Merchant Affiliate Management Tips

A Best Web

You may know Adam as Rollerblader in ABestWeb Affiliate Forum

I am fortunate to be collaborating with Adam Riemer who is the most ethical, hardest working Merchant Affiliate Manager I have come across in all the years I’ve been working with ecommerce stores online.

Adam now provides affiliate management for Executive Gift Shoppe’s gift affiliate program which I wrote about in How to Evaluate an eCommerce Merchant.

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I suspect many merchants are challenged to find a good Outsourced Program Manager (OPM) because they don’t know what to call them. I had never heard of an OPM until I met Adam even though I’ve been researching affiliate management for merchants for years.

Reading Adam’s post on What You Should Expect From Your OPM is an excellent place to start for merchants interested in possibly starting an affiliate program or hiring a manager. I suspect that there are not many OPMs willing to work that hard but you can use it as a guideline on pitfalls to avoid.

I also recommend his post on Common Affiliate Management Mistakes. I have been planning to write about Adam since we started working together and am doing so now to share my comments in his latest post Should Merchants Pay Afffiliates For Repeat Sales.

I encourage merchants, affiliates and OPMs to read that post and then my comments below. I recommend that merchants DO pay on repeat sales to the same customer for these reasons:

1) The affiliate sent you the buyer in the first place so you most likely would not have closed either sale without them.

2) It is very likely that the affiliate able to generate repeat sales has their own mailing list, subscriber base, and regular readers which are resources they own and created and are using to continually promoting your products and services. That next sale is not based on a one-time click – it is likely to be from repeated work they have done on your behalf.

3) If your repeat sale comes from your newsletter, your cookie is most likely going to overwrite theirs and you will not be paying them for a sale that comes from your newsletter instead of their site.

Your affiliates who generate repeat sales do so be reminding their readers about you repeatedly and not from that buyer remembering to come back to you on their own.

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Adam has laid out many examples in this post about ways your affiliates are sending you buyers. Their continued promotion of your products will be key to those repeat sales and they deserve to be compensated for the work they do to send you buyers.

Remember that they are only getting paid for sales they generate and not for all the work they do that may not create a sale. They have to invest their time and expertise and have the same risk you have that it may not pay off. If they are buying traffic they may even have MORE at risk than the merchant.

Affiliates and merchants are partners in what they are working to achieve – not adversaries. Instead of fighting over the existing pie they should be working together to make the pie ever larger!

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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of GrowMap.com, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.

Comments

  1. Really “techy” post. Im in amazon affiliate. I have a simple landing and a very rare product on it. I díd not Seo or sem on it. Just spend all the tiñe finding a rich profitable nitche, and brought the right domain.
    The results 5 to 6 sales eath day with hands free sales page.

  2. These tips will really help you manage business effectively. Keep it up!

    NMeda would love you to read ..Summer Has Arrived: 7 Must-see Destinations in Your Wheelchair Accessible VehiclesMy Profile

  3. I agree that there is very tough competition in affiliate marketing. It is a right but very hard way of marketing and also the results are visualize after a good time, but still it is good option to grow a small business fast.

  4. Affiliate marketing has become harder and harder to do over the past five years or so. Google continues to try and weed out the little guys who are mostly affiliate marketers. There is no easy path to good Google rankings for affiliates but it still can be done. It just takes a lot of hard work and patients. The hard part is that you will never know if it will pay off until you are all in working hard. We as affiliates do take big risk in marketing others products but the rewards can be great if you succeed.

  5. Can Adam go and tell Amazon to give money for repeat customers? haha that would be an easy way to get rich :)
    Danny would love you to read ..Remington RM1015P 10-Inch 8 Amp Electric Pole chain SawMy Profile

  6. I must say affiliate marketing is good but there are times that your domain name is being taken by others. I have a friend who affiliated on weight loss website and is being used by others or lets just say, it’s hacked.

  7. We have to research well before joining an any affiliate programs because there are too many programs out there and each seems to promise the best for us. Also in order to earn like super affiliates we have to work really very hard. Successful people are even earning a six figure income and that is an inspiration.

  8. Adam Riemer is the MAN!Affliates are so his thing!

  9. great tips for all of you here in Growmap..i am learning a lot especially about affliates which i am quiet new
    Buffalo Tees would love you to read ..Buffalo Cool Place T-ShirtMy Profile

  10. Many people are trying to take a stab at properly attributing the sale and it’s not just affiliates that are having this issue. The most common place example is a person seeing a display ad of a company about 10 times without even clicking, then converting into a sale after clicking on an SEM ad. It’s very possible that he clicked because he had seen the company enough times to increase his sense of safety using it as a vendor. In order to rightfully attribute a sale, one would need to record all previous activity by the buyer and then distribute the commission to all parties involved (SEM company, display company and affiliates). I’m sure you realize this is never going to happen.
    CC processing would love you to read ..Credit Card Processing Without the Swipe- With SquareMy Profile

    • Thank you for your excellent comment. You are absolutely correct and I would go as far to say that 100% accurate attribution is impossible. There are analytics services that can record all ONLINE activities but there is no way to ever account for what actually sealed the deal.

      I often use the example that I might tweet about a product, one of my followers who sees it could then share it offline with someone who has never even been on the Internet and they can get another friend to order it online or they could buy it offline.

      There is no possible way to track that sale – unless you were recording everything each party involved said! (While there are some marketers who would love that idea I want to take back some privacy – not give any more up!)
      growmap would love you to read ..Small Business Internet MarketingMy Profile

  11. It seems to me that the easy profits in affiliate are gone, I wonder what the next big thing will be.

    • I’m not sure there were ever that many easy profits, but between the tax nexus laws, FTC fines and black hat affiliates stealing commissions from both merchants and other affiliates it is definitely more of a headache than it used to be.
      growmap would love you to read ..Support Small BusinessesMy Profile

  12. Most difficult aspect in Merchant affiliate is you are managing your time in the most effective manner, by ignoring mistakes, thats why i think its so imperative to incorporate best business practice into marketing.

  13. This tips are real important because the explain the marketing good resource sharing …I like so much in this blog..
    Thank lot for sharing

  14. After all i come to know what the meaning of OPM is,
    Thanks for adding link of Adam’s post about affiliate marketing.
    In the internet world affiliate marketing have a good demand and many peoples searching about this every day. This post is very helpful for the information finder.
    Nice post.
    Congratulations on collaborating with Adam

  15. Thanks for all the helpful advice. It’s great that someone out there really wants to help other people succeed.

  16. I found good sources about affiliate marketing in this post. I have bookmarked this post for my future reference.
    Thanks for sharing amazing stuff with us,
    Keep updating with useful stuff like this.

  17. Well, this post contains valuable resources of affiliate marketing and it can help in having great improvement.

  18. Symptoms Of Diabetes says:

    Knowledge about affiliate marketing is must in internet world. Thanks for sharing valuable resources of affiliate marketing. I will read this for improvement in my working style.
    Thanks for great useful stuff.

  19. Thanks for sharing these great resources in Affiliate marketing, now I had another place to go to learn new stuffs in affiliate marketing.
    Virtual Assistant Bea would love you to read ..Hire a VA Now!My Profile

  20. Now a days everyone is moving towards affiliate marketing and it really gives a good business.

  21. Affiliates are the lifeblood of a merchant’s business that ripping off affiliates is like giving yourself a heart attack. Merchants who have gotten a reputation for being cheap with affiliates have gone out of business more than once.
    Chris would love you to read ..A Guide To Buying MCM Handbags OnlineMy Profile

  22. I think the idea that ‘affiliates and merchants are partners’ sums it up. It’s a shame when merchants take a sale, pay the affiliate and then don’t pay on repeat sales. I’ve been there and it annoyed me so much I left that merchant and started promoting one of their competitors. It’s about sharing the wealth for a slice of the traffic.
    james would love you to read ..Weight Loss 4 IdiotsMy Profile

  23. I have no knowledge about OPM. This is totally new word for me. I come to know about this for your post. So thanks for making interesting post for us.

  24. affiliate marketing says:

    I have looked at many sites and not come across such a site as yours that tells everyone everything they need to know.

  25. affiliate marketing says:

    I have looked at many sites and not come across such a site as yours that tells everyone everything they need to know. I have added you to my bookmarks, can anyone else suggest other related topics that I can search for to find out more information?

  26. It is nice to see many sources for affiliate programming all on one page. This is all very useful.

  27. I think that a big thing that we notice with people just starting up in the Affiliate space and even some of those who have been in the industry a long time, is tracking their customers. In the Affiliate industry there can be so much overlap between affiliates, programs, and networks, it can be a full time job to keep it straight. Some feel that constant contact, their tracking software, or excel and outlook are enough to manage these relationships. Without the proper tools you can quickly find yourself under a pile of prospects and affiliates and get lost very quickly. CRM (customer relationship management) is a tried and true method to help you in increasing sales with your affiliates. The reasons OPM’s typically are successful in managing multiple programs and thousands of affiliates is because they have put these practices into play! You should too!

    • Thank you for commenting eSilverBullet. I have shared the link to your site with a couple of people who might be interested. If you would like to provide a guest post about your company I would be interested in publishing it.

      Before affiliate managers or affiliate marketers will be interested in using a CRM solution they need to know how it can benefit them. The explanation needs to be simple enough that they can understand it from what they currently know which is likely to mean they are NOT currently very familiar with CRM solutions of any kind.
      .-= growmap´s featured blog ..Best of GrowMap – Our Most Important Posts All in One Place =-.

  28. Saventa says:

    You can expect to spend a good couple of weeks before you get your first clients. I would recommend not trying affiliate marketing part time if you just start out. Great information in the article, thank you. I wouldn’t say that it is no-maintenance in the beginning but after the first couple of months it will definitely get easier. Assigning a mentor to help you in the beginning would be a great help.
    .-= Saventa@Affiliate Marketing´s last blog ..Resell Rights – Make Money In The PLR Business =-.

    • Hi Saventa,

      The economy is seriously impacting the incomes of even existing experienced affiliate marketers so working as a team or with mentors is essential to success.

      I hope more affiliates pop in so I can get their feedback on how the economy is affecting their existing income-generating sites.
      .-= growmap´s featured blog ..What Caused the Great Depression is NOW =-.

  29. There is so much nonsense and half-truth bandied around as affiliate advice or tips – it is refreshing to come across some genuinely useful advice. Your point about affiliates and merchants being partners and not adversaries is priceless.
    For me – the best linked resource here has been the post on Affiliate Management Mistakes. Its great to find a single point of reference for accurate and honest affiliate advice.

    • Welcome Trey,

      It took me years to find out who to trust and who has a great but undeserved reputation. That is why I wrote this post.

      The post you mention about affiliate management mistakes was written by Adam in answer to the many questions I posed to him about the experiences we had with another management company. They are well-known and respected and pulled most of those things on my client. Not good. Not good at all.

      I sincerely hope more merchants start seeing their affiliates as valuable partners and more affiliates start working more closely with the merchants they promote.
      .-= growmap´s featured blog ..Support Small Businesses =-.

  30. If you own a blog or website you can make money just by adding affiliate links to your pages.

  31. Lena & Dima says:

    Hi all,
    It’s really nice to know that there are some people (affiliate managers) who are interested to collaborate with affiliaters and care about them.
    The more popular situation is when you (affiliaters) try to contact a manager without any success, unfortunatelly .
    Thanks Adam and googd luck in your business.
    .-= Lena & Dima@Affiliate Marketing Tips´s last blog ..Buy A Cheap Host Don’t Be A Cheap Host =-.

    • Welcome Lena and Dima,

      I encourage affiliates to contact Adam because any program he runs will be honest and he does so much to make adding affiliate products and links easier. We have done a ton of work on our Gift Affiliate Program since he came on board to make it far better for affiliates.

      I know him well enough to know he does that same exceptional work on every program he runs so affiliates who work with him will have a HUGE advantage.
      .-= Gail @ Support Small Businesses´s last blog ..Why Marketing is NOT Evil =-.

  32. I think that one of the real difficulties people face when going online, especially in the current economic climate, is the need to stay focused and upbeat. It is easy to get distracted by the next great marketing scheme. And, it is easy to get discouraged when early efforts do not pay off. You have to stay motivated and keep plugging away.

  33. Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, maybe because affiliates ofter use regular advertising methods. It’s like a race, that is why i really love reading this kind of topic. Nice.
    .-= Nancy@National Association of Professional Women´s last blog ..March Madness streams see mad traffic =-.

    • Hello again Nancy,

      Yes there is a lot of overlap. There are two major benefits to merchants for having an affiliate program. One is that it multiplies the number of hours and effort being spent promoting their business and they only pay for what works and the other is that affiliates often use strategies the merchants are not aware of or have not yet learned to implement or do not do as well.
      .-= Gail @ Support Small Businesses´s last blog ..Why Marketing is NOT Evil =-.

  34. soccer boots australia says:

    I think the given tips are so fruitful for affiliate users. Because these are simple and vivid.

  35. Dennis Edell says:

    Absolutely I will be in touch when needed, thank you.

    He must do really complicated stuff for someone to not just go to CB or PDC or somewhere similar.

    Of course the super simple usually go to a place like e-junkie.
    .-= Dennis Edell´s last blog ..Would You Like a FREE Banner Ad Position? =-.

    • Do you mean affiliates or merchants? Setting up an affiliate program from the merchant end is really complicated. You have to set policies on trademark bidding, pay per click advertising, check for parasiteware that steals commissions that aren’t earned from both the merchants and other affiliates and so much more.

      Adam also sends out regular emails, requests new coupon codes for all affiliates or exclusive offers for a specific affiliate, has new banners created, recruits power and niche affiliates, provides feedback on any issues with the product feeds and much more.

      I would not advise any merchant to run their own affiliate program because even if they had the time to learn and manage it all they would not have the connections with power affiliates that brings them into your program.
      .-= Gail @ Support Small Businesses´s last blog ..Free Business Listings in Local Search Directories =-.

  36. Dennis Edell says:

    Interesting. I don’t have my own affiliate program yet, as I don’t have my own product yet, but it’s good to know there’s at least one (manager) out there, if/when I need one.
    .-= Dennis Edell´s last blog ..UPDATED: Theme Customization Part 3 – Banner Advertising NOT for Sale! =-.

    • Hi Dennis,

      If you decide you (or anyone else reading this) might want to launch an affiliate program let me know and I’ll introduce you to Adam. If there is something simple that you need he’ll let you know what will work best for you.

      Not every site or business needs the type of affiliate program Adam manages but those that do can really increase their visibility, traffic and sales by working with him.
      .-= Gail @ Support Small Businesses´s last blog ..Recommended Wedding Affiliate Program: Bridaluxe =-.

  37. Thanks for the info, keep it up!
    .-= Posicionamiento web´s last blog ..La Importancia de Google y Posicionamiento Web =-.

  38. I had never heard of an OPM either – thanks for sharing the term. Another great reason why you should pay repeat commissions to your affiliates is to attract and keep good quality affiliates.

    • Hello Lisa,

      Thank you for sharing that you were not familiar with that term either. I have made a living full time online since 2000 and had affiliate links on sites as far back as the mid 1990s so if neither of use knew what an OPM is it is highly unlikely that most merchants will.

      I hope all OPMs realize that most merchants new to affiliate marketing will not be searching for them using that title. They need to make sure merchants can find them using more common search phrases like Affiliate Management or Affiliate Manager.
      .-= growmap´s last blog ..Free Business Listings in Local Search Directories =-.

  39. Congratulations on collaborating with Adam Riemer. I quickly scanned through his linkedin profile and he seems to have a good reputation. I also read Adam’s post on what one should expect from affiliate management. To be honest its quite complicated for me to understand. I am totally new to this arena and wanted to learn things quickly. I guess your blog and Adam’s are right place to do it. I have to read all of the informative posts you have written over the years to gain some knowledge. Thanks heaps bro!
    .-= Melvin@Rental Properties Auckland´s last blog ..Otahuhu, Auckland City =-.

    • Welcome Melvin,

      Unfortunately for many merchants and affiliates, the reputation of an Affiliate Management Company can be good even if they are unethical, dishonest or incompetent. Affiliate marketing is very complicated and it takes years to figure out who knows what is really going on.

      Even other experienced affiliate marketing bloggers don’t always recognize who is using parasiteware and taking advantage of their clients and who is honest. That is why I wrote this post now.

      I am absolutely thrilled to have found Adam and highly recommend him. I sincerely doubt any other OPM works as hard as he does or has as many contacts and most importantly he is highly ethical and that is of utmost importance to me.
      .-= growmap´s last blog ..BizLuv MEME: How to Support Your Fav Businesses =-.

  40. Michelle says:

    I love reading about affiliate programs, especially those that are run by good people. You must feel glad to be able to work with him. I have just started blogging and is always on the lookout for new worthwhile programs.

    • The most successful affiliates decide which merchant programs to join based on who manages them because of what the affiliate manager does for them.

      Adam sends them newsletters with their affiliate links already in them, implemented tiered commissions to reward them for working harder, has special banners created just for their niches, provides them with ideas for promoting products and we provide our affiliates with top selling product lists specific to their sites.

      Possibly more important he keeps programs clean of affiliates who steal from merchants or other affiliates to protect them both. Catching the latest tricks is not always easy and he has the skills to identify what they are doing and make sure we aren’t losing money to some new toolbar or cookie stuffing tactic.

      I hope you will consider our Gift Affiliate Program and Wedding Affiliate Program, both managed by Adam.
      .-= growmap´s last blog ..Recommended Wedding Affiliate Program: Bridaluxe =-.

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