. You need to be proactive whether that is hiring someone new, giving someone a new role or using an affiliate management agency. It might be a case of trial and error but choosing the appropriate strategy, in the beginning, will help your brand and program to grow quicker.