Just as any serious marketing campaign, your affiliate program must be managed. But what should you expect from your affiliate manager? What key responsibilities should you hold them accountable for (expecting their detailed reporting on these in their recurring reports)? Regardless of whether you are trying to find a “job description” for an employee to hire (also known as an in-house based affiliate program manager) or a list of tasks for a remote affiliate manager (which frequently comes in the form of an OPM agency) to handle, their core responsibilities will remain the same.
In a nutshell, you should expect your affiliate manager to focus on the following five areas:
1. Affiliate Recruitment
Your affiliate program manager should spend a good chunk of time (a) identifying new prospects and (b) reaching out to them with the purpose of (c) onboarding them into your affiliate marketing program. If there is no solid sales force to market you, making a program profitable becomes a major challenge.
2. Affiliate Activation
One of the key performance indicators to monitor within your affiliate program is the activity index or the percentage of recruited affiliates who are, actually, actively promoting you. Getting the stagnant affiliates (who have already joined your program) excited about your offer enough to start promoting it is affiliate manager’s responsibility #2.
3. Compliance Policing
Thirdly, do no rely on your Terms of Service agreement (TOS) only, expecting automatic affiliate compliance with your rules and policies. Your program’s TOS give you the grounds to enforce compliance, but do not guarantee this compliance by default. So have your affiliate manager actively police and enforce that everyone is playing by the rules.
Fourthly, the affiliate program manager should supporting a constant and consistent two-way affiliate communication channel, which is so rare these days.
5. Program Optimization
Finally, improving your affiliate program on an ongoing basis is also something that the manger should be taking care of. You may find 10 practical tips on this here but do not limit your program only to these.
Below you may also find my brief video presentation of the above-listed concepts and responsibilities. It illustrates these through an allegory of a building whose façade rests on five pillars:
Five Pillars of Affiliate Program Management
So, there you have it… Recruitment of new affiliates, activation of recruited ones, policing compliance of the activated ones, communication with all, and ongoing affiliate program optimization. It’s a “full-time job”, and not something that can be effectively handles on when-I-have-a-spare-moment basis. Remember: by launching an affiliate marketing program, you are opening the gates up – inviting people to promote your product and your brand. Wouldn’t you want to know where and how your brand and product are being promoted?
Consider also my Affiliate Program Management: Definition, Approaches, Risks post on a closely-related topic of affiliate management and how it can (and should) be approached.
One you’ve reviewed all of the above-presented material, if you wish to dig deeper, there are three resources I have for you:
- A blog: this very; specially its “Affiliate Program Management” section which contains nearly 600 posts on the topic
- A book: “Affiliate Program Management: An Hour A Day” – an all-time e-commerce bestseller by yours truly
- A video course: “Affiliate Marketing for Advertisers” – the only LinkedIn Learning course on affiliate marketing
If you ever need a hand, shoot me a message.
[Post last updated on 9/15/2018]