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  1. #1
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    Hey all, now that we have launched our affiliate program and things are rolling along, I'd like to start contacting a few sites and invite them to join. There are handful of websites that I think would do well with our program. Is it distasteful to drop them an e-mail telling them about our program. Each letter would be individually sent, and directed at the webmaster of the website...I don't go for the whole bulk e-mailing invitation. Also, when somebody e-mails you guys about joining their program, how seriously do you take it? Does it go directly to trash without a thought, or do you take a minute to look over their site and see what it is all about? Your thoughts....

  2. #2
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    quote:
    when somebody e-mails you guys about joining their program, how seriously do you take it?


    Something out of the blue - straight to the trash bin.

    "New Program Announcement" type of email from a network - will check it out if it's a category or subject matter of interest.

    Personal invitation from a known party gets personal attention. These get a reply email expressing interest in signing up, or a "thanks anyway" email if not interested.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador affiliatemakeover's Avatar
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    Ditto to deelz...

    Automated messages = deletion

    I do at least read the personalized messages. Be sure to make your first sentence very personalized, but not in a spammy kind of way.

    This is a very important aspect that, from my experience, 99% of affiliate managers complety suck at.

    You need to build relationships, not send automated b.s. replies, even though they are necessary sometimes.

    You're on the right track if you realize this fact already.

  4. #4
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    I *rarely* equate invitations to join an affiliate program with spam. I read them, check them out, and if interested respond.

    When sending such mailings, PLEASE include what you have for sale, services or products, etc... it may seem like an obvious point, but...

    The top three no-nos I see with affiliate managers who approach web sites individually are:


    1. Hype, hype, and more hype. You want serious affiliates, don't tell them they can make money in their sleep without any work. I'm much more interested in the facts (what you sell and what I get for promoting you).

    2. Repeat mailings: if I don't write back the first time, don't contact me again... the second uninvited contact puts you in the spammer category.

    3. Being invited to join a program where I am already an affiliate. This one puts you in the DOH! category first time out. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  5. #5
    Guest
    Ditto to Deelz!

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador webmarm's Avatar
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    Tom,
    Allan Gardyne's newsletter arrived in my box today with an article about recruiting affiliates.

    Archives here, article dated June 14.

    Best of luck.

    edit: Ooops, I see he has a marketing trick! The online version isn't uploaded until a couple of days after we subscribers get it.

    Below is straight from Allan Gardyne's Associate Programs Newsletter, one of my favorites. There is more information in the newsletter, this is just one of the articles:


    quote:
    ===================================================
    3. How to find targeted affiliates for your program
    ===================================================


    By Michael Wong


    An affiliate program is a great word-of-mouth marketing concept.
    But how can you jump-start your affiliate program when you have
    no affiliates?

    The obvious answer is to try to get affiliate marketing
    newsletter editors, such as Allan, to give your new affiliate
    program a mention.

    But I also recommend a proactive approach by going out and
    finding affiliates that link to your competition's affiliate
    program.

    So, here's my step-by-step guide to find targeted affiliates
    quickly, using the search engines. The best part is that, except
    for your time, it doesn't cost a dime.

    1. Find out what your competition's affiliate program link looks
    like. If you don't know what the affiliate link looks like, don't
    worry. Simply search for sites that link to, or mention, the
    competition.

    For example, to find sites that link to Amazon.com, visit
    AltaVista [ http://www.altavista.com or http://www.av.com ] and
    enter the following in the search box:

    link:www.amazon.com

    "link:" tells AltaVista that we're looking for Web pages that
    link to the domain name following it.

    "www.amazon.com" is the competition's domain name.

    Note: Generally, you don't need to include the "http://" part of
    the URLs you're searching for.

    2. Now visit a site returned in the search results. Then view the
    page's HTML source code using either of these two methods:

    Method 1:
    a. Hover your mouse over a text area of the Web page.
    b. Right click on your mouse. A small menu should appear.
    c. Select "View Source." If "View Source" does not appear in the
    menu, the likely reason is that your mouse is hovering over an
    image. Move your mouse to a blank or text area of the page and go
    back to step "b."
    d. The HTML source code should open up in Notepad, or WordPad, if
    the file is too long for Notepad.

    Method 2:
    a. Select the "View" menu in your browser window.
    b. Scroll down and select "Source."
    c. The HTML source code should open up in Notepad or WordPad.

    3. Select "Search" and then "Find."

    4. Enter the competition's domain name in the search box. For
    example:

    amazon.com

    The search should return the link. If you don't find the domain
    name, go back to the search engine results and visit another
    listing.

    This is a typical affiliate link for the Amazon.com affiliate
    program.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...affiliate-name

    5. Make a note of the affiliate link.

    6. Now go back to visit AltaVista and search for sites that link
    to the competition's site using the affiliate link you found.

    For example, to search for sites that link to Amazon.com with an
    affiliate link, you would enter the following in the search box:

    link:www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/

    Notice that the affiliate link is shortened. The reason is
    because you want to search for all affiliates who link to the
    competition's site. If you enter the entire affiliate link that
    you found, then AltaVista would return only Web pages belonging
    to that particular affiliate.

    How much you shorten the affiliate link depends on the link. You
    must use enough of the affiliate link to distinguish it from
    other links.

    For example, here's a typical affiliate link for the LinkShare
    affiliate network:
    http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/...Qh6sc&offerid=
    7097&type=3&subid=0

    I would search for the following part of the URL:

    click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat

    Notice that I stopped short of including the query string, the
    part of the URL starting from the question mark.

    In general, you should not include the query string. Most search
    engines do not index URLs with query strings. This is because
    search engine spiders are afraid they will get caught in an
    endless loop from which it can't escape.

    The part of the link that distinguishes the merchant from others
    in the network is the offer ID:

    offerid=7097

    This happens to be the ID for the merchant, Astrology.com. If you
    simply searched for "click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat" then you
    would get a list of sites that link to any of the LinkShare
    merchants.

    To find sites that link to a specific LinkShare merchant, include
    keywords that describe the merchant, such as the merchant's name.

    So in our example, we would enter the following in the search
    box:

    link:click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat +Astrology

    In fact, by searching for the keyword, you would find other
    merchants related to that particular keyword.

    7. Visit each site in the search results. Search for the
    affiliate link using steps 2-4.

    8. If you find the affiliate link, make a note of the site's
    contact details.

    For example:

    Site name, URL, Contact, Email address, Contact form URL (if no
    email address)

    I like to use Excel to store my data. You may prefer other
    methods.

    9. Now repeat steps 7 and 8 to find additional targeted affiliate
    sites.

    10. Once you've found a couple of dozen sites, you should start
    contacting the sites. You may use a mailmerge program to create
    and send a large number of emails quickly.

    Will you be accused of sending spam?

    I've used mailmerge programs and have never had any problems. I
    think it all depends on how you construct your email. If it is
    carefully written, it shouldn't appear as a mass mailing to the
    recipient. It's all in the wording. However, this is something
    that is very difficult to teach someone to do. It comes from
    experience.


    [Editor's note: As an affiliate on the receiving end of emails
    by people who obviously use this approach, I DON'T recommend
    it. I recommend you carefully look at each site and take the
    time to comment on something on each site in individually
    written e-mails. Neil Shearing explains how to charm super
    affiliates in his report that comes with Internet Success
    Spider, a tool for finding potential super affiliates -
    http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/spider . You're starting a
    business relationship which could last for many years. It's
    important that you start it the right way. - Allan Gardyne.]


    I highly recommend that you keep track of exactly when you
    emailed each site and the results. You should also monitor your
    results and test different introduction emails to try to improve
    results.

    There you have it. My proactive method of jump starting your
    affiliate program.

    Good luck with your affiliate marketing efforts!


    ---

    * Michael Wong runs his own search engine optimization business
    and is the author of "Search Engine Optimization Strategies".
    It's an in-depth analysis of his findings after spending
    thousands of hours studying the search engines. Get it here: http://AssociatePrograms.com/search-engines



    [ 06-16-2002: Message edited by: webmistress ]

  7. #7
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    quote:
    when somebody e-mails you guys about joining their program, how seriously do you take it?


    I would look at their site and program and if it looks good add it to my long to-do list. I think mailing individual sites is a good idea, but make it short and to the point so it doesn't look like *spam*.

    [ 06-16-2002: Message edited by: chinaski ]

  8. #8
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    Man...you guys definately came up with some good suggestions...I will look everything over [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] As for as being a 'personalized touch', I'm already on that. Nothing will be canned (well, maybe our program description), but perhaps a suggestion or two about where our links could go, such as a resources section, etc. Thanks again for all of the great feedback!!!!!!

  9. #9
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    quote:
    but perhaps a suggestion or two about where our links could go, such as a resources section, etc.
    Careful going, there. Us artistic types can get pissy when someone who knows NOTHING about our sites (or our traffic) starts telling us where their program can be successful. I'd save the suggestions for the people who actually sign up and I'd frame it as "our current affiliates have the most success when placing links in categories like your blue spotted widget category."

    Other, less sensitive, affiliates, may feel differently. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

  10. #10
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    I agree with Cedric, if they're smart enough to build a site you can find then you won't need to suggest a category.
    I do think you should contact 'target' sites though, because shareasale doesn't have the same reach as the big networks.

  11. #11
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    Good point, guys. I was thinking of more along the lines 'I noticed that you have a web resources section on your site. We would like to be listed as a resource'....You get the idea. I've had affiliate managers tell me how to do things before...I can't count the times that I've heard to put a link on our front page...I would avoid that. It was a matter of pointing out a section of their site that may work well, but would fit in. Another example 'I noticed you have a webhosting ratings section, and with our affiliate program, you could generate revenue while allowing your visitors to rate us'...I'm sure you guys know what I'm getting at...

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