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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    October 7th, 2007
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    Hiring an OPM
    Hi all,

    I think I have written and rewritten this post six times so please forgive me if I haven't gotten it right yet...

    Since coming here and posting various threads, the most common piece of advice I have received is that I should hire an OPM. I would like to know more. I have done a few searches to try and get a feel for what these relationships look like. Unfortunately, I haven't found anything that is both recent and comprehensive. Here are my questions and I apologize if I missed a thread that outlined this. Please direct me appropriately if that is the case.

    Background: My company is a small consumer electronics retailer specializing in refurbished and end of life items. Our website was just launched late this summer but we have a very long successful background on eBay. We are presently on CJ and will be there for a while as we have a contract. (I wish I had found this forum before that decision was made.)

    Questions...

    1. What are the responsibilities that the OPM takes over? My assumption is that it would be day to day management as outlined in Geno's brilliant stickied post on this forum. Is that correct?

    2. What should I have in my mind as a typical monthly price? I found an old post that said bringing on an OPM averaged around $2,500 a month. Is that still correct?

    3. What kind of success in terms of bump in affiliate sales is typical when bringing on an OPM? (Keeping in mind that we are in the subbasement at the moment on Affiliate sales so we can only go up.)

    4. What should I be looking for? My assumption is lots of experience with similar programs, more of a clue than I have about general affiliate needs, someone who knows and is known in the community.

    5. How do I go about finding an OPM? Ok, this sounds like a stupid question since in my short time here I have come to realize that there are some extremely knowledgeable and intelligent OPMs here who have been kind enough to give me free advice. I have a sneaking suspicion though that I will not be able to pay what a good OPM here would want to work for me. We are simply too small right now. So, assuming I can't afford the brilliance here (an untested theory) is there a source for people who can help me grow my program to a point that I would be able to be big (and rich enough) to get someone more high end?

    I think that is it, but I welcome any additional information on the topic as I don't know what I don't know and could well have left out important questions.

    ~erika

  2. #2
    http and a telephoto
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by ELD
    1. What are the responsibilities that the OPM takes over? My assumption is that it would be day to day management as outlined in Geno's brilliant stickied post on this forum. Is that correct? You can also have them in more of a consulting mode, where they teach you how to manage your program yourself if that is your eventual goal.
    You would work that out with the firm you hire. If you can't afford a full service OPM you can negotiate for less services for lower cost per month.
    2. What should I have in my mind as a typical monthly price? I found an old post that said bringing on an OPM averaged around $2,500 a month. Is that still correct?
    That varies by firm and by services you require. Also some firms charge a minimum against commissions rather than a flat rate plus commissions. There are several pricing models, but you will almost always be paying a minimum of some kind, especially because getting your program running and up to speed requires more work while commissions are low.
    3. What kind of success in terms of bump in affiliate sales is typical when bringing on an OPM? (Keeping in mind that we are in the subbasement at the moment on Affiliate sales so we can only go up.)
    An OPM can recruit effective affiliates and get them active. I for one do not give hard numbers ever. There are too many variables. But if your site converts (which a good OPM can also help you with) you should see increases in sales steadily.
    4. What should I be looking for? My assumption is lots of experience with similar programs, more of a clue than I have about general affiliate needs, someone who knows and is known in the community.
    Your assumptions are correct. They don't necessarily need experience in your exact niche, but need to be able to recruit and communicate with affiliates, are well known enough to have the trust of affiliates and can give you what your site needs as far as making changes that make your site affiliate and consumer friendly.
    5. How do I go about finding an OPM? Ok, this sounds like a stupid question since in my short time here I have come to realize that there are some extremely knowledgeable and intelligent OPMs here who have been kind enough to give me free advice. I have a sneaking suspicion though that I will not be able to pay what a good OPM here would want to work for me. We are simply too small right now. So, assuming I can't afford the brilliance here (an untested theory) is there a source for people who can help me grow my program to a point that I would be able to be big (and rich enough) to get someone more high end?
    You need to talk to a few that you have found that you respect. Someone may be willing to cut you a deal with a reduced services package. There are no "high end" OPMs that you grow into. You should be able to find one you can work with that will be what you need now and into the future.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  3. #3
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    1. Yep, but you might modify that list depending on what you feel you have covered in house, or may not need - you get to mutually define their role and it often does change as time passes and trust and success builds. Some OPM's sites have these things listed out for you as well.

    2. Too customized to fit you and too negotiable to peg with certainty, ask them to bid on your business, but you must supply them with some figures for them to do this - ask if they'd be interested in prepping a bid and ask them what info they'd need to prep their bid - and be open with it. They can be trusted, if they have loose lips, they'd have been gone by now.

    3. So much depends on how well you'll listen, they won't be able to guarantee results. It's a little like getting a fishing guide that way, they can lead you to the right spots, but if you don't listen well, it's becomes just an unfun and expensive boat ride for both you and the guide.

    4. As an aff, I can tell you similar programs don't mean bunk to me - they know about what we do and the many ways we do it and they know how to let us do our thing - I'd rather have a well-rounded OPM/AM than one whose an expert in your niche, experts are myopic. Sometimes conflicts occur when similar programs are under the same wing as well. Succesful OPMs have shown they can swim in lakes, streams, oceans and my kitchen sink - don't miss out on them cuz they haven't swum in your type of tub to date.

    5. The range of OPMs here is also broad, there's newbies who are decent, one-person bangers and big dog teams. Haiko has assembled an area here where you can start as well:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/forumdisplay.php?f=236
    For more, dare to Google for it my friend, it's out there. But the best OPMs are here at ABW, so venture out into the muck with that in mind. OPMs at ABW risk their reputations publicly here every day - that's good for us affs and for you merchants - if they're here, they've got virtually nothing to hide and can take whatever heat does come, and it always will - no program is ideal and without hiccups. OPMs here know that and will stand here and take their lumps like a man and come back tomorrow smiling - that's powerful - they're not quitters and not afraid to let people see their pus-oozing warts because they also talk openly here about how they're removing those warts, covering them, curing them, hacking them off, living with them or whatever. Remember, if you want to pick a likely winner, pick one that's running in the race right now... go find some horse out in some unknown stable somewhere and you're taking a long shot. ABW OPMs aren't afraid of fire, they swallow it and fart little sooty poofs, problem extinguished.

    Just today I posted about a major program whose links are broken, down hard. That OPM didn't call me or cry about me posting out in the open, they fixed the problem. I'll stick with OPMs like that through tough times. ABW OPMs are the best of breed and they know us as friends and business partners. The biggest mistake you can make, in hiring an OPM, in my view, is to grab one that isn't active at ABW.

    Good luck to you!

  4. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    is there a source for people who can help me grow my program to a point that I would be able to be big (and rich enough) to get someone more high end?
    To echo what Loxly said, if your OPM is growing the program then you shouldn't need or desire to change to a new OPM. More likely you might want to request a larger team / or more services from the same OPM though.

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  5. #5
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    October 16th, 2006
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    Erika,

    Sorry I missed your call this morning, however I have been trying to call back all day with the number you gave me. I also tried the contact us number through your company's website (I am not going to mention which company this is yet as they are a completely legit and wonderful company to work with), and noone answered there or for any customer service either which is surprising as you guys have a good reputation.

    A quick question for you is, what if you have customers calling in and they cannot get ahold of anyone, that is going to upset the affiliates which will then make trouble for the OPM causing an issue all around. Just wanted to bring that up and let you know about it.

    I think you are moving in the right direction by looking at OPMs, which are easily contacted and readily available; however, is the OPM going to be able to provide an email address or something to the affiliates so that they are able to give it to their customers to help them reach someone if there is a problem with a purchase?

    That way your affiliate's traffic won't get mad and stop using the affiliates site because of a reccomendation which may not have gone well, and in turn, make everyone's job easier.

    Please give me a call back later if you can.

    Best,

    Adam
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
    Do you need help with your Marketing or Sales funneling, write me at adamr (at) adamriemer (dot) me

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager
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    Thanks everyone for all of your comments. I suppose that I was rather silly in thinking that there could be a simple question to those questions...

    Loxly,
    Your answers are so always so well thought out and helpful. I really appreciate what you have to say.

    Donuts,
    Thank you as well for your advice. I had looked at that list that you had linked to before. Alas it seems so incomplete. I know that others even who have responded on ABWeb to my questions who are OPMs are not listed. I am assuming that is an area that one pays to be a part of? I appreciate your advice on sticking with someone who is known around here. It makes sense.

    Chris,
    Your logic is sound. I hadn't thought about it that way.

    Liquidate,
    I will call you by the end of the day. Odd that the number I gave you didn't work. In terms of customer service, you should have been sent to voice mail. We don't always have someone that can answer the phone in real time but customers always get a call back within 24 hours. Through our various feedback channels, we receive consistent praise for our customer service and user friendly return policies. We have other issues, that isn't one of them. Do let me know if you didn't get sent to voice mail. It could be there is just something wacky with our phones today since neither number seemed to work. We have had calls coming in though...

  7. #7
    Online Marketing Consultant
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    It may have been that the voice mail is down...Like we both talked about, I am very familiar with your company and you are extremely reputable. It is probably just a phone glitch as I do not get into your voicemail either. Look forward to speaking with you and reccomending a couple OPMs. =0)
    Adam Riemer Marketing, LLC. Online Marketing Blog and Affiliate Management Company
    Do you need help with your Marketing or Sales funneling, write me at adamr (at) adamriemer (dot) me

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