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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager CreditFirm's Avatar
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    Contacting random webmasters - Your experiences
    This may be a strange question, but is it okay to cold email webmasters in your niche, to introduce them to your affiliate program?

    If so, what is the best way to do it?

    I guess I'm asking for stories of both good and bad experiences you may have had with something like this.

  2. #2
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Certainly "OK" to cold call on website owners.

    Suggestions:

    Visit the website, take down notes about what you like about the site. Look for ad placement areas. Look for a "Contact Us" link. If there is none - MOVE ON. Do NOT use the WHOIS email address to contact the site owner if that is all you can find.

    If there is no Contact Us form, but there is an email addy on the site, then send a PERSONALIZED email based on your notes above. Do NOT use a free email address - you must use one coming from your website. Double-edged sword here. While using your website email adds some level of legitimacy, it can get dinged by the recipient's "SPAM" button.

    You only have one chance for a first impression - make it count...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    ....... Do NOT use the WHOIS email address to contact the site owner if that is all you can find....
    +1

    And do not use the Phone Number in the WHOIS either!!!
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!


  4. #4
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Excellent recommendations Convergence particularly:
    Look for a "Contact Us" link. If there is none - MOVE ON. Do NOT use the WHOIS email address to contact the site owner if that is all you can find.
    I have found that affiliates that want to be contacted make themselves available. Those that don't want to be contacted are not a target so why waste time trying. Have had many successful affiliates tell me they find the programs they want and send all the solicitations to a spam folder.


  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager CreditFirm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Excellent recommendations Convergence particularly:


    I have found that affiliates that want to be contacted make themselves available. Those that don't want to be contacted are not a target so why waste time trying. Have had many successful affiliates tell me they find the programs they want and send all the solicitations to a spam folder.
    This makes sense, but I like to think that even the most successful affiliates become complacent at times, and putting your program in front of them, for mutual benefit, makes sense too. :shrug:

  6. #6
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Not if they are filtering all emails to that email address, then its just a waste of time.

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager Jacqui's Avatar
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    Regarding use of WhoIs email address, you may or may not use this but most of the time the format of the email address from the WhoIs info gives us the, more like, email address of the site owner or IT person . Email verification like MailTester or Rapportive may then be used to make sure the email address does work/exist.

  8. #8
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacqui View Post
    Regarding use of WhoIs email address, you may or may not use this but most of the time the format of the email address from the WhoIs info gives us the, more like, email address of the site owner or IT person . Email verification like MailTester or Rapportive may then be used to make sure the email address does work/exist.
    We use a valid and UNIQUE email addy for domain registrations. Any non-registrar emails go straight to the SPAM folder...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager CreditFirm's Avatar
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    Seems like if a webmaster wanted to be contacted he/she would have put their email somewhere on the site. If you have to grab the email from whois, you may be crossing a line into unwanted telemarketing. Better to just stick to the contact info provided on the website and contact forms or move on to the next site.

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  11. #10
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    +1

    NOW you got it!

    BTW, on each of our web properties we have a "Contact Us" page/Link that goes to our internal support ticket system. We WANT to be contacted. We have services to sell...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  13. #11
    Affiliate Manager chris9771's Avatar
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    Recruiting is def one of the most time consuming parts of Affiliate Mgt. You have to do sort through a lot of wheat to get the chaff. Better use of your time is what has been mentioned, reach those that want to be contacted. Whois data is often a vast wasteland of IT/admin/unmonitored email address..

    Good info from the people above. Don't forget the networks offer pretty good recruiting tools to help you filter and find the affiliates that you are interested in working with.

    Good luck!
    Chris
    MGECOM
    Last edited by chris9771; October 14th, 2013 at 10:42 AM. Reason: mispelling
    Chris Cooper
    -MGECOM
    [email]socialize@mgecom.com[/email]

  14. #12
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    If you setup as recruitment campaign take these steps:
    Contact no more than once every two weeks.
    Personalize each email, if you use a template add something unique to the affiliate as mentioned in post #8.
    After three attempts stop.

    This time of year is the worse to recruit unless you are reaching out to unique niche sites. Make sure that you have optimized and activated all affiliates signed up in your program.

  15. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    If you setup as recruitment campaign take these steps:
    Contact no more than once every two weeks.
    Personalize each email, if you use a template add something unique to the affiliate as mentioned in post #8.
    After three attempts stop.

    This time of year is the worse to recruit unless you are reaching out to unique niche sites. Make sure that you have optimized and activated all affiliates signed up in your program.
    I agree with Chuck, with holidays coming and the madness about to start, now may not be the best time to contact them.

    However, as an affiliate , I appreciate when advertiser reach to me. So, I would always say it is great to get an email from an advertiser ( it make me feel their interest, and I usually try to leverage their program ).

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  17. #14
    Affiliate Manager CreditFirm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneGoodMan View Post
    I agree with Chuck, with holidays coming and the madness about to start, now may not be the best time to contact them.

    However, as an affiliate , I appreciate when advertiser reach to me. So, I would always say it is great to get an email from an advertiser ( it make me feel their interest, and I usually try to leverage their program ).
    Thanks for your feedback OneGoodMan, what do you look for, like/dislike in a communication from an affiliate manager introducing his program? Any preference on length of email? Etc...

    Thank you!

  18. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CreditFirm View Post
    Thanks for your feedback OneGoodMan, what do you look for, like/dislike in a communication from an affiliate manager introducing his program? Any preference on length of email? Etc...

    Thank you!
    What I really like / care to see in affiliate manager email is :

    - Directed to me ( if i felt the email is recycled, sent to other affiliate as it is, i wouldn't bother ).

    - I never read an email that start by "Dear Affiliate", if the affiliate manager doesn't know my name, he should waste his time sending broadcasts.

    - I like to see that affiliate manger understand the nature of my website and try to work something for it.

    - Affiliate managers, email me to ask if there is anything we can work out to features the site or optimize the program more.

    I hate :

    - Holidays emails ( i got almost 3000 advertisers, i guess both me and these advertisers agree on the fact neither of us will actually read them, so why are they wasting their time sending them )

    - Now the most important part I really care about is their response for my inquiries. If the affiliate manager take few months to answer an inquiry, he shouldn't expect much from me as an affiliate either.

    Smart affiliate manger should understand that affiliate shall be a strategic partner for the company and that the growth is beneficial, otherwise, that program would end to be a harmful tool to the advertiser.

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  20. #16
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    I agree with the points raised above. I myself am setting out on the affiliate recruitment campaign and it is a slow process - possibly slower than if it had been another time of the year if what's mentioned above is correct re: seasonality.

    I am looking to reach out to book price comparison sites with our affiliate program and my assumption (perhaps wrongly so) is that this would be relatively easy as there is only a small amount of work required from the site to include our prices in their comparison results and our API does the rest. I have contacted a number of sites and heard nothing back and wondered if you may be able to give me some insight into why this might me.

    My theories are:
    - The emails / contact us pages aren't being read very often
    - The sites are reluctant to join a new program without knowing much about the brand
    - Sites want to know 'what's in it for me' i.e. how much am I likely to earn from this program

    Re: the first point, there's not a lot I can do about that. Re: the second point, I hope to improve our brand awareness with time so patience is needed here and re: the third point- I sent a follow up email with some stats from our first week of running the program. Our unique click conversion rate from the affiliate links was 13% which I was pretty impressed with for a first week.. and still no reply.. anyone care to share why they think this may be?

    Many thanks all for your support.

    Sam

  21. #17
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    I will just say that recruiting is hard but it's only 10% of the battle. Getting affiliates to actively send you clicks is how the war is won.

    If you have success with 10 affiliates but you have 200 inactives, think about how much more successful you will be if 10 more become active.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
    Visit Greg Hoffman Consulting

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  23. #18
    Affiliate Manager CreditFirm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akagorilla View Post
    I will just say that recruiting is hard but it's only 10% of the battle. Getting affiliates to actively send you clicks is how the war is won.

    If you have success with 10 affiliates but you have 200 inactives, think about how much more successful you will be if 10 more become active.
    What is the other 90%?

    I'm assuming that is more about keeping an open line of communication with your affiliates and giving them the right tools and motivation to promote your program.

  24. #19
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    90% of the affiliates that join your program will not be active unless you beat them into submission.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
    Visit Greg Hoffman Consulting

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  26. #20
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    .. and what sort of stick should one use for this?!

    I'm trying the hand holding approach and offering support where needed - What would you recommend if that gets no response?

  27. #21
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Three steps:
    1. Recruit
    2. Activate
    3. Optimize


    Number 3 is the most important, followed by #2. As Greg says if you can get 10 more producing you doubled your program.

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  29. #22
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    The "Gorilla's" minions at work...

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  31. #23
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamWord View Post
    .. and what sort of stick should one use for this?!

    I'm trying the hand holding approach and offering support where needed - What would you recommend if that gets no response?
    Rinse, repeat daily.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
    Visit Greg Hoffman Consulting

  32. #24
    Affiliate Manager CreditFirm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    Three steps:
    1. Recruit
    2. Activate
    3. Optimize


    Number 3 is the most important, followed by #2. As Greg says if you can get 10 more producing you doubled your program.
    So...
    - Newsletters
    - Incentives
    - Custom Banners/ Creatives Support
    - Keeping the program Parasite free
    - ...I'm sure I'll have a few more ideas when Geno's book arrives.

    But for now...

  33. #25
    Member gibson's Avatar
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    some folks get bent about anything unsolicited. JaguarPC = Spammers. - Web Hosting - Web Hosting Talk

    some think if the email is personalized and not automated, it's ok (just a business solicitation).

    I go by the old-school defintion: spam is unsolicited and bulk. http://www.spamhaus.org/consumer/definition/
    The internet is a fad.

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