What Does an Affiliate Manager Do?

Posted on5 CommentsCategoriesAffiliate Program Management

The daily activities of each affiliate manager may vary, but there are several core tasks that every affiliate manager much perform every day; and it doesn’t matter if you are on a payroll or operate as an outsourced affiliate manager.

Let’s take a close look at some of those key tasks and responsibilities.

Review Pending Applications

Affiliate Application ReviewAs an affiliate manager, you need to vet incoming affiliate applications. Reviewing the applications within 24-48 hours is a crucial part of your job. By approving, or denying an application within this time-frame, you will keep affiliates excited to promote your program. There is a reason that they applied to your program in the first place, they want to promote your product(s) and make commissions off of them.

There is an excitement and eagerness to promote your program within those first 24-48 hours. If, on the other hand, you review affiliate applications only once a week, you are taking the chance of an affiliate not remembering exactly why they applied to your program, or losing out on the excitement of promoting the program that they initially had.

Additionally, it is no secret that affiliates frequently apply into multiple affiliate programs at once. If you want them to prioritize your program, you better get back with them on that application ASAP. Otherwise, you may end up being at the very back on a very long queue of their programs-to-activate-with list, and this is not the place any advertiser want to be.

Check Emails

Staying on top of any questions or requests that your current affiliates or potential affiliates may have, is important to the success of any affiliate program. Some of the same reasons apply here as they do for needing to review applications within 24-48 hours. By supporting a healthy two-way communication channel with your partners-in-marketing, you are destined to shine bright among many other affiliate programs that do not take affiliate communication as seriously as they should.

Some affiliates may email you with the need of a coupon code, or even a content piece that they want to put together but require insights from you. By taking several days to respond, you are potentially losing out on a missed opportunity to grow your affiliate program.

An affiliate manager may spend a significant amount of time in a day responding to current affiliate requests, along with responding to questions from potentially affiliates you are currently recruiting. But this is a very important element of affiliate program management which must be taken seriously.

Recruiting

Now, let’s turn to one of the most labor-intensive responsibilities – that of affiliate recruiting. This is where an affiliate manager is going to spend majority of their time. There will be different activities that are recruiting related throughout the day that an affiliate manager may be required to do. Here are a few:

  • Finding websites within a niche
  • Finding similar websites to your own and then finding who links to them
  • Recruiting within the affiliate network itself (leveraging both paid and free opportunities)
  • Finding contact information for all of the websites found above
  • Sending out emails to all recruits
  • Tracking responses from recruited affiliates
  • Sending out follow up emails to those who haven’t replied
  • Ensuring activation of those affiliate partners who were onboarded

As you can see, the amount of time that is spent on recruiting affiliates on a daily basis can take up the majority of an affiliate manager’s day. This is absolutely fine. After all, if you don’t onboard the sales force into your affiliate program who is going to promote you?

Create / Upload / Maintain Banners

If you are designing and creating banners for your affiliate program, than you will require to spend more time here than an affiliate manager who has an in-house design team. Uploading new banners may not be something that needs to be done on a daily basis, but it is an important role of any affiliate manager. It is important to keep your creative inventory up-to-date, learning from the successes (of your own and those of your competition), leveraging seasonal opportunities, and dynamic creatives.

Compliance Review

One part of an affiliate manager’s daily tasks that may get overlooked is compliance review. What do I mean by compliance review? A couple of things:

  1. Coupon Usage Review – you may have coupons that are specific a win-back email campaign or loyalty coupon code that is not to be listed on coupon sites, however, the coupon sites have them listed and people are using them. It is important that an affiliate manager review all of these coupons on a daily basis to ensure that there is no coupon “hijacking” from other affiliates.
  2. Paid Search Violations – if your affiliate program that you are managing does not allow specific terms to be bid on, for example, TM+ bidding, then you will want to ensure that you are tracking these every day and be able to reach out to any one who is in violation of those terms.
  3. Domain Name Violations – you want your affiliates to add value and not merely feast on misspellings and variations of your own domain/URL.
  4. Content Monitoring – this is especially important in highly-regulated industries where you want to make sure that your brand and customer-oriented offer isn’t in violation of anything that you shouldn’t say (even if it is done through your affiliates) – not to be accused of false advertising or face similar allegations.
  5. Brand Positioning – you don’t want to appear on all websites that are out there, but only on those that place your brand in the context that you want to be associated with.

Newsletter Creation and Other One-Off Tasks

Affiliate Newsletter CreationI use the term one-off here because these are not activities that you will need to do every single day, but they are part of an effective affiliate manager’s task list. Creating content for affiliate newsletters, affiliate resource guides, answering and completing affiliate special requests (unique coupon codes, sample requests, co-branded landing pages, etc.).

Once again, these tasks may not be needed every single day, but they can be time consuming on the days that they are needed to be completed.

Reporting

Whether you need to create daily reports, weekly, or just monthly reports, reporting on your affiliate program’s key performance indicators (KPIs) is a critical part of any affiliate manager’s job. The frequency of these reports will be dictated by your employee or a client in case(s) with outsourced affiliate managers. As with other items listed above, this may not be something that occurs on a daily basis (unless you are required to perform daily reporting), but it is a major part of what an affiliate manager does. Do everything possible to streamline this part – automating how you pull the reports from the platform/network, how you import them into your own form or spreadsheet, and ensuring that you can beautifully represent data pulled form several different sources (e.g.: an affiliate network, an affiliate recruitment tool, a CRM platform you may be using, and your own Excel records).

There are many more activities that an affiliate manager may perform, but these are the primary tasks that an affiliate manager will do on a daily basis.

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