Much of the time, outsourcing certain elements of your business is something you’ll do toward the beginning of your company’s lifespan when you don’t have as much revenue to allocate toward doing them in-house. However, while the initial business push may require you to outsource so you can build revenue streams, it will almost always be better for your business to bring those managers in-house eventually.
What do you need to know if you’re thinking about bringing an affiliate marketing manager into your business?
1. Time Spent Will Be Your Biggest Push Toward Hiring an Affiliate Marketing Manager
The first sign that you need an affiliate marketing manager will almost always be that your company is spending a lot of time on affiliate marketing. An in-house affiliate marketing program requires that you’re communicating with affiliate representatives, running campaigns, managing your affiliate partners, analyzing your competitors, looking at analytics, and much more. That takes a lot of work.
Once you hit about 10-20 affiliate representatives within an in-house affiliate marketing program, you’ll almost certainly need at least a part-time affiliate manager. Check in on how many hours your team is spending on affiliate marketing; if you’re seeing more than about 20 hours a week, then a marketing manager will seriously help your situation.
2. Your Affiliate Marketing Program Revenue Needs to Be Self-Sustainable
One of the reasons that people might be hesitant to bring on an affiliate marketing manager is because they’re worried about the cost. This is fair, especially in the early stages of your business; the salary for a marketing manager may be between $40,000 and $80,000 per year. However, what you may not know is that affiliate marketing has a great ROI, and you’ll likely be able to self-sustain from your affiliate marketing program itself.
A UK study in 2017 from IAB found that affiliate marketing had, on average, a 16x return on the original advertising investment. That means if you’re currently spending only around $2,500 on your affiliate marketing program, you can probably afford a $40,000 salary manager to oversee that program. That revenue should and can be self-sustaining.
3. An In-House Affiliate Marketing Manager Can Help You Avoid Affiliate Network Commissions
Affiliate networks can be helpful – Refersion has all sorts of information about the pros and cons of joining an affiliate network versus starting your own. However, it’s significantly more cost-effective to bring your affiliate experience in-house rather than continuing to be part of an affiliate network, largely because of the commissions that affiliate networks typically take.
While your affiliate percentage may vary depending on the industry, you can expect percentages of around 15-30% through a network but about 5-15% when working directly. That can be a big part of paying your hiring manager and improving your profits overall. Plus, working directly with representatives makes it easier for you to control your brand identity and image.
4. There Are Multiple Ways to Approach Hiring an In-House Affiliate Marketing Manager
Remember that it’s completely possible to hire an in-house affiliate marketing manager in many different ways. Here are a few ways you might want to approach the process of hiring your first in-house affiliate marketing manager.
- Part-Time/Contract Manager
If you’re uncertain about hiring someone new for your affiliate marketing, a part-time manager or a manager with a very short contract, such as about three months, can be a great first step. This is a great way to test the waters and learn more about how an in-house affiliate marketing manager can really help your business overall. Just remember that people looking for part-time or short-term contract work may also have less experience themselves.
- Freelancer Manager
Freelancers can be a great way to get more expertise without committing completely to a full-time affiliate marketing manager. They can work full-time hours, but you may not have to pay them a specific salary, instead, paying them by the hour or in another manner. However, it’s important to remember that legally, you usually can’t require a freelancer to work certain hours; the fact that you pay them less and don’t offer benefits for them also means that they get more freedom than your full-time employees.
- Full-Time Manager
A full-time marketing manager is one of the best choices for businesses that really want to work hard on their affiliate marketing programs. Full-time managers typically have more experience and may have grown in-house programs for other companies before. Plus, you’ll be able to fully incorporate them into your team.
- Promoted Marketing Worker
While a full-time marketing manager is one of your best choices, the place where you get that manager is important. Promoting from the inside can be an incredible way to fill the marketing manager position without having to onboard someone into the system that you’ve already built. Talk to some of the people who are already working with your affiliate system, and see if any of them might be interested in moving to being a full-time marketing manager.
The Bottom Line
An in-house affiliate marketing manager can be a great way to help you learn more about your marketing program and get even more out of it. However, it’s important that you’re prepared before you hire a marketing manager.
With these four tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating a thriving affiliate marketing program for your business.