How to Maximize Affiliate Relationships with Email

Editor’s Note: Once again we bring you coverage from the Affiliate Management Days conference. This series of articles is on topics of interest to businesses that offer affiliate programs. More coverage of #AMDays.

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Hunter_BoyleContinuing the theme of relationships with affiliates, I sat in on the “7 Proven Ways to Maximize Affiliate Relationships with Email” with Hunter Boyle (pictured left), Senior Business Development Manager, Aweber.  Here is a recap of that session.

The goal of affiliate email communications is to be a relationship facilitator, keeping affiliates  engaged.

It does not have to end with email but should integrate with all your communications.  The key component is trust  — and trust is built with personal  communication.

Below are concrete ways to maximize affiliate relationships, using email:

  • Nail down the WIIIFM (“what is in it for me”).  What is going to make your affiliates’ work much easier?
  • Be focused:  take out elements that are not as important.
  • Use two-way communication by including surveys in your emails.  You cannot provide what the affiliate needs if you do not ask.
  • Use a Welcome email to connect with the affiliates on social media. Keep it conversational.
  • Circle back with analytics.  Use this technique in addition to the usual weekly, monthly and quarterly reviews.  Have an engagement score card (see for an example).
  • Review which stories and content resonated with your audience.  Tailor your newsletters with this content going forward.
  • Create or curate content that readers can identify with
  • Feature your outstanding affiliates/customers as guest email columnists, sharing their tips and case studies.  Drive engagement by having them be a part of it.
  • Review your rewards. Surprise your top affiliates with impromptu rewards for excellence.  They don’t have to be expensive. It could be something as simple as swag gifts to show some love.  Small gestures go a long way.  Keep it simple.  It will helps facilitate next step relationships.
  • Explore new segments. Use emails to help affiliates self-select preferences in welcome process.
  • Experiment with timing. Test, test and more. Not just different days but different times within the day.  Remember your affiliates are human.  Their weekend schedule is different than their weekday.
  • Subject line testing:  Best to go in wildly different directions to see the difference.  Personalization subject line testing was very successful.   Do it well, use in conjunction with content .

There are countless ways to build lists, but it takes trust to build relationships.

Hunter’s goal of the session was to have one or two takeaways that we could implement upon returned.  I walked away with 4 immediate implementation tasks for my To Do List, with the online survey being on the top of the list.  What were yours?

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Stephanie Robbins Stephanie Robbins is the owner at Robbins Interactive, an eRevenue consulting agency specializing in launching small businesses online. She manages the integrated online presence for all her clients including affiliate marketing, social media, search engine marketing, store management and brand monitoring.