1. What Is an Affiliate Management Program and Why Do You Need One?
Affiliate management programs allow you to effectively operate your affiliate program and the partnerships formed through it. You need effective affiliate management to ensure the highest ROI possible for all of your partnerships. Amazon.com is the poster child for a hugely successful affiliate management program. How did they do it? By using a robust affiliate management program and providing powerful tools and training to their affiliates.
2. Where Can You Find an Effective Affiliate Management Program?
Of course, Amazon's affiliate management program, code is proprietary, so you won't be able to get your hands on that, but you CAN get one. Then, just how can you get your own affiliate management program? It's simple, they're everywhere. If you type the phrase "affiliate management program" into your favorite search engine, you'll see a plethora of returned search results. Don't despair just yet; I'm going to tell you just what to look for in an effective affiliate management program.
But for now, you must decide if it's more of a benefit for you to buy and install an off-the-shelf software package on your server, or to pay for a hosted service, even if you have the expertise to easily install your own program. Does the boxed version do everything you need it to do? Is the price right? (Only you can decide that.)
3. Things to Look for In an Affiliate Management Program
Your affiliate management program should allow you to track your affiliates' progress, train them, contact them individually, and even make special arrangements with them (partnerships). A quality affiliate management program should immediately give you the information you need about your affiliates at a glance.
You should instantly be able to see who your best performing affiliates are and which ones are struggling. In this case, use the tools in your affiliate management program to email an automated training series to the affiliates who are having difficulty, or offer more personalized help. The choice is yours. On the flip-side of that, you can offer your best performers better incentives to keep the sales coming. Does your current affiliate management program allow you to do this?
4. What Are Multi-tiered Affiliate Management Programs
A multi-tiered affiliate management program is one that not only pays your affiliates commissions on the sales they make, but it also allows them to recruit others and make a percentage of their sales as well. Multi-tiered affiliate management programs are structured somewhat like MLM programs. They allow the top person to make a percentage of the sales of everyone else whom they recruit. Some affiliate programs go as deep as 5 levels, but these normally don't live up to expectations. It's like, "each one - teach one. The person directly above is responsible for the success of the person directly beneath them.
Two-tiered affiliate management programs usually work best for this. They are the most effective, as others don't pay as well on the 1st and 2nd levels (tiers) as the 2-tier affiliate management programs. Affiliate management programs that stretch beyond 2 levels may place the highest commission percentage to be earned on the lower levels - which are usually not filled. This prevents the affiliates from making the max commissions on their sales. It also provides little incentive for affiliates to keep promoting your product/service.
Therefore, for the best results I strongly recommend you use a two-tier affiliate management program if you're thinking of implementing a multi-tiered affiliate management program. Better yet, implement an affiliate management program that gives you the flexibility to offer a flat affiliate program, a 2-tiered affiliate program, or no program at all to your affiliates.
Look for an affiliate management program that's part of a package, or e-business suite. The package or suite should be a synergistic combination of e-business tools that you effectively manage and see the results of your efforts. For instance, you should be able to view your affilliates' stats, ads, and progress, etc. Don't make it harder that it has to be. Let the tools do the work for you by choosing the right tools upfront. So, you need a combination of powerful tools that automatically run and manage your affiliate program for you.
Offer your affiliates a chance to earn commissions, even recurring commissions through your affiliate management program. Let your affiliate program do the tracking and expense calculations. You benefit by instantly seeing which ads produce the best results for you, and which ones you need to toss. Then, everyone's happy - you and your affiliates!
Thanks for reading, and much success to you in your online endeavors!