This is chapter 12, Communicating with Your Affiliates, of Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants.
This is one of the most important chapters of the book, because as I mentioned before, it’s all about relationships.
I’m going to talk about some different ways to communicate with your affiliates.
It’s somewhat basic, but a lot of affiliate managers don’t take advantage of the opportunities out there to communicate.
One essential step is to segment your affiliates based on their performance history.
Depending on where they are on the affiliate marketing learning curve, affiliates want and need different degrees of communication. Newer affiliates will require a degree of hand holding, while veterans won’t want that sort of treatment.
Break out your affiliates into 3-4 groups based on what they need and how they perform. Then message them accordingly.
You don’t want to send out elementary tips to an affiliate who is already generating 10,000 sales a month for you.
Also, something I rarely see affiliate managers use is snail mail. Give this a try with postcards or other mail to activate affiliates, maybe a gift at holiday time or recognize them at their birthday.
Additionally, send your affiliates promotional items. If your company goes to trade shows, and you’ve got some giveaways available in the office, shoot them out to affiliates.
Another thing that’s good is to send them samples of your products. Assuming they are not a customer already, you can send them some things they can use and make a review on their site.
Also, there are a dozen or so ways you can communicate effectively with your affiliates. You should use this whole arsenal to its full potential.
I’ll name some things you can tap into that I personally use myself:
- Blogs – set up a blog for your affiliate program as a means to communicate with the affiliates.
- E-mail – of course, I should hope that you’re already getting back to your affiliates by e-mail.
- Facebook – increasingly, affiliate programs are establishing a presence on Facebook, where you can communicate and commune with your affiliates.
- Forums – consider getting a sponsored forum at ABestWeb or other places that offer them. This is a place you can have public exchanges with many affiliates at once.
- Instant Messenger – I’d suggest getting Trillian. There are free and paid versions, and they both allow you to run all of your IM clients in one place.
- Newsletters – you should be sending out newsletters regularly. Use this to share promotion information, deadlines, etc.
- Telephone – this is one of the least used of the tools. Start picking up the telephone more!
- Resource site – as the name suggests, it’s a place where affiliates can get information, news, tips, etc. regarding you affiliate program. Much more effective than a single page about the affiliate program on the corporate site.
- Cutting edge tools – keep on top of stuff like Twitter, where you can pass along short bits of information to lots of affiliates who subscribe to receive the updates from you.
So those are some things I’d suggest doing to more effectively communicate with your affiliates. try leveraging these suggestions, and I’m sure it will improve your affiliate program.
Go back to the Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants Video Book.