Azam Marketing an interview with Sinead Hernen Director of Affiliate Partnerships
Q. What do you enjoy most about working for Azam Marketing?
Our friendly team share a wealth of knowledge and experience. We are a full services agency and benefit from managing PPC, SEO and Email as well as Affiliate Marketing campaigns. There is always someone who has the answer to a difficult question or is available to lend a hand which means there is never anything too big or small that we can’t handle.
As a team, we are treated equally and fairly and encouraged to extend our learning both in a professional and personal capacity.
Q. How did you get into Affiliate Management?
I have been a marketer since 2000 and my first experience of online marketing was assisting in the redesign of a company website. I moved into affiliate management in 2003 when I joined Littlewoods Shop Direct as an Affiliate Manager of the Shop Direct brands. The pressure of managing big UK retail brands such Great Universal, Kays, Additions Direct and Littlewoods was immense but I learned quickly in a short space of time and enjoyed every minute of it. I started at Azam Marketing in January 2008 and I still love being part of an exciting and innovative industry.
Q. What are your top tips for managing a successful affiliate program?
The key to managing a successful affiliate program is finding the right balance between keeping your clients and your publishers happy. I am fortunate that the clients I manage such as UK2.Net, a webhosting company and Purple Parking, a UK airport car parking provider are always open to new ideas and ways to facilitate and incentivise their publishers. In cases where clients are unable to accommodate publishers, we keep their requests in mind and when the opportunity arises we do our best to fulfil their needs.
Communication is also important, Azam Marketing offers longer support hours than any network or agency, including evenings and weekends, and we are always available to talk to clients and publishers through telephone, email and IM. This means communication flows freely and we are able to act quickly.
Q. What are the main things merchants do that you wish they wouldn’t?
I wish merchants would understand the time it takes time to implement a successful affiliate program and recruit and activate a strong group of publishers. Most affiliate programs don’t start to generate significant income until 3-6 months after going live. The best performing publishers spend considerable resources updating and managing their current banners and SEO/PPC content that often they have to schedule intervals to add new links and build a successful marketing campaign for new merchants.
Q. What are the main things publishers do that you wish they wouldn’t?
It bothers me when publishers engage in unauthorised brand name bidding activities. Most merchants have strict terms and conditions in place and publishers agree to these when they sign up to promote a program.
It not only frustrates me as an Affiliate Manager having to monitor and police such activity but it also upsets other hardworking ethical publishers who put their efforts into building quality SEO and PPC links and are then pushed out by those breaking the rules.
I use a tool called Brand Watcher which enables me to keep a close eye on brand bidders and provides me with the evidence I need to ensure specific cases are dealt with quickly and effectively.
Q. What is one thing about you that not many people know?
Not many people know I am a championship Disco, Latin American and Ballroom dancer! I have an attic full of trophies and memorabilia that I am saving to show my daughters when they are older.
Q. Who would you recommend and why?
I would recommend Nadeem Azam, what Nadeem doesn’t know about affiliate marketing isn’t worth knowing! He started as a novice publisher back in 1997 and since then he has built up Azam Marketing into a successful business as a ‘super affiliate’ and a full services digital marketing and design agency. Nadeem is a great mentor and many, including myself regard him as one of the nicest people in the business.
I like working with all my colleagues at Azam Marketing, the Marketing and Account Managers at all the networks, advertisers and agencies I deal with on a day-to-day basis, and my affiliates.
I am a big fan of Commission River. We selected them from carefully comparing what they had to offer against over 80 other companies, and have now been working with them for over six years. They market their services through a network of agents/affiliates who are compensated very generously for recruiting customers for a wide range of telecom, internet and related services. Many people use Commission River to supplement their finances and it’s a great source of revenue for people such as parents who want to work part time.
A company we have started working with more recently and been most impressed with is MoreNiche affiliate network . They have a great range of health and beauty affiliate programs, and the commission rates of 20%-40% are fantastic!
Q. What do you do that is green?
I recycle where possible and have even gone as far to make my own cleaning solutions with lemon, white wine vinegar and soda crystals.
Q. What do you do to improve the world?
I try to improve the world of others by being positive and offering assistance in times of need.
Q. What is on your ipod?
I don’t own an ipod but if I did I would listen to Black Eyed Peas, Michael Jackson and Michael Buble.
Q. What are your contact details (email, company, blog, facebook, myspace, forums etc)?
Facebook Group: http://www.azam.net/facebook
My email address is sinead [at] azam.net