Affiliate Marketing Strategies – Part 3

In part 3 of the Affiliate Marketing Strategies 3-part tutorial, we’ll be speaking about developing a system to manage affiliate traffic. Many email marketers have a tendency to manage affiliate relationships and outreach “gunslinger” style i.e. they attempt to keep everything upstairs in the brain and try to remember which affiliate is promoting on what day, who they’re promoting for, etc.

Just as email marketing needs some level of rigor to ensure quality of execution, so too does affiliate marketing require an equal level of efficiency.

Provided is an abbreviated version of the system that we use to manage as many as 12 affiliates in a given week. I had to come up with a system that could be delegated to someone else. Though you – the company owner, CEO, etc. – may initially manage such relationships, eventually you’ll want to hand this task off to a lower-level employee or contractor.

The Management Spreadsheet

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This sample spreadsheet (identical in structure to ours) has 3 columns, and you’ll see that the third column is a bit unique.The rows are labeled by day, indicating daily tasks. The first 2 columns are the marketing media channels that we use – email and Facebook – with affiliate promotions.

By looking at the content in columns 1 and 2, we know which affiliates are promoting for what products, and what needs to be done for that particular day. Any “?” in the content symbolizes placeholder promotions, meaning the  affiliate has not yet affirmed dates; if that day comes and the affiliate still hasn’t confirmed, we assume that promotion doesn’t happen and delete the content.

The “unique” 3rd column is for affiliate care/outreach, containing anything that relates to ongoing communication with an affiliate. We certainly don’t put every detail of every email communication into this column, but we do include a specific message geared toward a particular affiliate for a later date. For example, if it’s the beginning of September, and know I want to reach out to Steve in December and have him introduce me to Allen, I note it in this column. I might make a similar note if I plan on introducing an affiliate to a useful contact.

On any given day, I have an employee go through each column and check whether we’ve updated a particular affiliate, given out the necessary creatives, gotten in touch with a contact, etc. Once a day’s worth of tasks is complete, we bold the day – it’s how we know our day is done.

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Our actual action system is a bit more robust in its contents, and includes symbols that tell  whether an affiliate did the promotion (or not), etc., but essentially we’re always bolding and moving down to the next day/row.

Summing it Up

In order to keep an eye on the bigger picture, it’s important to create a system for managing affiliates (MarketingLand provides some additional common sense tips on improving affiliate relationships in this article). This includes tracking the basics i.e. ongoing relationship information, any promotion that you’re doing for an affiliate, and any promotions that you need to ensure happen from affiliate partners.

I would recommend using the above outlined process, or something similar. Keep in mind that nothing is set in stone with this model, but it works well for us as a simple system, and converts what lives in our heads and email threads into a more tangible, visual spreadsheet.

Remember that it’s not quite a system of it’s not delegatable. If you as a business owner develop a system that’s so esoteric and complicated that only you can manage it, then it’s not a system. The goal is to build a simple, visual process that you could train relatively new employee to manage.

If you follow all three steps in this Affiliate Marketing Strategies series (watch part 1 and part 2 on our blog), I can almost guarantee your success in the affiliate channel. It’s always a learning process, but I certainly hope these strategies are useful for you now and in the future.

Reach out to us at info@clvboost.com if there’s anything you need and want to work with us on in your own business, including affiliate marketing.

-Daniel Faggella
CLVboost Founder

About The Author

Daniel Faggella

I grow businesses with marketing automation, email marketing, and conversion-rate optimization. I've spoken on business and emerging technologies internationally and at some of America's finest schools (Yale, Stanford, Cornell, etc...). My marketing strategies have been featured in the Boston Business Journal, MarketingProfs, Direct Marketing News, and much more. CLVboost is where I share marketing strategies, TechEmergence.com is my major pursuit.