Getting to Know You
A general rule of thumb regarding affiliates: the more traffic and sales they send your way, the more you should know about them. You need to find out the source of their traffic and the methods they use to promote your products.
Companies employ a number of techniques to audit their affiliates. The simplest, most effective way to size up your affiliates (and their promotional methods) is to take a look at their websites, or any other means they might use to promote your products. For example, an affiliate who garners most of his traffic from dating sites is probably not a good match if you want to promote a financial services product.
However, an affiliate with a highly trafficked financial blog might be just the ticket. If you still have questions after surfing potential affiliates’ sites, don’t be afraid to give them a call and conduct a short phone interview. An affiliate is, after all, a business partner, so communication should play a key role in your dealings.
An affiliate’s size makes a difference in determining his suitability for your company. When it’s only an individual operating as an affiliate, he’s likely to specialize in just one area. What this means is that an individual affiliate is not going to reach a large audience the way a company can. A company affiliate might send out a number of email newsletters on a variety of special interest topics that reach a very large number of people. Depending on who you want to reach, such a company could be an effective affiliate, shooting off simultaneous emails to both photography and fashion enthusiasts, for example. In other words, larger affiliates can really get your message out there.
Knowing When to Let Go
Take it from me: Marketing is a volatile universe, and finding affiliates to successfully promote your product can be a herculean task. This is why I really encourage companies to hold on to their existing affiliates. When problems arise, try to open the channels of communication and explore every option short of termination.
Of course, affiliates can have a big impact on your company’s prospects, so they need to understand that the responsible handling of your company’s promotions is one of their priorities. If the affiliate fails to effectively handle your promotions, even after you’ve exhausted a plethora of problem-solving methods, then make a clean break of it. Make sure the ex-affiliate stops all of your company’s current promotions and that he does not represent you any further. You don’t want your image strapped to someone who’s struggling to promote – it will say as much about your company as it will about his.
Even if it’s a loose affiliation, you should still have a working knowledge of how your product is being promoted. Stick with larger companies as affiliates, get in touch with them from time to time to make sure your company’s image is being handled appropriately, and you’ll be able to play the marketing field to your advantage. The affiliates who run their businesses well will run your promotions the same way – and that’s a big benefit for you.