There are plenty of reasons why creating an affiliate program is a great idea for your e-commerce brand.
I wrote about the benefits of a strong affiliate program in a previous article, and there are plenty of articles on the topic as well.
However, I’ve also discussed how selecting the wrong type of affiliates often drive affiliate managers nuts and specifically, reasons why affiliate managers should fire low-performing affiliates immediately.
If you’re an affiliate manager (or if you’re about to hire one), then these are great tips to use, but you’ll find that it’s even better to avoid hiring poor affiliates in the first place.
It’s in everyone’s best interest to learn how to identify potential affiliate marketers who will simply waste your time, or worse, represent your brand in an unflattering light.
With this in mind, here’s some signs to look out for that will help your affiliate management team identify what type of affiliate applications to deny during their selection process:
Sadly, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to either ignore their emails or blow off responding to their emails in a timely manner. However, just because the practice is becoming common doesn’t meant that it’s the right thing to do, and it’s certainly not the professional thing to do.
Affiliate marketing can seem like a lot of fun for the marketer, and in fact, it is a fun way for motivated marketers to earn a little extra money, discounted products, store credit, or even create a full-time income for themselves.
But all of these benefits not withstanding, affiliate marketing for a brand is also serious business. It’s serious business for your company because it translates into another (hopefully robust) income stream. You count on your team of affiliates to bolster your company’s revenue and your market share, too.
Therefore, it’s unacceptable for potential marketers to ignore emails from your affiliate program manager. When your manager finds that they’re dealing with a non-responsive potential marketer, then that candidate’s application should be denied. They simply don’t understand how important your program is to the financial longevity of your company.
When an affiliate marketing candidate submits the link to their incomplete website, it’s akin to a brick and mortar job candidate showing up to a job interview half-dressed!
The purpose of requiring your marketing candidates to submit a link to their site is to allow your management team to assess whether or not the candidate’s site falls in line with your marketing and branding objectives. You have no way of determining this when you look at an unfinished site, and besides, it’s just plain sloppiness on the candidate’s part!
This falls in line with the last talking point. Your affiliate management team needs to assess whether or not the candidate’s site is a good fit for your marketing materials.
Your team needs to look at aspects such as
…and so on.
What’s more, your program managers will need to make sure that the candidate’s site isn’t in violation of your program’s rules and requirements. Take the time to ensure that the site doesn’t promote questionable or illegal activity, either, as this will crucify your customers perception of your brand.
Speaking of crucifying your brand perception, your affiliate managers should immediately deny any applications generated from marketing candidates who submit links to sites featuring photos that are questionable, irrelevant (to your brand), or inappropriate.
Examples of questionable photos include those that feature (or reference) illegal or socially-unacceptable products. Regardless of what the candidate stands for in their personal life, they have to understand that their site will literally be affiliated with your company. Therefore, it must look like an extension of your company’s e-retail site.
Irrelevant photos include any products, people, animals, etc. that have nothing to do with the products that your affiliate is hoping to market. For example, if the affiliate wants to market high-end cooking utensils, then then the site they submit shouldn’t contain photos of pets, cosmetics, or lingerie (for example).
Of course, most people understand what type of images are socially unacceptable, regardless of whether or not they agree with society’s view on the issue.
Any potential affiliate candidate who does these doesn’t understand your company (at the very least), and they’re displaying troublesome, anti-social, trouble-making behavior (at the very worst).
You should deny applications from these type of candidates at all costs!
Now that you understand how to prevent bad affiliates from demoralizing your program, here’s something that your team can use to hire the right candidates the first time around:
Recruit qualified affiliates directly.
Have your team scour the Internet for bloggers and marketers who publish sites that you’d love for your company to be affiliated with, then court them. Let them know what your program can offer them, then make it easy for them to make a decision to work with you.
This may seem like a lot of extra work up front, but in the long run, you will save your brand countless hours in frustration and damage control.
Affiliate managers face many issues while working with their affiliate marketers, but many of these issues can be avoided by ensuring that your team hires the cream of the crop, while firmly denying the applications of candidates who simply aren’t a good fit for your program.
Have any affiliate horror stories? Let me know in the comments!
I just came across this piece Terri – good advice as well.
Its worth also noting that its important to understand the affiliate’s overall business. They may have submitted 5-10 websites in their network profile, but actually have many hundreds of sites, especially if they are focused on Travel or Retail. I’d of course say that a good affiliate network analysis tool will help you to gain those insights – as well as enable you to have a stronger relationship with the affiliate.