To manage an affiliate program
If you operate a business in which you expect to use the services of affiliates, or you operate an affiliate program, it is important to keep in mind that once affiliates begin to sign up, even if you’re automatically approving them, your best interest is served by auditing your network on a regular basis. As you probably already know, the FTC has made marketers responsible for the actions of their affiliates; so if your affiliates get out of control, you could be liable for payment of a substantial sum of money.
The affiliate attraction gambit
Many affiliate programs and networks attract vast numbers of affiliates and your program or business could have hundreds of affiliates sign up for your program, including hobbyists, spammers, webmasters and even seasoned marketers. In view of this probability, it will be very important that you review each of your affiliates on a regular basis to ensure that the way they are promoting you is acceptable to your company and, above all, that it is legal.
That having been said, you may find the following tips helpful when screening affiliates:
- All prospective affiliates must have an active website; if not they may be spammers.
- The affiliate site content must relate to the products and/or services you provide.
- The site should have appropriate levels of content.
- Misuse of content must be prohibited, so it should be made crystal clear to your affiliates what content they can use from your website.
Fraud involving affiliates has been increasing over the last several years and as such, provides another excellent reason to screen your affiliates on a regular basis. You’ll find, if you don’t already know, that there are two main types in which affiliates are often involved:
The first is Malware which some affiliates utilize be developing software that is installed on a machine, normally as part of a free download, and when an unassuming user clicks on the affiliate link, the true affiliate ID is replaced with the fraudulent one which of course is the most common type of Affiliate ID Theft.
The second type of affiliate fraud is Fake purchase in which a product of high value that returns large commissions for affiliates is the object of undesirable entities signing up to your program, and then using stolen or fake credit card information to purchase products via their links. This practice, if permitted to continue for a prolonged period of time, will cost your business considerable sums of money, from which you may not recover.
Communicating with affiliates
Worthy (honest, hard working, non-fraudulent) affiliates who are of your time and devotion are normally busy, so they can easily forget about your services and products; and as time goes by, your offers can wind up in less numbers and in less visited areas; or they can even be accidentally deleted; so it’s extremely important to stay in contact with your affiliates, even more so with the high performers. Do not wait for them to contact you, because if you do, it normally means they are reporting a problem.
By taking the time to contact them, you are showing that you are interested in the partnership; and you don’t really need a new product as an excuse to contact your power affiliates, even if it’s just a quick note to ask if they need anything. You can also use the opportunity for feedback on your program as well.
Managing a successful affiliate program is not an easy task; nor is it one that you can fully automate since you’ll have to get involved regardless of the type or size of business/program you operate. Just keep in mind that happy affiliates are more productive, and the more money they make – the more money your company makes as a result, so it behooves you to keep your affiliates happy.