Should I use affiliate network email tools, or my own?

Communicating with your affiliates is crucial to running a successful program. You’d be hard pressed to argue that point. But how you communicate with them is an entirely different story.

Between social media, emails, text messages, phone calls and even direct mailings, there’s an arsenal of weapons available to you. And within each of those tools is an additional number of approaches you can take to reach out and connect with your affiliate base.

Let’s take emails for starters. Many affiliate networks offer their own internal email systems, or if you prefer doing it yourself, there are dozens of highly rated systems and companies to help you out. So which way is the better method: using affiliate network email tools or handling it all on your own?

What do you have to say?

There are certainly a lot of factors to consider when deciding which way to go with your email delivery. If you simply want to shoot out a few regular emails to your affiliates including a welcome email, monthly updates and any changes to your terms, there’s not much creativity in there. You’re just looking to remind affiliates you exist and give them the latest offerings. If that’s the case, using an affiliate network’s email tools is probably a better bet.

The system is already in place and you won’t have to worry at all about your emails getting lost in someone’s spam folder. It’ll also be simple to make slight updates to each monthly email you send out, just updating the creative, URLs and any other short text.
If you plan on being much more vocal and more creative, however, using your own email tools is the way to go. There’s much more flexibility in design so you can get a lot more information across in a more digestible manner, rather than just flowing tons of text down the page.

How do you want to say it?

Just looking to get the nuts and bolts of your information out to your publishers? An affiliate network’s email system will more than handle that. It comes across as a bit more formal and ties in directly with the affiliate network’s entire interface, making it easier for affiliates to quickly jump to other information about your company or current program. This is a huge advantage if you simply want to announce the latest update of creatives and put a link directly to the page within your network.

Using your own email tools, though, gives you some pretty huge freedom. You can say or do just about anything from using whatever template you’d like to adding sidebars with important links. Sending your emails through your own system can be a lot more personal and help to make a stronger connection with your affiliates. It also can help you stand out from the crowd. Affiliates are inundated with emails, so the more creative you are, the better chance they’ll read yours and continue to be on the lookout for them month after month.

A Costly Solution

Choosing to use your affiliate network’s email system might simply come down to finances. You’re already paying to be part of their network, and their email tools are most likely part of that package. How much support you get from your affiliate network may change depending upon networks and costs, but you should at least at the bare minimum have access to manually email your affiliates.

If you already pay for an email service you’re happy with, it might not cost you much more (if anything) to include affiliate emails as well. Most plans are based on the number of recipients or emails sent, but some have a flat fee. Run the numbers, talk to your company rep and decide which option makes better financial sense to you and your business.

The Stand Out Answer

Whether you use your own email system or the affiliate network’s, the most important aspect of your email should always be quality. Be sure your subject line is engaging, your URLs are accurate, your coupon codes actually work, correct expiration dates are listed, etc. In the end, it won’t matter how you talk to your affiliates if what you have to say isn’t worth listening to.