February 15th, 2012 by Craig Vodnik
Why do website owners apply for your affiliate program, but never end up referring even a single sale? Could it be that you haven’t provided your affiliates with necessary tools and information?
Contrary to popular belief, recruiting a new affiliate is relatively easy. Getting them to produce sales is a far more difficult task. Your acceptance email is the first step to what should be a long and prosperous relationship, and it should enable your affiliates to start promoting your products immediately. Think of this email as a quick reference guide for affiliates to start marketing your product.
This list of eight vital elements for affiliate acceptance emails will motivate your affiliates to drop everything and start advertising your product on their website right away.
- Make your email personal. Include the affiliate’s name in the greeting, such as “Welcome MajorGeeks!” or “Hi Chris.” Greetings vary from region to region, so it’s best to keep it simple and professional – but still friendly. In automatically generated emails, you should be able to apply a placeholder to input the affiliate’s name which you will already have from the application process.
- Remind the affiliate of your program’s specific offerings. Oftentimes, an affiliate website will apply for multiple programs in a single day, so the acceptance email must make your product stand out amongst all the other products the affiliate encounters. Not every company name signifies the type of products it sells, so it’s beneficial to briefly explain the type of products you sell.
- Include the contact information for your affiliate manager. Provide email address, Skype name, phone number, etc., their regular office hours and the time zone in which they reside. Each affiliate prefers a particular method of communication, so make it as easy as possible for the affiliate to get in touch with you.
- Include straightforward steps on how to get started. A login link to your affiliate portal is fundamental in your affiliate acceptance email. Make it even easier on an affiliate and include a buy link within the approval email. The affiliate can then simply copy and paste this link to their website for immediate use. Then include instructions on how to insert the affiliate’s unique ID. If your affiliate platform has a placeholder to insert the affiliate’s ID automatically, use it. Again, you want to make it as simple as possible for the affiliate to start selling your product. Let them know that additional links and banners are available through the affiliate interface. If you have the capability, emphasize that your team is available to create additional banners, landing pages, or custom coupons upon request. Next, clarify how your affiliate program tracks referred sales. For example, if you track by cookies, include the cookie lifespan. If affiliates are permitted to add additional tracking parameters to links, include steps on how to implement them. Or better yet, link out to documentation.
- List your top products and the prices. Make sure to include your commonly used currencies, such as USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, etc. Providing unique selling propositions can really help affiliates, especially smaller affiliates who do not have a team of copywriters on hand.
- Give a free product to new affiliates. In my experience, the content-driven websites will want to test out your product first, especially if they are rating or recommending it to their faithful visitors. By using the product, the affiliate will gain a complete understanding and become a true brand advocate, which makes them more likely to create meaningful content that influences a purchase.
- Outline your typical promotion schedule for the year. For example, maybe you send emails every month about new promotions or specials, or possibly only once per year. This is completely at your discretion, and the dates do not necessarily need to be given at this point, but it’s a good idea to give affiliates advance notice, so they are ready to push these promotions when the time comes.
- Offer performance-based incentives for participating in your affiliate program. For example, list the commission structure for affiliates to earn more if they reach a selling threshold. Another option is to give a cash bonus if they refer a first sale within seven days (or 30 days, etc). This creates a sense of urgency to get the links up in a timely manner. If the user does not refer a sale within a set amount of time, I recommend a follow-up email to be sure the affiliate was able to successfully setup links.
Finally, you need to test, test, test! Go through the process yourself: sign up as an affiliate, approve yourself, and then double check the acceptance email. Be sure to answer the questions “who, what, why and how?” Remember that this message is not set in stone; it can be changed at any time to accommodate for new frequently asked questions.
Keystone: Recruiting new affiliates is only half the battle. The affiliate acceptance message is essential in motivating them to start selling.
What do you consider the important elements in your affiliate approval emails?
What techniques do you use to motivate affiliates to start selling your product?
Jessie Kleino contributed to this blog post.