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  1. #1
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Newsletters, emails and Program Updates to Affiliates...
    Rexanne, Remax and others make excellent comments about affiliate managers and merchants communicating to affiliates that deserves its own discussion:

    Some merchants do tend to abuse that communication privilege, which, as Rematt said so well: we'll start ignoring your emails. Consider if affiliates emailed their merchants daily with requests for special coupons, terms, considerations or whatever they might decide is a valid reason for contacting the merchant. That's what it feels like on the aff end when a merchant or OPM sends countless emails pitching their best interests. B O R I N G and no help, just more time suck for us. (This could be a separate thread so I won't derail this thread any longer by beating the point).
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showpost.p...9&postcount=25

    IMO both parties are frustrated. We work very hard to write newsletters to get the best information to affiliates. Very frustrated when we get bounces and have no way to update profile information with affiliates. I have taken to removing affiliates from programs if I have no way to contact them.

    Now I understand why there is such a lack of response with affiliates and why they respond with an separate email. Also why they use separate addresses for each network so they know where they are being contracted. We need a new method for affiliates and merchants to communicate.

  2. #2
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    Chuck Hamrick - We need a new method for affiliates and merchants to communicate.
    I think a message board like ABW is one of the less intrusive ways to communicate between a merchant and his affiliates.
    If I'm interested in their offers I can follow a link to their website.
    I get well over 100 emails from merchants a day. Around 500 during the peak season. I've no time to enter in a personal relationship with an AM. It doesn't mean I don't read their emails, newsletters or I'm not interested in their products. What do you think is more important, a 15 minutes talk about the latest news or adding links and content for his merchant and make money.

  3. #3
    http and a telephoto
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    Maybe AV can facilitate getting discounts for OPM/AMs to be able to use an optin email newsletter service that can be used for newsletters for affiliates that are interested in being in touch outside the network email system. Or create some kind of communication system themselves.

    As Zeus said, using ABW is a way to get to affiliates that don't get (for whatever reason) their network newsletters, or that want to cut through the "crap" and just get news they care about. I try to post my merchant newsletters here for a variety of reasons, but number 1 reason eons ago was because so many bounced.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  4. #4
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    I understand the frustration of an AM not getting feedback from their affiliates. If it's not someting about TOS violation or fraud, leave these affiliates alone. A message board should be a reminder. It doesn't prevent an AM to publish a newsletter or send emails. I can read fast and scan hundred of documents in a min of time. I read Chuck latest email and I'm waiting for the next ones about his promotions and I know Loxlie latest client. Just don't expect me to ask questions if I don't have to, give a call or pick up the phone. I would not get anything done. Well written emails or podcasts like the one done by Loxlie on Viator are a big helper.

  5. #5
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Zeus, I hear your points and here are mine. Having 15 minute calls would necessitate hiring a call center (which some large agencies have done). We have been considering a video podcast monthly or a conference call that is recorded to discuss what's hot and what's new. Gary V. the keynote at Affiliate Summit does a 20 minute video cast daily for his affiliate site, maybe he is on to something.

    Loxly, I like the idea but it would have to be a trusted source so that AM/OPM's don't game the system to pirate affiliate contact info.

  6. #6
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
    IMO both parties are frustrated. We work very hard to write newsletters to get the best information to affiliates. Very frustrated when we get bounces and have no way to update profile information with affiliates. I have taken to removing affiliates from programs if I have no way to contact them.

    Now I understand why there is such a lack of response with affiliates and why they respond with an separate email. Also why they use separate addresses for each network so they know where they are being contracted. We need a new method for affiliates and merchants to communicate.
    I'm not so sure if we need a new method as opposed to a way to improve the existing methods. I check over a dozen mail boxes daily (that includes network mailboxes) to find the couple of dozen pieces of mail that I think are of importance, then I spend another period of time browsing these messages to get to the ones that I think I really want to read.

    One merchant sent me another reminder today to make sure I have their Mother's Day creatives up. This is the 4th reminder they've sent me this week. Do you think it would occur to them that if I don't have them up by now I probably won't put them up at this late date? Do you think it would occur to them that if I do have them up already that reading their 4th reminder is a waste of my time? BTW they sent me a 2nd message today to remind me to remove the Mother's Day creatives on Sunday.

    This morning on one of the networks (I won't give their name, but their initials are LS) I had 41 new e-mail messages. 37 of them were from merchants inviting me to join their program. 16 of those were duplicates. Ahhhhh.

    The problem is that I want the information that a lot of my merchants provide which means that I have to wade through a lot of garbage to get to it.

    So no, I don't think we need another means of communication. I honestly don't have the time to check one more place for useless information. What we need is education for merchants. They need to learn how to properly use the existing messaging systems to get their IMPORTANT messages across without wasting affiliates time.

    A few rules for merchant e-mails:

    1. Do not send the same message to me more than once. EVER!

    2. Do not send self serving messages. Congratulations if you just won an award. I understand how proud you are, however, to me it's not earth shattering news. Wait until your next scheduled newsletter and make the announcement there. Or better yet, make an announcement on ABW.

    3. Don't send me an e-mail asking how you can be of help and then IGNORE MY REPLY!!

    4. Please proof your message before you send it. I don't want another affiliate to get credit for my sales because you included the wrong ID. Make sure dates are correct. Make sure you include the correct promotions and check you banners for accuracy.

    5. AND NEVER, I'll repeat NEVER send me an e-mail that tells me that you've changed your TOS but you don't inform me of what the changes are. If you make a change to your TOS or your program, outline the changes in the message, don't make me search for them.

    6. I know you run multiple programs and I've done well promoting your florist. But what on earth did you see on my site that led you to believe that riding crops would be a good fit?

    Basically all I'm asking is that you be respectful of my time. There are a few OPMs and merchants here on ABW that I receive newsletters from and frankly, most of you do a good job of not wasting our time. You guys get it. I think it's partially because of the time you spend here interacting with us. You see us as more than just a commodity. You see us as business people with limited resources (time) and a need for valuable information. Thanks.

    Teach the rest of the merchants out there to have a little respect for our time and I think you guys will start to see fewer bounced e-mails.

    -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

  7. #7
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    rematt, you brought tears to my eyes, this rocks!!

    Depending on the network we send newsletters directly to the affiliate because we get 2-5X the open rate. You have to respect the opt-in information to which is a different discussion. We prefer to not send via the network internal email which as you mentioned has become spam. But, we are doing that so there is a permanent record or an opportunity for the affiliate to find it at a later date.

  8. #8
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    We need a new method for affiliates and merchants to communicate.
    RSS always to me seemed to be the best solution for everyone,. The posted data is always there, affiliates can grab it and read it when ever they want to and it removes the issue of bad emails and so on. Ideal for posting coupon info, updates and so forth and can be updated frequently with small updates (daily even) rather than worrying about sending too much email.

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  9. #9
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Basically all I'm asking is that you be respectful of my time. There are a few OPMs and merchants here on ABW that I receive newsletters from and frankly, most of you do a good job of not wasting our time. You guys get it. I think it's partially because of the time you spend here interacting with us. You see us as more than just a commodity. You see us as business people with limited resources (time) and a need for valuable information. Thanks.

    Teach the rest of the merchants out there to have a little respect for our time and I think you guys will start to see fewer bounced e-mails.
    I often hear comments that affiliates are lazy from people outside of the channel. Another one is that they can't be making money if they waste their time on forums like this. My answer is simple, affiliates are some of the most productive people around because when they can make a living off the Internet. If you don't understand them then don't insult them and go back to buying your CPM banners. That is another reason why I am defensive about calling this just performance marketing. Of course it is performance marketing and rev share but this is entirely based on relationships. And NO I do not want to rebrand this as relationship marketing. It is affiliate marketing and we need to respect it and the relationship with those who bring the visitors to the thank you page (sorry for the soapbox)!

  10. #10
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    Excellent post rematt.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  11. #11
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    Great post Rematt, thank God that I haven't made any of those mistakes till date.As you rightly said,thanks to ABW, we know what are your likes and dislikes and act accordingly.It would be all the more better if this is mutual and you feel the same about us merchants as well.

    Cheers

  12. #12
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    Agreed, great post Rematt.

    Honesty is the best policy and in regards to your "merchant rules", I completely agree with all of them. AM's who suggest programs that obviously have no fit are simply not doing their job. In an industry such as Affiliate Marketing, straight-shooting managers who think beyond getting affiliate sign-ups will see more results come.

    In my contact to affiliates, I try my best to write it the way I would like to read it if I were an affiliate with many programs and tasks. I find the point-form highlights generally works well because it can be skimmed and the main points can be grabbed in several seconds.

    Taking the time to personalize a bit can do wonders

    Avoid being too wordy!

    my 2 cents

  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
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    Dang rematt. That was simply outstanding.

    Nothing to add...and that is saying something LOL
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

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