You’ve made the jump into the world of affiliate marketing, you’ve joined your first affiliate program, and you’re itching to get started earning a respectable online income.

Chances are, your new affiliate program comes with a few little extras; mainly, an affiliate manager to guide you through the jungle of affiliate marketing best practices and to be present whenever you need guidance about the program.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at your first foray with affiliate marketing and help you understand the important, initial questions to ask your brand new affiliate manager.

Know the System, First

Keep your eye on the prize.

Like any time that we’ve been asked how to find information online and our response is “just Google it”, you too need to take some time to understand the basics of your affiliate program before you bombard your new affiliate manager with questions.

Your understanding of the affiliate program will give you insight about the real questions worth asking.

Knowing the affiliate program, to the best of your ability, will help you understand the areas in which you may be lacking, aid you with future negotiations with the affiliate manager, and help avoid wasting both parties time and resources.

The point is to be asking intelligent questions so you can receive an intelligent response.

The Questions You Should Be Asking

You’re in a relationship with your affiliate manager and as we’ve all experienced: communication is essential to keep a stable, lasting connection.

Your affiliate manager is there to aid you in getting the most from the affiliate program. A quick email to clarify an issue or method could save yourself dozens of hours of hair pulling activities so keep in mind that you can always get in touch because it’s a support system, after all.

Which types of questions should you ask your affiliate manager? Glad you asked …

  • Inquire about Previous Research – An affiliate program could be sitting on a wealth of valuable demographic information, depending on its age. One of the first questions you should be asking is if you can have access to reports and analytics about the products you’ll be promoting. The demographics and analytics will give you a better understand on how to best promote the products or services on your own website. You may not be granted access to every detail in the reports but your affiliate manager could definitely clue you into the right direction.
  • What are the Current Stats? – Affiliate managers may not disclose the finer details and actual earnings of their products due to legal reasons but you could get excellent information from them about which products are selling. The stats from an affiliate program can focus your aim in terms of web copy, product promotions, marketing, and all other aspects of using the new affiliate program.
  • Ask for Swipe and Copy – Legitimate affiliate programs generally have a database of ad copy, graphics, email templates, training videos, and other media that you could be using to promote your affiliate offer. A swipe file is a great starting point to understand what currently works, for advertising, and what you could later develop to gain higher conversions. Ask your affiliate manager if there is any additional swipe or ad copy that isn’t publicly available or if the company could create custom graphics and copy for your own website (if you’re sending them a lot of business).
  • What You Should NOT Do – Often overlooked, there are guidelines and best practices for most affiliate programs that detail campaigns, copy and demographics you shouldn’t sell to. Sometimes it’s legal, sometimes it’s low conversions, your affiliate manager should be able to tell you what to avoid when marketing their products.
  • What’s the Support and Tracking Like – Two things you should consider for your sake and the sake of the customers you’re sending to the affiliate company. The first is the support system for customers; whether they will be treated with respect and have ample support after they’ve purchased a product. You’ll want to ensure the company takes care of the people you send over because a bad experience will come back to you since you made the referral. Secondly, how everything is tracked to ensure there aren’t leaked commissions or your leads aren’t siphoned off. Both of these keep things legit and ethical for all the parties involved; it will aid in building trust between you, the customer, and the company.

As noted, many of your questions will come to light after you’ve taken some time to explore the programs and products you’re promoting. However, try asking a few of the ones mentioned above when you’re first getting started; it can’t hurt.

Final Suggestion: Ask “What’s Up?”

One final note worth mentioning is the fact that you’re building a relationship with your affiliate manager; the most important question you could ask them is how their day is going.

Getting to know the actual person behind the support emails, phone calls or Skype chats gives you so much more potential to get the most from the affiliate program because you’re buddying with the manager.

Once you have a casual connection, you may find yourself receiving additional support and inside information that will aid your affiliate marketing. Your work with the affiliate manager is less about totally receiving and more about having someone within your friend network.

Being human, communicating, asking intelligent questions is the best way to work with affiliate programs.