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.