One question I often get asked is “How do I learn how to manage an affiliate program?”. Of course there are some general marketing and business principles you can learn either in college or in other similar jobs but there are many different nuances and specifics to managing an affiliate program that you will never learn in any college course or even in other marketing jobs. Affiliate marketing is a totally different animal than paid search or email marketing or web development or even general e-commerce management.
You will find a few good blog posts here and there about how to effectively manage an affiliate program but there are very few quality resources out there where someone can go to get training on how to manage an affiliate program and there is nothing close to a complete training course out there that I have found.
But there are a few great resources out there that can get you started and give you some great information to either get you started or move you further along in your knowledge and training. Nothing can be experience when it comes to learning affiliate management but here are 3 resources every affiliate manager should take advantage of:
Greg Hoffman from GregHoffmanConsulting.com just released this awesome resource on Amazon. This isn’t necessarily a “How To” guide that walks you step by step how to set up and manage an affiliate program but it will give you an awesome foundation to build on. I see this book as more of a resource to use as you are developing your overall strategy you want to employ with your affiliate program, how to structure your affiliate program so it drives incremental sales, and how to use the affiliate channel as a profitable marketing channel.
Greg gives some awesome examples from his many years of experience and even gives some solid case studies for some current clients of his. If you are a rookie affiliate manager of have been doing it for 10 years you should have this book in your resource library. Learn from Greg’s mistakes and successes and use this book to build a good foundation for your affiliate program. $20 very well spent. Buy Climbing the Affiliate Wall today.
I mentioned earlier that experience is the best way to learn affiliate management. Obviously you can’t buy experience but you can buy access to experience. If you go to Affiliate Summit West you will be surrounded by thousands of the top minds in the affiliate industry. If you are involved in the affiliate industry in any way you really need to be at Affiliate Summit. As you walk around the conference, go to the keynotes and educational sessions, and hang out at the parties there will be affiliate managers all around you with many years of experience. Take some time to talk to them, pick their brains, and build relationships. Offer to buy them a drink and you are sure to pick up some great information.
Register for Affiliate Summit West today and you will be miles ahead of your competitors who aren’t going.
3. Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day
A few years back (2011 I believe) Geno Prussakov put together this awesome resource for affiliate program management. Unlike Greg Hoffman’s book above this is more of a step by step guide on how to manage an affiliate program. Geno breaks down most of what you need to know about running an affiliate program, talks through some of the specifics like setting up links and banners, breaks down different recruitment and activation techniques, and if you spend some time going through this book you will have a great base of information for your affiliate program. This book is more of a text book than Greg’s book though. I would love to see Geno update this book sometime since a lot has changed in the last few years.
Geno has also set up the only conference that specifically targets affiliate managers with is AM Days conference. This conference brings together affiliate managers from many different industries, resources to help affiliate managers, and representatives from all the major affiliate networks. I have never been to one of these conferences but have heard good things from others.
While there isn’t a be all and end all resource to teach you how to manage an affiliate program these resources listed above will give you a great start. If you have any other resources you like feel free to leave a comment below. And go buy Greg Hoffman’s Climbing the Affiliate Management Wall book today.