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How Affiliate Managers Should Get Their Act Together

Some affiliate managers might not confess to it, but when it comes to dealing with affiliates, more than half of them are noobs.

The turnover in the affiliate marketing industry is high, whether you’re talking about networks, affiliate managers or affiliate marketers.

From the affiliate side, it seems like a constant merry-go-round at some networks (particularly the struggling ones) with a new affiliate manager assigned to my accounts every 2-3 months. Maybe they’re having difficulty hitting their monthly or quarterly quotas? I don’t know, but their experience or lack of it shows especially when new affiliate managers inherit the accounts for the AM who left.

Here’s a typical bone-headed intro email.

“Hi, how are you doing? I’m your new affiliate manager/strategist/consultant/partner. What type of offers do you promote? What traffic types do you use? How long have you been in the industry?”

These are danger signs, especially if you’re getting these emails.

Firstly, unless the affiliate is operating under the radar/underground, or one of those super-secretive Israeli affiliates operating with mossad-like secrecy, it’s not too difficult to find their footprints, whether on an affiliate forum like WickedFire or ABestWeb. From their postings you should be able to tell whether they’re noobs or experienced affiliates. You should be able to check out their posts to look at the types of questions they’re asking to get a gauge of their experience level and possibly traffic promotion strategies too.

Many will also have an online presence, whether it’s listed on AffBuzz, else you should be able to find their WordPress blog, Twitter or Facebook account. Failing which, you could talk to your regular group of affiliates to see if they know who the “new guy” or girl is. I know it’s probably easier to send a mass email (personalizing the recipient name), but that’s as good as throwing your list of prospects at the wall and hoping that something sticks.

I’m not going to say that going through a list of 200-300 affiliates that you’ve been handed is easy, especially since the bulk of them might be inactive. But if you’re going to make this more than just a 2-3 month gig, getting by on your $2,000/month base salary, then you need to do a little investment. In this case, it’s not even any cash out of your own pocket (although the better AMs do invest in researching their affiliates), just a little time and company time at that.

It’s time to break out your Excel or Google Docs spreadsheet and do a little affiliate human resources management. Based on your preliminary research, give each affiliate a rating. I like to give them either a A/B/C grade or 1/2/3. Your choice.

You need at least 50 prospects in the A/B basket to make any decent overriding off their efforts, since you might only get 10% of them active.

Once you’ve got your 50 producers, in your next column is where you list some the background information, such as where they’re based, what type of traffic promotion they use, what types of offers they like.

It’s always weird for me that so few affiliate managers are willing to invest something like $67 bucks a month to sign up for a membership at sites like David Ford’s PPV Playbook. You have new and experienced affiliates who’re learning marketing techniques, applying them and building their affiliate income to $100/day and in some cases much more than that.

Then you only have 1-2 network owners who’re active in there and I believe there’ve been less than 3 affiliate managers, including EWA’s Ryan Eagle and GetAds’ Josh Todd, that I’ve seen on there.

So let’s take a stock-take:

  • Hundreds of active affiliates on a paid forum, which prequalifies them as high value leads
  • Experienced marketers like David Ford, Mr Green and other less high profile affiliates doing walkthroughs of campaigns, including keywords, URL targets, offers. Basically everything
  • Few affiliate managers to recruit these affiliates

If you are an affiliate manager or network owner, is this short-sightedness not to invest $67/month to pick up a few good producers?

The slogan “It takes money to make money” applies here.


If you’re an affiliate, you’ll pick up a thing or two at PPV Playbook too.

15 comments on How Affiliate Managers Should Get Their Act Together

  1. Earl Grey
    July 15, 2010 at 12:32 am (3886 days ago)

    Hi Andrew Pee Pee

    Remember affiliate manager is a very very low paid position and lots of the reasons for being hired is your list of affiliates you can bring so promising big and delivering low just to get a wage is part of the job

  2. Brian Hawkins
    July 15, 2010 at 1:41 am (3886 days ago)

    good point, it doesn’t take much to find the players that are somewhat vocal in this space.

  3. Ben @ POF
    July 15, 2010 at 2:44 am (3886 days ago)

    LOL @ the bone headed intro email. I think an essential question to ask any affiliate is, “What do you drink?” :) Attending conferences is key as well, it’s nice to put a face to a name.. of course, ASE would easily put you behind a good chunk but, like you said, it takes money to make money.

  4. Lorne Fade
    July 15, 2010 at 3:49 am (3886 days ago)

    I think any affiliate manager worth his weight should know how to run their own “profitable” campaigns, and be active in affiliate marketing circles/forums above and beyond what they normally are expected.

    Geoff Marcy was a prime example of that type of aff. manager, he will be missed dearly.

  5. browie
    July 15, 2010 at 6:26 am (3886 days ago)

    Great tip Andrew. Get out there and show your face in some of these places.

  6. Ivan
    July 16, 2010 at 4:34 am (3885 days ago)

    good post Andrew… this will definitely make all affiliate managers thinking about their objective and how to maximise their overridding commissions…

  7. andrew wee
    July 16, 2010 at 8:30 am (3885 days ago)

    Actually, AMs have a base pay and a performance component.

    If you have a few super affiliates under your belt, the pay will be very decent.

  8. andrew wee
    July 16, 2010 at 8:31 am (3885 days ago)

    @Ben – you neglected to mention that once everyone has a little alcohol in them, everyone becomes good friends and the secrets spill out.

    Hence, I make it a point not to drink (too) much during conferences, as our mutual friend, John Chow, found out….

  9. andrew wee
    July 16, 2010 at 8:32 am (3885 days ago)

    I can post this, but whether anyone takes any action might be a different matter.

  10. Affiliate CRM
    July 22, 2010 at 5:20 am (3879 days ago)

    One of the things I have come across while being in this industry is tracking and accountability, and I don’t mean cookies. The reason you get those bone head emails is because nobody took the time to document what they were doing. Most companies or AM’s don’t have a good CRM. Outlook and excel or Direct Track do not qualify as a crm. Had the affiliate manager kept track of emails, communications, campaigns run, niches, etc in a tool then when they decided to leave the next could have had all that at their fingertips and picked right up without sending out bone head profiling emails. However if someone was following this methodology that you outline, which is simple sales pipeline management they likely wouldn’t be handing the reigns to someone else because they actually did their job effectively.

  11. ewoww
    July 22, 2010 at 1:37 pm (3878 days ago)

    Great post Andrew. Thanks for the kick in the butt reminder to get on my game. :)

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