Effectively Communicating With Affiliates – By Deborah Carney

by Colleen on February 18, 2011

Affiliate marketing forums are a great way to communicate with affiliates, yet many affiliate managers, merchants and OPMs (Outsourced Program Managers) ignore or fear them. The basis of online forums and social networks is to build relationships.

People go to forums of interest to them to learn about a topic and to meet other people interested in the same topic. Affiliate marketing forums are filled with people interested specifically in affiliate marketing. They want to talk about it and find other people that do what they do.

General affiliate marketing forums are a good resource for recruiting and communicating with affiliates, because affiliates are able to speak freely without the conversation being controlled by the merchant or network.

Even negative feedback about a merchant is a great opportunity for an affiliate manager to come in and address issues they may not have realized were a problem, plus show affiliates that they are not afraid of constructive criticism.

Being a vocal participant on affiliate forums helps establish an affiliate manager as an authority in the industry, as affiliates read what managers have to say. Helping affiliates by answering questions not just related to the program(s) they manage shows affiliates that they care about the industry and helping their affiliates succeed.

Managers that restrict posting on forums to just information about their own program are limiting their reach and not taking advantage of a wide range of affiliates that are watching, reading, and ultimately deciding who to work with.

Forums are the original social media and should be a part of a plan to use all methods of communication with affiliates instead of relying on specifically social networking via sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Social networking sites are great places to offer communication and support, but some affiliates also prefer to be somewhat anonymous, especially when they are first getting to know a manager or want to learn about a specific merchant.

They want to be able to ask questions, discuss problems and issues without managers and merchants knowing who they are. Some affiliates fear retribution if they bring up problems or support issues that have gone unanswered.

Forums are a great place for managers to do “damage control” by allowing issues to be discussed, and then providing support and solutions. Even if a manager has an issue that isn’t able to be totally resolved to some affiliate’s satisfaction, how the situation is handled can make affiliates decide to work with a manager (or not).

Affiliate marketing forums also offer advertising to affiliates that a merchant wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach. Forum software is optimized for search engines, and your ad can show up quickly, as well as in RSS feeds to social networks and blogs that you wouldn’t normally have access too.

Online relationships built in forums and other social networking can then be expanded easily to offline networking conferences like Affiliate Summit, making the limited time you get at conferences more productive.

Deborah Carney is an OPM, as well as administrator of ABCsPlus.com and the Affiliate Summit forum.

Download the entire FeedFront issue 13 here – http://www.scribd.com/doc/45332687/FeedFront-Magazine-Issue-13
FeedFront issue 13 articles can be found here as well: http://feedfront.com/archives/article00date/2010/12a>

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

BIG John February 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Recommending a few good internet marketing forums would be a great addtion to this article.

Thanks much,

BIG John

Wasim February 23, 2011 at 8:05 am

Hey Big John,

The Warrior Forum is a good internet marketing forum.

Jeff kline February 23, 2011 at 11:05 am

I agree with John, this article is too generic and lacks the one thing that could actually help an affiliate marketer and that’s a list of good forums.

Deborah Carney February 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Hi! There are several good affiliate marketing forums, I am partial to the new Affiliate Summit Networking Forum (listed as my website above). There is also the ABestWeb affiliate forum, WickedFire that was already mentioned, Five Star Affiliate Forum, and probably several other niche marketing forums that I have not explored.

Personally I have used the ABestWeb and Affiliate Summit forums, CafePress had their own affiliate forum when I was running that program and I have a small forum to support my affiliate and educational activities at ABCsPlus.com/forum. Using these forums has helped my consulting business grow and has helped the affiliates that use them grow their relationships with merchants and managers.

Feel free to add to the list! I know there are a few European forums that are very active also.

I have a podcast about the power of combining networking online in forums and networking in person at conventions at:

jim February 24, 2011 at 9:41 am

being a newbie my self i would like to learn how to earn a living on the net the information is blowing my mind

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