Page 1 of 8 12345678 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 200
  1. #1
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    What To Do With Inactive Affiliates
    With many affiliate programs, up to 90% of affiliates are inactive. One of the most tempting things for affiliate managers to do is to "trim the dead weight" and remove the inactive affiliates. This is one of the worst things you could ever do. Don't even threaten to terminate them.

    What's wrong with terminating inactive affiliates?

    1) If you terminate an affiliate, most will never come back to your program. There are many threads here where you can see the fury expressed by affiliates who have been terminated for inactivity: 1 2 3 4.

    2) Some of the best affiliates take longer than average to get active with your program.

    3) Inactive affiliates don't cost you anything.

    4) They've expressed some interest in your program by signing up. As such, your inactive affiliate list is one of your best recruiting sources. What would you pay for a list of 10,000 potential affiliates? If you have 10,000 inactive affiliates, that recruiting list is FREE!

    5) You never know which ones will be the future top performers. If you've been running your program for very long, you can probably look at your current top 20 affiliates and it's an entirely list than a few years ago. When you terminate inactive affiliatess, you have no way of knowing which ones would have been your top performers in the future.

    Why do I have inactive affiliates?

    1) They've signed up, anticipating promoting your niche in the future, and just haven't got around to it yet. I know I have a list of sites (with domains registered) that will probably take me 10 years to develop. Many affiliates sign up in advance, rather than waiting to sign up when they're ready. If they waited, they might not get approved or might have to wait days, weeks or months to get approved.

    2) They signed up, but you don't provide everything they need or want. For instance, your datafeed may be poorly categorized, out of date, or inaccurate. Maybe you don't offer deep links.

    3) They may rely on SEO and are buildling pages, but it'll take time to build traffic to those pages.

    4) You might not have approved them fast enough. Perhaps they were ready to promote one of your products, applied, didn't get approved, and found another merchant with the product.

    What should I do with my inactive affiliates?

    1) Segment them out. You should be dealing with different affiliates differently. Each of these groups should get different newsletters: active affiliates, high potential inactive affiliates (ones that you know have a lot of traffic or are top affiliates elsewhere), new inactive affiliates (signed up recently), long-term inactive affiliates (signed up ages ago), formerly active affiliates (was active but isn't any more). The different inactive groups can get different activation campaigns, too.

    2) Send activation campaigns to your inactive affiliates. You know what the lifetime value of an active affiliate is. Put some money into activation bonuses. There's no reason you can't get 25% or more of your affiliates active. Vary your activation campaigns. Different things appeal to different affiliates. Some ideas: $5 bonus for putting links up. $20 bonus for first sale. $100 bonus for first $1000 in sales. Higher commissions for life if they generate a sale this month. Free sample of your products.

    3) Activate them as quickly as possible. Use auto-approval if possible, and include a time-sensitive activation campaign (for instance, a $20 bonus if they generate their first sale within a month) in the welcome email. The quicker you can approve and activate them, the better.

    4) Make sure you build out your tool sets. Make sure your datafeeds are detailed, complete, and accurate. Enable deep links. Add phone tracking. Follow best practices for coupons.

    5) Continue to make your program more and more appealing. Participate here on ABestWeb, learn what affiliates like, and implement those things into your program.

    6) Make sure to let your inactive affiliates know how to contact you, and ask them to let you know what they need that you're not offering.

    7) Never, never, never terminate inactive affiliates or even threaten to.
    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. Thanks From:

  3. #2
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Affiliateville, USA
    Posts
    7,927
    Great post Michael!

    The only thing I would add, and I don't have a solution, is what to do with affiliates who have invalid or inactive email addresses listed at the network. For example, when I took over the Metro Uniforms affiliate program I sent an email, via SAS, to let everyone know of all the changes we made. Unfortunately, a handful of those emails were returned due to invalid email addresses. I'm not going to delete those inactive affiliates that did not get my email, but it does raise the question of what to do?

    Other than keeping our affiliates up to date at ABW in addition to regular emails, I'm thinking about the only other way to reach these folks is to do a WHOIS of their site listed at the network and search for an email address (at least to let them know their network one is out of date). I'm with you, these folks joined for a reason, they don't cost anything and they may one day be a big player in your affiliate program, so don't delete or discount them.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  4. #3
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 10th, 2005
    Location
    Washington D.C. Metro Area
    Posts
    11,798
    Another great thread from Michael Coley!!

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    5) You never know which ones will be the future top performers. If you've been running your program for very long, you can probably look at your current top 20 affiliates and it's an entirely list than a few years ago. When you terminate inactive affiliatess, you have no way of knowing which ones would have been your top performers in the future.
    I was talking about this with Billy Kay just yesterday (after he started this thread). I told him that I am totally with him on the irrationality of such merchant/affiliate manager behavior. Why? Because on the affiliate lists of the programs I manage I see your regular 95/5 trend; yet among those affiliates that are inactive I often see some of the acclaimed super-affiliates. They are just not doing anything with the programs. Why? Maybe they are too busy. Maybe I am not motivating them enough... There could be a whole range of reasons. So I just keep trying; and every month another one of them gets active with one or another program.

    Geno

  5. #4
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    3,657
    Haiko and Michael,

    I'd like to link to this post from our help topics - with both of your permission... well well written!
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  6. #5
    http and a telephoto
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    17,708
    Excellent post Michael. Motivate, not alienate. New mantra
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  7. #6
    15 years and counting
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    6,121
    It should be a mandatory post to read for all new affiliate managers.

  8. #7
    Internet Cowboy
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    4,662
    Perfect, Michael. Just Perfect!!!


  9. #8
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 13th, 2006
    Location
    Colorado / Florida
    Posts
    4,411
    Extremely useful advice Michael, and very well written. Your advice should be taken to heart by those merchants who are often tempted to trim the fat. A list of inactives is a corral of horses waiting to be saddled. (had to get that Colorado cowboy logic in here somewhere).

    Though I would love it if every new affiliate activated immediately and got busy promoting my products, I understand that many of the variables you mention may apply. Why burn someone off for good by deactivating them? Like you say, a rejected business associate rarely returns.

    Thanks for the detailed post Michael - you are a good dude!

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

  10. #9
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
    Join Date
    July 21st, 2006
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    2,838
    What a great post Michael.

    We had an affiliate who signed up in 2005 that got a newsletter this past October and finally decided to move over to our program. She is now out 4th biggest affiliate. Imagine that!

    I would suspect the reasons were:

    1. We did not pay high enough in 2005 or early 2006
    2. We did not have all the tools they needed in 2005 or early 2006 such as cobranded forms, quality landing pages, etc.
    3. Our forms were too long and difficult in 2005 and early 2006.

    As soon as we fixed these things and pointed them out to this affiliate, it was an easy sell.

    Sometimes you just gotta keep reminding them of your improvements and updates and eventually you will be the right program for them.
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

  11. #10
    Affiliate Manager adambha's Avatar
    Join Date
    October 20th, 2006
    Posts
    301
    Indeed, a very insightful thread. Thorough, but succinct. In a word: perfect.

    Many thanks to you Michael!

  12. #11
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Small Town in Tennessee
    Posts
    5,226
    Too bad this was written in 2007 Michael, you would have had my vote for best of 2006

    Really, really, really good.

  13. #12
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, FL
    Posts
    6,930
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    2) Some of the best affiliates take longer than average to get active with your program.
    Me! I have a very long list and it keeps getting longer. I'd say I'm worth the wait. I'd also say that I need NOTHING at all during this time except to know there's something stable and reasonable on the other end waiting for me. Send me the stupid "produce now or you're fired" note and I know to strike you from my list.

  14. #13
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Bangkok
    Posts
    11,273
    Great Post Micheal.

    Another reason to add to the list, is that on many networks it is very easy to simply "join every program" with no real thought as to how a merchant fits with the sites and affiliate has, a lot of the people doing this really have no idea what they are getting in to.

    However, by signing up, they have usually also opted in to hear from the AM and get newsletters, so it's a great chance to educate them while they are still new to the industry

    Cheers

    Chris
    Affiliate Marketing by AMWSO. Skype - chrissanderson ::: TEL 1-720-336-1784 ::: www.amwso.net
    Join our affiliate programs :Vaper Empire, Iolo, Art of Tea, or See ALL our Programs here

  15. #14
    Roll Tide mobilebadboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mobile, Alabama
    Posts
    1,220
    Great post, Michael. I know these 2 apply to me for sure:

    2) They signed up, but you don't provide everything they need or want. For instance, your datafeed may be poorly categorized, out of date, or inaccurate. Maybe you don't offer deep links.

    3) They may rely on SEO and are buildling pages, but it'll take time to build traffic to those pages.

    Shawn Kerr (.com) | Disney World | SEC Football

  16. #15
    Affiliate Manager cbsturg's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 24th, 2007
    Location
    Lima OH
    Posts
    753
    A great post. It has long been my suspicion that WORKING with people generates more wealth than THREATENING / ALIENATING people.

  17. #16
    Outsourced Program Manager Jorge - SHOPiMAR's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    3,550
    Michael, great post of course as always. This thread should be stikied, but don't see where to do it myself here.

    Merchants - All programs go through this as others have said and some join but never activate for a while. Just keep doing as Matt says:

    "Sometimes you just gotta keep reminding them of your improvements and updates and eventually you will be the right program for them"

    It might take a little $$$ extra motivation, but well worth it to never terminate.


  18. #17
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
    Join Date
    July 21st, 2006
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    2,838
    This post definitely is in the lead for best post of 2007!
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

  19. #18
    Newbie ronaldmarva's Avatar
    Join Date
    February 7th, 2007
    Posts
    205
    I learned a lot reading your post. Its a priceless advice!

    I agree with you that it is more cost efficient to activate the current pool of affiliates that to recruit additional affiliates. And you have given a nice list of things to do in order to achieve it.

    Nice job!

  20. #19
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    April 5th, 2005
    Location
    Park City Utah
    Posts
    16,646
    The only reason to remove an affiliate is when email addresses bounce. I have a bounce folder and go over it regularly. If an email bounces I look up the affiliate and try another method. If all fails then I may take them out of the program. This is for an in-house program.

    We do not know if emails bounce from a network email campaign. I assume they test the accounts to insure that an affiliate is contacted. Or they may rely on the internal mail system.

  21. #20
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    Be careful removing them due to a bounced email. Email has become very unreliable with spam filters, Internet problems, etc.

    Instead, I would recommend notifying them in the interface, putting a note with their checks (if they're active), or trying to contact them in another way.
    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. #21
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    5,303
    Great post Michael! I forwarded this URL to a large B&M merchant who recently began their "temporary suspension" initiative.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  23. #22
    Full Member markschok's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    269
    Great post Michael, made me think of how recently a few new merchants have posted at ABW asking how to get their programs started and getting plenty of affiliates in, and then there's also merchants with so many affiliates they're trying to get rid of them! It's ludicrous

  24. #23
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    April 5th, 2005
    Location
    Park City Utah
    Posts
    16,646
    Good advice Michael and I have personally changed my opinion on activative (i.e. de-activating) affiliates because of your posts.

    I did remove approx. 10k affiliates in ToolKing after going through a lengthy activation campaign. I did this so I could email the affiliate twice monthly and stay below our 10k per month email limit. This was after we got an additional bill for $3k for going over the limit.

  25. #24
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Sunny Miami
    Posts
    8,384
    Michael,

    Ever consider taking a pay cut and working as an OPM ? Excelent post my friend...
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  26. #25
    Affiliate Manager armarcus's Avatar
    Join Date
    February 7th, 2007
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    13
    Epc??
    We are trying to build up our epc but with so many affiliates ( most who bring us no sales) and just cause our clicks to go up, what do you think about terminating them??

    Great Post by the way (i realize you heard that tens of times but why not boost your ego one more time)

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 8 12345678 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Featured: What to do with inactive affiliates?
    By The Chocolate Belles in forum Midnight Cafe'
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: November 29th, 2014, 11:38 AM
  2. Do you remove inactive affiliates?
    By Afilyit in forum ShareASale - SAS
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: August 28th, 2013, 01:51 PM
  3. LS terminating inactive affiliates?
    By MINDsprinter in forum Rakuten LinkShare - LS
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: March 22nd, 2007, 12:03 PM
  4. Inactive Affiliates
    By swong in forum Rakuten LinkShare - LS
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: March 1st, 2007, 04:35 PM
  5. What would entice inactive affiliates?
    By Sami B - Uncommon Goods in forum Midnight Cafe'
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: August 23rd, 2005, 12:45 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
  •