Welcome to this interview of Hunter Boyle, the Senior Business Development Manager for AWeber, an email and social media marketing service. At Affiliate Management Days East 2012, Hunter will be speaking on: Ways To Bolster Affiliate Relationships With Email.
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Question: What are the major challenges you see email marketers struggle with these days?
Hunter: I see marketers across all channels struggling with two major factors: creativity and a customer-focused approach. Neither of these are particularly new, but they’re exponentially more important now because of the smaller windows of opportunity to connect with prospects and customers.
With email, for instance, who’s excited about signing up for more email updates these days? We’re already inundated with email, plus we’re checking social media channels on our smartphones more and more, and our short attention spans are getting shorter all the time.
The same-old approaches might still work, but if you want big results, standing apart from the crowd means finding the right mix of creativity and plenty of “what’s in it for me” for your audience, which doesn’t care about you, but what you can do for them.
Question: What are the most frequently overlooked opportunities?
Hunter: Sticking with the creativity theme, a lot of marketers still play it safe and stick close to what’s worked for them in the past. Content marketing has created a lot opportunities to have more fun, and engage audiences with a more personable, less corporate approach.
I subscribe to the idea that people buy from people, not just websites, so developing a brand experience that’s easy, pleasurable and fun for users is an opportunity most organizations could do more with.
Look at the vibe you get from sites like DollarShaveClub.com and Fab.com, or how Quarterly.com and Etsy use personalities, and you get the feeling that you’d enjoy doing business with them. That’s a huge differentiator.
Question: In October of this year, you’re speaking at Affiliate Management Days East 2012, covering “15 Ways to Bolster Affiliate Relationships with Email.” I must admit, I was “tickled pink” when I first saw your proposal. This is one extremely important topic. As a teaser, could you give us the top 3 things that affiliate managers can change in their approach to emailing affiliates?
Hunter: Instead of laying out three, let me say that we’ll be exploring a few different angles in line with this concept of having fun with content marketing and client communications.
There are a bunch of examples, but the bottom line is really about how you manage those relationships from a human perspective, and with a customer- or client-first attitude. The impact that can have on your business is massive, because the impact it can have on their own business is so huge. That’s also a key factor in cultivating loyalty and developing long-term relationships.
Question: What are the top 5 mistakes to stay away from, so you don’t repel your affiliates?
Hunter: 1.) Not listening to their needs and feedback. 2.) Not asking them for their input consistently. 3.) Not rewarding them for their performance and loyalty. 4.) Not keeping abreast of changes in your industry, and their businesses. 5.) Not communicating effectively (not enough, not providing value, etc.).
Question: If you were to leave affiliate managers with just one piece of advice today, what would it be?
Hunter: The best, most fruitful business relationships are always two-way. That’s why the best salespeople are those who listen more than they talk.
Think about how you’re interacting with your affiliates. Are you simply sending them emails with updates and news tidbits, maybe some rewards, or are you using an array of communication tools that provide real value, and genuinely help them grow their business, so you both can succeed together?
If you haven’t done an audit of your communications efforts before, or for a while, that’s an ideal place to start. See where the gaps are. Ask them what else they could be getting that they’re not. And get started delivering it!
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Affiliate Management Days takes place October 9-10, 2012. More information about Affiliate Management Days being held in Ft Lauderdale, can be found here. Or follow the hashtag #AMDays on Twitter. Register using code SBTAM150 to receive $150.00 off your pass. Register by Friday, September 7 (at Early Bird rate), and save a total of $650.00.
Be sure to check out the rest of the interview series from #AMDays.
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Sean@In Business - Small Business Resources
I’ve learned a lot from the interview of Hunter Boyle.I need to improve my email marketing strategy now. I’ve been busy and I sometimes neglect replying on my emails. Thanks!
Glad you’ve found it of practical use, Sean.
It’s a fine line of sticking with what works to the point of diminishing returns and creating something new. Testing the new and creative with a small subset of data allows you to do both at the same time.
Thanks for the feedback, gentlemen.
@Sean – Lack of time is a real issue these days, so the more you can automate, the better. Test improvements to confirmation, welcome series and related early-stage emails so you can focus more time on nurturing efforts for serious prospects.
@Chris – Totally agree. I like to call these mini or micro tests and they’re a good way to get some initial response before a major test rollout. They can also lead to new insights (or catch oversights) that improve overall impact. Keep it up!
@Geno – Thanks again for the opportunity to tackle these great questions. I’m excited to get down to AM Days. Cheers!