Potential Program Growth—Just a Call Away

Jul 14, 2017
Written by Sarah Howes

Proper communication with your publishers is key to managing a successful affiliate program. But where do you start?

This is a common question we hear from advertisers who manage their publisher relationships. The answer: Always hop on a call! A phone conversation has many benefits over other communication methods. Not only do you get to build rapport and personalize the relationship, but you can cover so much more ground on a call than you can convey in an email.

In an effort to help you have productive and structured calls with your publishers, we’ve put together a Publisher Call Checklist. Below are some highlights from the checklist. For a full, digital and printable checklist please email your Account Manager or

Do Your Homework

When you have a publisher with whom you’d like to set up a call, the first thing you need to do is log in to your CJ Affiliate account, go to Publishers > Search and search for the publisher to see if they are currently joined to your program. Click on the publisher’s name, which then takes you to their Detail Page. If they are joined to your program you will be able to see how long they have been joined to the program, what the history of their Program Term is (changes in commission rate), and what their commission rate currently is. Next, pull a report to review YOY and MOM performance.

Make sure that you visit and familiarize yourself with the publisher’s website(s). If the publisher is joined to your program and promoting your brand, check to make sure they are hosting the best promotions, links, logos, etc. You want to have a good understanding of how your brand and/or competitors are being or could be promoted on their site(s). Research the website’s metrics and demographics by using Alexa or SimilarWeb.

Prepare to discuss the commission rate and promotional opportunities. Is there room to be flexible (e.g. increase commission rate, offer or increase Performance Incentive tiers, add additional Actions in their Program Term, offer an exclusive coupon code, etc)? Know how much are you are willing to pay for a promotional opportunity as well as what a successful ROI is. Let the publisher know how they can help you. Are you looking for more new-to-file consumers, email subscribers, consumers in the 30-55+ age range, etc.? Lastly, check your calendar! Do you have any upcoming product launches, sales/ promotions, seasonality, etc.? All of this will help you negotiate a good/fair rate and help publishers present you with the right opportunities.

Once you have completed all of your homework, build out a list of questions that you want to ask the publisher on the call.

Ask Questions

Below are some great questions to ask publishers once you have them on the phone. Couple these questions with the research you did in the section above and you are sure to have not only a productive call, but the beginning of a successful partnership:

  • What are their overall business plans, core competencies, and goals for the year as well as future innovations, product launches, sales/promotions, and seasonality?
  • What sets them apart from their competitors?
  • What kind of reach/distribution do they have? What is their current site traffic?
  • How do they promote their site(s)? How do they promote advertisers websites?
  • What tradeshow/industry events will they be attending this year, including CJU?
  • How can they help you grow: new-to-file consumers, email subscribers, consumers in the 30-55+ age range, etc.?

Keep the Communication Flowing

After the call, be sure to send a follow-up email within 24 hours with key takeaways and next steps. Execute next steps, monitor progress, and tweak strategy as necessary. Check in with the publisher regularly to keep up the momentum and to continue to optimize and grow your partnership. New opportunities will present themselves if you stay top of mind. 

We hope this checklist will help prepare you and give you the confidence to have constructive calls with your publishers.  

Topics: CJ 101, Recruitment,
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