Depending on whether or not you’re a brand looking for an affiliate manager, or an agency who has been asked to manage a brand’s affiliate program for them, it is important to understand what an affiliate manager does, and the different options available to you.
For those who are new to affiliate marketing, it’s important to make sure you have someone managing the program to ensure growth and revenue. To do this, you need to understand exactly what an affiliate manager does, and that without someone working on the day to day management of an affiliate program, it is likely to fail because the program won’t grow. This is because in performance-based marketing it is all about creating a relationship with your affiliates.
What does an affiliate manager do?
There are many other things that an affiliate manager does, aside from relationship management. The absolute minimum each day includes affiliate approvals, replying to messages from affiliates, and validating sales to keep track of everything, especially when there are big spikes. If an affiliate manager only does these things, the program is unlikely to grow and there is a high potential that money could be lost.
However, if you want a successful program, then affiliate managers need to be able to keep their affiliates engaged and interested in their program and they can do this by:
- Recruiting new affiliates that have a high potential for making sales (both from within the affiliate network, and any other websites that you wish to work with in the affiliate channel)
- Informing affiliates about promotions that are coming up
- Regular communication with affiliates
- Negotiating placements and commission increases with the affiliates that drive a high volume of sales for your website
- Ensuring effective ad spend by forecasting potential sales
- Providing affiliates with creatives and banners that can help to increase conversions.
With this in mind, there are a few options for hiring an affiliate manager. The first is to use an existing employee, the second is to hire internally, and the third is to outsource.
Using an existing employee
Using an existing employee who understands marketing can be a good way to have someone manage your program, and the biggest benefit for a brand is that they have an insight into how the company works already. With a marketing background, they will be able to understand the basics fairly quickly, and will understand the seasonality of specific products. However, gaining a full understanding of all of the ins and outs can take some time. For agencies, this could mean adding to an already busy schedule of your employer, with little time to devote to a program’s growth.
Hiring a new employee
Hiring a new affiliate manager with experience means they will already have an in-depth knowledge of affiliate marketing, and may already have relationships with some high-performing affiliates. This means it will take far less time to recruit them to your program. The person you hire will understand how to draw attention to specific deals, so that affiliates can drive more traffic to the website, and because of their specific affiliate experience, they will be able to grow the program quickly and efficiently.They will also understand the technical aspect of installing a pixel onto a website, which is a clear bonus.
Using an agency
Many advertisers choose to use a digital media agency to manage their affiliate program. Digital agencies tend to manage paid search, media planning and buying, and sometimes social media and affiliate marketing. This means that the overall cost can be pricier than outsourcing to an affiliate network or a freelancer. It’s important to choose an agency that fits your needs, and make sure that they do offer affiliate program management as an option.
Using an affiliate network
Many affiliate networks offer a managed service for your affiliate program, for an additional cost. The huge benefit here is that they are talking to affiliates every day, and know about opportunities that your brand can take advantage of. This means your brand can get in front of more affiliates, and your brand will see program growth more swiftly. Affiliate networks also know how to get your deals and creatives in front of the right affiliates. Often it is cheaper than hiring externally, which is a huge bonus.
Using a freelancer
Using a freelancer with experience in affiliate marketing can also be a cost effective way of managing your affiliate program. Usually they charge a small retainer fee, and then the rest is based on the performance of the program. It is useful if they have other clients in the same category as your business because then they are likely to already be in contact with relevant affiliates for your program.
Tips for sourcing an affiliate program manager
When you’re looking for an affiliate program manager there are a few tips that might help you to make your decision:
- Think about what your budget is for this - if you can’t afford to hire someone externally to do the job, maybe an affiliate network would offer you better value
- It’s important to think about how much time you will need to spend on an affiliate program - between 8 and 15 hours a week is the best way to ensure growth for your program. Does someone you already have working for you have the capacity for this? Or, can you hire someone part time for the role?
- If you are hiring externally, the most important quality they should have is relationship management as this is the most important aspect of the job! A knowledge of marketing is also important too.