eCommerce Insiders

5 Issues That Drive Retail Affiliate Managers Nuts!

Allowing affiliate marketers to promote a retailer’s products or services is a brilliant marketing strategy that creates win-wins for everyone.

But, there are some common issues that can drive affiliate managers absolutely nuts if they fail to address them early on.

Here’s five issues that tempt a retail affiliate manager’s sanity, and can kill your affiliate-generated revenue stream:

Marketers Don’t Understand The Brand

In order for affiliate marketers to successfully target the right types of shoppers, it’s imperative that they understand a company’s brand. However, many retail affiliate managers fail to employ an on-boarding relationship with their affiliates marketers that would allow them to gain a full understanding of the values and the goals of the brand.

In layman’s terms, unless the independent marketer understands how the company wants to be represented, then they’ll be left to their own devices, often with poor to disastrous results!

Although well-intentioned, the independent marketer may publish incorrect information about the company, along with incorrect information about customer relations policies, and inventory. This leads to a major headache for the affiliate manager, and the company’s marketing and PR teams.

Marketers Make The Brand Look Bad

The only thing possibly worse than an an affiliate marketer who doesn’t understand the brand is a rouge affiliate marketer who goes out of their way to make a company’s brand look bad in minds of potential shoppers.

Examples of negative, rouge behavior includes an affiliate marketer who publishes content that is offensive to content readers, and creates a negative connotation about the company’s product, or the brand itself. Another example is when an affiliate marketer publishes content that blatantly violates boundaries established by the affiliate manager.

Or worse, the affiliate marketer might feel inclined to publish link marketing copy that creates a PR nightmare for the company, all for the sole purpose of generating personal attention at the expense of the company’s good reputation.

Marketers Disrespect Potential Shoppers

Shoppers perceive affiliate marketing properties such as review blogs as a source of referral marketing. Many shoppers want the reassurance that they’re about to make a reasonable, trusted purchase, and they gain this reassurance by reading product review sites.

However, the potential shopper can easily feel disrespected and turned off toward a company’s brand if the following takes place:

  • They ask product question in the comments section of a blog, and their questions are constantly ignored.
  • They email the content producer/affiliate marketer with questions and concerns, only to be blown-off.
  • They find the tone of the marketing site’s content to be rude, condescending, or patronizing.
  • They are ignored after they bring to the site administrator’s attention that the marketing links are malfunctioning or broken.
  • The affiliate marketer does nothing to interact with their followers on marketing platforms such as social media sites, review blog sites, or product forums.

Marketers Don’t Comply With Link Marketing Rules

There are governing rules for every industry and everything that humans embark upon, both personally and professionally. So, it stands to reason that affiliate marketing programs have very specific rules for independent marketers to comply with.

The rules of an affiliate marketing program legally protect both the independent marketers, and more importantly, the retailer selling products or services via affiliate links.

However, the promise of quick, fast money often tempts rouge affiliate marketers into skirting the rules, or outright breaking the rules. Combined with a perceived lack of accountability, independent marketers are often tempted to advertise their links on properties where they are told not to.

For example, they might promote links within online forums or on Craigslist, and some affiliate networks specifically forbid this. On the other side of the issue, there are many social media platforms that forbid marketers from posting direct marketing links within their content.

When marketers are caught violating the rules of a retailer’s marketing platform or a social media platform, then they make the retailer’s brand look bad. They also ruin any chance for the retailer’s marketing team to create a professional relationship with the online property in question.

Marketers Abandon the Affiliate Marketing Program

While it’s fine for an affiliate marketer to realize that a particular retail affiliate program might not be their cup of tea, it’s not okay for them to abandon the program without notifying the affiliate manager.

Yet, many do just that, because they see no harm in it. The fact is, an abandoned affiliate marketing program does nothing to bolster a potential shopper’s trust in a retailer’s brand.

For example, when potential shoppers find a link to a blog in search engine results, and after they find that the blog hasn’t been updated in months or years, then they often become weary of shopping on the site.

And, depending upon how unprofessional the site looks, the potential shopper might come to the conclusion that the site and the marketing links affiliated with the site is a scam!

How Can Retail Affiliate Managers Regain Sanity? 

Despite the inherent issues that often crop up when one is trying to manage a retail affiliate marketing program, all is not lost. For one thing, there are plenty of independent marketers who do want to follow the rules, and represent a company’s brand excellently.

But, affiliate managers can also take a proactive stance in heading-off issues that drive them crazy by doing the following:

  • They need to keep in regular contact with their marketers via email newsletters, online conferences, phone conferences, or private video chat sessions.
  • They should take note of inactive marketers in their system, and send these marketers an inactivation warning notice.
  • They should implement the use of software that allows them to locate where their links are being featured. This will also allow them to inspect the marketing copy that is being dispersed and shared.

Due diligence on the part of retail affiliate managers go a long way in putting an end to hair-pulling issues that challenge sanity, and kill revenue-producing opportunities.

Terri is a content marketing storyteller and strategist. She teaches marketing and entrepreneurship through stories for marketers of all stripes. Her specialty is creating narrative and she writes essays and memoir in her spare time.

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