September 12, 2023
What Is an Affiliate Manager?
Microbrands and SMBs can benefit greatly from the right tools to help them get ahead. While big businesses have access to a whole repertoire of marketing tools, one of the most effective methods of generating sales for smaller operations is using an affiliate program.
These programs, while incredibly useful, can be a lot of work. Having an affiliate manager ensures a smooth operation, but what is an affiliate manager? What do they do?
What Types of Affiliate Managers Are There?
In short, affiliate managers are in charge of the programs that recruit influencers, affiliates, or publishers that can help grow the business. They look for individuals that uphold the brand’s image and support their values. These individuals are then onboarded and looked after by the management in a business partnership.
The position of affiliate manager is either filled in-house or outsourced to a third-party company that specializes in these skills. Both are viable options, and which one works best depends on the individual business and the needs of the company.
Running an affiliate program in-house allows for more creative control and direct access to the data. The position can be filled by one individual or a team of skilled people with a knack for analyzing and applying data. Additionally, the marketing can be fully integrated into a larger team and the entire business can benefit from the collaboration.
However, the costs for training and maintaining employees may not be feasible for small businesses. It’s also a difficult task to build relationships, nurture them, and establish the business within the market while also trying to learn the necessary skills to follow trends, grow networks, and achieve the results desired.
Finding a management plan outside of the business is a great option for operations that need to focus their efforts elsewhere. Key members are already trained and able to do their duties without much guidance at an agency, taking the liability off of the business. Agencies also have advanced technology and a specific focus.
However, there may be a disconnect that leads to communication problems since the two systems are not integrated. Additionally, decisions that require approval may be delayed while trying to contact the person in charge since the agency is at a third-party location.
Outsourcing or In-House: Which Is Best for Me?
Ultimately, it depends on your specific company’s budget, needs, and goals for growth. However, there are certain advantages to outsourcing that deserve to be highlighted.
Outsourcing your affiliate management program gives you access to resources and affiliate pools you wouldn’t be able to connect with on your own. You’ll also benefit from the experience and insider knowledge of a group of advisors who specialize in affiliate marketing.
Finally, you won’t have to go through the headache of creating a whole new department at your company or forcing existing employees to juggle new tasks they weren’t hired for and aren’t specifically trained in.
What Is an Affiliate Manager Responsible For?
Managers of the affiliate programs wear many hats, performing various duties that help the business grow. Above all, their job is to monitor and improve performance across the board using the tools at their disposal.
In the pursuit of that, they recruit new individuals to the program, develop strong relationships, track performance, ensure compliance, and much more to manage the day-to-day operations of the business while minding the big-picture projections.
Recruiting and Onboarding
An essential part of the program is actively seeking out and selecting potential affiliates who represent the best interests of the company. This includes having a stable following, upholding views and ideals that the company supports, and being able to reach the desired audience or expand it.
The process is about more than just knowing what trends are popular or which influencers are well-received. Looking out for the company’s reputation and finding affiliates who are reliable and trustworthy is vital.
In addition to recruiting them, management is responsible for providing them with onboarding materials and establishing the guidelines by which individuals are to operate.
Resources and support are important parts of the onboarding process, and it’s the responsibility of the management to ensure that affiliates are given the tools they need to be successful in converting sales.
Paired with recruiting and onboarding, the role also requires the ability to develop and maintain professional relationships with the affiliated individuals.
While they are to promote the company and act in its image, they also need to have a support system within the company where they feel heard. This is what an affiliate manager is responsible for.
Clear communication, guidance, and trust are key aspects of a healthy business relationship. Building a rapport and sense of community within the company is vital to success, and it inspires affiliated individuals to do their best in the partnership.
These interactions are mutually beneficial and must be treated with care.
Performance Tracking and Optimization
Running digital marketing campaigns generate more clicks and views, but they can be difficult to track.
An affiliate manager knows the ins and outs of the materials used, so they are able to look at the data and report what it means. They monitor key performance indicators like conversion rates and generated revenue throughout the site.
Using this data, they can determine which campaigns work best and which ones need to be adjusted moving forward. Through this process, they optimize future campaigns, providing data to the necessary individuals who can use it to improve performance on their end.
Refining marketing strategies and distributing the information is an important part of the job, and it’s not to be overlooked in any capacity.
Part of the role is protecting the face of the company and its reputation. Industry regulations and legal jargon are often complicated and specific. Having a manager who knows what to look for can benefit the business greatly by bolstering the protections in place and maintaining the company’s integrity.
Ethical practices will be enforced and fraudulent activities will be monitored to ensure full compliance with local regulations. No one wants to be caught off guard by fines or charges being pressed for violating these laws. Having a manager avoids hefty fines or other legal trouble down the line.
Promoting campaigns and distributing resources is an important part of the job. With online marketplaces, these resources include page banners, crucial links, promotional codes, and other assets to the company that can be distributed to affiliated parties.
Without these materials, individuals affiliated with the company will not be able to distinguish themselves as members who formed a partnership with the business. This is one step that covers many categories, such as onboarding, building relationships, and fostering growth within the company.
Establishing Performance Incentives
Motivating affiliated persons can be an ordeal in itself. While having individuals who promote the company is a boon, they must actively work to bring in new customers and clients to secure their position and benefit the company.
One way to motivate these partnerships is with an incentive program run by the affiliate manager. Such rewards include tiered commission rates, referral bonuses, and exclusive promotions that show affiliated members that they are looked out for within the company.
Distributing rewards to top performers builds loyalty and encourages a long-term partnership that may blossom into future partnerships as well.
Industry Innovation and Opportunities
Trends are constantly changing, meaning that the affiliate manager must stay on top of them at all times. This entails knowing the latest technology and marketing best practices the moment they are made public, or even before then.
The goal is to explore new ideas and find the next trend before it hits so that the company can embrace the full impact. This includes evaluating new partnerships, testing innovative marketing techniques, and staying ahead of the curve with all parts of the company.
With an affiliate program, benefits and rewards need to stay competitive to keep prospective individuals interested in the company and actively participating in its growth.
Are Affiliate Managers Necessary?
Over 80% of brands use affiliate marketing, and the industry is growing at a rate of about 10% each year. A trained and experienced affiliate manager is absolutely vital for steady and exponential growth and to stay on top of current digital marketing trends.
Without an affiliate manager, businesses are left to handle their programs on their own, especially when they operate on a smaller scale. This allows for details to fall through the cracks, generally harming the image of the business as a whole.
Rather than let that happen, making room in the budget for a highly qualified manager is a small price to pay.
Final Thoughts on Affiliate Manager Roles
After learning the ins and outs of what an affiliate manager does, it’s clear to see that they play an important role within a company.
The role includes more than just recruiting potential influencers; it requires a dedicated team of individuals who can process data and apply it to grow the company.
Mosaic provides essential services for microbrands and SMBs to utilize the benefits of an expert affiliate marketing staff like never before. Try it today and see the results for yourself!