“You can’t have a successful affiliate program if no one is steering it” – Geno Prussakov, award-winning affiliate marketing consultant
If you’d have the opportunity to talk with a well known professional in affiliate marketing, what would you ask him? I had that luck and I want to share with you some great tips about affiliate marketing opportunities in 2013 and especially about managing a successful affiliate marketing program. We also talked about Stefan cel Mare ;).
Meet Geno Prussakov, well-acclaimed author, award-winning affiliate marketing consultant and Founder & Chair of the Affiliate Management Days conference. He doesn’t believe in dreaming of profitable niches, he thinks that you should rather listen to your target audience in order to find the right niche to explore. He also belives in a partnership between affiliates and advertisers. As a team, they should be invincible. How? You can find out bellow, plus some great ideas from his experience about how can you recruit and motivate affiliates or what do you have to do to sell more with affiliate marketing in 2013.
You can find and learn much more about affiliate marketing at Affiliate Management Days London 2013, scheduled May 15-16th. As you already know, Dorin Boerescu, 2Parale&2Leva CEO, is one of the international speakers who will share their knowledge at AM Days. His participation at the event is a premier for the Romanian affiliate market.
2Parale: Why is important to have a dedicated person (or more) for managing an affiliate marketing program? Can you have a successful affiliate marketing program without an affiliate manager?
Geno Prussakov: Whether the person is “dedicated” solely to the management of the affiliate program, or juggles the affiliate program management responsibilities together with other related ones, will depend on many factors (not the least of which being the size of your business and budget). But whether they are focusing exclusively on the affiliate program or not, the program must have someone at the helm! Just as a ship with a sleeping helmsman is doomed to crash, so is an affiliate program which isn’t being actively managed.
No, I do not believe you can have a successful affiliate program if no one is steering it. Just as you cannot have a profitable paid search campaign without putting time and effort into building it, and filtering out chaff – so you cannot have a good, profitable affiliate marketing campaign without actively managing it.
2Parale: How can you learn to be a good affiliate manager and how can you educate an affiliate manager?
Geno Prussakov: There are numerous opportunities: from free ones (reading relevant blogs and forums, and LinkedIn Groups) to paid ones (like my latest “Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day” book or my Affiliate Management Days conference).
It is also important to realize that the hard part is not in becoming a good affiliate manager. Diligence and hard work are your best friends here. The hardest part is in staying good. In an industry that evolves as dynamically as affiliate marketing, continuous education is a must. Keep networking professionally (through online professional communities, and conferences like AM Days), keep reading and self-educating, and keep developing together with the industry. Only then you will succeed.
2Parale: What can you tell us about Affiliate Management Days learning&business opportunities?
Geno Prussakov: Affiliate Management Days was built to satisfy three specific goals: (1) to provide attendees with practically applicable knowledge, (2) to offer opportunities for unparalleled professional networking (and new connections), and (3) to motivate. We are targeting online advertisers/merchants (those that already have affiliate programs, and those that are just contemplating exploring affiliate marketing), CMOs, affiliate managers, and digital marketing practitioners from related fields.
To get a good feel of what expect from Affiliate Management Days read what our attendees of our previous shows had to say; and look also at the agenda of the show you’re planning to attend. We aim to cover all topics which are important to the healthy development an affiliate program. If you come, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
2Parale: In your experience, how can you find and recruit top affiliates?
Geno Prussakov: In the course of the year I’ve written a great number of articles on the topic of affiliate recruitment. The methods range from free ones (e.g.: reaching out to happy customers, using search engines to find niche influencers, and taking advantage of tools that help you find related websites, as well as utilizing passive recruitments methods like maintaining affiliate program blog and social media presence) to paid ones (hiring agencies to manage your programs and recruit affiliates for you, investing tools that help you find your competitor’s affiliates, etc); but there are three extremely important things that every affiliate manager should keep in mind while going after good affiliates.
Be (1) personal (affiliates hate blanket outreaches), (2) relevant and flexible (they know you want it; but show them how this will benefit them, even if it entails an initial placement fee), and (3) remember that recruitment is only the first step. After it you have to actively work on affiliate activation, and motivation.
- acclaimed author ( Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day)
- international speaker,
- award-winning affiliate marketing consultant,
- Founder & CEO of AM Navigator agency,
- founder and chair of Affiliate Management Days conference.
2Parale: Which things motivate affiliates to promote an affiliate marketing program more prominently?
Geno Prussakov: This is one of my most favorite affiliate management topics. I could talk for hours about it; but in short: you want to motivate affiliates by presenting them with opportunities to succeed with your program (tiered commissions, cash bonuses, co-branded landing pages and conversion-boosting promos – all work well) and caring for the little guy, fostering pride. After all, intrinsic motivation is your ultimate goal. Read more about it in my articles on motivating marketers.
2Parale: Which are the biggest mistakes, in your opinion, that advertisers make in the communication process?
Geno Prussakov: The one biggest mistake that I’ve seen committed by advertisers large and small is a broken down communication channel. Affiliates are your partners. If you want them to market your product/service effectively, you want to equip them. Maintaining a constant and consistent communication channel is integral here.
Another mistake, of course, is treating affiliates as employees and practicing a dictatorial top-down “management” approach with them. It never goes down well. Affiliates are the ones who choose which advertisers to work with, investing their time, money and effort, and getting compensated only when performance happens. Advertisers must demonstrate appreciation of this, treating them as partners, not some cheap workforce.
2Parale: What do you think about creative promotional ideas like special landing pages for an affiliate, special contest for an affiliate, co-branded sites etc.?
Geno Prussakov: I love those. Everything that you do to equip affiliates to perform better is always well received by them. Be proactive in your affiliate program management, and they will appreciate it, rewarding you with the performance we all, ultimately, want to see.
2Parale: Please tell us 3 mandatory steps for a merchant who wants to sell more with affiliate marketing in 2013?
Geno Prussakov: If you aren’t yet doing it, make sure that in 2013 you engage in (1) mobile, (2) social, and (3) location-based marketing. There are plenty of opportunities in these areas, and many of them can be entertained through affiliates who are already working in these areas. Make sure you also see this 1-minute video of mine where I make a parallel between Ştefan cel Mare (yes, you’ve heard me right!) and the importance of innovations, especially in these three areas.
2Parale: Can you give us some examples of industries/verticals worth exploiting inside a developing market?
Geno Prussakov: While I could certainly attempt to guess the verticals (naming a few financial niches, for example), I don’t want to do that. Every “developing market” is different. What sells well in Romania or Russia may not be as popular in Middle East, or India… In fact, I don’t believe in dreaming of profitable niches.
To find out the answer to a question like this look at (a) what sells wellonline in a specific market, and (b) what is in demand, in general. If, as in many Eastern European countries, the end users aren’t too happy to pay with plastic online, look into pay-per-lead (or even pay-per-call) opportunities. Hear your target audience, look at the world through their eyes; and you will definitely find the right niche/vertical to explore.
Don’t forget about your exclusive coupon code for 20% off all AM Days London passes, as a 2Parale partner. Also, if you register until March 8th, you can reserve a place through Super Early Bird offer. Are we going to meet there?