In today’s data-driven world, where analytics and automation dominate, many businesses tend to overlook the art and the importance of account management. They fail to recognize the power of “the human touch” in fostering meaningful connections and the potential that can arise from them.
With over 13 years of experience in the online space, much of that as some form of client account manager, I’ve developed effective habits and learned valuable strategies. To help you get the most out of your affiliate partnerships, I’d like to share my top tips for quick wins.
Embrace the power of human connection and watch your partnerships flourish thanks to a touch of warmth in what can otherwise be a soulless digital world.
Communication and collaboration
One of the basic rules of marketing is that customers must see a message at least seven times before they’re inspired to take action. Help your affiliates make this happen by engaging with them at least once a week in the form of eye-catching and informative newsletters. Update your creatives to reflect themes that your affiliates can push to their followers.
Social-proof your efforts
When you walk past a row of restaurants, more often than not you’re drawn to the one with the bustling crowd, rather than to the empty restaurant where the waiters try their darndest to lure you in. Exploit this need to conform by showcasing positive social proof that your affiliates can then promote to their followers. For example, share glowing customer reviews and testimonials, as well as customer-generated content. Your affiliates can then leverage their influence and reach, and push this positive social validation to enhance your brand’s credibility.
Strike while the iron is hot
“Bestseller.” “Low on stock.” “Selling quick!” Ever had your interest piqued by seeing some deliciously tempting treats flying off the shelves? Well, the same principle applies to the world of affiliate marketing. When your affiliates know that a product is moving fast, it creates an irresistible sense of urgency and curiosity. Just like a pack of wolves chasing after their prey, customers can’t help but be drawn to limited quantities and the fear of missing out. Use this FOMO to your advantage!
Incentivize, energize and maximize
Ever done a good deed and posted about it on social media? As much as we might wish or claim to be altruistic, everybody still loves a bit of recognition and thanks. It’s the same with affiliates! While commissions are a valuable form of reward, let’s remember that money talks. To keep your affiliates motivated and committed to promoting your products or services year after year, offer regular incentives that truly resonate with them. Whether it’s a freebie, an increased commission rate or a shoutout, find out what drives them the most. You could even go the extra mile by publishing their content to your followers, creating a circle of love and fostering a mutually beneficial relationship.
Check your links
Sharing data and links with your affiliates is crucial, but don’t forget to double-check that those links actually work! Otherwise, you can find yourself seeing fantastic results, with everything going smoothly, when suddenly it all comes crashing down because your devs rolled out a site update that broke the links, leaving your affiliates sending their followers to 404 pages. Take a moment to ensure that all your links are in proper working order. Regularly test them to avoid any embarrassing mishaps that could undermine your partnerships and lead to missed opportunities.
Incorporate Urchin Tracking Modules
To enhance your affiliate marketing strategy even further, consider incorporating tracking parameters such as UTMs. UTMs let you track and analyze key aspects of your affiliate links, like sources and mediums. You can understand where the traffic is coming from and how it’s reaching your site. They help you to learn the effectiveness of different channels, spot winning campaigns, and understand your affiliates’ end-to-end value. This data-driven approach optimizes your efforts, empowers informed decisions and maximizes your marketing ROI.
Unleash the power of data
Harness the power of analytics, metrics and patterns to unlock valuable insights into your affiliates’ performance. Think of it as conducting a monthly checkup like you might do for your car. Dive deep into the data. Identify affiliates who have shown growth since the previous month and determine the factors behind their success. Keep a watchful eye on brand-bidding practices, ensuring alignment with your terms. Stay vigilant against cookie stuffing, click fraud and unethical promotion that could erode trust in your brand. On the flip side, investigate performance drops to uncover reasons such as site closures or loss of interest. By embracing analytics, metrics and patterns, you empower yourself to provide valuable guidance and support to your affiliates, which helps with building a meaningful partnership.
As you navigate the world of affiliate marketing and build connections with your affiliates, remember the significance of the human touch. While the rise of AI-powered plug-ins offers automation and efficiency, it lacks the personal warmth that can truly elevate a partnership. Building a successful collaboration requires more than just algorithms and data — it requires genuine human connection. Make building your affiliate partnerships with authenticity, empathy and a personal touch a unique selling point that sets you apart from the rest. Embrace the power of human connection and watch your partnerships flourish thanks to a touch of warmth in what can otherwise be a soulless digital world.
Lauren Bailey is the client account manager at Sciart Marketing, a U.K.-based data marketing agency that helps brands to navigate and deliver improved business outcomes across various marketing channels.