Ever wonder what it takes to become a GREAT affiliate manager? What do the great ones do that elevates their game to the highest level? Well, you can stop wondering…today’s post is going to lay out EXACTLY how you can achieve a level of excellence that few attain.
Over time, I have developed some principles that we teach in our own company.
I decided to pull together MY 10 Commandments for becoming a great affiliate manager. (This seemed to work out okay for Moses, so I thought I’d give it a try!)
After 17 years of learning and applying what works, I could have easily chiseled out 5 or 6 more but I decided to boil it down to the ones that I consider to be the most impactful.
We have successfully used these principles with A-listers like Michael Hyatt, Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington, Stu McLaren, Adidas, Shutterfly to name a few and of course…all our coaching clients.
They’ve worked for clients of all sizes who are selling everything from physical products, memberships, courses and coaching services.
These are the MUST DOS if you want to become a GREAT affiliate manager who wrings out every last bit of selling power from an affiliate marketing program. (You’ll think I’ve lost it when you hear #6…until I explain why)!
Here’s my BIG PROMISE…
If you obey all ten, you will virtually guarantee the success of your program. You MIGHT get away with leaving out one of them…but I can almost guarantee you will not succeed if you don’t follow these proven principles.
My 10 Commandments drive success and affiliates EXPECT them to be present in the affiliate programs they promote.
Commandment #1: Thou shall start before you’re ready
Like many things, starting an affiliate program gets “back-burnered” far too often. Many people think…’Someday, I’ll…’ And, of course, that someday never comes. Trust me…the perfect time to start an affiliate program doesn’t exist. There will always be SOMETHING that just isn’t right. There’s only one way to begin…DIVE RIGHT IN! Obviously you need to have some of the components in place but not ALL of them. You can have your affiliate program set up in 24 hours…or less!
Don’t wait to start. Do it today!
Commandment #2: Thou shall not put other forms of marketing before your affiliate program
Study after study reveals that affiliate marketing is the fastest and easiest marketing strategy to scale and generate the highest converting clicks and leads you could ever hope to get.
Sure, do your Facebook and LinkedIn ads and tap into SEO but…
Put affiliate marketing where it belongs…on a pedestal!
Think about it…you can spend 6 hours on a Facebook campaign and maybe 3%-5% of your followers MIGHT see your post…
OR, you can spend a couple of hours recruiting affiliates who could INSTANTLY make you some sales.
Make sure to focus on affiliate marketing FIRST and then, everything else.
Affiliate programs can be highly effective as a marketing strategy when implemented and managed correctly.
Here are just some of the reasons why they offer a superior marketing strategy:
Extended Reach: Affiliates can help you tap into new audiences and markets that you might not have been able to reach on your own. Their existing followers or customers can become potential customers for your business.
Cost-Effective: Affiliate programs are performance-based, meaning you only pay affiliates when they successfully drive desired actions, such as sales or leads. This makes them a cost-effective option, as you’re essentially paying for actual results rather than upfront advertising costs.
Third-Party Credibility: When affiliates promote your products or services, it lends third-party credibility to your brand. People often trust recommendations from individuals they follow or respect, which can positively impact their perception of your business.
Scalability: As your network of affiliates grows, so does your potential reach and sales. This scalability allows your marketing efforts to expand without necessarily increasing your internal marketing team.
Low Risk: Since you’re only paying affiliates when they generate results, there’s relatively low financial risk associated with running an affiliate program.
Affiliate programs can be highly effective as a marketing strategy when executed thoughtfully and strategically.
If you are ready to take your business to the next level and start an affiliate program, start with my free report, Your First 100 Affiliates. This report takes nearly two decades of experience, trial and error, and lessons learned about finding top affiliates in nearly every conceivable niche and puts them all into one report. Grab your copy here!
Commandment #3: Thou shalt recruit affiliates consistently
We have a credo we live by at my company…”ABR” which stands for Always Be Recruiting…
When we first adopted it, I was religious about living up to it. I was ALWAYS making time to recruit affiliates. However, as the company began to grow, I got busier and busier and frankly, wasn’t quite as diligent about it. (I’m getting back to it though!)
The important thing is to be consistent. Thirty minutes 3 days a week will do it. And, it’s something you can delegate to an assistant.
Recruiting affiliates on a consistent basis gives you many benefits…here are just a few you can take advantage of:
- Gives you expanded reach. Obviously, the more you recruit, the more affiliates you can attract to help you tap into new markets and audiences that you might not have been able to reach on your own. By consistently recruiting affiliates, you continuously expand your reach and expose your brand to a wider audience.
- Helps you diversify your promotional channels. Affiliates often use different promotional methods, such as social media, blogs, email marketing, and more. Consistently recruiting affiliates ensures a diverse range of promotional channels, which can enhance your brand’s visibility and credibility.
- Allows you to scale faster. As you recruit more affiliates, your marketing efforts can scale WITHOUT a linear increase in costs. This scalability allows you to grow your affiliate program without the need to increase your marketing budget.
My Find Affiliates Now course explains everything someone needs to know to set up an effective affiliate recruitment campaign.
Commandment #4: Thou shall be generous with thy commissions
So, what exactly is the right affiliate commission you should offer?
After all, you want to make sure you’re “in the ballpark”.
Here are some guidelines to follow…
- Write your price point down.
- Figure out the cost of goods. For example, if you have a digital product, you really don’t have many outside of credit card processing fees which are fairly minimal.
- Identify incremental costs. Say you need to bring on a community manager to handle a certain volume of sales. That has to be factored into your calculation as well.
- Decide how much you want to make.
- Look at competitors’ products to determine what commission you can pay.
EXAMPLE #1: Digital Product
|Cost of Goods:
|Amount You Want:
|Commission You Can Offer:
|$500 or 50%
That doesn’t mean you MUST offer a 50% commission…only that you COULD. If your competitors are offering 30%, you’ve got some wiggle room to use strategically.
EXAMPLE #2: Tangible Product
|Cost of Goods:
|Amount You Want:
|Commission You Can Offer:
|$100 or 20%
In this example, if your competition is offering the same commission, you can up yours to make your offer more attractive.
Not sure how much to pay your affiliates? Watch my free video tutorial on YouTube that walks you through step-by-step.
Commandment #5: Thou shalt pay on time every time
When we were scaling our company a few years ago, we missed paying commissions one month. It was the first and ONLY time. Your affiliates NEED to know what to expect.
Here’s a general rule of thumb that’s easy for everyone involved to understand…
A sale made in June is payable on the first business day in August…this gives you enough time to factor in any returns.
So…why is it so important to make sure your affiliates are paid on time?
Paying on time is essential for maintaining a successful and sustainable affiliate marketing program.
There are so many ways you benefit…
…You’ll maintain trust. Your affiliates truly are your partners in marketing. Paying them promptly shows that you value their efforts and respect their contribution to your business.
…You motivate them. Timely payments act as a positive reinforcement for affiliates to continue promoting your products. When affiliates receive their earnings promptly, they are more likely to stay engaged and motivated to generate more sales and leads for your business.
…You encourage loyalty. Let’s face it, your affiliates have options when it comes to promoting products. If you consistently pay them on time, they are more likely to remain loyal to your brand.
…You attract new affiliates. When you’re known for timely and reliable payments, it can attract new affiliates who are constantly on the lookout for trustworthy and credible merchants to partner with.
…You enhance your reputation. If you develop a reputation for delayed or inconsistent payments, it can harm your brand’s credibility and discourage potential affiliates from joining your program. Timely payments enhance your image and help attract quality affiliates.
Paying affiliates on time is not only a matter of ethical business practice but also a strategic move to foster positive relationships, motivate performance so you can attract and retain affiliates.
Commandment #6: Thou shalt not decline small affiliates
Huge affiliates must come from somewhere…and often, it’s from a time when they were a small affiliate.
With small affiliates, it’s tempting to think…’that guy’s probably never going to make a sale.’
And some won’t.
But here’s the thing…if you decline 100 small affiliates, I can almost guarantee you that one of them will go to become a six-figure affiliate within a year or two.
Are you REALLY willing to take a chance on passing up an opportunity to work with an affiliate like that? Most small affiliates are never an issue to work with. They make sales here and there and that’s it. Painless and…PROFITABLE!
And, while you’re working with them, you could be in the presence of a future whale!
You’ll learn about an affiliate who participated in promotion we did for Jeff Walker. Her first time out she made no sales. The following year with a list of a couple of thousand she made 9 sales for $18,000. Year three…180 sales!
This year? She’s on track to generate $500k!
From small affiliate to $2M plus in sales in just a few years!
Not too long ago, I was listening to a biography of Confucius. I learned that it took a dynasty over 300 years to collapse! Three hundred years!
Today, that seems unimaginable. On the news, we watch governments topple overnight. Elon Musk puts an electric car on the market in less than 10 years.
The world moves fast. And, as an affiliate manager, it’s important to keep pace. You don’t have to go the “slow and steady” route. You can go from zero to 10 affiliates VERY quickly.
A word of caution…Scaling too quickly WITHOUT a solid foundation can lead to operational challenges, customer dissatisfaction, and financial strain.
You need to plan carefully, have a clear strategy, and be adaptable to successfully scale your business at an accelerated pace.
Here are some factors ways that will have an impact of your ability to accelerate your scaling process:
- Streamlining internal processes can lead to increased productivity and faster growth. Look for ways to eliminate bottlenecks and inefficiencies in your current process.
- Leveraging technology will help you speed things up. Look for tools for automation, data analysis, and communication to implement.
- Make sure your decision-making allows for quick responses to market changes and emerging opportunities. This can be crucial when scaling faster is the objective.
- Bringing skilled and motivated team members on can help you efficiently manage the increased workload and responsibilities associated with growth.
- Collaborating with other businesses or individuals can provide access to resources, customers, and markets that can accelerate growth.
Bottom line: We CAN and should scale faster than we think!
Commandment #8: Thou shalt teach thy affiliates
As an affiliate manager, one the most important tasks you need to undertake is helping affiliates to buy into your “vision”. That’s not something that will happen by chance.
In addition, you want to share what selling strategies that work. They also need to know the important dates throughout your promotion.
Your primary role is to assist them in processing leads and closing sales.
For example, when we trained Jeff Walker’s affiliates we showed them how to go from 5 sales to 12. That may not sound like much but when you multiply across 100 affiliates, it’s a BIG deal. Helping them adopt the right mindset and understanding the proven tactics to use made a huge difference.
There are numerous components to focus on so they stay informed:
- Product Knowledge: Your affiliates need have a deep understanding of the products or services you want them to promote. That way, you ensure that they can accurately represent your offerings and address potential customer questions or concerns.
- Brand Consistency: Proper training helps affiliates maintain brand consistency in their promotional efforts. You want to make sure they create a unified brand image and message across all marketing channels.
- Quality Promotion: In addition to any swipe copy you provide them with, educated affiliates are more likely to create high-quality promotional content that resonates with their audiences which can lead to better conversion rates.
- Compliance and Ethics: Teaching affiliates about ethical marketing practices and compliance guidelines ensures that they promote your products in a legal and ethical manner. That way, legal issues can be prevented so your brand’s reputation is not exposed.
- Optimized Marketing Strategies: By sharing effective marketing strategies and tactics, you can help affiliates improve their promotional efforts.
- Motivation and Engagement: When affiliates feel supported and equipped with the knowledge they need, they are likely to be more motivated and engaged in promoting your products. This can lead to increased sales and stronger partnerships.
Investing in the education and training of your affiliates can lead to more effective marketing efforts, stronger partnerships, and ultimately, increased revenue for your business.
To give you a behind the scenes peek at HOW to teach your affiliates, you can click on the link below to watch a recording of an actual affiliate training session we conducted for one of our “Your Affiliate Launch Coaching” clients.
…how to create a Promo Calendar
…a number of Promotional Strategies
And, we also took questions which rarely fails to enhance the training session.
Not only that, we included some valuable bonuses to provide you with additional insight.
Commandment #9: Thou shalt reply promptly
Don’t make affiliates wait to hear back.
Sure you may be busy but a simple ‘hey, got your email and I’m looking into it…’ goes a long way. Even if you know it’s a relatively minor issue that you can’t place ahead of more pressing priorities, let your affiliate know you’re on it. Your affiliate relationships are all important.
There’s nothing good that can come from avoiding a prospect…
You may cause them to be less motivated. Affiliates are motivated by the potential for earning commissions and rewards. Not responding in a timely way lead to a decrease in their enthusiasm to promote your products or services.
Their trust level may decrease. If you consistently make them wait to hear back…especially where earnings are concerned…it could lead to a strained relationship.
Their commitment may diminish. They could start to prioritize programs from other businesses where they feel their involvement is appreciated.
And never forget…negative word-of-mouth can spread quickly in affiliate marketing circles. If your business gains a reputation for being unresponsive, it might deter potential affiliates from partnering with you.
Commandment #10: Thou shalt make thine rules clear
You should have rules. And, you should enforce them.
All programs are different. You need to spell out what your expectations are on your affiliate page. Do you allow trademark bidding? What about the use of your logo? You affiliates must abide by the rules you lay down so that your brand is protected.
Here are a number of ways rules ensure your affiliates have a clear understanding of what their responsibilities are as an affiliate for your program:
- Clarity and Transparency: Clear rules establish the terms and conditions of the affiliate program, ensuring that your affiliates understand their role, responsibility and compensation structure.
- Consistency: Rules create a consistent framework for how affiliates should conduct their promotional activities. This ensures that all affiliates adhere to the same guidelines.
- Quality Control: By setting standards for the content, messaging, and methods used by affiliates, companies can protect their brand reputation and ensure that promotions are aligned with the company’s values and standards.
- Compliance: Affiliate programs often need to adhere to legal and regulatory requirements. Rules can ensure that affiliates comply with relevant laws, such as disclosure requirements for sponsored content or data privacy regulations.
- Prevention of Spam and Unethical Practices: Without rules, some affiliates might resort to spamming or using unethical tactics to promote products, which can harm the brand’s reputation and alienate potential customers.
- Affiliate Motivation: When affiliates understand how they can earn commissions and rewards, they are more likely to invest their time and effort into promoting the products or services effectively.
Rules for an affiliate program serve as a foundation for a successful, ethical, and mutually beneficial partnership between the company and its affiliates.
Now, I DID say there were 10 Commandments but I’m throwing in an additional one because it governs all the others…
THE SUPREME COMMANDMENT
Your affiliates are your partners. You should always have their best interests at heart. Treat them like family. And don’t look for every opportunity to squeeze everything out of them.
By following the commandments above, you’ll quickly find yourself on the path to being GREAT Affiliate Manager.
Here are some action steps you can take NOW:
- Review your entire affiliate program based on the above
- Check your commission structure. Is it generous? Is it competitive?
- You can access the Affiliate Training Webinar in Commandment #8 by clicking here.
- Come up with some rules for your affiliate program.
All the best!
Text me anytime at (260) 217-4619.
Or…check out some of my free reports to help you get on the right track: