Best Practices for Recruiting Affiliates.
Our previous article on how not to write an email asking an affiliate to join your affiliate program ended up with us receiving a request from a partner to include an article on what they would like to see in such emails, so, the following is a guest article from one of the AMWSO Partners on what they expect , and like, to see in affiliate recruiting emails that they receive from merchants.
Your affilate recruitment emails are likely to get a much better response if you include a degree of personalization. They should at least be addressed to the me by name. If possible, include the my domain. I’ve received many recruitment e-mails that say: “I’ve looked at your website and feel you would be a great fit for our program…” I know that is a boilerplate template that has been sent to hundreds of affiliates, and it doesn’t do much for credibility. Including the actual website would involve some work, but the effort will probably pay off if you want to improve your recruitment rate. If you take the time to make a list of suitable recruits, it doesn’t take much more time to create a database with the affiliates’ names and websites, which can be merged into your e-mail template.
But you have to get it right or it will have the opposite effect. A test mail should be sent to make sure the data merge is functioning properly. I’ve received plenty of recruitment e-mails that look like this:
“Hi [insert name here]! I’ve taken a look at your website [insert domain here], and think……” They go straight into the trash folder.
I expect to find all the nuts and bolts information on program policies and such, including details about:
- The commission rate (bring it on!)
- Performance incentives (is there a tiered affiliate structure, or a bonus if you exceed a certain threshold?)
- Exclusive offers (will the merchant make these available if you request them?)
- The cookie duration (the longer the better!)
- Network exclusivity (is the program in-house, exclusive to one network, or does it run on multiple networks? I avoid the latter, since I believe tracking cookies from different networks complicate the commission attribution process and lead to more reversals.)
- The Affiliate Manager (is there a dedicated program manager – do I perhaps know him/her and have a business relationship with him/her?)
- Shipping policy (does the merchant offer free shipping across the board or above a certain price threshold? Do they ship internationally, if so, to which countries?)
- Creatives (does the merchant offer banners, deep product linking, videos, datafeeds, affiliate rss feeds? Will their design team provide custom banners to fit with your website design if you request them?)
- Branding (is the merchant an established, well-known brand, or do they sell products from well-known brands?)
- PPC policy (does the merchant allow keyword bidding – do they forbid trademark and domain name bidding? Do they allow direct linking to their website?)
- Parasites (this is a biggy. I like to see ZERO tolerance for parasites and software-based affiliates proclaimed loud and clear in a recruitment e-mail.)
The e-mail will have a much higher response if full contact details for the Affiliate Manager are included (phone, e-mail, Skype, Facebook).
Finally, perhaps the single most important thing for your affiliate recruitment email. The e-mail’s subject line. Like the headline of an article. Does it grab my attention? Does it make me want to open the e-mail? If the e-mail isn’t even opened, your recruitment rate is going to be less than stellar.
” Earn 20% Commission! Fluffy Blue Widgets Selling Like Hot Cakes!” will probably get more attention than “Join our Fluffy Blue Widget Affiliate Program”.
Good luck and good recruiting!