Renee Mate of Rewards Affiliates knows a thing or two about using time management to help aid successful affiliates. She has thrice received the iGB Affiliate Award for Best Affiliate Manager. Here, we’ve interviewed Renee to get her take about how to improve the affiliate-operator relationship. Whether you’re a new affiliate looking for their first commissions or a successful operator exploring the latest SEO trends, chances are Renee will have some valuable insight for you!
First off, Renee, can you share a little about your background including how long you’ve been an affiliate manager and which organizations you’ve been with?
I’ve been an affiliate manager for just over 7 years with Rewards Affiliates. I started as an affiliate manager here and am now managing the program. Before RA I worked in a different industry all together so have only ever worked for the one company in this industry!
What are some easy things affiliates could do to make their relations with affiliate managers more effective?
This is a hard one. I suppose think of us as people and try to bond personally with us. It’s hard when you’re mostly communicating via email and chat, but I think when you are more familiar with someone’s personality you will have a much better relationship with them.
An affiliate manager’s biggest pet peeve regarding affiliates is when… ?
I suppose when someone asks for your advice but never takes it. Or rudeness. I cringe when I open my emails and see a rude email that was unnecessary.
What are some time management tips that you could share with affiliate managers and affiliates for working more effectively?
Finish what you start. I think the biggest issue with time management is that people know they have a long list of things to do, and they start everything but never finish it. This always gives you the feeling that you’re swamped.
What methods of communication, other than email, do you most typically use to stay in contact with affiliates?
Skype/MSN is probably my next biggest communication method. Personally I prefer chat than email because it makes back and forth conversations quicker to resolve (and you can have multiple conversations at once). I speak with some affiliates regularly over the phone too, although because of the time difference it’s hard. I do like talking on the phone though. It’s a nice way to gauge the other person’s personality and it makes reading their emails easier to grasp their tone later on.
What are the three most common mistakes made by affiliate managers that prevent them from working effectively with affiliates?
- Taking it personally. Although sometimes it is forgotten that we are real people and we do sometimes receive rude or nasty emails, I think we need to learn not to take it personally. Generally the person on the other side of the keyboard will not know you from Bob across the room so you need to remember that to them you are just the front man.
- Expecting all affiliates to be the same! They’re not – not sure if that’s fortunate or unfortunate for us.
- Poor/lack of prioritization.
It is said that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. As an affiliate manager, what are the 20% of efforts you feel are most valuable to you?
I’m not sure where that one comes from. I’d say 90% of the results come from 10% of the affiliates, but the effort required these days compared to a few years ago to get those results is far greater. I think with the changing environment, affiliates are not as quick to jump on deals these days, so affiliate managers have to work harder to show affiliates they should work together (which I also think comes down to the fact that affiliates are having to work harder to see the same results). It’s a never ending cycle!
What are some of the habits you’ve noticed are consistent among successful affiliates?
They concentrate on their own thing and they don’t really post on forums/get caught up in hoo-haa.
They generally have a huge portfolio of sites rather than just one. The affiliates who only have one site have one very large site with tons of information that they are constantly updating and adding to.
They don’t copy each other. Each of them do their own thing, have their own ideas and have something to offer that is different to the rest.
What player retention tips could you share that have worked for you at Rewards Affiliates?
We have a department specifically for player retention who do an amazing job, so I wouldn’t want to give away any of their secrets.
Finally, what did it mean to you to win the iGB Affiliate Award for Best Affiliate Manager three times? What would you credit as having contributed to those honors?
It was pretty awesome considering it was only based on the votes of affiliates so I knew that the affiliates themselves chose me as the best. Makes me think I’ve been doing something right all these years.
I think being available has a huge amount to do with the wins. Affiliates like that they get a response almost immediately from me when they email – one even commented on a photo taken of me while I had friends at my house that even though I have friends over I still have my blackberry sitting on the table next to me to reply to affiliates.
I also go out of my way to do things for affiliates that other affiliate managers don’t do. I’ve had an affiliate manager here or there ask me about something, then when I tell them what I do for the affiliate they think I’m crazy. “Why would you send so much stuff? Just send them this and make them do the work themselves!” Luckily that’s not really how I work and I think the affiliates I take care of are very aware of that and appreciate it.
I think being with the same program for so long also adds a bit of credit because there are affiliate managers out there who change companies every other month and I think for that reason affiliates find it harder and harder to trust an affiliate manager with their business.
Work with Renee by promoting the casino brands under Rewards Affiliates!