After receiving my pricing, a prospective client, who is looking for an outsourced affiliate program manager (OPM), wrote:
I wanted to know whether there would be any other fees that I should be considering? I suppose the software companies like Linkshare and others, would charge a fee also. Are those types of fees covered in your service costs or do I have to account for them separately?
Normally OPM fees do not include affiliate platform fees, banner creation, or coding costs (some exceptions apply, but generally, affiliate program setup fees come separate). Neither do you actually have to hire an OPM to get an affiliate program launched. If you have the time and energy to devote to it, you can start an affiliate program by yourself. Many OPM’s will offer you a choice of at least two options: (i) program launch package, and (ii) full affiliate program management service (with the program launch included in the fee).
Whichever way you end up doing it (through an outside agency or all by yourself), here are the expense accounts normally associated with the start of every affiliate program:
- Affiliate platform cost (either an in-house software option or one of the affiliate networks)
- Integration costs (may be minimal if the affiliate platform provider is helping you with the integration)
- Affiliate banners creation
- Data feed compilation (for retail-oriented merchants)
- Landing page(s) creation (and ideally ongoing optimization)
All of the above can add up to as little as a couple hundreds, or as much as a few thousands of dollars. Once the program is launched, it is important to understand that it must be managed. You can either handle the program’s management in-house, or outsource it. Either way, make sure that it is performed by someone who knows what he/she is doing.