A critical component to affiliate program success will be getting your affiliates off the ground and running quickly after joining the program. I don’t have stats to back this up, but intuition tells me that affiliates who join and get links up right away are much more likely to become active earners down the road. Whereas, those affiliates that join, and put the program on the back-burner, well that’s just where the program might stay for the foreseeable future.
The best tool that an affiliate manager has in their arsenal for getting an affiliate up and running is the affiliate program welcome letter. So often a manager wastes this great opportunity with a simple letter providing only basic information and a few pleasantries.
The following components need to be in the welcome letter to truly make it an effective tool in the arsenal:
- Review the value proposition of the merchant.
- Links and banners with the affiliates (if possible) code.
- Full contact information for the affiliate manager.
- Highlighted links to other key tools and information.
- Review of critical information in the affiliate agreement.
First let’s talk about the value proposition for the merchant. I like to devote a few paragraphs in the letter to talk about how to position the merchant’s products. What are people using the products for, who’s needs are they serving. This can be valuable information for an affiliate in deciding if they want to write some extra content around the links and also perhaps position your links near other complimentary products on their affiliate site.
Next, include the actual links / banners that the affiliate will use. Now of course the affiliate (once accepted into the program) can log into the affiliate interface and get banners and text links. However, why not simply make it as easy as possible and hand them the links right there in the letter. No need to log in, no reason to “put it off till later”, the links are right there for them to copy and paste onto their html/page editor or their ad manager.
Some affiliate managers don’t like to give full contact information (like phone number) for fear of being flooded with inquiries. I relish the opportunity to have contact with my affiliates. Affiliates are bombarded with hundreds of program offers weekly, and they have a multitude of choices for programs to promote. They’ve chosen your program, and they are highly motivated in reaching out to the manager. Don’t let that opportunity slide by to build a relationship with the affiliate. Solid business has always been built on relationships.
If your program utilizes any other key tools, such as a downloadable keyword list, article content, data feed or is listed on data feed aggregation sites, make sure to link to each of those tools and to highlight that link.
Last but not least, just to cover all the basics, I find it useful to cover important points in the affiliate agreement. Much of an affiliate agreement is boilerplate and standard, but the critical parts such as:
- PPC Rules
- Trademark Usage
- Email Restrictions
These are the points that probably differ from program to program, and are important for the affiliate to be fully aware of. Don’t assume an affiliate agreement is always read fully. Keep in mind that sticking in the whole affiliate agreement will probably ensure the newsletter does not get read. However perhaps just covering the key points in concise bullets will help.
A thorough and concise affiliate program welcome letter can be one of the strongest “arrows” in your affiliate program management quiver. We make sure to feature this important task in the launch service of ouraffiliate program management services for merchants.