Creative Best Practices Media Planning & Buying Research Targeting

Effectively Assessing Your Affiliates

Posted by Dush Ramachandran on October 26th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

In the world of business, it’s necessary to be discerning about your company’s public image. When it comes to your marketing affiliates, it’s important that you’re familiar with how they operate. Whether your affiliates send out mass emails, or your company is shown as merely a link on their websites, affiliations still represent an extension of your business – and, therefore, your image. To get the most out of such a partnership, it’s worthwhile to take the time to discover how your affiliates are running their businesses.

Getting to Know You

A general rule of thumb regarding affiliates: the more traffic and sales they send your way, the more you should know about them. You need to find out the source of their traffic and the methods they use to promote your products.

Companies employ a number of techniques to audit their affiliates. The simplest, most effective way to size up your affiliates (and their promotional methods) is to take a look at their websites, or any other means they might use to promote your products. For example, an affiliate who garners most of his traffic from dating sites is probably not a good match if you want to promote a financial services product.

However, an affiliate with a highly trafficked financial blog might be just the ticket. If you still have questions after surfing potential affiliates’ sites, don’t be afraid to give them a call and conduct a short phone interview. An affiliate is, after all, a business partner, so communication should play a key role in your dealings.

Size Matters

An affiliate’s size makes a difference in determining his suitability for your company. When it’s only an individual operating as an affiliate, he’s likely to specialize in just one area. What this means is that an individual affiliate is not going to reach a large audience the way a company can. A company affiliate might send out a number of email newsletters on a variety of special interest topics that reach a very large number of people. Depending on who you want to reach, such a company could be an effective affiliate, shooting off simultaneous emails to both photography and fashion enthusiasts, for example. In other words, larger affiliates can really get your message out there.

Knowing When to Let Go

Take it from me: Marketing is a volatile universe, and finding affiliates to successfully promote your product can be a herculean task. This is why I really encourage companies to hold on to their existing affiliates. When problems arise, try to open the channels of communication and explore every option short of termination.

Of course, affiliates can have a big impact on your company’s prospects, so they need to understand that the responsible handling of your company’s promotions is one of their priorities. If the affiliate fails to effectively handle your promotions, even after you’ve exhausted a plethora of problem-solving methods, then make a clean break of it. Make sure the ex-affiliate stops all of your company’s current promotions and that he does not represent you any further. You don’t want your image strapped to someone who’s struggling to promote – it will say as much about your company as it will about his.

Even if it’s a loose affiliation, you should still have a working knowledge of how your product is being promoted. Stick with larger companies as affiliates, get in touch with them from time to time to make sure your company’s image is being handled appropriately, and you’ll be able to play the marketing field to your advantage. The affiliates who run their businesses well will run your promotions the same way – and that’s a big benefit for you.

One Response to “Effectively Assessing Your Affiliates”

  1. Anne says:

    Thank you for this article, Dush! I found this post really useful! But something surprises me: you don´t give practical advice about how to achieve loyalty! I think that customer loyalty is one of the most important things for a company. Sometimes it´s really easy and isn´t expensive at all. A great example being with promotional products! Everyone loves free stuff (even with a logo on) and it´s a way to stay in a customers/affiliates mind. With just a simple and cheap promotional item you can instantly gain a relationship with a client!

    Anyway, I´m really glad you wrote this post! It´s actually really useful.

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