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  1. #1
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    Hi folks,

    I've sent out two newsletters announcing important changes to my product line, and 5 to 7 (by last count) of the affiliates have bad email addresses in their ShareASale accounts.

    What do I do? Just ignore it? Wait 6 months and if they've never sent me any customers or hits then close their account (therefore making the assumption that they are no longer in the affiliate biz)?

    I was able to interpret one applicant's email error and send him a new message, but I haven't heard back from him (or her, dunno).

    Just want your thoughts. I can handle dealing with a few bad emails, but if the program keeps growing it could become a lot. Don't want to punish anyone for a simple mistake, but I don't want to handle maintenance for a bad account either.

    Thanks,

    Toxey

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
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    Check for a different email address in the who-is database for the domain they have listed in their account. If it is different than what was originally supplied to you, you may have better luck with a few of them.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
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    Hey you're a P.I. you should be a little more resourceful

  4. #4
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    oooooooooohhhh

  5. #5
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    Spam filtering is getting out of hand, email is fast becoming an unreliable form of communication. I've got all my affiliate networks domains listed in my "approved" list but nowhere near all the merchants domains.

    In other words if I get mail with a SAS, Cj etc domain in the from line, it goes in my inbox, if the from address is from an individual merchant and its not already my approved list then I will add it "IF" I recognize it as such when I scan very quickly thru my deleted folder. its easy to overlook it for what it is when skimming thru a hundred pieces of spam. But at least I have the option to see what was deleted.

    Some folks use a server based filter and may never see what didn't get thru. Some filters bounce and others send it to the ol "blackhole".

    Spam blockers are kinda like ad blockers, you can let software do your thinking for you and never know what you missed.

  6. #6
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    Even tho the spam is moved to a separate folder it is gettin harder and harder to scan it for REAL EMAIL.

    Starting last week, many of my mail accounts that were averaging less than 100 spam a day are now getting 400+. It has gotten way out of hand. An email account I only set up for domain registration is now averaging 200+ spam a day.


    Sure wish spam would be outlawed---oh wait, it was---I knew that was going to be a futile effort. Spammers just moved offshore
    CharPaula
    Staying focused on the bottomline

  7. #7
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    quote:
    Originally posted by Chief_Beef_aka_Fy_Dolla:
    Hey you're a P.I. you should be a little more resourceful


    [Just now responding, I thought notifications were automatic when you start the thread, guess not]

    You got me there. Actually, after I posted this I found valid alternate emails for all but one of the affiliates.

    But only one has replied.

    So the question is extended. If I have someone who has an invalid email on ShareASale, I find a valid email asking them (politely) to correct the email so I can communicate with them, and they don't reply. What do I do about that?

    But I've already chosen my method (bit of a pain, but I hope it's fair):

    After I get a newsletter returned from a bad email, I find a good one and ask them to correct it (with a copy of the newsletter). The same for the second returned newsletter.

    If they aren't participating in the program (no links, no hits) and I receive a third one, I tell them that I've moved them (hopefully temporarily) into declined status, and will hold them there for two weeks before I remove them from the program. I let them know that it's not personal, I really want them as an affiliate, but communication is something very important to a successful partnership.

    I also invite them to reapply if they are removed (and have corrected their email address).

    Hopefully this doesn't sound harsh, but to me not responding to emails and having invalid contact info in your account is probably indicative that they have abandoned interest in the program, and I don't want to send them repeated emails they don't want.

    This is a brand new policy, so if you folks think I'm being too harsh I'd like to know it.

    Thanks again,

    Toxey

  8. #8
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    After 6 months of no hits, no links, remove them and think no more of it. They have forgotten you or had no real interest. They can rejoin later. Or, just leave them there and ignore them. It doesn't cost anything to just let them sit, does it? They may rediscover you some day. I sometimes stumble across a merchant that I meant to get to but got distracted.

    Also, remember that most "really important" merchant email will never be opened.

    If an affiliate belongs to 600 programs, truth is they plain don't want to read what you have to say. Do you think I will read 600 "really important" missives form my merchants even if they have the curtesy of writing only once a month?

    Once you are on the sites, they have little interest in updating. No one can make money if they have to spend all their time updating old pages. They need to be adding new pages.

    So, keep your pages steady. Don't change URLs or image locations. Or, you may find yourself dropped for being too much work.

    Send quarterly letters with what you plan for the next three months so they can plan ahead if they want to run specials or if they need to make seasonal changes. If they hear from you rarely, they might be more curious about what you have to say and actually open the email.

    Never send worthless "yea-rah" mail trying to drum up enthusiasm. Enthusiasm comes from seeing the money. If the email has no real content or information, you can be sure the next will be deleted unopened.

    It wouldn't surprise me if affiliates use bad email addresses just to avoid merchant spam.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  9. #9
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    That's all very good advice, and I appreciate it.

    But I've been careful to limit my emails to just these topics:

    A single offer, at the beginning, to do customized banners, links, etc... for individual affiliates. Customized as in matching their pages. No takers on that one.

    Updates to product line: New additions, products no longer available. There are a few affiliates with product links on their site that no longer lead anywhere... guess they deleted that newsletter.

    My last one, which was in response to several affiliate suggestions that I obtain a separate, brandable domain to help convert more sales. I felt that might really screw everybody up, so at the end of a notice that some prices had risen, I asked for their opinions, gave some ideas how I could make it painless, and asked for theirs. That one, I thought was important, and it's the only one I've put IMPORTANT in the subject. (One reply to date, but just sent it).

    No Rah!Rah! Newsletters or attaboys. I'm all business, and I'm trying to avoid annoying affiliates with fluff.

    However, if affiliates really don't want to know about bad links to NLA products and new products, I'm not sure what to say honestly. I'm actually stunned by the idea.

    Toxey

  10. #10
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    I AM interested in bad links but less interested than you might think in new products. If the products were extensive in the first place, if you had, for instance, "games" and I have already posted 25 of your games, I don't think 30 will entice a whole lot more to click through to your site unless they are really hot or rare.

    If you have discontinued products often, I will get ticked at the frequent necessity for updates.

    I would be willing to add new products a couple times a year and get them all at once. A bit more often for a plainly seasonal merchant.
    quote:
    There are a few affiliates with product links on their site that no longer lead anywhere...


    This should never happen. When you take a product buy page down, have the url to the former buy page redirect to the product category page so that if the customer is looking for "games" they will still find what you have.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  11. #11
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    quote:
    Originally posted by SSanf:
    This should never happen. When you take a product buy page down, have the url to the former buy page redirect to the product category page so that if the customer is looking for "games" they will still find what you have.


    That's a great way to handle it... I thought when I clicked "Cancelled" on the product database, that ShareASale wouldn't refer to the product, but I was wrong. I think for future items I'll change the link to the category page before I cancel. Then keep either a redirect or perhaps the original product page with a "no longer available" notice (and maybe some alternate suggestions, or just a eventual redirect)... may be only necessary for the few ones I've had before.

    Thanks for the very helpful advice. I'm glad that abestweb exists, otherwise I wouldn't get the insight from affiliates that I need (to do the things that make them happy). Email is certainly a bust.

    I still say that my original idea to have a ShareASale initiated email that contained changes to merchant stuff would be a good option, since every affiliate is going to want a different level of contact from merchants. Something like this:

    05/25/2004
    Merchant Update Report:

    Merchant Reported changes
    Cat Toys Inc. [datafeed] [banners/links]
    PI Supplies & Equip... [datafeed] [banners/links]
    Billy's Hats [datafeed] [banners/links]

    Where shareasale would generate an OPTIONAL email for affiliates (with choice of daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, never) that only was sent if any of their merchants had made changes to stuff, with links to the listings. This would be much more useful if could link to the changes only, but that's mighty complicated (maybe). Perhaps if you could sort by Recently edited (that's a good feature in and of itself).

    This way, if you cared about new products, you could get updates. If you didn't, you could choose not to get them.

    While I'm coming up with ideas, it would be nice if the affiliates were allowed to indicate their preference for the newsletter. Even as simple as clicking checkboxes. This could be simple or complicated, either Yes or No to newsletters, or Yes/No to specifics categories like Datafeed Updates, New Products, Price Changes, General News. (Then the Merchant would have to be required to select a dropdown listing with same categories, and REALLY write stuff within that category... no cheating)

    Anyway, I'll be carefull not to mailbomb the affiliates, but it's hard not to share the info on new products when many aren't participating yet in the program. I just don't know who wants to hear what from me.

    Thanks again,

    Toxey

  12. #12
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    You are on the right track. When you get big enough to justify the cost, you will want a forum here where affiliates can gather and discuss the program.

    Then, you will mention your forum in all the news letters.

    This will be better than a private forum because you will be read by the actual professional producing affiliates and eventually pick up a lot of the good ones when they see that you are getting the program together and have smoothed out the rough edges.

    Your forum is the best way to communicate because it is two way with questions and answers as well as update information and input from those using your program.

    I know that is down the road but it will be good when it happens.

    BTW, if you have checked out the sites of some of the affiliates who have joined your program and you find some sites where you honestly think you would do well, I see no problem with a short personal, individual note to the affiliate saying why you want to be on their site and asking to be moved up on the affiliates "to do" list. If you show a genuine interest in them and that you know their site, it will often be reciprocated.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  13. #13
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    quote:
    Originally posted by SSanf:
    BTW, if you have checked out the sites of some of the affiliates who have joined your program and you find some sites where you honestly think you would do well, I see no problem with a short personal, individual note to the affiliate saying why you want to be on their site and asking to be moved up on the affiliates "to do" list. If you show a genuine interest in them and that you know their site, it will often be reciprocated.


    Once again, thank you for all the great advice. It's really nice to hear from a pro affiliate about these things, and very encouraging.

    I've definitely checked every web page of every affiliate that has applied, both for quality and to make sure they don't conflict with the rules of the program. Unfortunately, many affiliates have one website listed with ShareASale only, and the others are a mystery until they show up in my web stats.

    I do plan to have a forum here, although I have no idea what the costs are. Things are picking up though, so I see it down the road definitely. I'm a communicator, and want to share good news and product changes and all that stuff, and it would be nice to have a spot where those who were interested could read about them. Plus, any complaints could be aired and dealt with.

    To me, good customer service (and affiliate relations) is never making a mistake. Since that's impossible, great customer service is immediately jumping on and fixing your mistakes when you inevitably make them, without delay.

    Thanks again SSanf, for everything.

    Toxey

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