Affiliate management. It’s a term that we often throw around, and we tend to look at processes and how we can improve them. The focus tends to be on the business side of management – what margins we can afford, which affiliate brings in the most revenue, and what will be the return on our investment. When people talk about motivating affiliates, we hear about commission increases, conversion rates and exclusive offers. Do we forget the art of people management? I found a nice definition of management on Wikipedia:
Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively.
What I love about this quote is ‘getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives’. So do we sometimes forget the people aspect to management with our affiliate programme?
I was chatting to a friend recently about what makes someone a good manager. For me good managers motivate people, create loyalty, and the output is people that are willing to put in that little bit extra. I have had lots of managers, some good, some dreadful. But what would I say makes a good manager? For me it falls into a few areas:
- They have your back – the best managers for me are the ones you know will support you. They might think that there are areas you can improve in, but the only person they will tell is you. In public they praise you and make you feel important. If there is a dispute they will support you to the hilt.
- They deliver on their promises – If they tell you that something will happen they stick to it. They don’t make promises they can’t keep as they know people won’t trust them long term.
- They take time to help you develop – they take a personal interest in helping you to reach your potential. They give you feedback, suggestions and strive to help you maximise what you have. They listen to you and help you to improve in the areas that interest you.
- They praise a job well done – they don’t take you for granted they appreciate when you do a good job. They don’t assume you know, they tell you.
So how does this relate to my affiliate programme?
Do you stand up for your affiliates at internal meetings? Fight their corner when directors debate the value? Do you do what you say you will when you speak to them? If you promise them a customised banner or promotion do you deliver on it?
Do you look at how you can help them to increase the traffic to the site? How often do you take the time to look at their site and suggestions that you think could help them, and show you have taken an interest in helping them to grow? If not, why not? If they get more traffic, you get more sales. If you genuinely see affiliates as partners then you should be doing everything possible to help them to grow.
Finally, do you tell them when you are happy with them? The content site that has increased their sales 100% year on year. Do you thank them for their efforts? Do you give them praise for their redesign or the brilliant usability of their site? Alternatively have they made the changes you asked or used the creative or sales messaging you asked for? Giving a compliment is the easiest thing to do but rarely seems to be done.
Do you have any other areas of people management that you think are important? How could you relate this to your affiliate programme and get your affiliates motivated and keen to help you achieve the objectives you have set for your programme?