Every day I see more and more affiliates entering or making plans to enter the ranks of Affiliate Mangers or OPMs. The trend I see is that many of these affiliates are ones who have struggled and never really were able to make ends meet in the affiliate world.
If you are a merchant or even an agency and are looking to hire someone as an AM or OPM, you need to ask yourself a few things about this individual. I have laid out some questions that I would ask this individual below, along with some of my thoughts regarding the answers you might get to these questions.
How long did you make a living as an affiliate marketer? - In my opinion, anyone who worked as an affiliate for less than a year then decided they needed to get in to management is taking too large of a step and simply following what they see as a money trail. This person likely does not have the “sticktuitiveness” to be an effective AM/OPM.
How much did you earn in profits as an affiliate? - The key word here is PROFIT. Anyone can spend a ton on PPC and make a $50 profit or even produce a $50 loss. It takes talent for someone to consistently make a decent living as an affiliate marketer. In my eyes, anyone who makes a good living as an affiliate marketer has no motivation to become an AM or OPM. I guess some people really have an innate desire to work with others and teach, but the affiliate mindset is largely one of being a lone wolf and not wanting to depend on others for a level of success. An AM or OPM depend on both merchants and affiliates for their success.
Was your affiliate marketing income your only source of income? - There is a BIG difference in making a living at affiliate marketing and working at affiliate marketing while your wife or husband is off working to support you and the family. Very few achieve the consistency in affiliate marketing that is needed to rely on it to support your family. There is a big difference in the mindset when one is doing something as a means of supporting the household and doing it for a second income.
What will you do with your affiliate ventures as an AM/OPM? - Anyone who answers this question with something like, “I will unplug those sites and let the domains expire” shows clearly that they did not build a sustainable business as an affiliate. Why on earth would an affiliate flush sites that get traffic and make money. Furthermore, be weary of an answer like, “I am going to keep them, they make too much money to stop them.” Affiliates are more and more distrustful of managers who are also affiliates…and rightly so. Managers have access to information that they can use to compete with their affiliates if the manager is also an affiliate on the side.
The bottom line is that there is a plethora of people out there calling themselves an affiliate manager or an OPM who have no clue how the affiliate marketing world really works. I see them every week. It wasn’t that long ago that I spoke with someone who has a reputation as a seasoned OPM who had no idea how to calculate a conversion ratio. I was shocked to find this out, but not surprised that there are many such people who use forums and other means to make themselves look much more seasoned and generally much smarter than they really are.
Select your candidates carefully and make sure your affiliate manager understands at least moderate marketing concepts, metrics and, most importantly in my opinion, has the experience as a successful affiliate marketer to be able to connect with affiliates and understand affiliate-related issues. Your affiliate manager is the link between your business and those individuals and companies who can ad substantial results to your bottom line.