The Rolodex was once a marketer’s most prized possession. It represented a career-long accumulation of connections and relationships. This desktop tool often determined the success of campaigns by allowing Advertisers to put the right pieces into the best hands for the job.
Then, with the debut of the World Wide Web, the rise of social media, and the birth of digital marketing, gone were the days where personal connections were at the core of a campaign. The “set it and forget it” mentality took hold and computers did the dirty work.
When it comes to affiliate marketing today, however, don’t toss the Rolodex out just yet! As the industry continues to grow, the relationship between the Advertiser and Publisher remains an integral part of the equation.
CJ breaks down how both Advertisers and Publishers should foster and strengthen connections:
Strive for regular communication. While this should be a given with top Publishers, Advertisers should also maintain consistent communication to mid- and lower-tier Publishers. These connections provide a wealth of on-hand knowledge when trying to target a specific market or demographic.
Understand your Publisher’s website. The Publisher’s website is the platform on which your brand/product is represented. Find out what the playing field looks like in order to set yourself up for success. It also helps to familiarize yourself with other brands that perform well on that Publisher’s website and what they’re doing that works.
Send unique messages. When extending opportunities to Publishers, create personalized messages that align with their specific strategies and goals. This method stands out as opposed to sending a uniform letter to everyone on your contact list and hoping something sticks.
Take full inventory—and advantage—of the tools available to you. Do you have an up-to-date product catalog or a deep-link tool? Know this information up front in order to provide Publishers with the tools they are looking for.
Be ready to talk and listen. Publishers want to have a conversation with you. Share your thoughts, but be ready to listen too! Publishers know their users better than you do—trust their suggestions.
Understand the Advertiser’s business. Take the time to research the Advertiser’s products and learn about current promotional strategies.
Take the conversation offline. Schedule a call with the Advertiser—a half-hour conversation can be more productive than weeks of emailing.
Be proactive. If you have an opportunity that you think will work, present it. Advertisers are looking to the expertise you’ve built with your audience. These relationships will keep you top of mind with Advertisers when they have extra budget to spend on sponsored posts, homepage placements, or email blasts.
For both Publishers and Advertisers, it is important to invest the time in learning about your contact—don’t be afraid to get personal. A business email with that starts with “Hope you had a great time at your daughter’s birthday!” may seem a little casual, but it shows a level of care that goes beyond dollar signs and conversion rates.
When you come face to face with your contacts at industry events such as CJ University or Affiliate Summit West, these bonds you’ve forged truly come in handy. Since so much of our industry takes place over email and phone, it is always comforting to meet a friendly contact face to face and catch up before talking shop.
Use the comment section below to let us know what methods work best for you in maintaining strong Advertiser/Publisher relationships.