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  1. #1
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    Affiliates, how do you want to be contacted?
    Chuck Hamrick gave a great presentation at the Performance Marketing Summit Denver about the challenges of contacting some affiliates. Many affiliates have a single email address that they use for everything, and as the affiliate grows, that inbox gets more and more email - promotions, offers, invites, etc. Eventually some affiliates quit reading the stuff, just bulk deleting it.

    Problem is that's where the important communications go too, like problems with your links or account. Just had that happen this week, and an important partner was almost lost because there was no response to a critical issue. Luckily we usually have a second way to contact affiliates so the worst case scenario was avoided, but it still begs the question - how can a network or merchant reach an affiliate with something that's really, really important?
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  3. #2
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    We use unique email addresses for each network. Even then, the emails are heavy when there can be hundreds of merchants on each network. We do try to read as many emails as possible - a good subject line is crucial.

    We also have a Contact Us form on all our web properties that goes to our support ticket system for that specific website - emails are automatically pulled every 15 minutes.

    On some of our websites we do list our phone numbers - However, due to end users calling for return information, manuals, etc - we had to remove them from those sites.

    We also have live chat available, again it's limited to specific websites only for the same reasons as our phone numbers.

    That being said, AMs/OPMs/Merchants that we work with more closely have MY direct email address, Skype contact, IM info, and phone numbers.

    For those AMs/OPMs/Merchants that make it difficult for US to reach them - well, that's their problem and they are going to have to try a tad harder. Communication is a two-way street.

    On the other side of the coin, just last night had an OPM on CJ send out SPAM, to our CJ email address,for a program they represent on eBay EAN. Was none too happy about that...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  5. #3
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    I would think that putting a subject line in an email that, at a glance, an affiliate can see isn't the norm and it is important to read. Include their name: Leeann - Need to Contact You ASAP. I don't know about others, but that would catch my eye.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

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  7. #4
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    The problem with calling is that (maybe because we are affiliates) I get a ton of spam calls and fill my Block Caller quota all the time. Unless I recognize the company calling, I don't pick up. So if a call is made, I would make sure the company name shows up in caller I.D. and not your name.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

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  9. #5
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    I'm glad to know you guys are reading the subject lines. Sadly, not all do.

    Part of my reason for this post was to share best practices and to remind affiliates why it is important to at least glance at the email you receive. Sounds like scanning subject lines is especially critical.
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  10. #6
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    More crucial is a distinct subject line.

    Plenty of AMs/OPMs that send out emails with spammy subject lines or even vague ones. If they are vague, they don't get red. If they are spammy, and we read them, we start ignoring their emails.

    So yes, something like "Your site is down", "Your links are broken", "We screwed up our datafeed", etc - something that explains WHAT you have seen and clear enough for us to want to open the email...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  11. #7
    ABW Ambassador Bob Lawrence's Avatar
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    Where's the Great Life of Affiliate Marketing Hiding?

  12. #8
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I like being contacted with the message branded onto a steak.

    Seriously, though, the Subject and the From are extremely important. If I see something from someone I recognize, I'm far more likely to open it.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela


  13. #9
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Will sound like a parrot but definitely agree about importance in subject line. (Letting me know the program helps a lot as well since I file the emails I receive first in category folders. If I don't even know which program it is then it just keeps dropping down more and more in the long list of emails in inbox and doesn't get read for quite some time)

    Definitely not referring to you (don't even get emails from you since am not in your network ) but some others continue putting "Urgent" in subject line I assume figuring I'll read it. What's inside was not urgent so those aren't getting read very quickly at all.

  14. #10
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    If networks/merchants/AM's only bothered affiliates with important stuff in the first place, they would not have this problem. Maybe someone of them would like to step up and blaze a new trail (and set an example) by adopting this as a matter of policy, and offering affiliates the opportunity to opt in to "unregulated" promo emails from "blasters" if they wish to do so.
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  15. #11
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    I understand what you mean, but please look at it from a merchant's standpoint - to them, the email they are sending you IS important. They are trying to entice you to increase your promotion of their program, be it through a discount offer, commission bump, new product, etc. That's their business, their livelihood, same as your affiliate site is yours. It's part of the business. I'll agree that some are better or more succinct at doing so than others, but I know you guys quickly learn who sends good info and who doesn't (and thus can be ignored).
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  16. #12
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Especially when we get retail newsletters without any affiliate related material <sarcasm>...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  17. #13
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    It's kind of like college classes. None of the professors realize that students are getting assignments and projects from half a dozen other professors.

    In many of our cases, we're getting emails from hundreds of programs that we're joined to, and solicitations from many more than we're not interested in.

    If you want to be heard, you have to stand out.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela


  18. #14
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    Both Michael and Convergence make excellent points. Merchants must be relevant and succint, always keeping their audience in mind. I get frustrated to when a merchant wants to send an email which says what they want to say instead of what's going to matter to an affiliate. Short, to the point, with a great title.
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  19. #15
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    When you contact a merchant to tell them their images are broken and they don't respond, then a week later get an automated email to add more links, it does nothing positive for that merchant.

    The same way that merchants want to be able to contact affiliates with news and important updates, they need to be prepared to respond when we find issues with their links. A weekly list of the same links is quickly deleted, we already know where to get their links, so a newsletter should be about News. I do appreciate merchants sending links via a newsletter, as long as they are ready to use for me and lot a link to log in at the network, we know where the links are. If there's nothing new, delete. Worst case as mentioned is sending us the same newsletter that is sent to their customers. We aren't authorized to use those codes, it creates confusion. The links cannot be used on our sites, nor the images. delete.

    The messages I detest are the Important Program Update! as a subject line, no identifying information on the sender other than the network they used to send out the list, and nothing new that isn't automatically added to my site. I do not have time.
    Last edited by 2busy; June 25th, 2014 at 01:26 PM. Reason: To add...

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  21. #16
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    As an OPM I think the biggest challenge (applies to in-house Affiliate Managers too) is that many affiliates sign up to network programs (or any program) with an email they don't check regularly. So then it's not about subject lines at all but about having many different email addresses or assuming that everything that comes from merchants is "spam". We really just want to work with you and speaking for myself and many of my colleagues who operate as I do, want the opportunity to have a dialogue vs. just a one way broadcast.

    It's a challenge to get that when we don't even have accurate up to date information. Or worse, the email address or domain originally signed up with is cancelled/no longer used or otherwise defunct and we get bouncebacks. THAT is a HUGE challenge because then we can't reach you at all. I work really closely with our top affiliates and have their contact information more often than not but could help so many more affiliates earn more money if only I could reach them. Once I can reach them, I can do my best to try to stand out! I've offered affiliates (who were actually producing sales) exclusive offers/commission bumps/bonuses, etc. to increase output, that get totally missed. It's a shame for everyone involved when that happens because everyone loses.

    That all said I think there will always be affiliates who just don't want to be reached and it will be up to Affiliate Managers to determine if they want to work with them. It goes both ways too. I have come across many many many affiliate programs in my time where there is absolutely no name or contact info listed and affiliates must feel the same frustration at times.

  22. #17
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    I once had an affiliate on an in-house program years ago, who had accrued thousands and thousands of dollars in commissions but we couldn't reach him to send him his paycheck and his address had not been filled out properly on the signup so we couldn't just send it. I tried for a good long while to reach him every way I knew how but just couldn't get a peep from him.

    Ultimately I ended up setting his commission to 0% to see if he might take notice and contact me so we could get him paid, but he didn't even contact me then! He continued to send sales at 0% commission. What a tremendous loss it was mostly for him but also for the merchant who could have helped to increase his output by leaps and bounds had we had the opportunity to actually work together to fine tune his efforts for better CR% etc.

  23. #18
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Not trying to be snide here - but we don't care about the merchant's problems contacting affiliates because their emails bounce, domain expired, whatever. What we care about is getting the information we want and need.

    Personally, we offer every opportunity to merchants for them to contact us with relevant, important information. If they can't write a compelling email, and all that it entails, we don't have much confidence they will get much right - including: responding to OUR needs and closing sales from our targeted traffic.

    Just sayin'...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  24. #19
    Outsourced Program Manager e-Gazer's Avatar
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    That's great that you offer your Affiliate Managers that opportunity. Unfortunately many affiliates don't - those are the ones I'm speaking of. I can write a compelling email filled with value for the affiliate but if the affiliate is *not* making relevant useful contact information available it's all for naught.

    There's no one size fits all answer to this topic - different people prefer to communicate in different ways and be communicated to in different ways. The key is to be willing to work with your partners rather than against them and that goes for both Managers and Affiliates (and Merchants too).

    @Jeannine sorry to hijack! I'll bow out gracefully to let Affiliates take the spotlight since this is really about them.

  25. #20
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by e-Gazer View Post
    That's great that you offer your Affiliate Managers that opportunity. Unfortunately many affiliates don't - those are the ones I'm speaking of...
    Again, we don't care about them.

    Thread is: "Affiliates, how do you want to be contacted?"

    Obviously, the ones you can't contact because of your aforementioned reasons - don't want to be. Seriously...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  26. #21
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    I get what you mean, but my reason for creating this in the first place was because there was a serious technical problem and our email went to an email address that was only checked weekly. So if an affiliate doesn't want to be contacted ever......
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  27. #22
    Member robbinsinteractive's Avatar
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    What are your (affiliates) thoughts on reaching out via social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn?
    Stephanie Robbins
    Robbins interactive

  28. #23
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Have no desire...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  29. #24
    Affiliate Network Rep JCrooks - AffiliateWindow's Avatar
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    I chat with affiliates regularly via FB or Skype or Lync, less often via LinkedIn.
    Jeannine Crooks - Always happy to share what I know! - Voted Best Network Rep 2013 & 2014
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  30. #25
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Different affiliates will want to be communicated with differently, and as much as possible, you should try to meet their needs/desires.
    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

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