New affiliate program managers can face a rather steep learning curve when it comes to affiliate marketing. Not only are there a wide range of tasks to learn how to do, but a score of pitfalls that need to be avoided. Not all the pitfalls are obvious ones or ones that seem to be that important, but can come back to haunt a manager later on if they are not tackled correctly right at the start. So here we present a number of pitfalls, the damage they can do and suggestions on how to deal with th
Not implementing a proper Terms and Conditions Document; It can be very tempting to accept the generic Terms and Conditions document that is presented in most affiliate networks, or, in the case that there isn’t one, to not put it in place right away. If you don’t take the time to review your legal stand point for your affiliate channel, then you can leave yourself open to a wide range of issues, especially when it comes down to what you allow and don’t allow your affiliates to do. If you are running an ethical program then your terms and conditions will be very important when you need to remove an affiliate for breaking your terms or reverse sales/commissions. Attempting to enforce a rule that you have not defined previously, as well as being unethical, can cause a ripple through the affiliate community that gets you attention that you don’t need, especially for a new affiliate manager, in an industry where your reputation is very important. A tight well written terms and conditions leaves all parties with very clear guidelines about what is allowed and also gives you the legal tool to take any actions you need to take against partners that maybe violating those terms.
Not Providing Fast, Quality Support For Your Affiliates; At AMWSO we have a basic rule for our program managers, “they can go where ever they like in the world…as long as there’s Internet.” Your affiliate partners want and respect quality support. What they don’t want, is to be waiting a week for a reply. It’s a very competitive field, if an affiliate sends out 3-4 emails to similar firms looking for support and one is replying to emails within hours, then that’s the one the affiliate partner is likely to pick over the merchant that took 48 hours to reply. In today’s world of multiple rapid communication channels, 24 hours can now be a long time to be left waiting for a reply.
Not notifying your affiliate partners of key updates well in advance; Everyone has had it happen to them at some point, you make detailed plans, organized everything you need to do, and then suddenly your told of a change that wrecks everything you wanted to do, but worse than that, there was no reason at all that someone couldn’t have told you about the change weeks ago! The same applies for your affiliate program. Always make sure your partners are made aware of changes as far in advance as possible. This doesn’t just apply to changes either, it can equally be applied to such things as new product launches, promotions and anything that can help an affiliate promote your products better. Telling your partners about a cool promotion , the day it happens, is not going to get much attention. Plan in advance!
Not treating affiliates as partners; Affiliate Partners are not your employees. They don’t work for you and they certainly don’t respond well to being treated as such. Affiliates are your partners, they are also the partners of many other merchants. Affiliates can be very special, and when they are they appreciate being shown how special they are. But, at the same time, don’t forget that the affiliate that signed up yesterday, may well be your big partner in a years time. Make sure that even your smallest partners are giving the right attention and support so that they know your appreciate the work they do to promote your business, because if you don’t you can be sure that one of your competitors is!
Part two to follow next week.