Let’s face it. There are some people who just love to talk on the phone. They love to get into new relationships with other businesses who can help send customers and revenues your way. It’s almost like a game to them — with their commission keeping score.
If you’ve been hesitant to pick up the phone and make joint-venture deals, start new endorsement relationships or ask people to sell your products and services for you, you need a Joint-Venture and Affiliate Manager.
We call joint-venture partners on the Internet “affiliates.” And since so much marketing is done on the Internet today, the job of recruiting affiliates, managing those relationships and supplying affiliates with tools they can use to promote your products and services at their website falls to an Affiliate Manager.
The top Affiliate Managers on the Internet today are women. I don’t know if that holds true for every company, but I can tell you that women are typically superb at relationship-building, follow-up and just plain calling to check in. These are the hallmarks of a good Affiliate Manager. In fact, ultimately, you’ll want them to be on a first-name basis with the top 5% to 20% of your affiliates—since those are the ones who will likely produce 95% of your affiliate-generated business.
Joint-venture relationships for conducting offline promotions are no different.
Other attributes of a good Joint-Venture and Affiliate Manager include constantly following up with email list owners — including those who say No, Not now, Maybe in six months, Not the appropriate offer, Price point too high for my list, Need a different product — or worse — no response at all. Good managers are not daunted by rejection, nor do they take anything personally. They understand that building a successful joint-venture and affiliate program is really just a numbers game. The more potential affiliates and endorsers they contact and the more professional-looking, top-notch marketing campaigns your company runs online — the more quality partners you’ll recruit.
Of course, recruiting them is only half of the formula. Your manager also has to continually encourage affiliates to run your promotions to their list — and your company needs to constantly produce fresh new emails, banner ads, text links, free reports, direct-mail pieces, teleseminars and other tools they need in order to do so. Affiliates will rarely write their own copy to promote your product — or even think through how your promotion will appeal to their list. They rarely advise on bonuses-with-purchase, price points, discounts and other details. All those details are your manager’s job.
When interviewing a potential Affiliate Manager, there are key characteristics to look for. First and foremost, a top candidate should be friendly and personable, with sales background of some kind preferred. Often times, your manager will need to convince a tentative website owner to say “yes” to promoting your product or service.
A top candidate should also have some familiarity with how marketing campaigns are conducted on the Internet — since it’s likely they’ll get questions about how your campaigns will be run. Terminology like autoresponders, drip campaigns, viral reports, shopping cart, affiliate tracking, gateway, long-form copy, landing page and other terms related to e-commerce are words your Affiliate Manager will hear every day (and should know).
But perhaps the best skill of all is the ability to pro-actively seek out companies, membership sites, ezine publishers and website owners whose customers, subscribers, members, students and others would be perfect prospects to buy your product or service. A good Joint-Venture and Affiliate Manager is always identifying potential new endorsers and contacting them to recruit them as promoters for you.
Considering that you stand to make hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even millions) extra, your manager will be a key player on your cash-generation team. So be sure to keep the above key skills in mind when interviewing potential candidates.
ZERO TO 175 DEALS IN ONE YEAR
One joint-venture pro I talked to recently recounted the story of how he grew a small company to $100 million in sales in just three years — all by getting the company into promotional relationships where other businesses could distribute his advertising message and product offers. In the first year, he did 175 deals where his employer’s promotions became an integral part of the other company’s revenue stream. In year Two, he did 25 of these deals. And in Year Three, he did no deals whatsoever — he merely managed the 200 deals he’d negotiated the previous two years.
That effort alone took the company to $35 million in the first year, $63 million in the second and an astounding $100 million by the third year — with NO ADDITIONAL DEALS after the first 24 months.
What kinds of relationships could your Joint-Venture and Affiliate Manager get your business into?