How Trust Leads to Success – By Matt Enders

by FeedFront Staff on March 22, 2010


As an affiliate manager, your job is to drive sales for your company or client via the various affiliate partnerships you develop. Too often, affiliate managers (or more aptly, merchants) take the “if you build it, they will come” approach to affiliate management.

This is a recipe for disaster. Proper management of any affiliate program requires time, attention, effort, and most importantly, relationships built on trust.

The affiliates who participate in the affiliate program you manage must be viewed as partners, not as a faceless entity looking to make a dollar through your program. Each affiliate is important and has the potential to significantly contribute to your bottom line.

Of course, it would be impossible to personally know each and every affiliate who has been approved to your program. You must work to develop relationships and work as closely as possible with as many affiliates as possible.

In developing relationships with affiliates, you are developing trust, which can lead to amazing results. Once you have developed trust and learned how a particular affiliate does what it is that they do, you have an opportunity to expand the working relationship.

But remember, trust is a two way street. If an affiliate trusts you with their business model, you have to trust them with items like your brand name, VIP commission rates, and special privileges.

Let’s look at an example.

My company manages affiliate programs for our clients. One of our clients had historically used Yahoo! Paid Inclusion (RIP) with moderate, but consistent success.

One particular affiliate, which mgecom had worked with significantly over the years, approached us about also using Yahoo! Paid Inclusion (“PI”) as one of their promotional methods. Since we knew and trusted this affiliate, we were able to vouch for the idea and strongly recommend the opportunity to our client.

The client agreed to a limited test with the affiliate. The test went so well that the client turned off their in-house PI campaign and allowed this affiliate to fully represent their brand via Yahoo! PI.

The result? The affiliate was able to increase sales via this channel by a staggering weekly average of 349%. The lowest weekly increase was 82% and the highest to date is 1,176%. This is an increase above and beyond what the client had been able to achieve via their own in-house efforts.

Why was this level of success achievable in this particular partnership?

–        We knew the affiliate well

–        We had worked with the affiliate closely in the past

–        We trusted the affiliate

–        We were able to communicate all of this to the client and demonstrate the value

To summarize, if you are an affiliate manager, get to know your affiliates as more than just a name in a report. Learn what they do, earn their trust, and in turn trust them. Greater results are possible when relationships are nurtured and expanded.

Matt Enders is the CEO of mgecom, inc., a leading Outsourced Affiliate Program Management firm.

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