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How to Approach Business Relationships in Affiliate Marketing

By Clay Mabbitt
Posted Monday, November 8, 2004

The size of the audience that can be reached with the Internet makes affiliate marketing not only possible, but profitable. Because you can reach such a large number of people with so little effort, it’s easy to neglect building relationships with the people you interact with in your business. This is a common mistake for novices and veterans to the affiliate industry alike.

Successful public speakers know that just because you are talking to a large group of people does not mean that you cannot connect with them as individuals. Any audience has common fears, hopes, or circumstances. Focusing on these common threads allows you to address the entire group, but make each of them feel understood as a single person.

The Affiliate Manager Relating to Affiliates.

It’s vital that a manager utilize tools that allow him or her to quickly ascertain how affiliates are performing and what guidance they might need. A generic guide explaining ho to get started with an affiliate program is a good start, but affiliates will also need someone to step in and offer coaching and encouragement that relates directly to their strengths and weaknesses. Without a relationship such as this, there is nothing to stop the successful affiliates from jumping ship when a competing program decides to start a bidding war on affiliate commissions. Affiliates who are only moderately successful are likely to simply give up and tell their friends affiliate marketing is a scam.

The relationship is vital to affiliates, whether they realize it or not. The manager has a great deal of knowledge about the product and what makes it sell. No one is in a better position to show an affiliate what people are currently doing to be successful with the program and what specific changes could be made to improve profitability than the affiliate manager.

The Affiliate Relating to Customers.

In a retail business, most people realize that a happy customer is a customer who returns to spend more money in the future. Yet the anonymity of the Internet causes some affiliates to forget this simple fact of commerce and they worry more about getting a quick sale than giving the customer what he or she truly wants and needs. I don’t mean to imply everyone in the industry has forgotten this important lesson. There are several “ezine gurus” who make money hand-over-fist by developing a relationship with their subscribers based on trust and comfort. When they recommend a product in their newsletter, people believe and buy. How did this relationship of trust come to exist? The guru (who’s an affiliate of the products being recommended) places himself in the shoes of the customer and considers their desires and concerns. When he or she finds a product that addresses those desires and concerns, it’s an easy sell and the customers love the guru for it.

The Advertiser Relating to Affiliates.

In general affiliates consider the best advertiser to be the one that brings the most paying customers for their advertising dollar, but how does an advertiser achieve this? Again the answer lies in developing a relationship with affiliates (who are in this case their customers) that encourages feedback, enabling both parties to can hash out what advertising methods work best. An advertiser that offers this type of relationship doesn’t necessarily need to offer the best return per dollar today because the potential for growth outstrips the more “profitable” competition.

These are just three examples of the faceless entities of ecommerce and why it is important to connect with them. Consider how many groups of people you interact with in your business.

About the Author
Clay Mabbitt writes articles about online income opportunities. He is the founder of a community of Internet entrepreneurs sharing knowledge and experience at (


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