In over ten years in the Affiliate Marketing industry, I have attended numerous conferences and other industry events. I have met hundreds of different types of people in the industry from Affiliates and Merchants, Program Managers for Agencies, CEO’s to interns. What I’ve found over the past decade is that without interpersonal relationships, our piece of Performance Marketing would cease to exist. This is why building these relationships is integral to Affiliate Marketing.
1. Networks are much more than just the servers they run on.
Affiliate Marketing relies on its strong networks to match Affiliates and Merchants up to produce a money-making collaboration for all involved. Affiliate Networks such as ours have built the bedrock of our companies on one simple foundation: finding the right fit for thousands of people. We make the most user-friendly experience using new innovations and techniques. These networks strive at being the best experience for Affiliate and Merchant partners.
These partners rely on the networks for a myriad of solutions. For some, it is as simple as wondering how payments work or where to find a Merchant’s creatives. For others, it may be as complicated as building a custom code to better integrate specific parts of their shopping carts. The network’s goal is to provide a better overall experience for their users and partners.
A network needs to have a relationship with every person in its system. I know this can seem overwhelming when facing down a list of applicants to join a program and that list keeps growing, but it must be a goal to always be there for them if they need you. Remember, these people signed up with you and are putting their trust in you to help them succeed. Why not make a promise to them that you will do everything in your power to help them reach their goals. Building relationships is a vital key to long term success.
2. Conferences and industry events are no place for the timid!
I remember my first Affiliate Summit back in 2008. I had never been to Las Vegas and, aside from a small trade show during my Marketing internship days, had never been to a major conference or expo before. To say I was goggle-eyed for the first few hours would be putting it lightly! One of my teammates gave me the best advice I could have received. Knowing how easily I can converse with anyone, they told me to stop worrying and just start talking to people. By the end of the day, I had met about 35 people in the industry including some I consider good friends to this day.
Now I give the same advice to new attendees no matter the type of gathering. Don’t be afraid to talk to people. It’s amazing the amount of missed opportunities at these events. They exist to allow a space where people have common ground and can share ideas. Who knows, maybe one day down the road there will even be a collaboration!
At the show, you will probably see that your networks have representatives there. I highly recommend going and saying hello. Put a face to the name you may have emailed with questions and give them a chance to get to know you. They may even make suggestions on people or companies to meet at the conference.
Conferences are for building relationships, and soon enough you will be making plans for the next one with your new friends in the industry.
3. Teamwork makes the dream work.
I had a coach back in the day that used to say that phrase all the time. We all thought it was pretty cheesy, but it still rings true. Good relationship building doesn’t just happen. You need to foster an environment that allows for this behavior You can’t run a solid company without a solid foundation. Without a solid team, issues may start to spread that can affect morale and motivation.
As Doug Conant, the retired CEO of Campbells Soup, once said about relationships in the workplace and how they affect success:
To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.
Strong leadership creates a culture of strong team members. Granted, not everyone will always be good friends. If they are willing to work toward the CEO’s vision and the overall goals of the company, however, working as a team and receiving positive feedback can lead to strong bonds between your team.
It is a high-stress environment in the Affiliate Marketing industry at any position. The key is knowing your team will work together when times are rough, rather than against each other. A team that has bonded can be trusted to remain strong.
In conclusion, personal relationships are an integral foundation to the success of everyone involved in the Affiliate Marketing industry. I highly recommending reading the many blogs the networks have as well as the blogs and social feeds of some of the major Merchants, Agencies, and Affiliates in the industry. Always remember to start discussions (especially if you are curious on a topic), build new relationships, and work on cultivating them every day.