How to Properly Handle Your Affiliate Manager Relationships

By Ian Fernando

Ian: What's going on guys, Ian Fernando here. And today I'm interviewing someone special and actually just got off a club conversation with him on his clubhouse, I guess podcast conversation called the launchpad.

Henry, can you talk about affiliate business affiliate relations, and how to really be an affiliate, and have that as an extension of your own business, because there's a lot of arguments online the same.

Affiliate Marketing isn't a real business. But I feel like you can make the real business as long as you put in the groundwork to be a proper affiliate and treat it as a new business. So, honey, appreciate you for coming on. Go ahead, introduce yourself to everybody here. 

Henry: Awesome. I really appreciate being here. And it was, you know, great to hop on a Clubhouse with you an hour or so ago. So, I mean, I love that we're able to connect here. I mean, we've talked a few times it shows but it's great, you know, during a pandemic to do this, and hop on.

For those of you who don't know who I am. My name is Henry Whitfield. I'm right now I'm the head of International Business Development at ClickDealer, Robin, for all of that to say, as I manage our affiliate program, for our international affiliates, and our international affiliate management team, my background goes to a number of different areas.

I started in SEO, in university, you know, paying my bills, writing, SEO, my backgrounds in writing, journalism broadcasting, I decided to sell out and through a contact, I know at Oasis ads, got me introduced to f5 media, you know, the guys at ad world and STM. And that's how I've ended up where I am now.

So, you know, it's, it's been crazy, you know, few years, five, six, maybe seven years involved in the actual world internet marketing, and so really excited to be here and talk about the relationship between affiliate managers and affiliates and how it can work both ways. Because I think there's a lot of misconceptions out there. And a lot of stuff that we can, you know, we can definitely clear up today and, and talk about some great examples. 

Ian: Yeah, I totally agree. I think there's, I feel like, I'm going to go ahead and say like, when I wasn't affiliate, like my first year, too, I was like, man, affiliate network needs us. I mean, we went to a traffic-type scenario. And then it became later I realized, like, when I was being pushed and pulled by a lot of affiliate network, that man, I like this person, this person treats me I started filtering up affiliate managers, I'm like, I'd rather work with this person.

She had done this to me, she'd actually helped me out. She had to create a team to do this, he did that. Right? My payments were on time, etc. So, I feel like there's a world where when people jump into the affiliate marketing space, they just assume like, hey, they need our types now when it really shouldn't. If you really want to treat definitely business or your affiliate business as an actual business, you just see them as partners, right? And this is exactly for your team.

Yeah, exactly. You know, you can use your resources, you can use their resources by like, Hey, can I have ideas on creatives? Right?

Can I do this, you know, it's just been super, super transparent. And the reason why I bring this up is that the affiliate industry now is shifting and changing. And it's not where it was used to be. So, if you really want to be successful, having this partnership, like let's say, me and Henry, your, my affiliate will have had like two or three fleet management, click dealer, actually. But they actually helped me and be like, hey, here are your stats, for whatever these are what people are running, I can be like, well, the disk type lander will work. We don't have to show me, competitors.

But like, give me ideas. And it's important to have this because at the end of the day, Dude, what's going to pay you they can actually not pay you. They don't have to. But that's the thing. So, what are your thoughts on this relationship scenario? And how in the past have been shifted to more of a partnership deals with affiliate network affiliates? 

Henry: I think it's really interesting. I think at one point, when I started this industry, the networks had a lot of power, because that's who you had to go to for offers, right? as an affiliate joining in, you couldn't work with a big buyer or advertiser direct. And we've seen a huge shift from that mentality where a lot of advertisers are working direct, and it forces networks into a different position.

So, when I first started, there was a lot of power on the network side. Now, there's a lot of power on the affiliate side. But at the end of the day, the only way for you as an affiliate, to work with networks is to work in a partnership. And I don't mean that in a way that you know, you work as a partnership is subservient, but your affiliate manager should be an extension of your team.

You know, if you look anywhere in the industry, at anyone successful yourself or anyone else, you haven't got there by yourself. You know you've done it by either learning from other people, maybe doing joint ventures, JV with someone maybe working with a number of different affiliate managers, you know, it takes a village to really raise affiliate is really a great saying I like to go to such as one person media by not anymore at least Yeah, by yourself is one person you get left behind, you can't compete with the guy who's got a VA somewhere media buyer somewhere else 15 affiliate managers working for them, you just can't compete. So, you have to work in that partnership, and use them as a resource.

That's, that's the number one thing, you'll always hear me saying it's kind of weird, as I tell affiliates, use your affiliate manager as a resource for your team, treat them as a member of your team. Because they can help you so much more with so much information, they have behind them. 

Ian: Correct? Yeah. I mean, the affiliate network has the information that you want, right? there things that you can be like, Hey, I like for example, here's a really good example, a lot of affiliate networks, they just want to bump the payout from me right away. And I'm like, I don't I don't I don't want to bump you up, right?

Let me like, really assume you say this, they're like, why don't you want the pay raise? I'm like, let me test out the offer. Maybe I can't qualify the 25 leads for this right? I need to make sure I can convert this to make it to make success for both ends. I don't think about myself anymore. I think about Okay, it useful now for the affiliate network. 

Henry: You know, I mean, this is important, it doesn't help anyone to get those short term leads, right? Like, I'm going to pay you $100 for lead, but I'm paying everyone else $80 is your lead worth that much. And you know, as a network, we get paid off of, you know, a margin, it's no secret, right?

We make money off of the middle ground between an offer and an affiliate. And if I'm making no profit, and then the performance is bad, I'm cutting you after 25 leads, when maybe we could have made it work at $80. And then we could have done a long successful campaign. So yeah, that's you I definitely completely agree with that. 

Ian: The ticks down on that part? Yeah, take down that part. A lot of people don't actually understand the value of a long term, CPA, right? They assume, hey, I can get $100 here. last two weeks. Cool. You made, you know, 2k. But you can make that 2k over multiple times without getting your ad banned.

The advertiser not screwing you over. Not now we're not going to pay you out because the advertise complained to them. There's this whole scenario where Sure, quick money is awesome. But I think the partnership on the long-term side is amazing. I mean, 

Henry: Yeah, I mean, I brought up the example with you, I had an affiliate, just this week, who got upset that we weren't paying them on $500 worth of traffic, it was clearly fraud traffic, it was clearly what they done wasn't okay. And we tried to have that conversation. And part of it is an education thing.

When we catch somebody doing fraud, we try and say, Listen, you know, put your resources into running legitimately, here's what you could be doing. But even more, so it's like, go for that cheap 500 bucks, or learn how to do it the right way, invest that $500 into learning and testing and doing it the right way you can make $500,000. And, and I mean, I'm not saying that, you know, every you know, every network treat everyone the same, or that every network right all the time, but use them as a partnership, use them as a resource. And it will definitely help you. And I mean, we have partners, and to use your example long-term CPA that is running lead generation offers for the last 12 months, for example, you don't have to deal with as many issues with account bands.

Obviously, everyone gets banned at some point with Facebook, whether you're running white hat or not. But everyone runs into issues with whatever they need to do because Facebook does what it wants, why always evolving. But in terms of running long-term CPA, why make a little bit of money now when you can make a lot of money long term? And that's a different mindset. Right. And there's an industry long enough, we've evolved that way. Not on day one. 

Ian: Correct. So, it's kind of tough to explain that to a beginner. Right? It's because I know for myself when I first started at Azoogle Ads back in the day, I don't know if you remember that. Well. Yeah, Azoogle ads, like Yeah, 

Henry: I know, as well, because they're in Toronto, right around the corner from where the Clickdealer office was, 

Ian: Yeah, well do not do this anymore. But my affiliate manager, she would actually do probably like $100 a week right on a tax offer tax long-form three-page long-form offer. And she just told me, Hey, you can make more money if you just bid on these keywords. Do this on your landing page.

And this is right so she gave me the steps and how to properly do it. At that time. Also, affiliate networks and affiliate managers were incentivized to make sure those offers were possible we could get a cut percentage of that offer back in the day, right? We're at now just I'm assuming more salary and a minimal percentage of anything you know 

Henry: About the it's still pretty much the same to be honest. It really like, can I? Yeah, I mean, definitely talk about that because I think it's important that affiliates understand how your aim is eight, like, yeah, like, I don't want to cut you off, but I will definitely it's very much the same. Our affiliate managers make way more money if you're making money, right.

So, they're commission-based, it's no secret, you know, for our guys, and it's great for us, everyone's tied into profit. So, if the affiliate is making a lot of money, then obviously the company is doing well as well. So, we don't make money off of you running a one-week campaign or even not paying you, right, we want to pay publishers because we want them to reinvest, and we want them to make more money.

So, helping an affiliate like your affiliate manager did before. She's incentivized to help you do better. And our AMS is still like that, for sure. Right? If you're successful, that affiliate manager is successful. 

Ian: Yeah. And she got me to from like, $100 a day, to a week to $1,000 a day. And I and then yeah, and then it was an It was me shoe money. And Jonathan block, we were like top five affiliates. And then they brought it out to the New York office. And they just showed us the new office, they took us out to dinner and bars and party for a night or two. That was fun. So, they were incentivized to make sure that I was successful.

We were awarded to see the new offers to hang out with them to have a basically a free night of enjoyment. You know, and I think that's an amazing relationship to have. Going back to the salary I think if correct me if I'm wrong. Back in the day, they were getting like the minimum 30k a year was like under certain like 25 30% Commission, off offers, and they would manage, let's say 10 offers. And if one offer was being paid $1-10, and I needed that extra 10 cents, they would take it from one offer, move on to my offer, and then they would try to balance all those out. 

Henry: Sometimes. Yeah, there's lots of different ways to make a work on the back end, that's a network or as an advertiser that they're trying to balance that value. Right? 

Ian: Yeah. Well, I think but now, to my understanding, a lot of affiliate managers are salary paid almost like at a 60 to 80k salary with maybe even 7% commission commissions. 

Henry: They are signing up. No, and I joke about that, but no, I mean, I think it's definitely changed, societies changed, right? So yeah, even outside of affiliate marketing people, especially in this last year, if you look at it, people want a living wage and a salary I think, I can only speak to that works, I worked out and the people that I know so much that you know, you have to pay someone a salary where they're not stressed about making money, and so much that it hurts our mental health hurts our performance, right? Is there used to be mindset, give them 20 30k, bare minimum, highly incentivize them and make them work like dogs. And I think that mentality is definitely changed in our industry, at least, right?

For me, I would much rather pay an affiliate manager, a salary where they can be comfortable enough that they can, you know, live and not be stressed about paying their bills, but then I want to incentivize them with a commission. So, I mean, I could do that we have a pretty aggressive commission structure for our affiliate managers. And the reason being is we want them to help their affiliate scale, right? We want them to be incentivized with the success of their affiliates. If I'm an affiliate manager, and I'm making a great salary, what's my incentive to help you scale it? I think that can be an issue of working direct and versus working in a network. Right. Yeah, a great place to kind of segue. Yeah, at a direct advertiser, a lot of those guys are often salaried positions, maybe they're not making that commitment.

So, they might not be as incentivized to help make you successful. Whereas the network, you know, a lot of these guys is affiliate managers, you know, they're a good affiliate manager, they can, you know, make good money. And of course, along the way, they've got to be helping their affiliate with their performance as well. 

Ian: It is like, a tiered system where, let's say they start off at one, then two, and three, and in a max 

Henry: I'll keep it a state secret for now. Yeah, it's competitive for sure. it's definitely a way that and I can say, we've definitely changed things out over the last four or five years, on how we do things on our end to kind of focus everyone towards the client success, so towards the affiliate’s success, and our retention has been super high Clickdealer, even though we are really good for the national team?

Well, I think we have 36-37 affiliate managers know at the company, which is a ton based in four countries. And, you know, as I said, at the top, like, I oversee a lot of the international team. And I can say, like, most people hear three, four years as an affiliate manager with us, or longer. That's a pretty long time, you see a lot of people jumping around.

So, I think we're pretty good at that. And I think part of it is if you set people up for success on the affiliate manager side, and you focus on how you can help affiliates make money, then everybody wins. And that's the way that we focus on things is how can the affiliate be successful? And how can they feel managers be successful? And then everybody's happy, right? 

Ian: Yeah, here's a pretty good icebreaker question. I guess. I know when I talked to certain affiliate managers, and they can't answer simple questions like Mac Community Manager, you know, does your affiliates go through a specific affiliate marketing and one on one introduction? Or do they run sure and under own or like, yeah, like, let's dig into that. 

Henry: So my background, I kind of talked about it. But at one point, I worked for Starbucks for about 10 years. So, from the time I was 16, I had Starbucks morning time, I was 16. At the time I was like, 26, and I worked all the way through university in high school. And something that Starbucks is renowned for is its training. So, they've treated all like training blocks, and they've been ahead of the game.

They treat their people very well. And that's my personal focus has always been on the like customer like providing an excellent customer experience, because that's how you retain loyalty. And that's always been my approach and kind of my role. And that's what we've tried to bring to the clip dealer side.

So, we actually have a super detailed block by block from, I know nothing about affiliate marketing, all the way through, what verticals are, what geos are, what tears are all the way through what postbacks are, why it works, what it is, you know, Facebook pixels, all this kind of stuff, videos training because they have to be an expert.

And if they're not an expert, they have to know where to find the answer. So, for example, one of the things that we have for field managers, we have a cheat sheet on post-backs, every single tracker, how it implemented our platform, it's copy and paste, right? Like, it's super easy. Why wouldn't you have that as a resource for your affiliate managers? I'm giving away state secrets now. Yeah. And I mean, he got locked out. But that's all good. But I think I need this, you know, so your success is so important. 

Ian: Yeah, I agree. Especially because that kind of data is a huge amount of affiliate debt involved from affiliate to, hey, I'm going to own my own affiliate network. Like I had an affiliate network. It only lasted like, yeah, four months or so. And it was just because it was just too much to book around and, and do the deals, and having that relationship. And me. I like to move around. I don't like to think about things.

I just want to I hey, Henry, I need this. Can you do a little quick? Okay, yeah, that's it. I mean, but an affiliate network that doesn't even stand to give me a give me the epcs for all natives at this running? And they're like, upcs, hold on. Like, no, I just can just give it to me in five minutes. And again, like this simple number, you can go on your computer, click a button, and it should just pop it up for you. You know, it is a super network to have this. 

Henry: Yeah, and we're lucky ClickDealer. And like I obviously came from a smaller before as a clip dealer at f5 media, which was a small start-up from like Lorenzo green, and those guys at STM. And we had different challenges. We are a very small team. We had some really talented people that are out of their networks. They've gone on to do some great stuff. But one of the challenges we had was being a smaller team be able to service everyone, but also something you just talked about, like you had your own affiliate network, I feel it seemed to be on the trustor affiliate manager too, right?

So, there's like, is there a trust when an affiliate owns a network? What's going on there. And I mean, I can tell from my experience, there's like a complete break-off between guys and the guys who own does. But I can say like, trust is a huge issue.

And I wanted to bring that up, just because you mentioned you know, you have a network. There's a certain kind of expectation with a network. And I definitely think there are a lot more challenges that go into it than just being able to get an offer and send a link. And I think one of the things we're kind of hinting at is there are two types of affiliate managers. There are affiliate managers that understand affiliate marketing. And then there are link pastors. And there are people who don't understand, and they can't tell you about the offer.

They can't tell you about epcs, or performance, or they've never run a Facebook campaign. And those guys aren't going to help you with your business. There are other guys who, who are, really understand the industry, maybe they're not smart enough, or they don't have the skills to go and be an affiliate which myself Hands up, I tried to run my own affiliate account or affiliate campaigns never worked for me.

But I bought traffic on every platform, just so that I know so that I can tell my guys about it and understand for our affiliate managers, how can I expect them to help an affiliate set up a Facebook pixel if they don't know what a Facebook pixel it's currently don't understand the changes with the iOS 14 update?

You know, stuff like verified domains that are happening, or having events being able to be verified as an app, like all these different things that are happening? If we don't know, how can we help an affiliate do it? How can we be experts? I just I don't understand, you know, when I hear it from friends who are affiliates, I think, Wow, like, what are you doing working with someone who can't tell you those basics? 

Ian: Yeah, I mean, so there's two scenarios. I can tell you, yes, they want a relationship, or you have to because they're giving me a $20 high payout. So, they'll do the bullshit, right? So, this is 

Henry: Our higher payout probably means they have a direct or they only offer right, like a disparity. They're like we have guys who work with us and have a look will work directly the same advertiser, but would rather work with us for the comfort of knowing the safety, they get paid to get paid on time.

You know, we take care of all the hassle, you know, we eat the rejections if anything gets rejected, you know, stuff like that, because that's the value of a network. If you're not offering that or a higher payout, then no one's going to work with you anyway. 

Ian: Right? Correct. I mean, going direct, technically wouldn't advertise these is pure partnership and has to be pure transparency. I've worked with direct advertisers in the past, and yeah, I'm not getting the net seven, I'm getting that 45. And at 30, sometimes, you know, but that's kind of diverse, I get the higher payout based on average order value that can be on a rep CPA, I can get a reoccurring, acca, CPA, you know, me for subscriptions of trials, these are the other types of things, but backing up a little bit on trust, right?

There's, I want to bring up a scenario where I had an affiliate manager, this network, it was based in New York, I was wanting international traffic. And the one issue that I had with them is when they paid me out, it wasn't actual payout, because they were paying out in euros, and then they couldn't, when it converted back to USD, it wasn't actually the actual payout in USD in a dashboard. So, let's say it was $35, it would probably end up being $32.

Because maybe conversion ratio. And then I argued my affiliate manager, my affiliate manager, did some changes. And you just took the loss and pay me a difference. At that point.

I followed him to any network that he went to because I talked to him that he would take care of me. And whatever network he went to, like, Hey, I have this offer, that you were running, whatever I'm on, this wouldn't work. Now make sure you bring it over. And it's not even a question in my mind that, nah, I'm not going to do it. I don't trust this network. I trusted him enough that he will take care of me because of that scenario that he did.

And I'm like, I let's just bang it out together. You know, and that's super, super, super important in this industry. Because I know affiliates, we're just, we're just scared of each other. Right? People were like, oh, you're giving a secret. Now he's competition. For me, I love it.

Give me this value. Because first of all, you might not be able to compete with me, because I'm spending to get to conversion, you have to spend X amount before you even get to first conversion. A lot of people understand this, they think like, Oh, I'm going to spend $100 and I'm going to replicate his campaign. Now you really have to hit maybe like $2,000 before you even get the first you know, conversion book, because 

Henry: You're going to optimize get the data and get things working. Yeah. So, you're, like, get everything going. Yeah. So yeah. 

Ian: And I think it's super simple important to just have a trustworthy affiliate manager where Oh, he left this company like he went from waste is deaf five. Now you would click the other images you had a group of people that you can just say, I trust me so much wherever he went, that I'm going to run any offers, he suggests and after value that networks or affiliate managers bring to the table bring to the affiliate. Now we're sure that brings to affiliates. 

Henry: So, yeah, I definitely think so. And I think trust builds reputation, too, right is like one of the biggest ways that, you know, affiliates helping affiliate managers by referring a friend, right? If you trust the guy that you're working with, and someone's like, Hey, I'm looking for an offer.

I'm looking for something, you're like, oh, man, I know this guy over here. Like I trust him. Like that's, that is how good affiliate managers build their book of business. On the flip side, if I'm an affiliate, I'm asking people like, who do, who do I work with? I'm going to take someone's referral every day of the week. So, you treat someone Well, you take care of them. Like I've had guys, I've changed back 20 3040 50k. And they still work with me because it's transparent because they screwed up. We had a conversation. You know, I know lots of guys who've screwed up, got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. And we've had an adult conversation, right, and, but you know, we take risks together.

Or sometimes as a network, you cover losses. being transparent is so big in this industry. You know, people throw around words, you know, and accusations all the time. But at the end of the day, you're only as good as your reputation. We all know who to avoid an industry. We know people who've been around for a while that have burned people. And I definitely think if you want to be a long-term success, and even be able to show yourself at conferences, then trust and transparency is super important. I think it's an affiliate manager. You need that for sure. 

Ian: Yeah. And I think that's worked out very well for me, because I'm just so like, I owned a domain, get affiliate, because I'll be the only affiliate that'll wear like a hat and a fanny pack at conferences. And to like, they would just like to you so get over like you need to you need to be like, but I'm an affiliate.

I don't have a business. It's a referral business. Right at that time, the way I thought, you know, but still, I think having that transparency, right is super, super important with the network with the affiliate manager and affiliates. I think there has to be a conversation, where, hey, this is my business.

This is your business, how can we, you know, work together and see where we can reach the same end goal? You know, it's just a lot of fear as affiliates see what networks like, oh, once we hit X amount of volume, my conversions drop, right, and they say the affiliate network is stealing traffic or whatnot. But I feel like there's a certain act of white and bigger ones that are purely agency, right?

That's like saying, Hey, I'm a software company, I'm a coder, I'm just going to take any bits and replicate it. But you're not, you're not in the business of copying in the business of, you know, being a tech advisor, whereas an affiliate network, you're in the business of referrals, right? It might be the agency side. And currently, but I'm not sure if you guys or any other network will have cool copy campaigns. So, let's get into that. 

Henry: I think look for us, like we don't like I clicked either we, we wouldn't take someone's campaign and try to run it ourselves. You know, for us, you know, we're network through and through, you know, we don't have a click dealer media buying team internally, that's taking your campaigns and running them, I think that's definitely questionable. Like, you do that, and then you lose trust, right.

And I think you're only as good as people trusting to want to work with you, there's a lot of trusts involved, right? People run to us, we hold their money, you know, and then we pay them. But there's a lot of, you know, you invest upfront as an affiliate, you're running traffic, you get paid, maybe you get paid weekly, maybe get paid monthly, whatever the payment terms are, and then you know, there's that trust there.

And then we trust you that when we get paid net 45 that 60 not ever that, you know, it's it goes both ways, right? Like you trust us, then we have to trust you. I think that's super important. I also think, you know, that the question of like the words that get thrown around, and I, you know, like stealing traffic or scrubbing or optimization, or, or whatever it is, you what people don't understand, especially on the advertiser side, and this is something that needs to be transparent for affiliates, is there's a value to your lead, right, your leads that are converting, and the threshold of how they're getting converted.

That's how the EPC is being controlled a lot of different lead generation, or maybe they tighten up filters on your traffic, because it's not converting or, you know, maybe the middle is underperforming, there's a lot of things that could go in, you know, and there's a lot of things that can go wrong, that isn't just stealing your traffic.

But then there's also things just like, an advertiser can't lose on you on your traffic at the end of the day, right, they're going to see what your lead is worth either going to drop your payout, or they're going to drop, you know, the performance is going to drop. But that should be also a conversation you're feeling managers having with, right, your affiliate manager should see those drops, they should see that your campaigns are performing, and start looking into it themselves.

Because there are so many things that go wrong. And that's where I think like, even if you affiliate, traffic isn't always great.

So, if your traffic's not great, and performance drops, then there, you can still have a conversation about how do I keep that campaign alive? And where do we go from here, other than I'm stopping or the advertiser just pausing you? And that's, that's the important part of affiliate manager roles. They have to be that voice in between, to keep everybody happy. 

Ian: Yeah, I agree. Because I mean, I was an advertiser once, and I see both sides. So, for me, it's like, well, we have your right, we're going to be merchants, you can use your service, you are going to be a refund, like, we have to take into this effect, that, hey, our average order value is X amount, we're paying you X amount, we're technically taking a loss, because we're assuming we're going to have a 90-day retention of making at least another 100 make up for the loss. Like a lot of affiliates don not think about these things, right. And I also had to beginner did not think about things until I became an avid 

Henry: You think it's not my problem. Right? But it is, yeah, if you want to run long term, 

Ian: Correct? Yeah. You know, the thing is, affiliate don't understand the whole back end right now, this is why like, I advise affiliate to like, Hey, if you're really good traffic, worked directly with an advertiser, and you will see the headaches that you're going through. And yes, you don't have to go through the headaches, just go through network, but also expect that dirt one can go through the headache, but it's their responsibility to bring that issue to you right. So, there is to have to be this this discussion between the affiliates am and network right. Sometimes there's always lost your communication and that's where a lot of the hatred towards affiliate networks, affiliate managers, etc. You know, because some high some high-end affiliate, you know, can be like, man, put a post on Facebook and Dude, it's good, but you hear from the low end like, dude, you just send the Craigslist traffic, like you're not even good at tracking. You know

Henry: I think it's setting expectations is super important too, though. Like, that's one thing I'll say, as an affiliate manager. I tell my guys when they enter a new relationship, set an expectation with an affiliate, what do they expect from you? Do they expect you to send them a top offer list every week? Or do they want you only to send you specific offers? Do they want you to message them every day? Do they want you to never message them and only send them emails like Find out what their style is in the affiliate? Because what's right for you like what's right for end affiliate might not be right for the other 10 guts, right?

There's no one solution, some guys want to have a conversation, they want to jump on a call, some guys don't want to call, some people don't have a personal relationship. Some people are pure business. But you as an affiliate manager need to learn that it's very hard over Skype, when you don't have conferences and stuff to meet people in person, we're not traveling to go meet people, but we have to build a relationship and that it has to be a relationship.

If you want to be successful. You know, I have affiliate managers who are some of the bests I've ever worked with. And I've had people complain about them because they didn't like their style. Right? Like, and I know, this guy's this guy helps people print money, but you don't work with them.

Okay, like will work, work away and make something work, you know, and I think that's something that people don't enter into. And I think you have to demand a certain level of responsibility from your affiliate manager. So, it's okay to hold them responsible. It's okay too, you know when they say you're getting a chargeback or this kind of thing, or you they're pausing your traffic to demand answers and ask for questions and demand transparencies and affiliate.

That's your right, and you should do that 100% of the time, on the other side of doing manager has to be prepared to provide information and work with you. And that's where that transparency, trust, and relationship comes in. Because everyone has to work together for people to make money. 

Ian: Yeah, I totally agree. You know, going back on that, like, I know, affiliate managers, they get so busy in a swamp. Right. And I can understand, in that scenario, how do ClickDealer manage priority affiliates today are having pockets of groups like, Oh, this is just an example with the health vertical that only does Facebook with $1,000 budget, right?

Like how, how many how many affiliates do wonderfully manager handle? 

Henry: So that's a good question. So, at any time, an active affiliate manager could have anywhere from like, I don't know, 30-40 50-60 affiliates who are generating money, like generating money with me, they probably have a portfolio of a few 100, depending on where they are different networks, it's of a different number.

So, my previous networks that we would have, like 300-400 affiliates, and it definitely depends on the individual affiliate manager style. And we give a lot of resources and a lot of training on how to manage people how to manage workflow and try and you know, help people with like their one-on-one development to manage that. But at the end of the day, people end up trending towards what they're comfortable with. So, he works with guys like Attila, who, you know, we were in the clubhouse with. And what he's done is because he enjoys it because he understands it, he's attracted affiliates, who trust working with him and want to work with him.

And he's kind of ended up gravitating towards a specific vertical, you know, most affiliate managers end up towards a vertical or a traffic type, just naturally, because it's what they become good at. You know, and we find that fit. And you get referrals like we're talking about, I think, to kind of go back a little bit and talk about how do they manage all those conversations, its tough messages get missed all the time. And that's where I think setting expectations at the beginning is really important knowing if someone's high maintenance, and not in a bad way, but they need that constant reassuring. Or if they want something a specific way, why not set the table that way?

Like I look at that in any relationship and sales is set up the relationship on both sides. What do I expect as an affiliate manager from you, and what are you and this kind of sounds really loud, he died? And maybe not everyone does it this way. But this is how I was doing as an affiliate manager, and how I encourage my guys to is like set up that relationship, set expectations, and then manage it that way.

And if you've told him, you're going to get in that top offer report every Monday, then get it to him. And if he said he's going to get you feedback on offers every Friday before he ends work for the week, then do that. Right like and have those conversations and if you know that they need a phone call to remind them to turn in their campaign on Monday, give him that phone call like I used to do that when I did paper call and other stuff, I have to call my affiliate sometimes every Monday like don't forget to turn your campaigns on you know, and that was just part of the job right?

But you have to hire people that that know how to be organized and are good with people and our high functioning and I think it's not an easy job or everyone would do it and I think it's a pretty thankless job quite often because like you said, if someone doesn't get something right away, they're just going to I want new affiliate I try one new affiliate manager Yeah, we've had people burn through four or five and at some point you got to look at yourself when there's no affiliate manager that is good enough for you well maybe you're the problem 

Ian: Anybody they can have like two my three affiliate managers that I have. 

Henry: Yeah, own exactly like some guys do end up with, you know, multiple affiliate managers do right like for us, as I know, I'm in conversations with affiliates because they want me in there. They want me to be responsive. Like I haven't managed affiliates in three, four years.

I got like a bite. At the same time, as I will, I'm more than happy for, for some gazes to be in that conversation, add my insight, you know, edit ad copy for affiliates sometimes, because I worked with them in the past, and guys who don't even work a click dealer will be like, Hey, take a look at this because I worked with them before. Yeah. And I think you need that kind of mentality in affiliate marketing to just take care of those people that took care of you. Right. 

Ian: So yeah, I agree. I mean, till he says, tell us a pretty good and club afterward, he never wants to talk back on anything that hadn't made him money, people. Yeah, forums, industries, etc. So yeah, I definitely agree with that, for sure. You know, now, how do you handle like, brand new affiliates, right, and they go through the process? And they only do like 25 conversions, and they just dip out? Right? Like, how do you pursue that? 

Henry: Yeah, I mean, we used to be super. So different networks, it's different strokes for different folks, depending on what you are. So, some networks put a lot of effort into training newbie affiliates, we have a mixture, right? Like, it's really tough. We get hundreds and hundreds of hundreds of applications a week to sign up for Clickdealer.

And like I said, At the start, we have like 30, something affiliate managers at any given time, and we don't have an automated process, we want to give human interaction, we deal with them one on one, and we try it because you never know, you know, with language barriers and everything like that, like a forum can only capture so much information. And so, we try to bring on anyone that has potential, but oftentimes it can go one of two ways we bring guys on, they stop responding, you'd be surprised how many guys sign up and then never respond.

You know, because they got that spur of the moment, they never show up. Or guys that don't even know what a tracker is. So sometimes you have to tell people, it's not the right fit and often will say, go to a forum, check out a forum or go learn more and then come back and reapply.

But it is tough, I would say probably like 15-20% or less, actually get approved that apply. Because you can't accept everybody. And you know, that's just the number off the top of my head thinking of like numbers that I've seen. But as an affiliate, you know, you kind of have to prove yourself, you know, when we ask you to tell us how much you're making, what you're involved in and you know, either sending messages or an email, you kind of have to give us something for you to stand out from the crowd. And then if you tell me, you can make 10k a month.

Great. And then I asked you like, what are you running you go I haven't run it I'm the thing you know, then you lose trust right away. It's a red flag. We do a lot of training on red flags, and what to look out for because there's a lot of fraud and signups and so what I would say is go that extra mile, add that affiliate manager on Skype, try and find them somewhere, try and have a conversation, make yourself stand out. And, you know, I tell my affiliate managers when they're approving or denying people like it's a privilege to be on claim do not alright, so don't approve everyone, but at the same time, treat people with enough respect that, you know, if they weren't you talking to them, and they're worth a shot, take a shot. But it is there's no, there's no great answer.

And, and I'll be the first to say, you know, as a network that has that many inbounds and we have quite a bit and we have quite a big reputation. We don't get it right all the time. Sometimes good people get missed, sometimes bad people get in. And you know, you have to kind of trust the team that's around you.

So, one of the big things I mentioned earlier was referrals. And getting referrals or getting referred from somebody who works with us is the easiest way to get in because, you know, we'll know that person will trust that person. And we'll say, you know, even referred someone our way. Cool. Let's give them an affiliate manager right away and see if they can work out. 

Ian: Yeah, now, I agree. fraud is definitely a big issue with network. I've experienced this firsthand, because there are people to reach me out. And they're like, Hey, can you sign this network? Like for what I have an account there? And they're like, can you share that login? Like, no, I make too much money with them. I'm not going to ruin my relationship crazy. 

Henry: Like people who sign up like multiple times as the same person. And we like we waste 100 know, if someone's signed up before or, like there's, there's we have enough security and like, also, you know, when people when they sign up with the same email like we can see you use the same email six months ago, you don't I mean, like, it's like, in our database like a CRM, right? So, we can see the basics of that kind of stuff.

And, our AMS are smart enough to know, when someone isn't who they say they are. Like, there's an affiliate marketing. Yeah. And we get a lot of women signing up. I'll tell you that yet. There's not an affiliate marketing and we get a lot of them signing up from the flyover states in the US. 

Ian: And just yeah, I mean, there are affiliates that just don't want to be talked to, they just want one offer, because they've been capped out on this network. So, they what they see on another network, they want to sign up and cap that out and never, never work. Never again.

And this is where what I hate about the industry is because the abuse, I loved it, and she's so much that I talked about by these topics, because this is the industry where I thought, Man, I mean money just by luck, like, oh shit, I actually have skills. You know, I mean, So, for me, I appreciate what in shit done for me and I see both sides being the traffic guy, though referral to advertiser, you know, on all end, and I see this is a full ecosystem and a treat it as one, right for the guy who just wants to make $500 on, on offer across 10 networks and you made $5,000 that's not a lot of money. You know? I mean, like, if you can do that, 

Henry: And you're hurting other people on the way to be honest. 

Ian: Yeah. And you were given a bad name to the industry to your liking. So, in that, 

Henry: And I'll be the first one to say like black hats, something that we've like, you know, standards have changed over the last 10 years. What was black hat before or what was considered clean? And so, you know, ring tones, for example, that a lot of people made money off of back in their early, you know, early days, you know, now you think, oh, man, you're an evil bastard doing that. Right?

Things change. I definitely think there's a way to do affiliate marketing, right. And, you know, I'm not going to be here and pretend like in terms of my experience in affiliate marketing, that I haven't seen those campaigns or haven't worked with those doing that, you know, you know, we all have, but at the same time, you know, when we look at, like working with networks and that sort of thing, there's just a right way to work with people and being transparent. You know, if I know you're pushing the edge of the wording or your ad created. I think I just lost you ran across. You still hear me there? 

Ian: Yeah, definitely a little lower than before. 

Henry: Okay, let me let me 

Ian: Now I just lost you. 

Henry: Oh, no. Yeah. One second. Yeah. Are you? 

Ian: Oh, yeah, you're good. 

Henry: Yeah. College is my cat ran across and pulled out the cord to the microphone. But yeah, I think there's just a right way to do it. And I think working with your film manager is one of the easiest ways right and, and networks screw up and affiliates screw up and advertisers screw up. But there's still an important place for everyone's, you know, to make money. 

Ian: Yeah, no, I totally agree. And it's such a topic that nobody really touches on and discusses because there's the mentality of the affiliate again, me I would that person like, the fuck you type now, I can get another network. There's a bunch of affiliate networks, they're begging for my traffic, right? Or network that takes me out to dinner when I don't even run traffic with them just to get my business.

Right. But now we're in a world where the affiliate network, there's just because only trust a good handful. Now, there's just so many that dude, I only want to work with like the top tier ones now, did I work with a path or wherever my affiliate manager was right.

And that's super important to have. And a lot of affiliates, don't see this. Like affiliate marketing is an amazing toolbox to learn online marketing, and grow and evolve out, all you have to do is learn, be transparent. Talk to your affiliate manager to understand why they're doing that after great questions and learn from it. And that's pretty much it, you know? 

Henry: So, yeah, and I mean, we've lost a lot of networks over the last few years, especially last year, during the pandemic, we lost a lot of top networks had been around for a while, or never go, not worth it anymore. Right. And I think one of the challenges there is, never have to reinvent themselves, but it's not a bottomless pit of money. Right, in terms of, you know, a network has to balance things between traffic and an advertiser.

You know, there's only so much money and margin, from that margin, comes all your overhead, like, how does it feel? Imagine? how, you know, how can we afford, you know, to throw those parties or, you know, give away a Porsche, as we're doing right now, all these different things, and that comes from the margin, right? It's not a greed thing. Like, that's money that gets coming back.

Like we have stuff like loyalty programs, you know, we at big conferences, we're always giving away stuff, giving, like taking our partners out, you know, taking care of them. And, in a way to say thanks, and to build that loyalty, but also, we're reinvesting in those relationships, right.

And I think, as a network, you know, we've had to reinvent ourselves. We launched our own tracking platform two years ago; we have our own smart link. Now that runs not as self-promotion, but to show like, as a network we've had to evolve to add more value to our affiliates. You know, we do that with the training that we do with our guys. We do that with stuff like clubhouse, we're bringing people together because we see we have to offer more than just a link and say good luck. 

Ian: That's true 

Henry: And the networks who do it and there's some great networks out there in media. Those guys are amazing in the crypto space and some of the stuff that those guys are doing the way they take care of their affiliates. Mobidia and China, they're an awesome network as well.

So, I'm happy to say like, there are guys that really take care of affiliates, and that makes it better for the likes of us to write when networks are doing the right thing and taking care of guys. And, and not a scam. You know, it helps make makes everyone's life a lot better, too. 

Ian: I think the thing is, what affiliate networks and fully managed to understand that this is our business, we treated as a referral business, not an agency with a media team, so we can see what affiliates are doing and make that internal.

Right. I mean, there's, there's just you have to focus on what you're good at, which is referral psi, which is handling the advertiser who's chipping into affiliates understanding the advertiser referencing that back to the affiliates, right. And that's the key goal. You know, I mean, 

Henry: So 100%? And like, what, sorry, go on? 

Ian: Yeah, no, go. Go ahead. Go ahead. 

Henry: I was just going to say about, like, something that we've done, like focusing on the education side, so like, I know, I kind of refer to the club I was talking about earlier, everyone's going to wonder where that audio is. And it's, who knows, 

Ian: You said, it's going to be recorded, right? It was recorded, but I hope it worked. 

Henry: Like you recording. So as of now, I can say it was recorded, but who knows where that audio ends up. But one of the things we talked about was lead gen, and two and a half, three years ago, as a network, click dealer started talking about white hat lead gen, or we just call it led gen now, but in the US and stuff, like roofing, Windows Home Services, and one of the things we started doing was educating our top guys who are tired of the rat race, the churn and burn and saying, there's a, there's a market here for you to build a business.

It could be organic blogs, it could be based on the actual comparison websites, but there's value for you to start thinking ahead and getting into, you know, using the Google Display Network, or Facebook or, or search itself and build out an actual business based around an evergreen vertical.

You know, and that's something that affiliate networks should be looking out for you as well. Like, how can they make turn your affiliate campaign into an affiliate business? Or a long-term business? Right? That's, that's a that's an essential service that I see from a network. 

Ian: Well, I think the affiliate network needs to look at from the top-bottom from the advertiser, what is the goal of advertiser and then distributed that to the affiliate? I think that is the super, in my opinion, be the key, you know, like, Hey, I only want to do this, I want to have an average CPA of this. Right. And, and that's it, right? And that should be transparent over to affiliate. 

Henry: Yeah, how can you expect an affiliate to provide good leads to your campaign? If you don't know what the advertiser wants? Like, if I don't know, the advertiser wants women over 40 for a sweepstakes campaign? Because that's what converts best for them.

And I can't tell that to an affiliate. If they're sending Facebook, then what worth am I, right, they're just shooting, they're shooting in the dark. Like, it's crazy to me. And obviously, not all advertisers are going to share the information, not all affiliates are going to share the information. But as a network, you have to try and provide value and provide that opportunity, that bridge between the two sides. 

Ian: Yeah, I mean, it's super difficult, though, just because you are just passing over a link. Right? There is I know that a network to have the training, there's a button our test smart link systems, right? It's very hard to I mean, what are you doing with the clubhouse and everything is definitely more brand. Marketing, right, superior to get the name out there. Given that value, you bring people like me it tells us what we're doing.

Right. So, I mean, giving value is super important Right, educating is super important.

Yeah, what definitely get back on there. Like, oh, this is an exclusive email campaign. But he and you're allowed to run this through Facebook with a fixed amount of leads first, and then we'll discuss after right. That scenario is optional, you know, based on the talent of the affiliate, but should not be closed on the timeline, the triplet network. 

Henry: So for sure, I completely agree with that. 

Ian: Yeah. So, guys, we're hitting about, we're going to have about five more minutes. We're almost hitting an hour mark here. But, I mean, this is so far, great conversation. This is a topic I've been wanting to discuss with several people. But a lot of people, just don't like to hear this.

Oh, you're always with the network. But I'm like, dude, I used to be an advertiser, I used to kind of have my own network. Like, I know, I don't want to be I know how affiliates think, you know, I mean, now that I'm mature, and I'm super old, like I understand, like, what's going on? Do you know? Yeah. 

Henry: For sure. And like, I'm a very pro affiliate. Like I said, before we came on here, we're chatting a little bit. Like I always think as an affiliate, you should be trying to get the most out of your affiliate manager. treat them as an extension of your team, hold them accountable.

If they tell you they're going to do something, make sure they did it. But then you also default stuff. But if your manager doesn't work for you, or isn't giving you the information, you need, when you work with someone different, but also make sure before you make that request. You're not the problem to write Don't be an asshole always. It goes both ways. Yeah, don't be an asshole, man, the amount of people has sworn or treat my affiliate managers like crap, why am I going to give you another affiliate manager? Like to run my offers?

No, there's, there are other affiliates we can work with, right? Like, we're not desperate for one person's business, so that you can shit all over, you know, our team. And in turn, we're going to knock shit all over you. Right

Ian: Yeah, I think the goal, I think the end goal, the end goal of being affiliate, is to have that transparency with the affiliate managers use the resources, what they can provide, understand what resources that they can provide. And you'll be better off like, is your goal to make money for only a short term of up to one a week? Or do you want to make this campaign work for six months to, you know, five years down the road? You know, and that's the mindset affiliates need to get into, it should never be a quick cash game.

Right. Used to be but yeah, I mean, when auto pipe sees it happening with Apple, Facebook, the government doing all this with, you know, what information on the internet, everything's going to change, obviously, it's not going to be easy back in the day, because it was the Wild West. And now we're slowly maturing, we're all growing. And we have to, we have to grow with it. So, but Henry, appreciate you for being on here. Any last words before we close out? 

Henry: I’m not honestly, nothing super inspiring, other than just, you know, make sure that, you know, 

Ian: The conversation was not inspiring. 

Henry: No, no, no. Additional, that's inspiring. I don't have any amazing quotes. Other than to say, like, just get the most out of your affiliate management experience, like, make sure you're holding them accountable.

One thing that if I can give one tip for people to take away, the most important tip for me, is setting, you know, setting expectations and setting a goal with your affiliate manager, make sure they know you're serious, make sure they know you've got 10k to spend 15k, or if it's $500, you need that information to help you. And if you build that trust, and you set expectations, and you set goals, you will be successful in that relationship with the affiliate manager.

But you know, it goes both ways. But if you can do that as an affiliate, that's my biggest takeaway, and that's how an affiliate manager is going to take you seriously, they're going to say, Oh, snap, that guy's actually treating this like a business not a not a quick money grab.

So that's the final thing that I'll say. And of course, if you want to work with click dealer, I'm sure you'll pop a link in wherever you post this but you know, click dealer comm I try not to be self-promoting, but I know if I don't mention the URL, my PR team will be all over. So here is this red shirt on? You're more branded than I am. 

Ian: Oh, you're not prepared. You're not prepared, bro. 

Henry: Well, no, like I said, I've been waiting for a sweater for four years. So, one day might take care of me, you got a better treatment than me man. 

Ian: Awesome, guys, I appreciate you watching us hopefully this was informative. I know it's a topic I've been wanting to discuss for a while argument on both sides.

I'm not a one-sided taker. I am an affiliate by look at this industry as a prosperous industry because it has given me the opportunity to make money. And I see both sides of it as a business and that's the way I treat it. And that's the way I encourage you guys to treat. So do you guys want to check out click below go ahead and check them out a you will be able to see this post on and we'll discuss further?

So, if you want anything else, just go ahead and leave comments below. Make sure you like to subscribe. Done

Ian Fernando
Involved in the internet space since 2002 and have been through the ups and downs of this online industry. I am a traveling digital nomad, media buyer, online strategist, and many more online titles.

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