Nearly every prospective client that calls me -Â be itÂ a small one-man-show business that has just started a website, or a large corporation withÂ years-longÂ online presence – asks the same question: “How many affiliates will you recruit for us; and how quickly?” TheÂ desire behind the question is clear. The belief is thatÂ the quantity of incrementalÂ sales/orders is directly proportional to theÂ quantity of affiliatesÂ recruited. Alas, my friends, it seldomly is so! In fact,Â it isÂ wrong to approach an evaluation of an outsourced affiliate program manager (OPM)Â with this question. It is equally wrong forÂ OPMs and/or affiliate networks to charge merchants for the number of affiliate sign-ups, but it’s a topic in itself, and I will not developÂ it in this post.
What merchants need to understand is thatÂ aÂ recruited affiliate means nothing until the affiliate activatesÂ his/her account!Â Power affiliates know this, andÂ unlikeÂ many of the ‘newbs’, often activate their accounts immediately upon joining an affiliate program. Connie BergÂ of FlamingoWorld.com, for example, admits:Â “I have to activate and get links up right away or I forget to activate”, and she does.
Besides understanding that affiliates need to activate their accounts, it is also important to distinguish between the quality of affiliates. A banner farm type webpage that has yourÂ creative up with a dozen of other merchants’Â banners is nowhere close in quality and value to a blogger that writes on the topic of your niche.Â Remember Gandhi’s famous phraseÂ “It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity”? The centuries-old truth isÂ still the sameÂ (affiliate marketing is no exception):Â quality always prevails over quantity.
To summarize, do not worry about the numbers of affiliates recruited. Focus on what reallyÂ pushes sales.Â Work onÂ recruiting (or having your affiliate program manager recruit)Â quality affiliates, and activate ’em while they are hot.