Rick has been in affiliate marketing for nearly 10 years, growing sales the right way for his clients. He is the President and Founder of BearCatMedia an affiliate marketing agency. Platform agnostic they’re all about driving the right results for each client. And he’s recently run a whole event sharing affiliate marketing best practices called Affiliate Management Expo.
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How Rick got into affiliate marketing
Rick got into affiliate marketing by accident when he was laid off from his corporate job.
Because his wife was pregnant with their first child, he started looking for ways to earn money online. He built his first affiliate site around baby strollers, but later on realized that he wanted to work on the side of managing affiliate programs.
He cold-called agencies and asked if they were willing to hire someone with no experience, and one person gave him the shot. From there, he moved to another agency for 6 years, and now, he has his own agency managing programs for clients that range from start-ups to billion-dollar companies.
Reviving a Neglected Marketing Channel
Auditing is where Rick typically starts when reviving an affiliate account.
Audit is necessary to understand what’s inside the program, and that means looking at the platform, the commissions, the diversity of affiliates, and the communication strategy to name a few.
You have to look at all factors to determine the next action items.
Finding the right platform
Certain networks specialize in specific affiliates, so agencies can come in and look at the programs with the goal of finding the best place for you.
Some organizations sign up for an account because they’re inexpensive or were advised to do so, which is not the right way to go.
Finding the right fit and optimizing from that point should be a major consideration.
Complexity of Commission Structures
For Rick, having a complex commission structure will not work.
He mentions that part of the process is to also look at your competitors in terms of their commission structure. This way, you can come up with something that is competitive and will make your program stand out more.
Keeping an Eye on the Competition
Taking a look at what the competition is crucial, as are bonuses and private commissions that are based on the quality of affiliate, and your relationship with the affiliate.
Bonuses and private commissions drive home Rick’s point that affiliate marketing is all about relationships. Without solid relationships, your program will be mediocre at best.
The 5 Elements of Affiliate Management
- Recruitment of new affiliates
- Activation or having your affiliates to start sending traffic and sales
- Communication or talking to your affiliates on a regular basis
- Compliance or making sure your affiliates are following the program and playing by the rules
- Optimization of the program strategy
For Rick, it’s important for brands to understand the basics of affiliate marketing because it is a lot of work. It goes dormant if it’s not done properly, which is unfortunate because it’s a booming channel especially at this time.
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If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with Email Marketing – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?
Rick says that when you’re starting an affiliate marketing program, his tip is for you to reach out to affiliate manager who are actually managing programs.
Talk to them and find out what it takes to start a program and what responsibilities this will entail.
If you’re new to affiliate marketing, reach out to people who are already doing it on a daily basis.
Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve email marketing performance?
It all comes down to relationships.
Build relationships with your affiliates from the beginning. When you have that relationship and you take care of them, they will also stay with you.
If someone listening wants to learn more about SMS marketing is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?
Get started by joining Rick’s event, the Affiliate Marketing Expo.
It’s free for the Keep Optimising Podcast listeners who use the code MASTERPLAN, and it covers everything from beginner to the more experienced, with real insights on how to grow an affiliate program.
There’s lifetime access that comes with notes for each session.
Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in email marketing?
Make it more personal to the individual affiliates and get into the content-side of it.
While there’s still a place for the deal voucher codes, getting into high-quality content is becoming really important in affiliate marketing programs.
- Free affiliate program audit + recommendations – just email Rick (rick @ bearcatmedia.com) and mention you heard him on the Keep Optimising podcast
- Free affiliate marketing newbie hour – If listeners do not have an affiliate program, but want to start one I will consult with them for up to 1 hour and help them get started – just email Rick (rick @ bearcatmedia.com) and mention you heard him on the Keep Optimising podcast
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