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Affiliate Marketing Management

As you probably know by now if you’ve already used it as a monetization technique, affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing where an organization rewards its partners for various goals that they achieve. 

But in today’s article, we’re going to be looking at what affiliate marketing management is and how it can help you, whether you want to run an affiliate program or you are an affiliate, or maybe you want to become an affiliate marketing manager yourself. 

What is affiliate marketing management?

Affiliate marketing management is handling the works of an affiliate program in such a way as to stimulate sales and help with online marketing, too. 

Larger affiliate networks are considerably more challenging to manage compared to smaller ones. 

The management of an affiliate program involves several activities, such as tracking online marketing, affiliate sales, as well as setting up a social media strategy and making sure that the affiliates are happy, too, not just the brand that they recommend. 

Sometimes, brands have to create an internal software that can help their affiliate managers to handle all of the activities that we have mentioned in the previous paragraph. 

Small affiliate programs can be managed manually, too, using spreadsheets and a variety of other methods, but this makes it far more challenging for the manager to have complete control over everything. It’s also a tad more difficult to report on the changes and improvements that the affiliate program has shown. 

Affiliate management vs. affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing management services are quite different compared to standard affiliate marketing. With the second, as an affiliate, you will get a commission for every sale that you recommend or depending on each affiliate program’s policies. 

Affiliates are paid based on reports, whether they are monthly (like in Amazon Associates, for example) or on a different time period. 

Affiliates can make use of several ways to find, enroll in, and manage their own affiliate marketing programs — they can do it through networks such as ShareASale or Commission Junction or directly from the brand. 

For example, we’ve written about the Booking.com affiliate program in the past, and this is quite unique in that you need to join it individually, on the brand website. We’d argue that this type of program is more beneficial for the company since affiliates have to go and check their performance and also spread the word about their direct services, therefore increasing the traffic on the site, too. 

Naturally, if affiliates use a network and not the direct affiliate program, they’re still going to direct potential customers to the right site, but most proprietary affiliate networks and programs seem to work better for the companies themselves. 

Affiliate management is different in that it looks at all of the marketing channels, the number of affiliates, how they are generating sales, how they are paid, how often, and what commissions they are offered. 

The affiliate program also needs to be marketed using PPC, social media, and pretty much any online marketing technique. But wait, there’s more – there’s also a difference between a program manager and an affiliate manager as companies can have two different people employed to fulfill two roles. 

The program manager handles the entire process, so it is an all-encompassing activity. On the other hand, the affiliate manager simply has control over the channels and some of the details we’ve already described (but not all). 

Different kinds of affiliates that have to be managed

When it comes to marketing, affiliates can be split up into several categories depending on how valuable they are for the companies themselves and the amount of effort they have to put in to recommend services or products. 

BOF (bottom of the funnel) affiliates have the least amount of responsibility of all types. These can be used by very large companies that have already acquired a decent number of unique visitors per month, and that simply want to generate more sales — the Booking.com example that we gave above is pretty good in this sense. 

BOF affiliates will often have no involvement in the program per se and will rarely even be in contact with someone from the company. This type of affiliate marketing is very popular as it does deliver good conversions through a number of affiliate links, cookies, browser extensions, coupons, and just by monetizing the traffic that these blogs or sites have. 

MOF (middle of the funnel) affiliates are can be a combination of the first type that we’ve described and TOF (top of the funnel) in that they can help generate more sales, handle potentially negative reviews, and a number of other things that can be helpful for businesses, especially those starting out. 

MOF affiliates do have to be given separate commissions as their activity can be quite valuable.

TOF (top of the funnel) affiliates are the best that you can get if you have or manage an affiliate program. These are very well-known people or even other brands (in your niche or not) that have acquired an immense amount of traffic and following on social media. 

If you have a decent budget for your marketing and you’re currently not getting enough traffic, reaching out to influencers or well-known bloggers and offering them high commissions and unique promotions can definitely be the right way of going about things. 

Do you need an affiliate marketing manager?

Having a marketing campaign is all good and well, without a doubt, but having the right affiliate manager can be extremely useful. 

There could be a lot of things going wrong if you do not have an affiliate program manager, such as auto-approval of bad affiliates (also known as rogue affiliates), which can not only use shady techniques to get more commissions, but they can also discourage affiliates with great intentions and can even hurt your company in the long run. 

It is true that you could use software to manage at least part of the affiliate program, but if at one point it becomes pretty large, you will have to hire someone, whether in-house or a freelancer, to help you. 

What does an affiliate marketing manager do?

Whether you’re considering hiring one or perhaps you want to become one yourself, a basic affiliate marketing manager job description could be useful in this sense. 

Right off the bat, we’d like to mention that an affiliate manager can have a lot of things on their plate from developing the program description to managing your creatives and updating what they do. 

Here are some other tasks that an affiliate manager can expect to do for a brand:

  • Identify and recruit new affiliate candidates
  • Manage an affiliate database
  • Make sure that the affiliates are happy so they keep recommending the brand’s products and services
  • Communicate with the product owner and send out reports of how the affiliate program is evolving
  • Stimulate affiliates using special discounts, commissions, or other offers using newsletters and other means of communication
  • Review transactions or at least review how the software for transaction approval is working
  • Keeping an eye on what other affiliate programs by other brands in the same industry are doing and replicating or improving their marketing techniques
  • Keep your affiliates motivated and informed on whatever new products or services the brand might have launched
  • Optimize the affiliate marketing program performance time and again until goals are met

The way an affiliate manager can benefit a company largely depends on the experience and education they have, if they’ve been an affiliate themselves in the past, what knowledge they have, their skills, and also if they are proactive or not. 

Finally, it’s worth noting that an affiliate manager can only do their job if they have the right tools at their disposal. 

In-house or outsourced affiliate management

There are pros and cons to hiring someone in-house and to outsourcing affiliate marketing management, too. 

We’d argue that hiring someone that comes into the office will let you have better control on what they are doing, so it might be a better option for small-sized businesses. 

While an in-house worker (even a manager) is going to be your subordinate so that can be better and more motivational, unfortunately it does not guarantee that they are going to do their job properly. 

Another aspect we’d like to note here is that affiliate marketing managers have to be trained, even if they are seasoned and already possess the right skills or might have worked with other programs before. So, it can take time and money, and you will also need the correct resources. 

Affiliate marketing manager salary

What is the typical affiliate marketing manager salary? Well, it largely depends on the factors that we have already mentioned, but it can vary between $55,000 to $77,000 per year and more. The average base salary of an affiliate manager is around $65,000 a year. 

The numbers can vary depending on how large the company is and what budget it has at its disposal. For example, for a brand such as Macy’s, an affiliate marketing manager can expect to be paid around $100,000 a year or more.

Apple affiliate marketing managers get an even better paycheck, with the average being around $165,000. If you get hired by a company such as Newegg, you can expect an average of $83,000 per year. It all depends on the brand’s budget and company size, in other words. 

What should the contract of an affiliate manager include?

A contracting agreement is of utmost importance in both cases, whether you decide to hire someone in-house or begin to work with an affiliate manager who’s gone freelance. 

For this job role, the contract should include the standard details such as the services that the affiliate manager has to offer (their duties and responsibilities), whether there are any penalties for not reaching certain goals in a certain period of time, and just how long the contract will be valid for. 

The payment terms have to be established, too, so that means that you should have a talk before drafting the contract with your potential candidates and see whether they might be willing to accept your offer. 

When it comes to payment terms, some of the most important info that needs to be included in the contract range from how much the affiliate manager is going to receive, what payment method is going to be used, and the time of the month when they can expect to be paid. 

Finally, a contract should also include confidential information, any conflicting clauses (such as whether the affiliate manager is prohibited from working for other companies, especially competitors), and also if there are any employment benefits. 

Affiliate management software

Although there is no comparison between what a piece of software can do for you and how an affiliate marketing manager can help your brand, we’d thought it might be helpful to include several software solutions. 

The platforms listed below offer most of the basic features that you need for managing an affiliate program, such as keeping track of your performance, reports, customization functions, and payout automation. 

Based on the info that we have come across regarding these software solutions, they’re pretty effective, especially for small-sized businesses. On top of this, they have good customer support, which can always be helpful. 

  • Refersion
  • Tapfiliate
  • iDevAffiliate
  • LinkMink
  • OSIAffiliate
  • Tune

Read more: Golf affiliate programs

Conclusion

Whether you are a brand looking to hire an affiliate marketing manager or you yourself are looking to become one for a company, we think that the basic guidelines that we have showcased in today’s article are quite helpful. 

As simple as an affiliate marketing structure might be since it includes the customer, the publisher, the network, and the merchant, it’s gotten a lot more complicated in the past years. 

Managing an affiliate program will almost always involve other marketing methods, such as search engine marketing, social media marketing, online presence management, online reputation management, and even email marketing, although some might argue that it’s less powerful these days. 

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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