Earlier this week I got the feedback people wrote about the panel I was on at Affiliate Summit West 2011 about building the affiliate & affiliate manager relationship. For the most part we had some pretty good feedback and I think it went fairly well. However there was one comment that I’ve been thinking about from someone who either wasn’t paying attention to something I said, or I didn’t explain myself well enough.
I was talking about how affiliate managers need to understand their affiliates and know that each one is different. As affiliates not all of us like the same things or work in the same way, so affiliate managers need to understand what motivates each of their main affiliates, how they prefer to be contacted, etc.
I said something that most affiliate managers and merchants probably don’t like to hear. Honestly, I delete 95% of affiliate program newsletters without reading them. You have to understand that affiliates are probably not just affiliates of your program and we get bombarded with emails all day long.
So guess what, I don’t really care if you got a shiny new banner, or what you have to say in your non personal newsletter.
This was about the part of the talk where the person wrote in the comments “how are we supposed to build a relationship from the start if you delete emails” and gave our panel a low score.
That wasn’t the end of what I said though.
First of all, that is my own personal preference, which is the point I was trying to make. I’m sure many other affiliates devour each and every newsletter you send out like it’s the next Twilight novel.
For me, yes, I do delete 95% of merchant newsletters, BUT…. I read 100% of emails that are written directly to me from my affiliate managers. My point is that to build a relationship you have to give a personal touch to your affiliates.
Instead of blasting all your affiliates with the same message, give a personalized message to some of your top affiliates such as this:
“Hey Logan, I just wanted to let you know about a sale we are having that would work great on MySite.com. I created a special coupon just for you with the code LOGAN15. Check out the landing page and let me know if you have any suggestions to improve it since I know that’s always a concern of yours. By the way, hows Brynna(my daughters name) doing? I saw her picture on Facebook and she is growing fast. Take care and contact me on AIM or Skype with any questions.”
Yes, it takes time to do this, but I guarantee you will get more out of your top affiliates if you do this. Email is a great way to build relationships, just make sure to keep it personal. Otherwise, your newsletters are all about you and not your affiliates. (Check out this short video from the DIYThemes blog which is what you sound like).
Also, I’m not saying to stop sending out newsletters. People still read them and they are relevant if you send good information that will help your affiliates. Like I said 95% I delete, but the 5% I read because I know there is going to be valuable information (not just talking about new banners or sales, but real actual information on demographics and generating traffic).
What’s your thoughts? Are newsletters still valuable as an affiliate?