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  1. #1
    Member Independent's Avatar
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    How to invite an affiliate?
    Hello everybody!

    From time to time I run across some websites that would've been perfect to promote our products. The problem is that I don't know what is the best way to approach the webmaster. Some of the websites have a Contact Us link but I never get a reply from whoever gets those messages. I have tried to find the contact information on Alexa and some similar websites, but I think the information could be very outdated there. Does anybody have any suggestions? I would really appreciate your replies!

  2. #2
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    You don't approach affiliates. Let affiliates find you. You can start an affiliate program either in-house or through affiliate networks, CJ, LS, SAS...

    Set up a forum here at ABW should give your program some good exposure.

    I don't response to those "invitation emails" send to my websites' contact. I think most affiliates don't response either.

  3. #3
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    I might, but the merchant's products must match closely what I'm presenting on that site . . .

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herb ԿԬ
    I might, but the merchant's products must match closely what I'm presenting on that site . . .
    Very true. 99% of the emails I got were not even close to match my site content.

  5. #5
    Member Independent's Avatar
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    Mayfly, I'm having the opposite problem Affiliates that apply for our program often have absolutely unrelated website content. That is the reason why I was hoping to find some of the really good affiliates by inviting them. I am sure the visitors of the websites I try to invite would be very interested in our products!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Independent
    I am sure the visitors of the websites I try to invite would be very interested in our products!
    What's your products?

  7. #7
    Member Independent's Avatar
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    Most of them are home testing kits

  8. #8
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    Affiliate recruitment is a very complex task. In addition to checking out the "Merchant Best Practices" forum here on ABW, I encourage you to read my free advice at http://www.markwelch.com/web-marketi...strategies.php -- although you've already learned much of it (for example, "70% to 90% of all affiliate-solicitation emails sent will never actually be read").

    Affiliate managers must accept that direct recruiting will not be the source of most successful affiliates -- but I strongly disagree with mayfly's suggestion that "You don't approach affiliates. Let affiliates find you."

    Make reasonable efforts to identify and contact sites that are close matches for your products. Be professional and courteous; accept that many of your "best prospects" will never respond -- but don't abandon recruitment entirely.

  9. #9
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    Make reasonable efforts to identify and contact sites that are close matches for your products. Be professional and courteous; accept that many of your "best prospects" will never respond -- but don't abandon recruitment entirely.
    Absolutely. Also try doing something different from all of the other programs. Use WHOIS info if available and send snail mail as opposed to e-mail. I received an invitation from a merchant this past spring that included a screen shot of one of my sites with one of their banners superimposed on it. Even though I didn't feel that their program was a good fit, they certainly got my attention and I did call the AM to discuss. I figured that with the additional effort that they put in they at least earned a few minutes on the phone.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  10. #10
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Independent
    Mayfly, I'm having the opposite problem Affiliates that apply for our program often have absolutely unrelated website content. That is the reason why I was hoping to find some of the really good affiliates by inviting them. I am sure the visitors of the websites I try to invite would be very interested in our products!
    I think except for absolute newbies, it is very rare to find an affiliate with only one website, and when an affiliate applies, either they have, among their various sites, one that fits your program, or are contemplating building one, and are seeking merchants to fit that niche.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, theres no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  11. #11
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    I don't mind when a merchant contacts me through my site - it shows interest and I like that. The products have to be a good match, of course..

    If the affiliate doesn't respond, there isn't much you can do. My inbox keeps filling up with current merchant promotions and I also have my own to-do list. As much as I love adding new merchants, there aren't always enough hours in the day!

  12. #12
    Member Independent's Avatar
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    Thank you, Mark. I have found a lot of valuable information at the link you have provided! I think affiliate managers must try different ways to recruit affiliates.
    If I see a website that to my opinion would do a good job promoting our products, I would like to be able to invite an affiliate to join our program. If the affiliate does get my e-mail it could be a good deal for both of us!

  13. #13
    Member Independent's Avatar
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    Thanks, Rematt. That was a really good example of thinking outside the box!

  14. #14
    Member Independent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateHound
    I think except for absolute newbies, it is very rare to find an affiliate with only one website, and when an affiliate applies, either they have, among their various sites, one that fits your program, or are contemplating building one, and are seeking merchants to fit that niche.
    Yes, I thought about it. And what I've decided to do was e-mailing the affiliates back and asking to provide more information about the website they plan to promote our products on. Do you think it was a good idea?

    Thanks!

  15. #15
    Member Independent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone
    I don't mind when a merchant contacts me through my site - it shows interest and I like that. The products have to be a good match, of course..

    If the affiliate doesn't respond, there isn't much you can do. My inbox keeps filling up with current merchant promotions and I also have my own to-do list. As much as I love adding new merchants, there aren't always enough hours in the day!

    I know! It's a real competition there, isn't it? But affiliate managers spend so much time and afford developing those promotions (I know I do!), it's a shame most of them stay unread. Although, I must agree, 24 hours a day is just not enough

  16. #16
    Affiliate Manager David S.'s Avatar
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    I think one of the most important things like teezone said is that your potential affiliates see that you showed some interest. Make sure your approaches are well thought out and promote conversation, not very general content that could be copy and pasted.

    I like to start out by telling them something that I liked about their site or maybe a misspelled word or broken link that they may want to know about. Show them how your product is relevant to their site and give them the basics about what you offer. Try to make it as easy as possible for them. Remember, although you are working together and they will be getting compensated for it, they are doing you a much bigger favor than you are doing them in most cases.

    Also like Mark said, don't take it personal if you don't hear from many of them. They are usually very busy or the email may have ended up in a spam filter. If all else fails you can always try calling them, it's worked for me many times and if you have the right approach it can be the start of a good relationship which is ideal for both parties.

  17. #17
    Member Independent's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for advice, David! I think I should work more on personalization in my invitation e-mails. And make some calls too

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    As an affiliate I appreciate receiving emails from merchants offering unique, hard to find, or niche products relating to my websites.

    If its some run of the mill thing like DVDs, laptops or whatever, I just delete it.

  19. #19
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Independent
    Yes, I thought about it. And what I've decided to do was e-mailing the affiliates back and asking to provide more information about the website they plan to promote our products on. Do you think it was a good idea?

    Thanks!
    That is a good approach. One of the good things SAS has is a box to provide this info when an affiliate applies to a merchant program. Also, if they do not respond, they likely were not serious about your program, and probably were just applying to a lot of programs to see what might develop.
    Quote Originally Posted by Independent
    ...And make some calls too
    Not such a good idea. There have been some threads in the past discussing this, and as I recall, there pretty much was a consensus among affiliates that this sort of thing is better handled by email than over the phone. It is a good thing to have an AM who is quickly reachable by phone where there is an urgent necessity, but as to being solicited over the telephone, that generally is frowned upon, for a couple of reasons. Some people really feel it is an invasion of privacy/space to be cold called, and some people just do not like to talk on the phone, especially with unknown people. Also, for some, it is an unwanted distraction from the work at hand. Also, how would you obtain these phone numbers - are you talking about contract info from affiliate sites, or by obtaining them in some other fashion? My first response would be "Where did you get my number?"

    Something else to consider: When an affiliate applies to a program, it generally is because they have a need for it at that moment. All of us have had situations where we found the product or product line we needed NOW, applied to a program, and received no response for days, weeks, months. At that point it is unlikely that the affiliate would go back to re-do some section to add those products, or in some cases, even remember the merchant. If you solicit an affiliate and influence them to apply to your program, you should be in a position to approve them immediately. A few days later, or longer, the interest may well have worn off, and they may never become active with your program.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
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  20. #20
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    rematt wrote: > "Also try doing something different from all of the other programs. Use WHOIS info if available and send snail mail as opposed to e-mail. I received an invitation from a merchant this past spring that included a screen shot of one of my sites with one of their banners superimposed on it. Even though I didn't feel that their program was a good fit, they certainly got my attention and I did call the AM to discuss." <

    Good advice, but you should never use the WHOIS contact information as your primary mode of contact with a web site. If the site has an "advertising" email address or form, use that. If not, use any available contact info on the web site. Never use a WHOIS email address instead of an email address posted on the web site, unless the web-site address bounces. Quite often, the WHOIS contact information goes to an outside hosting or web-development company. Some webmasters consider it abusive to use the WHOIS contact information when there are more appropriate contact methods posted on the web site. This is especially true if the WHOIS contact is clearly a "role" account (such as postmaster@ or dnsadmin@).

    One more piece of advice: Be clear about who you are writing to, and what you are writing about. Repeat the name of the web site in the body of your email. If I get an email saying "Your web site is a perfect match for our pet-theme products," I might be able to guess which domain you're referring to -- or I might not, since I have pet-theme content on several different domains. If I get an email saying "Mark, your web site at Love-Our-Dog-dot-com is a perfect match for our pet-theme products," then we're more likely to be having the same discussion. If you're targeting a site that has diverse content, identify specific sections or pages where your links are likely to perform well. Your affiliate recruitment email should be personalized -- not mail-merged, but genuinely personalized.

  21. #21
    Member Independent's Avatar
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    Thank you, Mark. It does make sense. Will follow your suggestions!

  22. #22
    Affiliate Manager David S.'s Avatar
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    There have been some threads in the past discussing this, and as I recall, there pretty much was a consensus among affiliates that this sort of thing is better handled by email than over the phone.
    Just want to clarify about the phone calls. AffiliateHound if you can recall this thread or have some keywords maybe that I can search for I would be very interested to see it. I am only advising a call as a last resort, after months and numerous attempts of trying to contact via email, with a legitimate offer and a number from the site. Under no circumstances should anybody be recklessly contacting potential affiliates with a theme of:

    Hey, you should join my program you could make a lot of money

    Thats why I mentioned the right approach. I worked for an in-house program so it might be different with an affiliate network. From my experience, most likely they wont answer because they dont recognize the number which leaves a good opportunity to leave a message. Either way, the approach should always start by saying:

    Ive tried to contact you via email numerous times and Id love the opportunity to discuss our affiliate program with you and how we might be able to work together if you have a few moments

    Put the ball in their court and give them an option, dont push it on them. Some may say, Ive received your email just havent had a chance, others might say Id prefer you send me an email at this address and Ill get back to you if Im interested. If you are in sales or selling your own affiliate program you should be prepared for rejection and understand that its not personal. If they say sure or ask some questions (hopefully not, where did you get my number?) then thats your opportunity. I understand how some people would not like to be contacted this way and if your program is not a good fit its not going to work anyway, but again this is a last resort for a legitimate offer and people who have phone and communication skills. I also make sure to give them my email if I get the voicemail to make it easier for them to get back to me if they are interested.

    Ive had people email me back after leaving a message and say Id love to work with you or sign up after having a good conversation about some of the misunderstandings they may have had about our program. Im sure there are affiliates who dont want any phone calls whatsoever and others that think ams should assume if they dont respond to emails that they are not interested. But from an ams perspective if you get even one more good affiliate out of making some calls then its worth it. I also think its easy to just reply to an email that you may have received numerous times and politely say:

    Im not interested could you please take me off your list.

    I was always taught to never leave any stones unturned so maybe Im a little old school and the industry that I was in was not as affiliate savvy as most, but if I really would like to work with someone and I cant reach them via email, I find it hard to just let it go without at least trying to call. After a message is left then I can have peace of mind that I did everything that I could do.

    Maybe I'm off base since I'm still relatively new to this, but is there any other reason that an am should not call a potential affiliate besides the fact that some of them just don't like to be called as I think that one should be prepared for this type of objection?

  23. #23
    CPA Network Rep TarsusIan's Avatar
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    This has to be one the best posts I've read to date. Thanks Guys!

  24. #24
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David S.
    Just want to clarify about the phone calls. AffiliateHound if you can recall this thread or have some keywords maybe that I can search for I would be very interested to see it.
    I found this thread but it seems to me there are others, but when I tried searching some relevant terms, such as "phone contact" I got 3000+ results.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, theres no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

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