Posted by: Miles Baker, Guest Blogger
Having been a publisher, affiliate, and even an affiliate manager over the past 10 years, I’ve been able to get a unique perspective on what it’s like to be on both sides of the affiliate/publisher relationship.
Given that insight, I’ve noticed most publishers are leaving money on the table when it comes to recruiting, assisting, and building relationships with their affiliates. Therefore, I’ve put together some of the most important things a publisher should be doing in order to build and nurture their affiliate base.
Be Available – Many times I’ve been eager to promote a product or service and have a question about it, but I am unable to find an email, phone number, or any way to contact the publisher. Sometimes, even if I do find that information and contact the publisher, I never hear back from them. This doesn’t leave me with much confidence as an affiliate promoting their product. Don’t make this fatal mistake; be available in some way. One easy way is to place an email or contact box on your site and then use the phone to follow up and further your relationship with your affiliates.
Use The Phone – Don’t be afraid to talk to people on the phone. This doesn’t mean you need to post your phone number on the Web. However, it does mean that you should be using the phone to talk with potential affiliates and build relationships with them, as well as maintaining relationships with your existing affiliates.
As a publisher, you are most likely very busy, and most people don’t have the resources for a dedicated affiliate manager or the time to talk to every affiliate that emails them. However, keep in mind the 80/20 rule, which applied here dictates that 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your affiliates. If your time is limited, then at least make sure you’re talking with that top 20%.
Go To Conferences – This is the best place not only to learn, but also to meet potential affiliates and super affiliates. Going to an affiliate marketing conference like Affiliate Summit, for example, will allow you to meet new and existing affiliates, other publishers, and even people from ClickBank. When going to a conference, don’t try to recruit someone as an affiliate without getting to know the person first. Your purpose should be to get to know people and build relationships first, and then decide if they are a good candidate to be an affiliate for you.
Get Feedback – Now that you’re building relationships with your affiliates and you’re in regular communication with them, you’ll start getting priceless feedback. Listen to your affiliates, be proactive by encouraging feedback, and most importantly, take action on the feedback you get! The feedback you receive from your affiliates will help you to improve your products and services, conversions, and can give you numerous profitable insights.
As you can see, all my points are based around the same concept – the relationship. Affiliate management and recruitment is all about relationships. Whether you’re approaching potential affiliates in person or on the Web, or just working with existing affiliates, your approach should always be the same. You should work to build a great relationship with them. Not doing that is one of the biggest mistakes you could make as a publisher. Besides, you never know where that relationship might take you. I’ve known a few publishers who have even started new successful business ventures with one of their top affiliates.
Miles Baker has been marketing online since 1997 and has been a ClickBank client for almost a decade. He currently resides in Fort Collins, CO where he runs several online businesses and Web sites. You can reach Miles, learn more about him, and even view his live office cam at his Web site, MarketingWithMiles.com.