In a post last month, I blogged at length about what affiliate management experts can bring to the table. Their expertise is second to none in their space and they can be a great asset to your growing online business. That all said, how can you get an affiliate management company to manage your program without overpaying?
First, it’s important to note, you get what you pay for. You cannot expect to have an affiliate management expert to manage your program for below his or her worth. The best affiliate management agencies tend to manage multiple programs at a time. Your goal is to add your program to their list!
Next, it’s important to understand how affiliate managers are paid. There are various compensation models out there, but the three most common ones are:
- Monthly retainer + performance bonus
- Flat monthly fee
- Performance-based compensation
We recommend going with the first of the above three, as it provides for the affiliate manager’s motivation to keep growing your affiliate marketing program. As the merchant, you will want to agree with the manager on the exact compensation model to use as well as negotiate to make sure you’re not over paying.
When the time comes to negotiate the affiliate manager’s compensation, it’s first important that you lay out what tasks related to your affiliate program you want him or her to be responsible more. More tasks may cost more but it will make it so you don’t need to worry at all about your affiliate program and you’ll know that it is in capable hands.
Let’s assume you want the affiliate management expert to manage every facet of your affiliate program. It’s your goal to not overpay. Thus, you want to negotiate the lowest possible retainer fee that you can. In order to do this, try offering a larger performance bonus to further incentivize the affiliate management expert. It’s common practice for the performance bonus to be a percentage of revenue or a percentage of affiliate payouts. This way, the merchant can calculate their margins and never lose money on the bonus portion of the compensation. It’s a true win-win between both sides because if sales are increasing then everyone is earning more!
Another way to make sure you’re not overpaying is by shopping around your offer. There isn’t just one affiliate management expert out there. Do some research and reach out to several. Get an idea on how much they want to fully manage your affiliate program. This will provide you with a good idea of base pricing.
When shopping around, ask questions like what tools they use and what makes them stand out… There are a lot of great tools out there to help affiliate managers be more efficient. Ideally, the affiliate management expert that you hire will have access to all essential tools they may need. By the way, do take the time to review our very own Geno Prussakov’s presentation on the must-haves in every affiliate manager’s toolbox.
When hiring an affiliate management expert (be it a company or an agency, or a stand-alone affiliate manager), there are many different ways to structure their contract. A good way to get a great deal and not overpay is to agree to a longer-term contract: lasting from six months to a year. It’s very possible the affiliate manager would be more agreeable to a lower rate in exchange for this bit of stability.
Aside from price, a longer contracts are also good for the merchant because it gives the affiliate manager a more realistic amount of time to really put their stamp on your affiliate program. If you’re starting a new program from scratch, it’s realistic that there might not be any sales for the first few weeks. Having a longer contract in place (to give the affiliate management expert time to work) will provide a much clearer picture on the true potential of your brand’s affiliate program.
To summarize, the best ways to have an affiliate management professional manage your program without overpaying are to make sure to negotiate the way they are compensated and try to push for a larger bonus, utilize contracts and to shop around and make sure you have multiple offers. Ultimately, you’ll be able to get great value hiring an expert and you’ll have the peace of mind to know that they have a lot of experience in this area and they won’t need to be micro managed.
As always, feel free to reach out to us or comment below with any notes or questions. We’re an affiliate OPM agency that specializes on affiliate management and we’d love to help you by leveraging our expertise in the field.