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  1. #1
    Super Cool Affiliate Manager IanBookMan's Avatar
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    March 25th, 2008
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    Contacting past Affiliates for the 1st time, some are over 10years old?
    Hi All,

    I figure this is probably the absolute best place to get some feed back.
    I just started a job as an AM at a company that's been selling online since 1996.
    In total we have over 5000 inactive affiliates, some dating as far back as 1997.
    No one, until now has personally connected with any of the inactive affiliates that have signed up for the program - except for that standard welcome email.
    The system is pretty well automated, but I really like to add a "human" aspect to the service.

    My question/concern is I would like to reach out to all these people and let them know that I'm here to work with them now. So is 10+ years to late? I would like to do a personal email to each one, but thats not really feasable, maybe for some.

    So would any of you be offended getting an email from me now to a merchant program you may of signed up for back in 1997? And never heard from since.

    I have the details of exactly when, and all info that shows that they actually did sign up (to prove this isn't some list aquired unethically - important to me)

    Cheers,
    IJ

  2. #2
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    Send an email explaining the situation to them and how you are going to improve the program. Be specific with as many details as you can. Let them know that you realize the program was a little (or a lot) neglected and that you are reaching out to make sure that never happens again.

    You really want results? Make yourself "human" to the affiliates. In your email, show a picture of you. Put your twitter handle in there. Tell a little story of something that happened to you recently. This way you are seen as more than a robot and it shows that you understand there is more to life and the lives of your affiliates than just your program.

    -sfcom


  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager
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    I have the same issue with a large amount of inactive affiliates. We began trying to contact affiliates that joined as far back as 8 years. As with any old list, we faced more returned e-mails and wrong phone numbers. I still think it is a good exercise, but you might want to keep expectations in check.

    The good thing is that I have not received much negative response when I actually reached anyone. Overall results of our efforts are still pending, though.

  4. #4
    Super Cool Affiliate Manager IanBookMan's Avatar
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    I agree about having realistic expectations.
    But I'm enjoying going through the list because I feel like I've uncovered an Internet Time Capsule.
    I've been in the biz for about 10 years and I'm noticing that there's some affiliates that signed up as owner/founder and the URL/company has over the years been sold now many times, generated lots of news etc. But at the time it was just starting out.

  5. #5
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanBookMan
    So would any of you be offended getting an email from me now to a merchant program you may of signed up for back in 1997? And never heard from since.
    1997-2008, 10 years ago?

    Men, a lot has changed in the last 10 years, I doubt how many of those 5000 inactive affiliates would still have that same email address they used 10 years ago to join anywhere.
    In total we have over 5000 inactive affiliates, some dating as far back as 1997.
    No one, until now has personally connected with any of the inactive affiliates that have signed up for the program - except for that standard welcome email.
    A list of 5000 email addresses can be a goldmine, but if it's a 10 years old list can be a big problem for you now, if that list was sold, rented, or have been used before for any other promotion not related to the initial intent of those that joined your program 10 years ago.

    Just to give you an example: (And I don't think I am the only one that have done this.)

    On that old 5000 email addresses list, you may have many affiliates that when they gave you that email address, they coded that email address to know that you was the only one with that address.

    Note: I don't know you you are, so this is not directed at you, but just so you get an idea.

    Way back then, when we gave an email address coded to be used only by onlyyouplace.com, many times we found that if we didn't like what we saw after we were in, we may just move on and never contact you again.

    But here is the kicker, later down the road we start to get flooded with spam from many different places at the same email address that was coded for your onlyyouplace.com only, so by then we realize that the coded address was used by someone else and not onlyyouplace.com.

    This is a funny coincidence, but to day I got a few spam emails with a coded address that I used many years ago, globalt........etc.
    So would any of you be offended getting an email from me now to a merchant program you may of signed up for back in 1997? And never heard from since.

    I have the details of exactly when, and all info that shows that they actually did sign up (to prove this isn't some list aquired unethically - important to me)

    Cheers,
    IJ
    To be honest with you, I personally would not be offended.

    But, and this is a BIG BUT, if by getting that email, I discover something like the example I gave above, then... That would be another story.

    Btw,

    Welcome to ABW IJ.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager bcwaller's Avatar
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    It's amazing that a company that had an affiliate program back to 1997 would have neglected so much, but stuff happens. Like others said, send an honest email to these inactives and let them know that you are here to change things. Give them a name, face, email, and phone number to go along with this.

    Be prepared for very high bounce rate on the emails. I'm assuming that the company has not been sending them regular newsletters or stats updates, and that they don't have a bounce record for them already, but you might want to get something like that going.

    Sending a regular newsletter or statistics update helps to maintain affiliates, and tracking bounces can let you know when they drop off or quit. You can even go more advanced and stop sending email to addresses that bounce too often, then pong the flagged addresses once a year to see if they come back. If so, reset the bounce counter and get tham pack up to speed with a new "welcome back" email.
    Brad Waller | VP, Business and Affiliate Development
    EPage.com

  7. #7
    Super Cool Affiliate Manager IanBookMan's Avatar
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    thanks for everyones input so far.

    sfcom, I like the personal touches ideas- thanks for that.

    bcwaller, I agree that it is hard to believe they have been neglected, but there's a few factors/details that I now see from this end that explain the reasoning, I'll probably include some of those reasons in my intro email.
    And there is a regular monthly newsletter, and many have over the years unsubscribed, and there is a bounce record.
    I will be sure to include in my intro email the oppourtunity for them to request to be completely removed from our affiliate list.

    It all really boiled down to, "it was working so no reason to change" - i didn't mention that we also have have about 2000 active affiliates as well, which kept management happy.

    Mr.Sal, you mentioned probably my biggest fear for this - what if this list had already found its way into the wrong hands? But I'm fairly confident that this list hasn't be sold, or stole (but i know its hard to tell)
    I'm definately going to step carefully with this and only contact small % at a time and leave time for anyone the get back to me with any info that i might not be aware of.

    This is all becoming quite interesting for me as I just found a very small number of ABWers on the list (actualy some on the active list as well, but that's another story)
    And you can bet my bottom buck I don't want to offend any of you

    Hopefully in a few days I will be advertising on ABW (putting together my budgets right now) and I'll be able to share more of this adventure.

    And for what it's worth (I know I'm new), everyone has my word that this list will not be sold, bought, tampered with or at all comprimised.

    IJ

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador writerguy's Avatar
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    Hey, sure. I would love to hear from you -- if I'm on the list of signups-but-never-actives. Heck, I went through a period then when I was trying anything I could -- so I might even be on your list.

    Having said that, I would say that it's unlikely any email address you had for me then would still reach me. I used a lot of domain-hosted email addresses back then. I soon got seriously spammed out of that idea and now use a gmail address for most marketing.

    Which, as others have said, would be your big problem -- finding working email addresses for the people on your list.

    But if I were you I'd certainly work out a friendly, informative email, and give it a shot.
    Generate more fake news.

  9. #9
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I don't see any harm in trying to contacting your affiliates, especially after you've made some progress bringing the program back from the dead.

    As part of it, I would suggest saying that you know that things may have changed over the years and they might not be interested in the program any more and give them an easy link to remove themselves. The last thing you want is to bug people who aren't interested.

    As another part, I could make sure to spell out all of the affiliate-friendly changes that you've recently made, other changes that are in the works, and seek feedback on any other things that they may need.

    Finally, I would offer higher commissions, an activation program, or some sort of bonus, to help motivate people to take action.

    Make sure to include your full name and contact information. The last thing people want to hear from is the "Affiliate Management Team". We want to know that there's a person on the other end.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  10. #10
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    Holy Moly that's an old list. Are you sure it's worth the effort to get 99% of them bounced? I would probably do it too but I don't think you'll get many results.

    I sure wouldn't be offended to get an email that has nothing to do with an enlargement for once.

    I hope I'm not on the list too many times with websites that are now worth millions I could kick myself many times for what I've let go.

  11. #11
    Domain Addict / Formerly known as elbowcreek Thomas A. Rice's Avatar
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    One way to take advantage of this situation would be to talk to Revenue Today, to see if they would be interested in following your actions, doing a sort of 'resurrecting the program' story.

    The story could start out with some stats on the email database, like how long ago they joined, etc., then follow through as you cull through the list. They might get an interesting story or two out of it, with sidebars from a couple of successful affiliates you reunited with, etc.

    I think that could make a good story, especially if you could show some growth/activity boom shortly after your reachout, plus it would get your company's name out there in front of a whole ton of new potential affiliates.

    Win/win for you and for Revenue Today, IMO.
    Following everyone else is a GREAT way to become average.

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