When speaking with a prospective or even existing affiliate agency, it's important to discuss the key components that will determine the success or failure of your program and ultimately, the partnership. Below are some initial questions to ask. It's best to dive deeper into each question until you feel like you have a clear understanding of their strategies and values.
- What services do you offer as an affiliate agency? Ask about the types of services provided, such as partner recruitment, commission optimization, influencer marketing, reporting, and more. Find out if they're strictly an affiliate agency or offer a broader range of services. You'll likely want to work with a partner that specializes in affiliate marketing rather than offers it as an add-on.
- What is your pricing model? Different affiliate agencies offer different pricing models, such as retainer fees, performance-based fees, or hourly rates. Get an understanding of how each model works and what benefits it offers you. Retainer and/or performance models are often most effective for long-term partnerships, while hourly pricing tends to be more suited to short-term efforts.
- What is the team structure? Attention and resources are key. It’s important to understand who will be working on your affiliate program and how their time is allocated, both on your account and any others they may work on. The structure and roles of the affiliate team often varies across agencies but often you'll have folks that specialize in account management, publisher relations, reporting, etc. Ask who your point of escalation is as well.
- What is your experience? Ask agencies questions to gauge their knowledge and experience level. Find out how long they’ve been in the industry, the clients they have worked with, and their areas of expertise. Knowing an agency's past successes and failures can provide useful insight into what kind of programs you can expect from them.
- What is your approach when it comes to partner recruitment? Partnerships are the lifeblood of any (successful) affiliate program so it's pivotal that you understand how and why an agency recruits partners. Understand both the strategy and methods.
- What is your philosophy when it comes to partner optimization? Great, you have partners who joined the program but now you need them to drive sales! Have the agency outline how they think about optimization and what tactics they've seen succeed or fail.
- How will we communicate? It's also important to understand their preferred channels for communication. Is it through email, calls, or Slack messages? How often will progress be tracked and discussed? Will there be weekly meetings or quarterly business reviews? Understanding how you'll communicate can ensure that both sides stay in sync and on track with performance goals.
- How do we define success? It's essential to have a clear understanding of what success looks like in your affiliate program. Ask the agency how they measure success and what metrics they use to evaluate performance. This will help set expectations and can be used to track progress over time. Once you both understand the definition of success, you'll be able to create actionable strategies to get you there.
By asking the right questions and understanding the agency's core values and strategies, you'll be sure to set the partnership up for success.