I have received a very good question from a starting OPM (outsourced [affiliate] program manager). After a detailed preface on his attempts to get good clients, he wrote:
Do you have any advice for a new affiliate manager? I mean, I know what I’m doing pretty much, and when I’ve found clients, they’ve chosen me over other people (largely because of education), but how do I find a good client? I’ve found clients, but aside from the unforeseen possible divorce, they’ve all been lumps. How did you do it when you first started out?
Great question, and thank you for asking it.
I believe there are several things a new OPM can do to increase their chances of finding really good clients:
1) To begin with, you can approach merchants without affiliate programs, showing them which of their competitors are already running successful affiliate programs (you’d want to give them some actual data on these; which you may pick up from joining affiliate networks, and checking programs out as an affiliate).
2) Secondly, you can approach merchants with existing but underperforming affiliate programs, asking if they could use help. Pointing out to some of the obvious mistakes you see in their current program setup is always good to do right in your very first email to them — just remember to be diplomatic, and professional.
3) Finally, publishing material/useful content on affiliate marketing (in your own blog, blogs of others, magazines, other periodicals, various online forums, and other channels) helps you get the exposure you as an OPM need, and facilitates building your personal brand in the industry.
Proactivity always pays off (regardless of the context, and certainly in the above-quoted one).