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Partnerships — 06 May 2022
How to Outsource Affiliate Management
Running a business, ecommerce or otherwise, is sometimes hard and time-consuming. It’s easy to get bogged down with tasks you didn’t think you’d be spending your life wading through.
This is why outsourcing exists, and platform migration to an affiliate program management solution is not as hard as some think. You will benefit more than you may think, too. And it won’t necessarily cost a fortune.
Affiliate, or partner, marketing would seem to be outsourcing in practice. You get partners to publicize your product so you don’t have to, which frees you up to do the things you need to do.
However, things aren’t as simple as that. What you need to bear in mind is that marketing via affiliate partners needs active management, just like landing page design does, or like the script for a salesperson making outbound calls does. Otherwise stagnation can set in.
But do you want to do this management? Yes? Great, go to it, if you have the time.
If you’d rather hand this to somebody in management services, with the expertise and resources to do a better job than you could ever do, then read on.
Simply put, partner or affiliate marketing programs are a form of digital marketing where your products and services are promoted via external partners. In this case, these partners are known as publishers. They promote your enterprise to their audience in return for commission on sales.
Publishers will be mindful of a number of key determinants of traction, like SEO. Different types of affiliates use different techniques, but primarily, promotion, often by influencers, takes the form of online marketing via email, social media, or other partner or affiliate marketing channels.
So, quite a basic idea. Basic, and popular. It is estimated that the global partner marketing program industry is now worth $12 billion.
This is unsurprising. There are lots of reasons why one might want to use partner marketing programs rather than using an in-house marketing manager, not least because when good things are said about your products or services by those who don’t appear to be part of your organization, this is the kind of marketing partnership that will benefit your business hugely.
The trouble with using those who aren’t directly employed by you, is that you don’t have such control over what they say. This is why active management has to be engaged. This way, you can keep an eye on things more closely.
You need also to keep one’s affiliates in the conversation concerning new products or services, or aspects of your output that you would especially like prioritized. It might be the case, for instance, that you want to improve sales on eBay. Your publishers will need to be told this.
Other ingredients of affiliate program management include developing a small business marketing strategy. You will also want to pay attention to constructing effective affiliate networks. You’ll need to keep tabs on payments and performance. Finally, you’ll need to conduct ongoing data analysis to keep your operation’s promotional performance sharp and responsive.
This can all take time and effort. You, on the other hand, don’t have unlimited amounts of either. This is why marketing partnership management is often outsourced.
You can’t be the best at everything. Recognizing this key truth will free you to concentrate on what you are the best at. When you use tools like Affise Reach, you get the benefit of wisdom amassed in the field so that you are instantly no longer a new starter, ripe for the picking by a competitor.
You get to exploit extensive lists of contacts. Good affiliate managers will pair your operation with the most appropriate affiliates who will be able to establish a relationship funnel with your customer. Targeted matches are so much more effective than blanket promotion. Your business will benefit from the activation of this kind of thoughtful pairing.
This is a key and often overlooked area. Using a tool like Affise BI, affiliate managers can routinely attend to a host of different data channels regarding sales and customer churn, and can propose tactical tweaking or wholesale marketing campaign change where required. They will have the sector know-how to propose new target audiences.
Program management agencies can suggest ways to enhance data transfer, too, perhaps via CPAPI, or may be able to assist with pointing the way should you be considering having your company undergo digital enterprise transformation.
Another aspect of data is the use of statistics in marketing, which can be a boon in the right hands.
As your business grows, your online presence management (OPM) needs will change. A good OPM agency will know that you will need your publishers to adapt to changes in tone and quantity.
An experienced affiliate manager will know how to effect this adaptation, keeping the right affiliate on board and taking on new affiliates where appropriate. Additionally, when your business’ growth means that new technologies are needed, such as VoIP apps, an affiliate manager can prompt for these.
By outsourcing the management of your marketing partnerships you can be sure that, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, it’s business as usual for your operation. Even if you’re asleep on the beach.
There are a number of key characteristics you need to look for when choosing which agency or platform to use.
You need both general experience and knowledge specific to your particular niche. It’s a good idea to have a look at their other clients to see if the agency has a handle on the relevant verticals.
There should be high regard for the agency’s work or for a platform’s features. You may have found a nice cheap management company, but if their reputation is similarly cutprice coupon in nature then this is not a sound direction in which to proceed. Look instead for awards and for good rankings on review websites.
By all means look for an affiliate program outsourcing option using your favorite search engine but, again, do consider the benefits of reviews and approvals.
Marketing partnerships are mostly about communication. If you find that the agency you approach doesn’t respond readily to your overtures or that a platform doesn’t offer robust communication options, then it might be a good idea to look elsewhere to see if you can find a more communicative option.
Do they have compelling ideas about where your operation could be headed? Do these chime with yours?
Does their current affiliate portfolio seem to have what it takes to be able to talk about your business in the way it needs? How do they go about affiliate recruitment? Additionally, how do they deal with publishers who do inadvertent harm to a client’s profile?
A marketing agency that deals with the industry in general may have more contributions to make to your operation. They will be able to offer insights as to how a good affiliate project will impact on your overall ecommerce marketing partnerships.
A marketing team using this kind of joined-up-thinking will help when it comes to generating consistency of message, and in applying attribution theory in a productive way.
There is much to gain and lots to lose when it comes to partner marketing. Your business can be damaged by sloppy or inaccurate publisher output. It’s easy to engage the services of an expert to ensure program optimization to get the best out of your publishers.
The good news is that platform migration to an affiliate marketing solution couldn’t be simpler, so you can shift everything into the hands of an expert, giving you time to focus on other matters and allowing your business profile to flourish.
Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system with call center ACD solutions that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Here is her LinkedIn.
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