In any relationship, communication is key. That goes for everything from marriage to your career. To the best of our knowledge, no one is a mind reader, so communication is essential for getting your point across. As such, we thought this would be a good topic to kick-start 2013.
When it comes to the relationship between affiliate managers and affiliates, there are all sorts of methods to keeping the lines of communication open. From phone calls to emails to Twitter accounts, an effective Affiliate Manager will know exactly how to best communicate with his affiliates. Unfortunately, too many seem to just phone it in.
No matter what your method, the most important thing you can do is keep things personal. Wherever possible, avoid standard form letters or frigidly cold calls. The more you know about your affiliate and their website, the more they’re apt to listen to what you have to say.
Here’s a look at some of the best ways for you to effectively communicate with your affiliates.
Sending out regular emails is the easiest and most-often used tool for an affiliate manager. But so many of them are missing key ingredients, which just results in less response by affiliates.
The biggest and best thing you can do in a promotional email is include that affiliate’s personal URLs right in the email. It may cost you a bit up front to set things up, but in the long run, that will be the most effective way to get your affiliates promoting your products.
Think about it: If you were an affiliate and you saw a decent offer in an email, would you take the time to go find the network, login to the network, find the merchant, then find the correct link? Probably not. At least not when you have 50 similar emails. But if it’s simply copying and pasting a link directly from an email, that’s a no-brainer.
Another key component to emails is information. Don’t just include the link; include all pertinent information. What brand is this for? (Seriously, we’ve seen emails that don’t even say who they’re from!) When does the promotion start? When does it end? Is there a coupon code associated with it? Did you check it to make sure it works? (This one is the biggest crime committed by AMs.) And above all else, be sure to include your name, phone number, and email address so affiliates can get in touch with you as needed.
Before calling any affiliate, do your homework. Take at least five minutes to browse through their site and get a feel for what sort of programs or offers they like displaying. Then dig through your inventory and come up with a list you think would be a great fit.
Also spend time brainstorming ideas of how best to work together. Call the affiliate up with a goal in mind. Don’t just call and say who you are and that you’re just calling to say hi or see if they have any questions. That’s just a waste of everybody’s time. Get to the point quickly, then discuss in detail how you think the affiliate can improve their traffic and conversions with your help.
If things start going well, you may want to start setting up regular calls with affiliates as sort of weekly or monthly status updates. Let the affiliate know that you’re just a phone call away. Make them feel comfortable picking up the phone to ask you a quick question any time.
Whether it’s via a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or even Pinterest, social media tools are the perfect chance for you to get up close and personal with your affiliates. Don’t just use these tools to broadcast boring old promotions. Sure you can and should put new promos up on there to let your affiliates know they’re available. But you should also be yourself.
Talk about your interests, what you’re currently doing, new merchants you’ve added, etc. Be as entertaining and real as you can. If affiliates can start to relate to you, they’re more likely to talk to you when you contact them about a program.
Through blog or Facebook comments, you can start building up a relationship with affiliates that will only help you in the end. Mention the skiing trip you took last weekend where you almost broke your arm. If nothing else, it’ll be a good icebreaker for when you speak to an affiliate next.
No matter what tools you use, the thing to always keep in mind is communication. Keep that line open and you’ll start developing a real rapport with certain affiliates. If you stand out from the crowd, share all the right information, and constantly offer great support and tools to your affiliates, it won’t take long to establish a long-lasting relationship.