I often talk about affiliate marketing being an industry that’s built on relationships. While it is a performance industry with everyone’s focus being on the bottom line, you get more out of your affiliate programme if you have good relationships with your affiliates. This works both ways – the affiliates that have the best relationships with the networks get pushed more by the account managers, and strong relationships with the clients increase the likelihood of getting the strongest deals.
It all makes sense, but is so often ignored. I have written a few different blog posts where I have pointed out the need to communicate, the need to share objectives and some of the things you want to avoid if you want to grow your programme.
Relationships are built out of all of these areas. From listening and reacting, but also looking at where you can solve problems, improve or help affiliates. But you can also do it by being human and showing a sense of humour.
I recently went to meet Commission Junction at their UK office. During the meeting I took out my notepad, which happened to be from a rival network. After a little ribbing about my choice of stationery, I joked, ‘In my defence Commission Junction never give me any stationery’.
Recently we at TopCashback have expanded our London team so we have moved into a larger office. I was therefore surprised a week later when I arrived back at my desk from a meeting to find a package had arrived for me as I had not given out the address to anyone.
After opening the package I couldn’t help but smile. 4 Commission Junction note pads, 10 Commission Junction pens, 1 Commission Junction business card holder and a Commission Junction Cup. Alongside it was a handwritten note saying:
Now you have no excuse! We will be watching you
This was signed by the whole account management team at Commission Junction. It’s fair to say that due to the amount of events, meetings and conferences I attend, I am not short of a few notepads and pens! But what I loved about this was that it was so personal. Getting everyone in the office to sign it, and finding out the address to send it to, takes effort. It was personal.
And that for me is a great example of how to go about building relationships. Be personal, react to the relationship and don’t be afraid to put in some effort. Small things will often make a big impact.