Mike Nunez began his exciting affiliate marketing career while at UCF where he studied Computer Science. After starting his own successful affiliate marketing program, Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Mike was recruited to launch the LastMinuteTravel.com affiliate program. After three months, sales grew to $500K, making Mike realize the high demand for affiliate management with a low supply of quality managers. That’s when he co-founded Affiliate Manager. One year later, the firm won, “Best New OPM” on the most popular affiliate forum. He has since lead the creation of a tool to monetize user-generated content called BounceLinks.com. His most recent project launch is a self-service tool that allows managers to recruit influential affiliates through Affiliate Recruitment.
Mike identified the top 7 affiliate program mistakes most affiliate managers make on their programs. The problems and his solutions are captured below in what was a jam-packed session that left many wanting more (oh yes).
1) You Chose the Wrong Network: Uh-Oh, you’ve probably spent a great deal of time setting up what you think will be this super awesome affiliate program only to find it dead. Is it too late? Mike says no but to avoid this problem, pick different networks. To choose the right one, Mike’s company helps his clients by going after your competitors. If they’re on ShareASale, you should be too. Figure out what your budget is and go from there. Mike likes to ask his clients, “How fast do you want to succeed and what risks are you willing to take? Refocus your strategy, find out what your sweet spot is, and put yourself in the game.
2) You’re Paying Too Little: A lot of times in PPC campaigns you want to get at least a 5% return on spend but oftentimes, it doesn’t match up in affiliate spend. Why? Mike encourages managers to challenge that in the house. It’s a new market vertical and should be valued like a PPC campaign. Why are you willing to spend more on PPC for an unguaranteed sale when you only pay affiliates for conversions? Reevaluate your commission percentage and never go down – you’ll scare off your affiliates. Other factors in this area include cookie duration and conversion rates.
3) You’re Paying Too Much: It’s simple. Some affiliates aren’t profitable. Know when to cut them loose by looking at the sale cycle. Or, find a way to help them in the conversion process.
4) Hello? Is Anybody There?: There are plenty of people out there ignoring their affiliate program – making them easy targets for those looking for an opening. If you need to hire in-house or even outsource it, don’t leave your affiliate program to stand idle. Don’t put the finance guy in charge of your affiliate program – just don’t. Get someone to watch it and educate them on the process if you have to.
5) Trademark Bidding, You’re Doing it Wrong: Remember who is on your side. How trademark bidding affects your recruitment efforts. Choose which group you want to stalk, either your competitors or your affiliates, not both. For instance, if you’re blocking your competitors from bidding on your trademark, block your affiliates as well. If you’re not blocking your competitors, allow your affiliates to compete with them.
6) Auto-Pilot Will Send You Into a Nose Dive: It’s worse than having no sales in your affiliate program. Out of site, out of mind. You want to stay in front of your affiliates by sending out email newsletters. Sure, only a small percentage will actually open your newsletter, but seeing your brand name will remind them that you’re still there.
7) What? You have an affiliate program?: How can affiliates join your program if they don’t know it exists? Get social with your program – join forums and attend events in the industry. You should use SEO to optimize your affiliate program landing pages just as you would any other page on your site. You should also spend a small amount of money that it would take to promote your program through PPC.