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Recently, the Blue Phoenix Media team celebrated the company’s fourth birthday. And while that doesn’t scratch at the standard set by internet giants like Google and Yahoo, in the affiliate marketing arena, four years of excellence is still an enviable achievement. And with stricter rules and regulations constantly being enacted, the affiliate marketing ecosystem is becoming a very challenging space for fledglings and veterans alike to survive. Here are a few pointers–basic stuff, but even the best of us needs a refresher course once in a while, sometimes–to keep your affiliate network thriving.

Find a stable niche. While transient trends are good for a quick buck—they’re just that: Transient. They’re fads. So don’t overload your inventory with campaigns that, while scorching hot presently, could cool off in seconds and turn into a dud. Look for enduring angles. Bet on clear skies, maybe a little rain, but rarely on rainbows.

Your affiliates are smart people. They can sense insincerity. Usually that comes with the need to speed through or completely forgo formalities. So the next time you call them up to pitch a campaign, first ask them, “How are you?” and you might be surprised at how much they’ll warm up to you after those three words. These people may very well end up being those who come through in a pinch, when you need to fill some extra cap. Being chatty will also help you to weed out the odd fraudster.

Patience is a virtue. If you’re still figuring things out (and it’s a rapidly-evolving industry, so who among us isn’t?), you can’t force the process to work any faster than it already is. It’s a lot like gardening: After you plant the seeds and water them, you can’t risk overwatering them—they won’t grow. Likewise, a high frequency of emails to your affiliates won’t necessarily translate to higher commissions. The only thing you can do is learn to back off when it’s clear your affiliate’s ready to go deep alone. Then, later, you can return to see how they fared.

Stop selling for a second. So, this one is a catch-22. An affiliate marketer is a de facto salesperson. But sometimes the most successful exchanges won’t involve pushing new campaigns, but rather checking up on the ones your affiliate already has running. This goes hand in hand with the previous point. Slowing down, but checking in means that you’re respecting the time and labor your affiliate has put into creating his email drop or landing page.

Positive reinforcement always wins. Over the past few years, we’ve all become a little too jaded. Blame it on the recession if you want. But nothing encourages an affiliate to keep doing what they’ve been doing best than an AM just checking in to say, “Way to go!”—without the motive of trying to push more campaigns. Ideally, AMs and affiliates would be able to high-five each other after every successful commission, but until that’s made possible, a congratulatory email goes a long, long way.

Guest post by Rohin Guha www.bluephoenixmedia.com

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