Tips for building a healthy affiliate relationship

When you are thinking about joining an affiliate program, it’s important that you know as much as possible about the program before agreeing to the affiliate terms. Below are some top tips you can focus on to help you achieve a healthy relationship with the operators you decide to promote. 

Understand the commercials in detail first

As an affiliate, it’s really important that you know your own site value, what your traffic is worth and how you can add value to an operator program. Once you understand your own commercials, you can go about negotiating a deal which will benefit both sides of the partnership.
Remember to ask your affiliate manager what is being deducted from the gross revenue. You’d be surprised at the amount of deductions that go into the net revenue calculation, so it’s important to understand this as it forms the basis of how your commission is earned. Remember: when you are negotiating a new partnership agreement, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for additional information and clarify things like your monthly payment terms, how VAT is calculated and what payment options are available.

Be compliant

In the igaming industry, compliance is crucial, and many companies are becoming more aware of this as regulation gets stricter. Compliance is something that benefits you and is a definite requirement of an operator who has a brand in a licensed or regulated market. The quicker you can demonstrate that you understand the regulatory environment, the faster you will earn an operator’s trust as a legitimate affiliate business. 
Affiliates need to have the right marketing tools and tactics in place to ensure that they are working with operators compliantly. On top of this, you need to make sure that your operators are working compliantly or else you are putting your own business and reputation at risk. With recent updates in laws surrounding things like GDPR, make sure that you have everything from cookie terms to privacy policies built into your affiliate sites correctly, as affiliate managers who work at serious brands will be reviewing this. 
If you can, share your current business practices and processes with the affiliate manager so that they can understand how you work and can advise if there are any further tweaks required for their brands and specific markets. The terms that you sign up to are really important, so you need to make sure that you understand the program requirements and adhere to their rules. 

Be Professional

Anyone who runs their own business knows that being professional is key regardless of how relaxed the affiliate industry sometimes seems. Although igaming is known as being fairly laid back, professionalism is still vital to maintaining a healthy relationship between an affiliate and the affiliate program. Some important tips to keep business professional is to always be factual – come armed with the data and always be courteous.
You should avoid sending rude or aggressive emails to affiliate managers. Mistakes happen and sometimes communications can be misinterpreted. Rather get on a quick Skype chat or call to rectify matters in person vs posting up a blanket message on a forum for others to comment on. A lot of people in this industry are connected and being rude to one operator might affect your chances of getting a good deal with another in the future. 
As an affiliate associated with an affiliate program, you should aim to be as clear and transparent about what you want as possible. You should also be honest and willing to discuss what you can deliver or admit when you can’t and work on a new plan to achieve targets together.

Create service level agreements

If you haven’t already heard of a Service Level Agreement (SLA), it’s simply an agreement of delivery of service. You should always have something in place that is a record of what is expected from both sides of the partnership. Without this agreement, the relationship can break down and there are no clear guidelines of how to rectify the situation.
Don’t be afraid to ask for this sort of agreement if there is nothing already in place as this is something which benefits both sides throughout the entire relationship. You need to make sure that you know who to contact if you want to escalate a problem right away. You might be in touch with your affiliate manager but if you don’t know who their boss is then the problem might not get solved immediately. 
While forums can be great for getting snippets of information that you need from other affiliates in the same program, you need to remember not to use these as a message board to list the faults of a programme or to vent. Mistakes can easily happen this industry and technology is not always 100% reliable so keeping open lines of communication are key when dealing with reporting delays or other problems. In times like this you really need to use this opportunity to work with your affiliate manager and help them resolve the problem. Show that you are willing to keep up your side of the deal, put agreements in place from the beginning of your partnership and you should be able to keep it healthier for longer.

Be Transparent

The final key to maintaining a healthy relationship between affiliates and affiliate programs is transparency. As an affiliate, it is important that you add value in the ecosystem of acquisition for operators. When you find a good affiliate programme that fits your brand and your audiences,  remember that building a relationship is a bit like dating. 
The main aim is to get to know each other first, then build up enough trust to be transparent and respectful of the collaboration so that it yields a fruitful return on your investment of time, money and effort. Just like with any sort of partnership, it takes time to get to know someone so if you are willing to put in the time then you are more likely to build a lasting relationship.
Remember these points and use them to build your relationship right form the start. Be professional, ask the right questions and get the right contacts to get problems solved right away. If you can do this, you’ll be off to a successful start building your affiliate business. 
If you want to learn more about how to build a successful relationship with operators you’ll want to attend our Affiliate Bootcamp. Learn from digital experts and meet operators who are serious about growing their affiliate channel. Register NOW for a 50% Discount on our early bird Affiliate tickets!

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