Affiliate Marketing Program Management: Complete Guide

Affiliate marketing management will be easier because they won't have to collect the data and may have access to new affiliates. Find out why you need a proper one below.

Affiliate Marketing
Guide Series
November 7, 2022
min read

Few merchants recognize the significance of proactive affiliate management and communication, despite the fact that over 81% of merchants use affiliate marketing to acquire and engage customers and drive sales. Once their program is set up, many merchants end up letting it run automatically. Some retailers misbelieve that affiliate networks also handle management. Affiliate networks provide the infrastructure and facilitate the connection between merchants and publishers, while affiliate marketing program management is managed independently. Whether you handle your affiliate program in-house or through a network, you will still require an affiliate program manager. If you run your program on a network, affiliate marketing management will be made easier because they will receive the data they need instead of having to collect it themselves, and in some circumstances, they will have access to new affiliates to recruit.

Understanding Affiliate Program Management

Affiliate sales management makes it simple to achieve the greatest results possible from your partnership marketing channel. It can handle all aspects of your campaign, from establishing the proper relationships and handling recruitment to generating excellent traffic and deploying a tracking solution. An affiliate program management team can handle the full process from start to finish and provide your personnel with comprehensive reports so they are always informed of program developments. A skilled staff has a comprehensive understanding of the affiliate market and what it takes to ensure that your program scales efficiently to provide profitable business outcomes. They can also transform your affiliate networks into valuable lead generators that improve your sales revenue.

How Important is an Affiliate Marketing Program Manager for You

A manager of affiliate marketing controls and administers the operations of marketing affiliates, as well as the websites and individuals who execute commission-based sales activity for online retailers. An affiliate marketing manager's primary responsibility is to build, maintain, and enhance commercial partnerships. They are responsible for recruiting affiliates, tracking sales from affiliate sites, and developing the merchant's network. In addition, it is their responsibility to handle and resolve affiliate issues and complaints.

As a mediator, an affiliate marketing manager directly talks with and negotiates commission structures and campaign plans with affiliate partners. After evaluating sales traffic and program metrics, they develop and submit reports in an effort to enhance sales techniques and increase product sales. Their extensive understanding of e-commerce and digital marketing enables them to provide innovative ideas for the affiliate programs. The affiliate marketing manager may be an in-house employee or an independent contractor. A bachelor's degree in marketing, advertising, business administration, communications, or a related discipline is required for this professional path. Candidates with experience in marketing and a background in statistics are often favored for this post.

What They Do On a Daily Basis

Affiliate managers are also referred to as affiliate program managers. This latter word implies that their exclusive function is to manage affiliates. This is not the case. Affiliates are not manageable. They are not your employees but rather your partners, over whom you have no authority. You can only ensure that they adhere to your program's rules and procedures and encourage them to continue advertising your brand, goods, or services. One may say that an affiliate program manager "manages" the relationship between your business and its affiliates. However, they accomplish much more.

Here is a summary of their primary responsibilities:

  • Develop and build relationships with customers in order to comprehend their demands and business priorities.
  • Provide superior customer service to retain current affiliates and gain new ones.
  • Manage customer negotiations in company.
  • As required, manage the tracking, monitoring, and closure of commercial transactions.
  • Coordinate with many teams to satisfy the precise and timely demands of affiliates.
  • To achieve revenue goals, implement affiliate marketing activities such as email campaigns, newsletters, and blogs.
  • Recommend process enhancements to help achieve revenue goals.
  • Utilize research, referrals, networking, cold calling, data feeds, and emails to acquire new customers.
  • Set marketing and sales objectives to increase revenue.
  • As required, provide training on affiliate management.
  • Maintain an open line of communication with all affiliates regarding daily difficulties.
  • Develop commercial tactics to enhance the affiliate program.
  • Keep up on affiliate marketing trends and uncover new opportunities.
  • Organize and arrange promotional trade fairs and other events for product launches and discounts.
  • Execute and finalize new affiliate deals in collaboration with the management team.
  • Communicate forthcoming promotional and optimization opportunities with new and existing affiliates.

Affiliate Management vs. Affiliate Marketing

As is the case with the majority of modern marketing strategies, these two methods sound extremely similar but serve distinct purposes. Digital affiliate marketing is a route through which revenue-sharing partners promote a new product, store, offer, etc. They are compensated via affiliate commissions after the reports have been generated. It is merely one of several affiliate websites that can be used to market your company. Affiliate management encompasses everything. This is the process of monitoring many marketing channels and generating reports from a 360-degree perspective. A strong affiliate marketing program is the result of effective management. While an affiliate manager can assist with channel supervision, a program manager oversees the entire process.

Ways To Manage Affiliates 

The secret to effective affiliate management is fostering strong relationships! You must establish a relationship between the advertiser and publisher, then shape and develop that relationship to generate revenue for both sides. Start with the relationship first. Respectful partnerships are the key to success; therefore, always represent the brand. Maintain constant contact with publishers. Regular emails, phone conversations, and network newsletters are essential.

Keep in mind that publishers regularly interact with hundreds, if not thousands, of affiliate managers. How does this brand distinguish itself? Ignite publishers. In a relationship, it is completely normal to challenge the publisher for success. If both parties have a relationship based on trust and the desire to succeed, it is normal and expected for them to strive for even higher sales figures. Lastly, show respect. All of us are in this together. Remember that the affiliate industry is a small world and that you WILL meet everyone again if you treat everyone with respect.

Should You Outsource Affiliate Program Management?

If you have the resources to hire (enough of) the proper personnel, or if you're fortunate enough to already have a good team, managing the program in-house will work. However, many businesses lack the means to have a dedicated team to administer their affiliate program, therefore, it is generally the responsibility of someone in management or marketing who takes on the task in addition to their regular duties. A program manager who lacks the time, knowledge, or physical resources to devote to an affiliate program will be unable to efficiently carry out all of the needed duties. A poorly managed affiliate program will not only fail to generate revenue but will also harm your brand's reputation.

When participants in an affiliate program are not checked throughout the process (or were poor prospects to begin with), they frequently employ questionable marketing techniques to sell your goods or services and earn their income. In short, if you lack the experience and resources in-house and do not have the means to obtain them (or would rather not hire additional people), your program may suffer from inadequate management.

Working with an OPM Agency In a Nutshell

If you operate a large business with a complex organizational structure and a substantial inventory of products or services in a competitive climate, you should strongly consider outsourcing. Every minute spent training an internal manager is a minute that could have been spent earning a profit. Working with an OPM agency is preferable to hiring an affiliate marketing program manager for these and other reasons. If you already have a program manager, you will likely disagree with this statement. Even then, the results may fall short of your expectations, or you may wish to explore alternative options. Some OPM agencies will even provide training for internal staff, so you have nothing to lose by pursuing this option. You have plenty to gain, including improved and quicker results, cheaper costs, fewer hassles, and greater peace of mind.

An outsourced program manager has vast experience, knowledge, and connections that they can quickly leverage for your benefit. It will take time for an internal manager to learn your business and begin providing results. You will need to invest in office space, a computer, software, and training, as well as provide health and retirement benefits. If you later discover that they are unqualified for the position or you are unable to retain them, you will need to restart the hiring and training procedure. Obviously, the final decision is yours alone to make. Regardless of whether you choose in-house or outsourced administration for your affiliate marketing program, you should safeguard your interests with a solid contract.

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