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How to Best Survey Your Publisher Base

June 20, 2017

A key to growing your affiliate program is to understand how to communicate successfully with your publishers, and finding what works best to convert their readers into your customers. Surveys offer a great way to identify trends and provide you with actionable takeaways.

We’ve put together a list of best practices for you to survey your publisher base effectively.

Determine the Goal of Survey

What are you hoping to learn from your publishers? What information will help you to grow your program?  Some important things to consider:

  • How do your publishers decide which brands to promote?
  • What converts best for your publishers? (brands, product types, offers, etc.)
  • What do publishers like most about your program?
  • What are the best ways to communicate with your publishers?

Frequency of Surveys

We recommend only surveying your publishers two to four times per year. It’s likely your overall base won’t change their promotional methods more than once a year, and you don’t want publishers to stop responding because they receive too many surveys.

Survey Tools

  • Survey Monkey offers a number of question types and will provide you with graphs and raw data
  • Google Forms provides an easy, straight-forward way to gather your responses
  • Survey Gizmo is another option that has free and paid options

Design Questions

Revisit your goal in order to design your questions. Require responses with the following fields in order to obtain information on who’s replied for potential future follow-ups.

  • Email Address
  • CID
  • Site URL
  • Publisher Classification (Coupon, Loyalty, Content, etc.)

Here are some popular questions for understanding what publishers are looking for:

  • How do you promote our brand? (banners, blog posts, coupons, product feed)
  • How do you determine which brands to promote? (commission offering, affiliate exclusives, ability to earn bonuses, product reviews, selection of products)
  • What two options would entice you to promote our brand more frequently? (higher commission, affiliate exclusive, opportunity to review/give away product, bonus opportunities, creative updates)
  • What’s the best way for you to receive updates on our brand? (newsletters, new creative, visiting our website, direct communication)

Reward Publishers for Participation

A small thank you is a great way to entice publishers to respond, as more responses will lead to better learnings for your program. A $5 bonus through the interface or an affiliate exclusive code are both great options. 

Review Results

Give your publishers a week or two to respond, so they can take the time to provide thoughtful answers.  The goal is to get a large, diverse set of your partners so you can look for trends. If you’ve only had a handful respond, resend the survey to get a stronger sample size (at least 10 percent).

Once you’ve received enough submissions, take time to review and identify actionable strategies. Some things to look out for:

  • Are there advertisers that publishers mention that they’re promoting over your brand? What differs in their program from your own?
  • Do publishers have a consistent request on how to communicate? If you’re sending newsletters that no one reads—but they are checking the interface—try refocusing your resources.
  • Did publishers say they’d be more interested if you offered a bonus, or an exclusive? Test their top requests and see if they generate any incremental revenue.
  • How are your publishers identifying themselves? Make sure they’re in appropriate Publisher Groups. This offers you ways to communicate with publishers and provide targeted incentives.

Not only are surveys a great way to keep in touch with you publishers, they also offer an opportunity to get the feedback you need, straight from the source.

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