Bloggers and website owners of all sizes face a barrage of emails on a daily basis. It’s easy to get lazy and not pay much attention to the emails you’re sending out, but this just makes them insignificant to recipients and likely to go straight to the trash folder.
We’ve put together this list of the most common mistakes brands are making with affiliate communication, plus top tips on how to avoid them. Read on for the complete guide (including our own examples of poor email communication received), or use the quick links below to dive straight into each section:
- Affiliate Recruitment Email Mistakes
- Affiliate Newsletter Mistakes
- Affiliate Engagement Email Mistakes
Mistakes When Recruiting Affiliates
1) Not explaining the basics
If you can’t find any evidence of the website already using the affiliate model, your first email MUST include an intro into how it works. Even if it’s as simple as “We’ll provide you with a tracked link and if one of your visitors clicks on it and makes a purchase, we’ll reward you with a commission of 10% of the value”, it will help to explain what’s in it for them.
2) Not explaining your market proposition
What’s your competitor advantage? Too many brands try to recruit affiliates with the assumption the website owner is familiar with the brand or that because they already work with competitors, it must be a good fit. You need to give the website owner confidence that by linking to you, their visitors will actually buy something. Without this, the business opportunity for them isn’t there.
3) Not matching target audiences
Just because you’ve spotted the target website is already working with a competitor, it doesn’t guarantee that your target audiences will align. For example, if the website is targeting the student market but you don’t offer a student discount (and your competitors do), match the target audiences by proposing an exclusive student code just for their readers.
4) Not providing extra details for established affiliates
Larger affiliates and bloggers already using the affiliate model to monetize their content are mostly interested in the expected earning per click. Make sure you include extra details on the average order value and conversion rate you’re already seeing through the affiliate programme from sites in the same vertical (e.g. content, voucher codes, comparison). This will enable them to benchmark the EPC against brands they’re already working with.
5) Not giving information on what to expect
Do you send affiliate newsletters weekly or monthly? Do you run monthly codes? Let potential new partners know from the outset so they know what to expect over time and can plan it into their existing calendars.
6) Not providing incentives
With new affiliate programmes launching daily, most affiliates will have a backlog of programme invitations to review and get live. Get your brand to the top of the priority list by offering an incentive over the following 3 months. This will incentivize them not just to get your brand live without delay, but to put some focus on it past getting it live.
Mistakes When Sending Newsletters To Affiliates
1) Not giving end dates for offers
This is incredibly basic but a mistake far too many brands make. If you’re having a sale and don’t have an end date, give the earliest date it will end. Affiliates don’t want to be chasing you or having to visit the website to check it’s still live.
2) Sending out too many newsletters
There’s no reason why any brand should be sending out more than 1 newsletter per week as a maximum. If affiliates are getting daily newsletters, they’ll soon start adding them straight to the trash folder without a second look. Include a curated list of all upcoming promotions and avoid including any that start at least a month after the current date.
3) Not including tracked deeplinks to key pages
Smaller affiliates are often time poor, trying to fit in managing their website around a 9 to 5 ‘real’ job. Make life easier by including tracked deeplinks within your newsletters so they don’t have to manually create them each time.
4) Not making use of the email title
Let the affiliate know exactly what the content of the email is. If you’ve got a new product launch, include the words in the email title. Copying and pasting content from newsletters sent to your customer base adds no value to affiliates and it’s likely they may miss important actionable news from the email itself.
5) Expecting affiliates to accept a lower commission rate
Starting a newsletter with a plead to push out a new offer, followed by a bigger plead to do it for a lower commission rate because the margins are tighter gives little incentive to the affiliate to act on the new offer. Send a newsletter with realistic expectations of what you’d do if you were in their position and if you do have to cut rates, at the minimum offer a bonus structure based on sales achieved.
6) Not sharing relevant insight
Your affiliate base is effectively a secondary sales team. Rather than sending out a newsletter about a new sale promotion, include any insight that will be helpful for them to increase the chance of driving a purchase. For example, if you know what brands/products are most popular, list the brands/products and include deeplinks to relevant pages.
7) Not segmenting your affiliate base
Different affiliate types have different requirements. Voucher code websites aren’t generally interested in new product collections, while fashion bloggers aren’t interested in updates to your product feed. By not segmenting your affiliate base into verticals and sending separate newsletters to each group, you’ll be pushing irrelevant content to all in some shape or form.
Mistakes When Trying To Improve Affiliate Performance Via Email
1) Suspension with no opportunity for engagement
Every affiliate programme needs a good cull on a quarterly/annual basis. Having thousands of inactive causes more admin for you and the network, so it’s not a negative thing to do. However, instead of suspending affiliates for inactivity, take the opportunity to try to activate them. Some networks do this much better than others.
2) Not providing actionable solutions
If an affiliate’s performance has dropped, they will welcome any ideas to improve it. Use any case study examples of how you’ve worked with similar affiliates previously to help increase their performance and actionable recommendations of how you’ll work with them. For example, you could provide them with some tenancy budget to lower their risk of giving your brand more exposure to see if there is interest from their audience.
3) Not asking for any feedback from the affiliate
It’s crucial that affiliate performance is reviewed on a month-on-month and year-on-year basis. This gives you the opportunity to ask for feedback directly from a specific affiliate as to why performance has dropped, rather than sending out blanket newsletters boasting about overall growth. If you spot an unusual drop, email the affiliate personally to let them know you’re there to help.
Contact our affiliate specialists today to discuss how we can help you to accelerate your growth within the performance marketing channel.