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How To SUCCESSFULY Recruit And Retain Affiliates In Your Affiliate Program

One of the affiliate marketing professionals I constantly look forward to talking to is Heather Paulson, founder of internet marketing/affiliate management agency Paulson Management Group. She’s simultaneously one of the most pleasant and knowledgeable people in the industry.

heather paulson

Heather Paulson

Affiliates are constantly bombarded with the “highest payouts, best offers” line that too many affiliate managers fall into using whether out of habit, laziness or a combination of both.

So it’s a breath of fresh air to get useful information to enhance my network of sites from Heather at the sidelines of the recent Affiliate Summit West 2009.

Here’re some hallmarks of a successful affiliate recruitment and management campaign:

  • Step 1: Get to know the affiliate – Paradoxically for some managers, the first step should not be an email from the contact me page, with the opening line “Would you like to make thousands of dollars a month from our highly optimized and proven affiliate offers?”. Wait a minute, I don’t recognize your name nor the merchant. Most of all, your product or service isn’t even one that I’m in. You’ve just wasted your time in mailing me and my time in skimming over and deleting your email.
  • Step 2: Do your homework – Unless you have a stealth/underground affiliate on your hands, everyone leaves virtual “footprints” whether it’s through their blog, forum participation or social network profile. Even if they don’t have any of these, you can still recce the affiliate IRC channels or platforms like twitter, or even hearsay from other affiliates. During my past life as a journalist, I was able to sniff out the dotcoms teetering on the edge of collapse by keeping my ear to the ground. I didn’t have tools from the likes of Syntrx to aid in my research.
  • Step 3: Engage the affiliates: Building friendships with affiliate is not mandatory, but it will go a long way in creating a long term business relationship. Most of us are more willing to stick up for and help a friend, rather than an “associate”. I haven’t had a need for this yet, but I have heard some affiliates even approach their affiliate manager for dating or relationship advice (maybe a consequence of too much time working on your campaigns and ignoring your significant other?).
  • Step 4: Equip your affiliates with the right tools: A number of forward thinking networks and agencies have in-house creatives teams which create custom graphics, landing pages for their affiliates. Some even offer the use of high end multivariate testing tools to their affiliates during the affiliate’s campaign optimization efforts. I mentioned in a recent interview that affiliate marketing has matured a great deal since it’s inception in the 1990s, and affiliate managers need to engage affiliates because at the end of the day, it’s going to be a win-win relationship all around.

6 comments on How To SUCCESSFULY Recruit And Retain Affiliates In Your Affiliate Program

  1. Heather Paulson
    January 21, 2009 at 11:12 am (4301 days ago)

    Hello Andrew,

    I really enjoyed meeting you again at Affiliate Summit and enjoyed speaking with you about PMG’s affiliate management and affiliate recruiting services.

    Currently PMG has worked out some aggressive affiliate recruitment packages for networks and merchants interested in rapidly growing their affiliate base. We use Syntryx.com to mine the “right” affiliate partners for our clients out of the 1.6 million affiliates Syntryx.com currently has full contact information on.

    You hit the nail on the head here with your points!

    Engage the affiliates:

    Here at PaulsonManagementGroup.com we really enjoy helping our affiliates with our LIVE affiliate training webinars that we produce to train affiliates for all of our clients. We then record the live training for affiliates and ensure all affiliates in the programs have access to the training, this is engagement that really helps affiliates increase their commissions and encourages the proper marketing of the clients brand and products.

    Equip your affiliates with the right tools:

    PMG also is very proud of the advanced tools we produce for our clients such as the Dynamic “Deal of the day” landing page we helped develop for the http://www.Dyscern.com affiliate program in CJ. Affiliates can download the code and host the dynamic landing page on their own domains solving the problem for the clients rapidly changing inventory as the page dynamicaly updates as inventory volumes change. The dynamic hosted affiliate landing page also increases affiliate sales with an electronics “Deal of the day” they have dynamically rotated for them!

    PMG is the only OPM that I am aware of in the USA that produces videos for our clients and uses the videos as a media component for our affiliates to encourage their sales. Affiliate videos are becoming a popular new media form in the affiliate channel and merchants should know this is no longer exploratory media, they need to be there.

    Knowing who to recruit and how to recruit is as important as building loyalty and retention of program partners!

    Thanks for your kind post! Look forward to seeing you soon ;-)

  2. Leo
    January 22, 2009 at 12:08 am (4300 days ago)

    Alright Andrew….do you have an army of female affiliates or something…and if so..how are you getting them? All I am seeing is you hugging on the betty’s in pics…

  3. Jim Banks
    January 22, 2009 at 7:49 am (4300 days ago)

    The engagement is always the hardest part for most affiliate managers. You should never phone/email and ask someone who has applied to your network “so what do you do”. In the application it should tell you what they do, i.e. I run sites, I blog, I do PPC (often the tell tale sign is “we” indicating it’s not one person. Find out the hierarchy. We work with mailers/PPC affiliates where one does tech, one does biz dev etc. so depending on what your asking it could be completely the wrong person.

    I’ve sat in on many a session, and to be fair Heather is one of the few I can watch more than a few times and who I always make sure I have a notebook handy for the inevitable snippets of useful data/info she freely gives up.

  4. Assaf
    January 22, 2009 at 9:57 am (4300 days ago)

    Hello Andrew, what a great review!! Filled with good points. And on a more personal note, I wish I had a chance to meet you in Vegas at Affiliate Summit last week. Anyway, I’ll make sure to pre-plan to meet in person next time around.

    Cheers!
    Assaf

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