20% of Your Affiliate Base
Will Most Likely Account for 80% of Your Revenue
Following a pattern found in many other situations, the 80/20% rule seems
to apply here as well.
To run a successful affiliate program you must establish an efficient
and effective sales channel. Once your program is up and running,
your next priority is simple: recruit, recruit, and recruit. After
a ramp up phase you will realize that the bulk of your revenue is
brought in by a small group of affiliates. At this point you should
start segmenting your affiliates by revenue and content. This will
help you to determine not only who is responsible for the revenue,
but it will also guide you in what type of sites you should try
and recruit in the future. In addition, this segmentation will also
help you to put together customized communication plans.
Be Free, a leader in performance based marketing solutions, also
recognized that these affiliates should be offered additional services.
They recently started a so-called Super Affiliate program that supplies
the top revenue producers with consolidated reporting and technical
support via phone and email. This program has been well received
by the participating merchants and affiliates. The merchant still
owns the relationship, and is therefore responsible for keeping
the affiliate motivated, educated and engaged. Relationship management
with super affiliates is crucial to the success of your program.
You might want to consider a tiered compensation structure, supply
them with targeted creatives that complement their site content
and just keep in close contact like you would with any other of
your strategic partners and customers.
Building and maintaining relationships with your strategic affiliates
takes time. You have a couple of options: you can either add an
additional resource to your team or you can outsource it to a third
party affiliate management service provider. Keeping this task in-house
allows you to build up your own expertise. On the other hand, it
requires additional training of your staff in the area of affiliate
and relationship management. The other option is to outsource strategic
recruitment as well as super affiliate relationship building. This
will give you the freedom to concentrate on your core business and
still be assured that this sales channel will contribute to the
success of your company. In either case, keep in mind that more
and more companies are adding affiliate programs to their sites.
You don't want to lose your top performers to your competition just
because they pay a little more attention to them than you have in
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