Share Your Thoughts – Get a Free Affiliate Summit East 2012 Pass!

Affiliate Summit, the industry’s major conference, is only 45 days away. I am, of course, alluding to this year’s East Coast conference which is set to take place in the already-traditional Hilton New York on August 12-14, 2012.

I will be speaking at the conference, participating in a panel on the importance of building relationships in affiliate marketing. Between my solo presentations and one other panel, this will be my 7th appearance at Affiliate Summits (see the other ones listed here), and I am excited — but especially, because of the topic. The full panel’s title is Building High-Impact Relationships in Affiliate Marketing, and our target audience is going to be merchants and affiliate managers.

I’ve written quite a bit on the topic (both in my books and various publications, and right here in this blog). However, I’d like to take a step back and listen to you now…

Whether you are an affiliate, or a merchant, an agency, or an affiliate manager, I would really appreciate it if you could share your thoughts on the subject right under this post. In return, I’ll give away two Networking Plus Passes (formerly known as Gold Passes) which are currently worth $549 each.

Again, all you need to do is post a comment below, and either share a relevant story/case, example, or just thoughts on the subject of relationships in affiliate marketing. Here are just a few questions that may help get the thought process going:

  • What makes up truly “high-impact” relationships (for affiliate, and/or affiliate manager)?
  • Importance of the communication channel, preferred ways of contact; and how far is too far?
  • Do affiliates really want an honest, meaningful relationship? [see this too]
  • How are “high-impact relationships” between affiliates and merchants/AMs similar (or different) from healthy personal relationships?
  • Got a story that illustrates your point well? By all means, do share it too!

Important: To allow the time for your travel/lodging arrangements, the deadline to submit your comment is Wednesday, July 25 (of course, you’re most welcome to comment after this date too, but those “submissions” won’t qualify you for the draw). I will announce the winners on July 26, 2012.

Many thanks in advance for your thoughts.

17 thoughts on “Share Your Thoughts – Get a Free Affiliate Summit East 2012 Pass!”

  1. Hello Geno,

    I would say a high impact relationship for an affiliate manager is made up by someone who gives you honest and insightful advice to drive more clicks, get more sales and takes on your feedback. But they also work to learn more about your objectives and sometimes offer competitors products to fill a niche better.

    I think honest advice is certainly needed, ie your traffic from website is just garbage and doesn’t convert but they might work better for X program, let’s test some traffic and we will measure it better to identify what part could be improved.

    It’s also about sharing insight about what other affiliate programs are doing well that is making you more money or making it possible to scale up your affiliate programs to monetise as much as possible.


      1. Ah actually been a handful of individual affiliate managers who want the best quality and open to improving existing affiliates who they think can make more

        1. Understood. Thanks again for the above input… So, honesty and meaningful insight are the integral components for you. Both, I’m sure, contribute to another important constituent element of any strong relationship (that of trust).

  2. Hello Geno,

    As someone looking after an Affiliate Program with around 1300 members, I find that the communication factor is one of the more difficult aspects of maintaining the relationships.

    I have spent 20 years or so doing customer service type roles, and I have found it strange after the last year managing the program that when you have honorable intentions Affiliates in general do not communicate well unless there is a direct benefit to them (that is natural) and when I talk about tools that works the best, whilst talking about negative factors gets no response at all.

    The personal touch is definitely the best, and I get great buy in when I send an email one on one thanking people for the way they are portraying our products in the marketplace as Affiliates rather than constantly sending warnings for not doing the right thing.

    Even those that have shown parasitical activity have been treated with dignity, and I have worked with them to cease their offending rather than dropping a bomb on their heads.

    There are those however that no matter how much you want to help and respect them they don’t quite grasp the concept of adding value, and come out on the defensive at first call.

    One example was a major Brand name squatter that I discovered (thanks BrandVerity) and we have created an amicable way forward and strengthened the agreements we have with others meaning a substantial benefit for the program, and the ceasing of the behaviour has made our company stronger too.

    I hope that helps 🙂

    1. Excellent feedback, Paul. Thank you for your story. It both underscores and exemplifies some really important relationship-nurturing components (such as flexibility, peronalization of communication, focus on immediate benefits and/or opportunities, etc). Once again, thank you for taking the time to put this together.

  3. As an affiliate and advertiser for over two years now I’ve found that it’s more meaningful to actually have a relationship with advertising clients. To really know who they are and believe in their business. As far as relationships with affiliate managers, maybe it’s just because I have only offered a few offers on my niche website that I haven’t been able to really build relationships with actual affiliate managers, but I would really like to. I love how some in the affiliate space have really good friendships with their affiliate managers and believe the relationships are win-win for both parties. I’d like to be able to attend ASE2012 and meet more managers, network with other affiliates and make the rest of this year the best year ever. I feel like I’m still “new” to affiliate marketing and want to learn as much as I can to be able to succeed and live a life that I want. Thank you for this chance to win. 🙂

    1. Amanda, thank you for this. From your comment it seems that “building relationships” for you involves forming “friendships” or involve connections on a more personal level.

      There is a belief that personal isn’t necessary at all, and all affiliates really want solid, reliable, trust-based business relationships with their affiliate managers and/or advertisers. What is your (affiliate!) take on this one?

      1. Geno, not so much a friendship per say but really good communication, win-win with a manager wanting the affiliate to succeed, as a niche blogger of 3 years I have yet to find this. 🙂

          1. If I can say here Amanda and Geno, from our Program point of view I have tried to take the relationship with some of our Affiliates (those that wish to engage more) to the next level, by offering them training that our own staff get, access to senior level product managers so they can write better content, etc.

            I think sometimes there is a fine line between wanting the Affiliate to succeed and giving them the tools to do so (which we do, as we really wouldn’t have the quality of the business that we have without the input of a few very competent and smart Affiliate marketers) and running their business for them, which others that approach us sometimes want us to do.

            So I guess the relationships that work best are “our knowledge, their expertize” and both parties seeing that and using it for best outcome.

          2. Very good observations, Paul (thank you for posting them). I love the way you’ve summarized it too. My own experience also shows that the best affiliates are looking precisely for that type of relationship — not that you teach them how to do their paid search, or loyalty marketing, or whatever; but that you help them understand your product, and any marketing specifics (from seasonality to demographics) they may be able to use to market you best.

  4. The relationship goals for each affiliate and their respective advertisees are different with each person, since some work for profit solely, while others work for other reasons and take profit as an added bonus for their time. As a affiliate I personally would love to build better relations with both my fellow marketers as well as the corporations and professionals I support and advertise. Everyone has different answers, we just have to see what works for everyone individually.

    1. Thank you for your input, Mackenzie. In other words, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach; and affiliate managers should wisely discern the individual needs/situations of their affiliates and act on these (accordingly)?

  5. Hi Geno / Readers!

    First of all let me say I ´m a full time affiliate based in Scandinavia and that my story may be a little different than most!. I´d love to come to the New York Affiliate Summit and see how you guys in the States get things done! I have 2 very contrasting experiences to share – One as a large paid search affiliate, the other as a website owner.

    Around 2006 I became a large paid search affiliate within a very short period of time. It was the gold rush for PPC affiliates and I quickly built lucrative business with multiple merchants across diverse areas as travel, finance, and retail. This was in part possible to the niche demographic (Scandinavia is a small area with defined languages) but also through developing great relationships with account managers, networks and a direct line of communication with merchants.

    When all aspects of communication where operating smoothly it was a beautiful thing. Partners could openly discuss goals, create, evaluate and improve campaigns, and find the pain threshold for that final new customer that gave an acceptable ROI for me as an affiliate and them as a merchant. I grew partners customer base with exacting detail but it was crucial that everyone had all there cards on the table. At most I had approx. 25 large clients via 5 Account Managers (Affiliate Networks) across 4 countries. These account managers were essential to my business success as they kept everything on track, we spoke weekly and met regularly… like I said – it was a beautiful thing!

    In-house PPC account managers changed the landscape very quickly and after 5 years of hard work I move on to website development. Fast forward to today and I now own/operate multiple coupon code sites in Scandinavia. Its a complete turn around to what I was doing 3 years ago – Instead of 25 clients each paying a flood of commssions – I now have 800 merchants each sending a trickle of income.

    These days – I don´t have the time to build fledging relationships with 800 merchants and truth told I´m not delivering enough volume for them to spend time on me. Sure there are a few Account managers that “look after me” but the relationships have adjusted to the business model. I still deliver volume – but not to any specific merchant. For me the best relation I have is an automated flow of functioning deals I can reliably pass on to my visitors. I don´t encourage account manager contact but they know what is required and when!

    As this is getting rather lengthy comment and slightly ego orientated I will summarize by saying this – relationships in affiliate marketing need to be put in context of the business model for the affiliate. “High Impact” relationships require trust and open lines of communication which can be both rewarding and time consuming. Low impact/automated relationships can be slightly less demanding socially but they can still get the job done!

    I think whatever method you choose we should all be thankful that affiliate marketing can give such a diverse spectrum of alternatives! I look forward to any feedback


  6. Hi Geno et al!

    As a boutique Performance Marketing Agency, it’s essential that we focus on building sound, personal relationships where we get to the question “how can we work together” instead of “why should we work together” very quickly. This happens when you are honest, well intentioned and seeking an outcome with everyone’s goals in mind.

    When you build your reputation on being reliable and consistently delivering on what you say, you’ll easily stand out. So much time and resources are wasted verifying who and what is authentic and looking over your shoulder in this industry. Since so much biz is done over IM, phone and email, you don’t’ get the opportunity for real facetime with clients. Cut through the BS/noise, always tell the truth and get to the point in everything you do. When you make a mistake – be responsible and own up to it! Take care of your clients like family. (Prime example is when I invited 12 of my closest clients to attend my wedding. I appreciated that they flew in from all over the world to be part of my special day!)

    It’s a simple formula, but always astonishing how rare it still is in 2012.

    That’s my 2 cents and I’ve got my fingers/toes and eyes crossed to win that pass! 🙂

    See you all in The Big Apple!

    Wendy Kam Marcy
    Adfluent Media Inc.

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