This is chapter 13, Supporting Your Affiliates, of Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants.
This is the final chapter of the book, and it’s a pretty quick and easy one.
One thing I’ve touched on in the past is that you should provide some sort of resource site for your affiliates.
At this site, you’ll have your FAQ, application to the affiliate program, the affiliate agreement. Maybe a newsletter archives, blog, just different resources to help support your affiliates.
I first did this back in 2000 when the company where I was working was a little difficult when it came to updating the affiliate page.
Basically, I’d have to fill out paperwork and wait weeks to add a paragraph.
So, I decided to go out and create an affiliate resource site with the look and feel of the main corporate site. The only difference was that it was solely about the affiliate program, and the domain was the same as the company name with affiliates afterwards (i.e. companyaffiliates.com).
I just maintained it myself. If you are not familiar with HTML, you can use a program like DreamWeaver or Front Page to create pages and update the site.
At the very least, get a blog going where you can provide updates, as well as creating some static pages with important information about the affiliate program.
When it comes to servicing your affiliates, categorize them to customize your support.
What I mean by that is that your affiliates are going to be different types of marketers (e-mailers, PPC players, content sites, etc.), and they each have special needs that don’t matter to other types of affiliates.
Provide unique tools for each type of affiliate, rather than trying to go with a one size fits all approach where you tell all of the affiliates about a tool that won’t benefit the majority of them.
Also, encourage your affiliates to know as much as possible about your product or service.
An easy way to do that is to give them a free subscription or whatever for a service or samples if you sell a physical product. Let them use your stuff, so they can become more familiar with it.
One of the key things in supporting your affiliates is to just be very available.
Give them all of your contact information, you phone, e-mail, fax, IM, maybe even your cell phone number.
Just be there for the affiliates, because it’s a partnership. If they can’t reach you when they need you, they’ll just turn to a different affiliate program.
Finally, try getting some automation tools together to help out the newbies that don’t really know affiliate marketing at all and are getting into it for the first time.
If you are accepting these sorts of affiliates into your affiliate program, consider setting up an autoresponder series where they can subscribe and get seven days of lessons covering the basics to promote your affiliate program.
Do that and you can hold their hand in an automated way, while you focus more personal attention on the affiliates that are producing bigger results.
So that’s about it. In summary, I’d say for the entire Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants book, if you didn’t take away any other piece of information, the most important thing is that this is all about relationships.
Don’t get into affiliate marketing with the idea that you can just throw out some creative and take a nap. Just putting up an affiliate program doesn’t guarantee anything, except quick failure.
You have to go out there and recruit the affiliates person-to-person. As they come into the affiliate program, activate them and give them personal attention. Then focus on retaining the affiliates, because you have a lot of competition.
Just remember, it’s all about relationships. Good luck and have a great affiliate program.
Thanks for reading, watching, and listening.
Go back to the Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants Video Book.