The affiliate space is an exceptionally relationship-oriented industry, and thus communication is key for any successful affiliate program.
A common misconception is the idea of "setting and forgetting" affiliate programs in the hopes that growth will occur with limited work or outreach. While there is something to the "Network Effect" argument, if you are looking for true incremental growth, communication is key. Think of any meaningful relationship you've encountered. Would those relationships be as strong and impactful today without communication?
The following are some great reasons for you to reach out to publishers in order to help develop more long term, effective relationships:
1. Program/Product Updates
- Have you updated your program terms or Special Terms and Conditions?
- Do you have a new set of products available for promotion? Are you discontinuing any? Did you add a product feed and haven't seen the adoption you were expecting?
- Have you recently become Mobile, Content, or International Certified?
- Do you offer any Advanced Links, like widgets, or have you recently enabled Cross-Device tracking?
It is essential to provide publishers with your program and/or product updates. If you answered yes to any of these questions, reach out to your publishers and keep them apprised of any changes to ensure their marketing efforts align with your growth goals.
2. Company Updates
- Did you (or do you plan to) rebrand, and need your affiliates to market your new brand accordingly?
- Has your company done any recent charitable work?
PRO TIP: Most philanthropic sites love to work with advertisers to build their brand awareness and call attention to the "good work" their partners are doing.
3. New Promotions
- Promote any new or upcoming offers by providing your affiliates with ad copy, link IDs, and start/end dates. Also, be sure to ask about placements to add exposure to these offers.
- Give sneak peeks of your upcoming promotions.
PRO TIP: Due to their internal queue, most top publishers need three to five days of lead-time to post offers. Give them a heads up to ensure they post promotions on time, and to allow brand sensitive advertisers time to ensure the use of correct logos and/or copy.
4. Brand Seasonality
Does your brand see a spike or decline at any time during the year? Sharing your seasonality can help guide publishers to formulate a plan of action. They may be able to develop an offer that resonates with their traffic during your down periods, or create a custom media kit to drive a top promotion during your peaks.
5. New Publisher Recruitment
When pushing out new program terms—or offers to new publishers to join your program—it's always a best practice to send your affiliates a quick message to help expedite acceptance and activation. Welcome them, share a couple of lines about who you are, and why you think they'd be a good fit for your program. Don't forget to include information like your commission rate, top promotions, and bonus incentives. It's important to provide any information or collateral that could help get them in the door and promoting your brand.
Keep In Mind…
When you admit an affiliate into your program, they become an extension of your company. It is imperative to share any insightful information for the accurate promotion of your brand. In addition, when you regularly email or speak with your publishers, it gives them the chance to share any new placement opportunities, or demographic information for better campaign targeting.
Affiliate marketing is a two-way street, and communication is key to the growth of any program.