There’s a golden rule of affiliate management: “Keep your super affiliates happy.” Satisfied partners work harder to promote and sell your products and services. Managing your relationships with them should be at the top of your list of priorities.
However, many agencies have no set process for working with media partners. Instead, it’s typically an ad hoc affair. Some affiliate managers are better at handling relationships than others. It may be tempting to attribute success to an individual’s temperament or ability, but managing relationships with your media partners is about the process.
This guide will help you develop a reliable and enduring work relationship with your partners to help you generate more ROI from your performance marketing efforts.
Management is everything
Every affiliate needs lots of attention. Building and maintaining relationships is key to success — simply providing partners with a tracking link isn’t enough to cultivate relationships that will make you successful.
This means personalisation. Affiliate management tools can help track the management process, but to distribute content, generate leads or drive traffic, a human touch is also required. You’ll need to get to know your media partners by maintaining regular contact through your communication channels, whether it’s through email, instant messaging or by phone.
Provide contact information
Your media partners want to be able to contact your affiliate managers whenever they have a question. Make sure to provide the contact information of your affiliate managers as part of your onboarding process. Beyond email, you should implement a common messaging platform — Skype, Slack, or Google Chat — where affiliates can easily reach your managers. Having the option to talk in real-time will help establish smooth communication and avoid misunderstandings.
The more accessible your affiliate managers are, the more engaged your media partners will feel when doing business with you.
Keep partners informed
As part of your regular communications, it’s important that you keep your media partners up-to-date on any changes to your products or services, whether it’s a new feature or an upgrade. Having this information will not only help them better promote your product, but they’ll become more invested in their relationship with your company.
Demonstrate your relevance
Whenever you connect with your media partners, they’ll want to remember the value of your relationship and how it benefits them. It’s essential to connect with affiliates with the objective of helping them make their work much better. Highlight the advantages of your business and be clear about the purpose of your goals so that they can help you improve your campaign performance.
Monitor for fraud
Not all media partners can be trusted. While it’s important to build relationships with affiliates, you should also recognise when it’s time to cut non-performing partners loose, or those who use fraudulent and unethical means to try to sell your products and services. Keep in mind that monitoring for compliance and affiliate fraud is a specialised activity, and not just one more task for affiliate managers.
Use a performance marketing tool
Your affiliate managers likely deal with various tasks that can make it difficult to develop relationships with your media partners, let alone look at the big picture. Such tasks often include:
- Identifying, selecting, and onboarding partners
- Communicating back and forth with partners (one at a time) to develop and optimise campaigns
- Keeping on top of accounting
- Providing and managing changing creative assets
- Preparing regular reports for analysis
When your team is performing these tasks manually, it may result in lost emails, misinterpreted directions, delayed campaign launches, and wasted time and resources. A performance marketing software solution can help automate some of these standardised processes so that your team can focus on more important matters like ensuring that your media partners remain happy.
Ultimately, a successful media partner relationship is one where both sides can trust each other. In order to create this sense of mutual confidence in one another, you should:
- Maintain regular communication
- Collaborate to set up a schedule and system that both sides agree on
- Clearly define offers and payout terms
- Make sure that you pay your affiliates in a timely manner
In the end, the time spent cultivating a good working relationship will improve ROI for not only your media partners, but your offering as well.