25 Questions To Ask When Hiring an Outsourced Affiliate Management Company

One of the things that separates the Outsourced Affiliate Management Companies from each other are the styles of our companies and how we manage programs.  That is why it is important to know what questions to ask an outsourced Affiliate Program Management Company.  Some of our companies recommend putting your program on auto-pilot, some work with adware companies that may have the ability to take credit for sales or interrupt the shopping process to try and set their cookie and drive sales and others only work with value adding partners.  Many have different models like a certain amount of programs per person in their company and and others pile them on their employees.  It is important to know their business model to be able to determine if they can meet the goals you need and have the same type of management style and goals that you are looking for.  Here are some questions you to ask your outsourced Affiliate Program Management Company when you are looking to outsource your Affiliate Program management.

  1. How many people per program do you have?
  2. Do you allow and work with adware in any programs?
  3. Can you name 5 types of adware and what are 10 applications you test for on a regular basis?
  4. Are your emlpoyees paid on a percentage of sales they drive in or a flat salary and with or without a bonus?
  5. How many new partners will you reach out to each week as a goal?
  6. Are you available on weekends and weeknights?
  7. What are 5 tools that I should be working with or providing to my Affiliates?
  8. What are 3 ways to reactivate an old Affiliate?
  9. Do you work with coupon and loyalty or other sites that rank for url + coupons?  What are the risks with this and what can you do to prevent it from happening?
  10. Can you name three things missing from my current program that you can fix?
  11. What are 3 ways you can help to increase my conversion rates for Affiliates or would you change on my site?
  12. What are 3 ways to have a coupon that adds value and grows my company instead of eating away at my margin?
  13. What are a few things good and bad about each major network?
  14. How do you feel about trademark bidding and can you name three examples of it?
  15. With social media Affiliates, what would you consider adding value and what wouldn’t?
  16. Can you tell me about FTC disclosures?
  17. Can you tell me about Nexus?
  18. What are a few ways you will recruit Affiliates for me?
  19. What do your reports look like and what is important to have in them?
  20. Have you ever taken over an outsourced affiliate program or one that was in house and how did you locate and remove theft?
  21. How long will it take to get my program profitable and see sales every day?
  22. What will you do for the affiliate section of my website?
  23. What are a few ways you use to detect fraud?
  24. What will you need from me if we work with you?
  25. Why should I work with you instead of a different company?

Questions to ask when hiring an outsourced Affiliate Management Company.

Now that you have a list of questions to ask an outsourced Affiliate Management company, here are some of the reasons you may want to ask them as well as some of the answers you should look for.  If you want more detailed answers to these questions to ask an outsourced Affiliate Program Management Company, please feel free to use my contact form.  Even if you aren’t looking to hire my company, I’m happy to let you know a few of the things to look for or look out for, as long as we have time.  These are just my opinions and other companies will have different ones so it’s good to talk to a few with different opinions.

1.  How many people per program do you have?

This is just my opinion, but one person cannot manage more than 3 Affiliate programs at once.  Recruitment takes forever and when helping new Affiliates get started, you spend a lot of time with each of them.  Unless you are paying for not much recruitment (which means you don’t really need a company unless its to only manage current partners), there shouldn’t be more than 3 programs per person.  Affiliate recruitment is very time consuming and having more than three programs per person is almost impossible to do, unless you are not paying for much or any recruitment.

2.  Do you allow and work with adware in any of your programs?

For me, if they allow it I wouldn’t work with them.  I have yet to find adware that doesn’t poach or take credit and sales away from someone else.  I have seen a couple of applications that I like, but none of them were for driving sales directly or were parasitic.  Some adware can in my opinion steal from you and it could be your own sales and customers, your other Affiliates or sometimes competitors, and if they find out may cause issues for you.  If they say no they don’t work with adware, it is important that you learn a few of the larger partners that use it like some of the coupon or loyalty sites and then test the adware over that company’s other clients to see if it is live or active.  This is a service that I offer if you are curious about your own affiliate program.

3.  Can you name 5 types of adware and what are 10 applications you test for on a regular basis?

If the manager or even sales rep cannot do this, my opinion is that they don’t actually know about it and you may want to move on.  This would be a huge red flag for me and I would find someone else to work with.  However, if you don’t mind adware in your program or still like the company, it could be worth continuing to talk to them.

4.  Are your employees paid on a percentage of sales they drive in or a flat salary and with or without a bonus?

This is a tricky one and many won’t talk about how their employees are paid.  It actually isn’t your business so don’t get mad if they won’t tell you.  If they do tell you then great.  If employees are paid based on a percentage of sales driven in, they may be more slack and allow lower value or non-value adding partners in.  By doing this and not educating you on theft or low value sales, they make more money.  These could include some adware affiliates as well as coupon sites ranking for your url.com + coupons or trademark bidders.  If it is a flat fee they have no real reason, unless their bosses are asking them to increase volume, and may have your best interest in mind.  It really depends on the company and you doing research on their current managed programs.

5.  How many new partners will you reach out to each week as a goal?

This is a great question to ask when looking to hire an outsourced Affiliate Management Company.  It is asking them what you are paying them for.  If they say they are reaching out to 30 new partners each week, ask for samples each week.  If it is 100, make sure you are getting lists and watch the sign ups over the next few months to see if some of these sites are joining.  They don’t have to share a full list, but they should be able to provide you with a decent amount of sites.  When you pay for management, you pay for their time and the biggest time issue is recruitment.  Make sure they are doing the work by getting sample lists of sites they reached out to and watch to see if some of these sites are joining the program.

6.  Are you available on weekends and weeknights?

Many Affiliates work on weekends and at night.  The sooner you can respond to them while they are working the better.   If your management team doesn’t answer questions or want to work with you on weekends and on the evenings, you may want to think about that when talking to companies that do.

7.  What are 5 tools that I should be working with or providing to my Affiliates?

This is a great question to ask an Affiliate Program Management Company.  There are tons of tools out there like this one that I love and that I think does a great job.  Find out what tools they know about, have and use and see how they can work with your products or services.

8.  What are 3 ways to reactivate an old Affiliate?

If you have a program that has gone un-managed for a while, it is important to bring back old partners and get them active again.  Sometimes their traffic got wiped out and they won’t be able to send sales anymore.  Other times they began promoting other companies.  One of the questions to ask an Affiliate Program Management Company is about how they can get old partners active and you’ll possibly find out a few things you can do on your own, even if you don’t go with them.

9.  Do you work with coupon and loyalty or other sites that rank for url + coupons?  What are the risks with this and what can you do to prevent it from happening?

If you work with coupon and loyalty sites there are always risks.  If the company cannot provide you with the risks and a few different ways that they can hurt your company, as well as add value, then you may want to move on.  You should also ask how they prevent the negative aspects from happening and how they can work with them to add value to you and not chase away value adding partners.  If they say things like coupon sites posting other coupon sites coupons, that isn’t a serious or real risk to you and you should ask for a different example.

10. Can you name three things missing from my current program that you can fix?

If you already have a program, there are almost always things missing or that are overlooked.  If you have already started talking to them, or even if it is your first time and they have a computer in front of them, have them give you a few examples of what they can fix for you that can help you to grow or at least have more tools available for your Affiliates.

11.  What are 3 ways you can help to increase my conversion rates for Affiliates and my site?

This is one of the best questions to ask outsourced Affiliate Management Companies.  We should be able to help convert sales on your sites and prevent theft.  If we cannot look through and find three ways within a few minutes of looking at your site, then the company you are talking to probably doesn’t know this aspect of the industry.  I have rarely found a site that is perfect so this is a great question and something that can definitely help you, even if you don’t hire them.

12.  What are 3 ways to have a coupon that adds value and grows my company instead of eating away at my margin?

Coupons and coupon sites aren’t evil or bad in theory.  Loyalty sites can also be amazing.  You can use them to actually grow your company and increase sales.  Have the company you are talking to give you a few examples of coupons that can help to grow your sales and bottom line.

13.  What are a few things good and bad about each major network?

Most OPMs have worked on multiple networks.  We know the good and the bad about them.  You should ask what the good and the bad are and then have us recommend which one is the best possible fit for your company or why your program is on the right network for your company.  If they say multiple networks are a good option, then you should be cautious as this can lead to a ton of issues.  If the reason is to reach all Affiliates, my opinion is to run the other way.  It is their job to recruit your partners and bring them to your program on your network.  It is very rare that you’ll find a partner who won’t join another network if they like your product and want to promote it.

14.  How do you feel about trademark bidding and can you name three examples of it?

There are a ton of types of trademark bidding out there besides bidding on your trademarks and urls on the main search engines and content network.  Have them explain it and why it is good or bad for you.

15.  With social media Affiliates, what would you consider adding value and what wouldn’t add value?

This is a good question to ask an Outsourced Affiliate Program Management Company.  It will help you know if they really know what they are doing with social media and their partners.  Just like trademark bidding and adware theft, there are things they need to know and things they can do to help grow you and take away non-value adding partners with social media.

16.  Can you tell me about FTC disclosures?

Many of us are not Lawyers (I’m not and people in my company are not either, so everything from us is an opinion and not legal advice) so you cannot get legal advice from many of us.  You’ll need to talk to a licensed attorney.  What you can get are our opinions.  You should ask about this and ask for examples of it.

17.  Can you tell me about Nexus?

Nexus is a scary thing in the Affiliate Industry and something your company needs to know about and be able to let you know about.  This is one of the most important questions to ask an Outsourced Affiliate Program Management Company and to get an answer for.  Although they probably won’t be able to give legal advice, they should be able to walk you through some of the states and some of the possible solutions.

18.  What are a few ways you will recruit Affiliates for me?

If they cannot name at least 4 or 5 ways they will recruit Affiliates, then move on.  This is the most important thing to grow a program and there are tons of them.

19.  What do your reports look like and what is important to have in them?

Everyone has some of the same metrics and then some companies use random ones that they feel are important.  Find out what you’ll get in their reports and ask about why each is important.  If they focus on things like total Affiliates joined, EPC, etc… you should be cautious and find out why these are important to them.

20.  Have you ever taken over an outsourced affiliate program or one that was in house and how did you locate and remove theft?

Because there are a ton of ways to manage a program and different opinions on things like trademark bidding, adware, etc…  there is a good chance that if you did find a company that will build you a value adding program and the company had taken one over from this company (without it going un-managed for a while), there may not have been many things to clean up.  Sometimes they will get a clean program and there wasn’t anything to do, but they can definitely show you examples of things they would or did look for and how they found and removed it.  Other times when a good company takes over, they can find things and will be able to share examples.

21.  How long will it take to get my program going and see sales every day?

Value adding programs take a lot longer to get going.  If your site already has it’s own traffic and you will allow theft from coupon sites, trademark bidders and adware companies, it will be profitable much faster.  Many companies will say different things so it is important for you to figure out who will build you a program that adds value and who does not.  Sometimes you’ll find a top performing partner in the first month and you can be profitable almost instantly, but that is usually not the case.

22.  What will you do for the affiliate section of my website?

One of the more important but not extremely important questions to ask an Outsourced Affiliate Program Management Company is about what they will do for the affiliate section of your website.  Each of us has different styles and reasons why we do them our own ways.  Find out what they will do and what the benefits will be for your company.

23.  What are a few ways you use to detect fraud?

This is extremely important.  If the company you are thinking about hiring doesn’t have fraud protection in place, you may want to move on.  Ask them about what fraud is and a few of the ways they help prevent it to make sure they can help to prevent theft and not create more work for you.

24.  What will you need from me if we work with you?

The reason you are hiring them is to make it so you don’t have to do work.  However there will be certain things that any good managment company will need.  Find out what these are and get a few examples of why they will need you to do them.  A great follow up question is what will you be doing for me as far as newsletters, customer support, phone calls, manual approvals, outreach, extra exposure, if you think someone may not be adding value or anything else you are paying for them to do.

25.  Why should I work with you instead of a different company?

This is one of the best questions to ask an outsourced Affiliate Management Company when you are looking to hire one.  It lets them tell you why they are better than others, will help you find other ones you may want to talk to and it gives you their value proposition.  Although they don’t have to say who not to work with, many of the good ones will recommend similar or other companies and tell you about some of the benefits of working with both so you can then choose between them.

There are a ton of other questions to ask an outsourced Affiliate Program Management Company like questions about how they will avoid hurting your SEO, etc…  if you are looking to outsource or hire them to train your in-house manager, but these should help you get started.  If you want more detailed answers, or you are looking to hire an Outsourced Affiliate Program Management Company, feel free to use our contact form and we’ll be happy to help.  Also feel free to leave your own comment below if you have any other examples of questions to ask an outsourced Affiliate Program Management Company and you think should be on this list.

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2 thoughts on “25 Questions To Ask When Hiring an Outsourced Affiliate Management Company”

    1. I’m not going to say what we make, but everyone has a different business model. This is the model that we use. Other firms use models that are the right ones for them. There is no right or wrong one, it is up to the clients to decide which one they want and to find a management company that meets their goals.

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