Q: What are the advantages, if any, of retaining an affiliate management company to run our new affiliate program? Would outsourced affiliate management be redundant, since we’ll be joining an affiliate network and they’ll be managing the affiliates?
A: It really comes down to your resources and your experience in affiliate marketing.
If you have faith in somebody who is current in-house to run your affiliate program, I’d say that’s probably the best case scenario.
Unfortunately, there is somewhat of a shortage in people who are skilled, connected, and well versed in affiliate management.
So if that’s the position you are in, I’d say it’s a good move to go with an OPM or outsourced program management firm to take care of your affiliate program.
They have the experience and know-how to do it. They’ve got the connections with the affiliates you want, because they’ve been running a number of affiliate programs for many years.
The OPM can easily introduce these desirable affiliates to your affiliate program.
As far as the network, I think there is some confusion there. By having your affiliate program in a network, you’ll have a lot of exposure and access to affiliates, but the affiliates won’t necessarily be managed unless you’re paying extra fees.
While these affiliates can easily join your program, because of your presence in an affiliate network, you need more than a stream of applications.
It’s essential to activate and educate the affiliates, too.
If you solely rely on the affiliate network, you’ll have something of a static affiliate program. It’s not going to really ever grow.
No matter which way you go, you definitely need somebody to actively manage your affiliate program.