Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 26
  1. #1
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    Personalized Activation emails
    Although I've received quite a few personalized invitations to join affiliate programs, I've never received one as detailed as my "dream affiliate invitation", which would go something like this:

    Hi, I'm (FULL_NAME). I've been a big fan of Amazing-Bargains.com for years, and use it personally whenever I shop online. I am the affiliate manager for (MERCHANT_NAME) and I think we could have a mutually beneficial affiliate relationship. I see that you signed up, but haven't got our links up yet.

    To show you my confidence in the relationship, I am sending all the information you need to get set up, have boosted your commission rates, am offering both an activation and a first sale bonus, have issued a truly exclusive coupon, am attaching a list of our current promotions, am sending you samples, and would even like to buy you dinner. Ongoing, you can look forward to a regular supply of coupons and promotions, syndicated through the ShareASale.com coupon/deal database. My full contact information is at the bottom of this email. Contact me anytime.

    Looking through your site, it looks like the information you need for merchants is (LIST_OF_INFO). Here is that information for (MERCHANT_NAME): (MERCHANT_INFO). I've tried to make the information consistent with the wording and layout of your site. Also, sites similar to yours have typically seen average order sizes of (AVG_ORDER_SIZE) and conversion ratios of (CONVERSION_RATIO). We offer 90 return days, phone tracking, and a parasite-free program. Our top affiliate earned (TOP_EARNINGS) last month, so you can see there's a lot of potential.

    We normally pay a (BASE_RATE) commission, but I've taken the liberty to permanently increase yours to (BETTER_RATE). If you can generate sales of at least (AMOUNT), we could even go up to (MAX_RATE).

    In addition to the increase in commissions, you are set up to automatically receive a $5 activation bonus on your first click-through. Once you have our links set up, just click on one and the bonus will appear in your account. You're also set up to automatically receive a $20 bonus on your first sale, and another $100 bonus any month that your sales exceed $1000.

    I realize that coupons are an essential part of your business, so I've created a long-term coupon "AB10" for 10% off any order. This is good through the end of next year, but we can extend it if it performs well for you. We can also create shorter-term exclusive coupons. These coupons are truly exclusive, and you will automatically be credited for all sales that utilize these coupons whether your affiliate link was used or not.

    In addition, we have several site-wide coupons and promotions, the details of which you will find below. I've included expiration dates, links, and coupon codes. All of our promotions and coupons expire at 11:59PM (TIME_ZONE) on the expiration date.

    You might not be familiar with some of our products, so I would like to send you samples. Please confirm your physical shipping address.

    Let me know which conventions you'll be at this year. We're trying to put together an affiliate dinner for our top current and prospective affiliates, and we'd love for you to attend.

    (FULL NAME)
    (MERCHANT_NAME)
    (PHONE_NUMBERS)
    (IM_CONTACTS)
    A merchant who did something like this (even without the samples and free dinner) would likely jump to the top of my very long list of "pending" merchants.

    Several points from this:

    1) Use your full name. Not just your first name. And definitely not "Affiliate Team" or "Affiliate Manager". We would rather work with a PERSON. Include your full contact information (phone numbers, IM, etc.).

    2) Identify the merchant name and the network your program is on. Sometimes it's not obvious.

    3) Identify the affiliate by name (if you know it or can find it), the affiliate's web site, and anything you know about them (recent awards, forums they're on, etc.). Show the affiliate that it's not just a canned email, but something you took some time to put together.

    4) Summarize your message quickly, then expand on it and give more detail. Many won't go beyond the first paragraph if they don't see something to pull them in.

    5) Spend the time to see what type of information the affiliate includes for each merchant. Do they use an 88x31 or 120x60 button? Do they include a description? Phone number? Shipping information? Tax information? Category list? Coupon instructions and restrictions? Datafeeds? Gather the specific information this affiliate will need and give it to them in the format and size they need.

    6) Give the affiliate general statistics (geared toward their site type, not the program in general) that will help them understand how they can expect to perform.

    7) Let the affiliate know what best practices you follow: longer return days, phone tracking, truly exclusive coupons, free datafeeds, parasite-free programs, ABW forum or participation, bonuses, etc.

    8) Offer some financial motivation to sign up. I intentionally went a little overboard in my example, with a commission boost, performance bonus, activation bonus, first sale bonus, and dinner invitation. All of these are good motivations. You don't have to do all of it, but different things appeal to different people and the more you can do, the better it'll work.

    9) Exclusive coupons (and especially truly exclusive coupons) can be very appealing to coupon affiliates (and even normal affiliates). Make sure to provide all details. Make it a long-term coupon.

    10) Make sure to let the affiliate know what other coupons and promotions you're running (including all details). Also, let them know if they're available in some sort of automated feed (like ShareASale.com's coupon/deal database).

    11) Make sure to include the time and time zone when you're talking about expiration dates. Avoid the ambiguity of "12:00" if possible.

    12) If your product is unique, or is a higher quality (and price) than your competitors, a sample can be really helpful. Samples and gifts also create a sense of obligation in many people.

    13) This takes a lot longer than blasting out thousands of canned messages. Make sure you're targeting high potential affiliates.
    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

  2. #2
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 10th, 2005
    Location
    Washington D.C. Metro Area
    Posts
    11,798
    Michael, thank you for your post. If this forum keeps moving the way you started it (with the above post), it's very soon doomed to become the favorite forum of thousands of affiliate managers worldwide.

    Thanks again, Michael.

    Geno

  3. #3
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
    Join Date
    October 3rd, 2005
    Location
    Safety Harbor, Florida
    Posts
    548
    Michael thanks a bunch....

    Now if I can just get all the merchants to agree to this we'll be in business.

    What would help is if a bunch of other affiliates let us know that this kind of thing is what they want. Silly me...of course they would.

  4. #4
    Affiliate Network Rep Kim Salvino's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2007
    Location
    Abingdon, Maryland
    Posts
    2,279
    Michael,

    Thanks for taking the time out to give such detailed, constructive suggestions.

    After reading this, I'm off to make some adjustments to my own reactivation emails.

    Thanks again,
    Kim

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager armarcus's Avatar
    Join Date
    February 7th, 2007
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    13
    Thanks
    Thanks that was an awesome e-mail, exactly what the type of thing our affiliate team needed!!!


    By the way michael your company will be recieving an email very similiar to the one you posted from us.

    Thanks again

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    So far, every email I've received about this missed one of the most important parts:

    5) Spend the time to see what type of information the affiliate includes for each merchant. Do they use an 88x31 or 120x60 button? Do they include a description? Phone number? Shipping information? Tax information? Category list? Coupon instructions and restrictions? Datafeeds? Gather the specific information this affiliate will need and give it to them in the format and size they need.
    I intentionally didn't make a definitive list, since it'll vary from affiliate to affiliate. Since everyone seems to just skip this, perhaps I should give an example based on my site.

    The things I need for each merchant are:

    1) ID. This should be a short, alphanumeric code (lower case and digits) that mirrors the merchant name. For instance, with Amazon.com, it's "amazon". Links on my site will use this.
    2) Merchant Name. This should be the way your name should look on my site. Some are obvious, but others aren't. For instance, is it "Wal-mart.com", "Wal-Mart.com", "Wal-Mart", "Walmart.com", etc?
    3) Affiliate Link. Just the basic affiliate link to the home page, with my affiliate ID inserted if it's available.
    4) Short Description. A brief one-sentence description of your store, what you sell, what makes you stand out from your competition, etc.
    5) Short Shipping Details. A brief one-sentence summary of your basic shipping costs. Some examples: Free Shipping on Any Order. Free Shipping with a $50 order, or $4.95 for smaller orders. For a site with more complicated shipping costs, something like "Shipping based on weight and destination" or "Shipping starts at $2.95".
    6) Support Phone Number. For instance, 1-800-555-1234.
    7) Coupon Details. Explain where to enter a coupon code and any restrictions that are unique to you. For instance: Enter the coupon code in the "Promo Code" field in the shopping cart and click "Submit". Coupons not valid on clearance items. Keep it as brief as possible and don't include legalese.
    8) Categories. Look through the list of categories on my site and tell me which categories your site fits in.

    For me, this is one of the most time-consuming parts of adding a new merchant. If a merchant takes the time to do the legwork here, it's a big obstacle out of the way.

    Keep in mind that this example is just what I'm looking for. Other affiliates will need other things. Look through what they do with other merchants and provide exactly what they need. Make sure to follow the same wording, structure, details, text length, capitalization, etc. that they do with their other merchants.
    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

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager armarcus's Avatar
    Join Date
    February 7th, 2007
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    13
    alphanumeric code
    can you explain what an alphanumeric code is??

  8. #8
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    alphanumeric - letters (alpha) and numbers (numeric) only. No punctuation, symbols, or other characters.
    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

  9. #9
    http and a telephoto
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    17,708
    Michael, that is a great email. There is one thing though that with Shareasale and Commission Junction (I haven't worked with Linkshare or Performics) isn't always available to me as the merchant or affiliate manager. That being the person's name. I have a number of affiliates that use a business name instead of their real name, and I don't have a way to get that info. I also don't get phone numbers, so can't call and confirm information if the email address bounces for any reason. I know you didn't mention phone calls, but if I write a detailed email to you, that includes all of the above, that takes a considerable amount of effort and if that email bounces.... I have done a lot of work that will produce no results.

    Is there a recommendation from you for a first, shorter email that wouldn't get ignored that would both confirm the affiliate's email address AND make sure they are amenable to receiving that second, much more detailed email?
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager armarcus's Avatar
    Join Date
    February 7th, 2007
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    13
    Mail
    What do you think about sending an actual letter instead of an e-mail?

  11. #11
    http and a telephoto
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    17,708
    Quote Originally Posted by armarcus
    What do you think about sending an actual letter instead of an e-mail?
    In a network I don't have access to affiliate addresses, I would have to get that from the site who is and that information is also not always accurate.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  12. #12
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    I would think that a strategy such as this would only be worthwhile with larger, more established affiliates. I can't imagine that you would have a hard time getting contact information for them.

    I plan on pursuing this from the opposite direction, too, by putting a list of my requirements up on the site.
    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

  13. #13
    http and a telephoto
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    17,708
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    I would think that a strategy such as this would only be worthwhile with larger, more established affiliates. I can't imagine that you would have a hard time getting contact information for them.

    I plan on pursuing this from the opposite direction, too, by putting a list of my requirements up on the site.
    *I* have many affiliates contact information outside of the network provided information, however I was speaking in terms of other managers and merchants that don't have relationships yet. Many of the affiliates here on ABW even have just company names in their accounts at, for example, Shareasale, and not on their sites anywhere. I'm just pointing out that it isn't as easy as it may look, for someone that doesn't know the info managers actually get from the networks.

    Putting your requirements on your site is a great idea, but then how to do you get the managers/merchants to that page? Will you change your default url within the networks to point to that page?
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  14. #14
    Newbie ronaldmarva's Avatar
    Join Date
    February 7th, 2007
    Posts
    205
    With a loads of emails to send, there is always the temptation to send canned messages. Thank you for opening my eyes on the value of personalizing our correspondence and making sure that we send the message that we do mean serious business not just the wishy-wash way of conducting business.

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 13th, 2006
    Location
    Colorado / Florida
    Posts
    4,411
    Very helpful post Michael. I am getting ready to send out an activation email to inactives and the things you mention from an affiliate POV gave me some added food for thought.

    Thanks for the information.

    Alan
    Join the Spicy Aprons Affiliate program on ShareASale Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/spicyaprons Follow us on Twitter @Spicyaprons

  16. #16
    Affiliate Manager
    Join Date
    May 2nd, 2006
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    821
    Great post...I definitely need to revise my current email.

  17. #17
    Member geoffmarcy's Avatar
    Join Date
    July 6th, 2005
    Location
    Toronto, ON
    Posts
    127
    I'm an Aff manager, Aff director & publisher and all this makes pretty good sense to me! Michael, in addition to what Loxly asked, do you have any tips on effective email subject lines that grab your attention, but don't come across spammy/canned?

    Thanks,

    Geoff Marcy
    [B]geofferson marcy[/B]
    [I]affiliate manager[/I]
    [URL=http://www.advaliant.com]www.advaliant.com[/URL]
    [URL=http://www.dna11.com]www.dna11.com[/URL]

  18. #18
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    I prefer subject lines that clearly and briefly explain what's inside. For instance:
    • New [merchant_name] Coupon: AB10 - Exp 3/31
    • Increased [merchant_name] Commissions: 15%
    • New Tools for [merchant_name] Affiliates
    • $5 Bonus for Posting [merchant_name] Links
    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

  19. #19
    Affiliate Manager harrymond's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    India / Thailand
    Posts
    1,550
    Excellent post Michael,
    Oh yeah i too need to rivse on my current email.
    Cheers,

    Harry.
    Mondera Affiliate Manager
    http://www.mondera.com/affiliate_support/
    Winner of the LinkShare 2004 Golden Link Awards "Affiliate's Choice Award"
    Winner of the 2002 Abestweb.com "Best Affiliate Program Award"

  20. #20
    Affiliate Manager
    Join Date
    February 17th, 2005
    Location
    Balto Wash area
    Posts
    25
    Michael,

    Thanks for a very infomative post! After going to an inactive, well-respected, affiliate's site and taking a look, I sent an email yesterday (before I found this), and now I have some points to add.

    What I am seeing is that when trying to activate someone, the link, ready to go with codes, is a great thing to send in the contact email.

    Yes-this way takes a great deal of time, BUT if I were getting an email from a merchant, I sure would want it to look like the AM took the time to actually look at my site, rather than send a canned email.

    Thanks again!
    Nancy

  21. #21
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    More than just looking at the site, something like this shows that the merchant understands what the affiliate needs and is willing to expend some time to make things easier for the affiliate.
    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

  22. #22
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    I posted this in another thread, but thought it was worth adding here as well since it adds some more detail not included previously.
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    The thing about recruiting is this:

    Many of the most desired affiliates get dozens of recruitment emails every day. They're almost all the same. They're not personalized (or--EVEN WORSE--are obvious attempts to make things look personalized when they aren't). They don't give all the details we need. They're focused on the masses, not us.

    Truly personalized emails are extremely rare. Some of the features that would make it truly personalized are:
    • It should be obvious that the sender spent more than just a glancing moment on the site and/or knows you.
    • You should call the person by name and mention personal things, like awards they have received, unique things you like about their site, comments or stands you appreciate that they made publicly, when or where you saw them last, etc.
    • You should spend enough time to figure out exactly what things the person would need and provide it all.
    • You should provide general stats about sites similar to theirs. For instance, "The coupon sites we work with see an average conversion ratio of 7% and an average EPC of $75." Program-wide stats are not personalized.
    • You should make some sort of offer to make it even more compelling, like an increased commission, a slotting fee or cash activation bonus, etc.
    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

  23. #23
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 10th, 2005
    Location
    Washington D.C. Metro Area
    Posts
    11,798
    In the past I have done both: general recruitment e-mails that "are obvious attempts to make things look personalized when they aren't" and really personalized e-mails. The former ones can be easily sent out at a rate of one e-mail per second, while the latter ones obviously take much longer to create. However, my personal experience has shown that the general recruitment e-mails convert only at around 0.5% or sometimes less, while the truly personalized ones convert at 25% or more*! Now, talk about time spent productively...

    Geno

    -----
    *and these are normally active, very strong affiliates that we're talking about in these cases!!

  24. #24
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
    Join Date
    October 3rd, 2005
    Location
    Safety Harbor, Florida
    Posts
    548
    Great new points Michael and Geno...

    You guys keep coming through.

    Geno thanks especlally for sharing those numbers. That's the kind of thing that's worth it weight in gold to an AM. This makes it so much easier to go to management to justify "time spent" on an approach.

    Unfortunately my day just got a little longer...

  25. #25
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 13th, 2006
    Location
    Colorado / Florida
    Posts
    4,411
    Quote Originally Posted by Geno Prussakov
    In the past I have done both: general recruitment e-mails that "are obvious attempts to make things look personalized when they aren't" and really personalized e-mails. The former ones can be easily sent out at a rate of one e-mail per second, while the latter ones obviously take much longer to create. However, my personal experience has shown that the general recruitment e-mails convert only at around 0.5% or sometimes less, while the truly personalized ones convert at 25% or more*! Now, talk about time spent productively
    I just usually tell them I am Michael Coley or Geno. Works like a charm!!
    Join the Spicy Aprons Affiliate program on ShareASale Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/spicyaprons Follow us on Twitter @Spicyaprons

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Turning consumer emails into affiliate emails
    By DDs in forum Rakuten LinkShare - LS
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: April 29th, 2004, 10:19 PM
  2. Help with Activation Ideas
    By apcRocket in forum Rakuten LinkShare - LS
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: August 8th, 2003, 12:25 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •