I’m excited to be live blogging Ryan Diehl of Best Buy’s next session called “Educating Internal Business Teams About Affiliate Marketing”. Ryan runs one of the best run affiliate programs I’ve seen in a long time from of optimization and growth perspective.

Here are my major take aways from his session today:

How should merchants deal with internal challenges and communication about affiliate marketing in-house?

  • Point out we ARE MARKETING!
  • B2B have: communications (newsletters, phone calls, emails, etc)
  • B2C: Messaging, Branding, Pricing, etc
  • Affiliate marketing encompasses every facet of online marketing (PPC, SEO, Display, etc) – so it has to be considered important

What you need to let your internal team know:

  • It’s low risk, high ROI
  • Discuss / explain commission rates
  • Publisher Segmentation – let them know there are different groups and that it’s important to work within those groups strengths and customer reach individually.
  • 3rd parties involved – if there are any other companies / resources needed, let them know (i.e.: OPMs, affiliate networks, management tools
  • Contribution to total site
  • ETC

Educate yoru team about channel strengths

  • Driving revenue / leads (top line sales)
  • New customer acquisition
  • High conversions
  • Drive awareness of promotions – and explain the reach you get using affiliates
  • Message key value propositions
  • Sell through excess inventory

How to Take Action

Meet with departments who are already contributing  (Direct & Indirect)

  • Marketing & Public Relations
  • Content Teams
  • Merchant Teams / Brick and Mortar
  • Customer Service
  • Web Analytics
  • Landing Page Optimization / Web Design
  • Search (SEO / PPC)

Speak Up!

  • How affiliates can help
  • Know when to be vocal (and not)
  • Set expectations
  • Get them excited! (get them to ask questions – like how to optimize)

Benefits of Education?

  • Watch the interest GROW! Eventually it will hit the decision makers if the interest and buzz is there and your program will get more attention.
  • Answer the call when the business asks for it
  • Allow testing and say yes to “the man”, but also be ready to say no with an explanation as to WHY it can’t be the way they want – let them know how it would negatively impact the overall business. Use metrics to back this up.
  • When presenting results frame them around your audience (using familiar metrics)
  • If the results are incremental take credit for it!
  • Be prepared to address profitability
  • Give future recommendations and suggest next steps
  • Build a communication cycle that leads to more testing (test – results – analyze – learn – repeat)
  • Personal gratification

In Summary

  • Be prepared to give them affiliate basics (we are marketing, affiliate 101s, channel strengths)
  • Develop your game plan of how to take action (meet with who is already contributing, speak up to decision makers)
  • Seek the benefits of education (answer the call, learn to say no when you need to, present relevant results, recommend more testing)
  • And – be sure to recap all of these in a nice report monthly or quarterly and share it with as many people as possible