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  1. #1
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Want to motivate the affiliate?
    This isn't the way to do it
    Negative psychology doesn't promote positive action.

    I receive a great number of e-mails on a daily basis from a wide variety of affiliate merchant programs.
    Although I have expressed a preliminary interest in most of these programs often there will be two results that gets on this type of Affiliate Merchant's nerves that will prompt him/her to e-mail me an ultimatum. Either:
    • my banner placements have not penetrated the level for which the AM lusts

    or
    • for one reason or another I have not created a powerful enough affiliate campaign

    There can be many reasons why the affiliate first expresses an interest in an affiliate program but then appears to be inactive but I'm not going to list them in this post.
    I would like to quote an e-mail received today that has the effect of turning me off instead of turning me on (the body of this e-mail has been slightly altered to retain a semblance of anonymity:
    Hello _________,

    I hope this finds you well as it has been quite awhile since our program has heard from you.

    In an attempt to optimize our affiliate program, we are analyzing all of our partnerships on a performance level.
    Those publishers with no activity for the past few months will be expired in order to better devote our resources to growing our program with participating partners.

    It is not our intention to simply release publishers from our program, but instead encourage a mutually active relationship and participation.
    If you intend to promote us in the next thirty days, please reply to this email with your plans and how we can help get you active in the program to build a fulfilling partnership.

    As a reminder, you have been accepted into our fantastic affiliate program but have been inactive for quite some time.
    Now's the time to make the most of our program.

    I look forward to working together...
    I don't like the e-mail because:
    • it is obviously a form e-mail sent out to thousands of affiliates with my name inserted from a database; the e-mail was not in the least bit personal.

    • It's an ultimatum: I feel I don't have much say in the take it or leave it letter

    • The affiliate merchant is slightly on the pompous side

    • As an affiliate I feel a tinge of despair because it looks as if this merchant just wants to cut me off


    • My plans in my head tend to develop more quickly (depending on my circumstances) than what I can produce or someone else/something else has my attention

    • There are other affiliates who are more apt at certain skills (i.e. PHP, Mysql, etc.) but I don't judge myself against their yardsticks.
    Last edited by Rhia7; April 26th, 2007 at 05:05 PM.
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  2. #2
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Moved this to the Merchant Best Practices Forum. Seems it fits here much better.

    Geno

  3. #3
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    I don't think I've seen "expired" used as a transitive verb until this.
    [URL=http://themoneyforums.com]The Money Forums[/URL]

  4. #4
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    I once wrote 2 very nice and lengthy e-mails to a merchant who had turned me down and the merchant wanted a 3rd -- the merchant held me in disdain -- so if that's the way AMs are, then why bother?

    Attitude is important on both sides of the coin.

    If the cost for an affiliate merchant to retain an affiliate within a database is minimal then why send out bulk e-mails such as the one I quote above?
    Such e-mails do not create good will nor do they motivate the affiliate.
    In this type of case the AM could have said, "At your leisure would you e-mail me with some suggestions or a proposal?" That would have been better than the 30 days or you're a dead duck deal.
    Sometimes the affiliate feels as if he/she is on the spot. The AM could send a short contact e-mail and say, "Do you have any ideas for/about...?" That would inspire the affiliate to think creatively. The time limit/you're finished approach suffocates the affiliate's creativity.
    What has the program done to "sizzle the affiliate?"

    A "personal e-mail" (it can be just a few lines or a paragraph) in which the AM says, "Have you tried to promote "Y" on your 'X page?'" That would motive the affiliate -- the affiliate is happy to know that someone has looked at the "X page!"
    Personal need not be long -- and don't dare try to telephone the affiliate to say, "Hey produce or you're gone!" Hear the receiver go CLICK!!

    Interaction in this forum is a good idea or e-mail the affiliate and ask how would he/she like to establish contact and exchange ideas?
    The exchange of ideas is not a threat, saying the affiliate relationship will expire in 30 days is a threat.
    If a time limit is important to the AM then simply send this request: "Are you still interested in this program?" Yes or No. If the affiliate says "Yes" then give him/her some breathing space.

    The type of negative e-mail (quoted above) produces bad vibes and if there is any motivation it would be to promote the competition big time.
    Last edited by Rhia7; April 26th, 2007 at 05:38 PM.
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  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
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    Yuck..

    I had to look up to see what the heck a transitive verb was

    I still do not get this kind of crap. What does an inactive affiliate cost per day/week/month/year?

    For us all of our inactivate affiliates cost us $0 and maybe 10 minutes a month of our time to send them a newsletter. And usually 2 or 3 new ones activate each month that have been with us over 4 months.

    Oh well. Some will never get it I guess.
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

  6. #6
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    There can be many reasons why the affiliate first expresses an interest in an affiliate program but then appears to be inactive
    Tell me about it!


    Those publishers with no activity for the past few months will be expired in order to better devote our resources to growing our program with participating partners.
    Please, "where there's a will there's a way", where can I drop you , before you drop me?

    If you intend to promote us in the next thirty days, ......
    Look, if in the last thirty days you have not received at least 1 click from my site, you're on a waiting list, or your program sucks, because I always click at least once on one link from any new merchant that I have joined because I thought that maybe we can make some money and I want to make sure were those clicks will go to the right place.

    So if you see at least one click from my site, you should know that I am trying to promote you already, so shill out or ship out.

    As a reminder, you have been accepted into our fantastic affiliate program but have been inactive for quite some time.
    Now's the time to make the most of our program.
    As a reminder, I always use more than one square from the . (see the R.O. from the V., if you need me to explain that one.)


    it is obviously a form e-mail sent out to thousands of affiliates with my name inserted from a database; the e-mail was not in the least bit personal.
    So don't take it personal!

    It's an ultimatum: I feel I don't have much say in the take it or leave it letter
    It's an ultimatum, what's your problem?

    I work for myself, and I don't take any ultimatum from no one, as a cause to worry too much about.

    The affiliate merchant is slightly on the pompous side
    If he is, just send him to this link: Affiliate Manager Book to buy the book from from Geno.
    ...

  7. #7
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    You always make me feel better, Mr. Sal and your reasoning is valid too
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  8. #8
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Clicks vs. Impressions
    What about clicks vs. impressions?
    I don't usually click every merchant banner/product link when I publish my pages to cyberspace.
    Is the merchant aware of impressions?

    Or should I start clicking my own links (I'd rather not)?

    If it's sooooo important for the AM then maybe I should start a click my own links campaign?

    C'mon, time is better spent elsewhere
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  9. #9
    Classic Rocker Mack's Avatar
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    I hate those mails. If I wanted to be told what to do I wouldn't have started my own business. I made more money when I was employed, but you can't put a price on the freedom I have. Those mails tromp on my freedom and just give me enough reason to drop the merchant.

  10. #10
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Exactly, Mack. Why do you think affiliate merchants continue this practice?
    I can't believe that negative e-mails (see the above quoted) bring about positive results. Those types of e-mails weaken the AM--Affiliate bond.
    Who feels like responding to such e-mails?
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  11. #11
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattMcWilliams
    What does an inactive affiliate cost per day/week/month/year?

    For us all of our inactivate affiliates cost us $0 and maybe 10 minutes a month of our time to send them a newsletter.
    Would this be fairly standard across networks?

    I understand that AMs would like to keep their operational costs to a minimum, but if there are costs involved how high can they be?

    I think the AM who sent me the e-mail feels that he/she can't be bothered
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  12. #12
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhia7
    What about clicks vs. impressions?
    I don't usually click every merchant banner/product link when I publish my pages to cyberspace.
    Is the merchant aware of impressions?

    Or should I start clicking my own links (I'd rather not)?

    If it's sooooo important for the AM then maybe I should start a click my own links campaign?

    C'mon, time is better spent elsewhere
    Clicks vs. impressions?

    In the in the beginning....... (wait a minute, wrong religious title!)

    EXCLUDING ADSENSE!

    There is no new merchant (anywhere) that I will join, that I will not click on at least one of the first links that I have put live for that merchant on any of my sites.

    Any merchant may chose to screw me later, if I don't keep an eye on that merchant, but at least I would know that at the moment that I decided to promote that merchant, I knew were my links were going.


    C'mon, time is better spent elsewhere


    C'mon Rhia,

    That comment and the pic, don't mix!

    That pic, remind me of you know who. But I would not ask what had happen to them here. (if you get my drift.....)
    Last edited by Mr. Sal; April 26th, 2007 at 06:52 PM.
    ...

  13. #13
    Outsourced Program Manager salvo's Avatar
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    This is very interesting that a merchant would eliminate Free Branding from anyone. It is one thing if an affiliate is promoting the brand in a negative light, but that is not the case here.

    Motivating affiliates is a major part of being an AM that takes creativity and adds value to the affiliates efforts. Any attempt to motivate that will have serious affect needs to be tailored to the affiliates site. You can't just send out mass emails to everyone who doesn't have a sale in the last month and expect big things to come from it. Whoever came up with that email is very misguided - they are definitly no motivational speaker.

    Either way, I always believed that the long tail applies to affiliate programs too. As long as you are allowing quality affiliates in the program in the first place, you should rarely need to remove them.

  14. #14
    Affiliate Network Rep Kim Salvino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by salvo
    Either way, I always believed that the long tail applies to affiliate programs too. As long as you are allowing quality affiliates in the program in the first place, you should rarely need to remove them.
    Well said!
    Kim Salvino, Client Services Director, Performance Horizon Group
    Reach me at kim.salvino(at)performancehorizon.com or on (443) 617-4036

  15. #15
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Rhia, since you are obviously going to be booted from there program here is what you should do, HAVE FUN for the next 30 days at their expense.

    AM's are not always sure if their program is completely competitive so play on their fears. Tell them that you are disappointed with their base commissions and that you want double that! Tell them their cookie is too short and they need to double it. Tell them that you are too busy and require a slotting fee of $500 to evaluate their program.

    When they reply challenge them on their numbers. Ask them for their conversion and what their top affiliate makes in annual commissions. That you will then determine if your time is worth diverting from money making programs. If they have datafeeds ask for specs on their layout, if they don't tell them you can't promote them without. Ask for coupons, if they have coupons ask for exclusive ones.

    At this point, what do you have to lose? They don't know if you are a super affiliate making a billion a year!!

  16. #16
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    I still have trouble figuring out what goes on inside the executive offices of merchants like that. The VP of Sales no doubt publicly scolds the AM like a drill sergeant in some old war movie: "Listen, you get those affiliates into shape and producing clicks, or I'll get someone else who can. And don't give me any of that stuff about how it doesn't cost us anything to keep them. We run a tight ship here, and I don't care if tomorrow they send us a million-dollar sale. Discipline is discipline. I want to see a draft email to all those freeloaders on my desk by 0830!"

    Now, if it took time or money or effort away from other sales channels to keep inactive affiliates, I'd understand it. But I confess I just don't get it.
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  17. #17
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    Well from the merchant side, my personal angle is to call my affiliate and say hey "your name here"!! How y'all doin?? What can I do to help make [B]YOU more money???? After all we all agree that it costs nothing to keep you here on our network, and a 10 minute personal call from me beats the heck out of some lame bulk email. Well just my 2 cents worth.

  18. #18
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I just heard that Ancestry (ex-program of mine) kicked out several of their Top 20 affiliates. Didn't like the way they were being represented.

  19. #19
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Remember Foreigner's Song "Urgent?"
    "Got fire in your veins
    Burnin' hot but you don't feel the pain
    Your desire is insane
    You can't stop until you do it again..."
    [lyrics]
    Actually, the song is one of my all time favorites and I always loved the band but I don't like it when an Affiliate Manager [who has never made contact with me before except for the "welcome e-mail"] writes to say that it's urgent that I "produce" [by an extremely close deadline] or I will be dropped from the program.

    Ideally I have applied to each program in good faith and would like to promote each program, but I haven't gotten around to this particular merchant.
    I'm willing to promote this merchant when I get around to it, I hope I can do it soon but it's a real downer when when I get threatened with a drop.

    P.S. The "drop threat" (in a way) kills the creative juices that flow through my veins.
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  20. #20
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhia7
    Would this be fairly standard across networks?

    I understand that AMs would like to keep their operational costs to a minimum, but if there are costs involved how high can they be?

    I think the AM who sent me the e-mail feels that he/she can't be bothered
    I would think so but I cannot speak for any network but SAS.

    IF a network does charge for inactive affiliates, then I GUESS it does make sense to get rid of affiliates who have NO impressions after one year.

    This would be a very bad move for any network. It's only cutting their profits.
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

  21. #21
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattMcWilliams
    This would be a very bad move for any network. It's only cutting their profits.
    I've read all over that it doesn't cost anything to retain an affiliate.

    If AMs are so concerned, they should contact the affiliates via e-mail prior to the "last chance -- produce or else e-mail." Affiliates are not on salary and do not receive benefits, it's likely that an affiliate has some type of "day job" and/or is taking classes or something else -- perhaps the affiliate is doing really well with another type of product and is focusing on that but would like to get around to the other products/services "on hold."

    The application process for an affiliate is usually "click here to apply" so the affiliate could apply to hundreds of programs easily at once -- it doesn't mean that "pages that produce results" will be created overnight.
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  22. #22
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhia7
    I don't like it when an Affiliate Manager [who has never made contact with me before except for the "welcome e-mail"] writes to say that it's urgent that I "produce" [by an extremely close deadline] or I will be dropped from the program.

    I especially dislike these types of "threats" when I never was given a name of the affiliate merchant

    I just checked one of the "we're gonna drop you soon" e-mails (I got about 5 of them and I think they are all handled by the same no-name management).

    The e-mail said that if I'd like to crawl to them and beg to stay within the program I could e-mail them at affiliates@program.com.

    I like knowing the actual name of the affiliate manager.

    Knowing the name, bobsmith@affiliateprogram.com, would motivate me so much more than a "blank wall address" of affiliates@affiliateprogram.com

    If I know Bob or Ruth or Henrietta is managing a program, then a subliminal personal connection that will motivate me at very little cost to the management has been established.

    If I can send an e-mail to a name that means so much to me.
    Why bother sending a summary of my situation to management@affiliateprogram.com: is anyone going to read my e-mail? Will I get any response at all?
    There are many programs that just make me feel that I'm putting my efforts into a slot machine and I am not sure of the outcome so maybe I'll focus on something else/some other program.

    I get annoyed when a no-name manager sends me an e-mail disparaging me for lack of sales. Hey, I don't care how well known the products are because the product branding itself is not the only factor that motivates me.
    Each affiliate e-mail from a manager should state the manager's name as a courtesy.

    If a name is included I would be more apt to feel some sort of connection and I will be more apt to create sites around that merchant's inventory.

    If the only communication connection available to me is manager@affiliates.com, then is it a wonder that I forget about this affiliate program while I simultaneously belong to at least 500 (lowball figure) other affiliate programs across multiple 3rd party networks? Especially when I have made money with some of the other programs?

    Which program do you think I will pay attention to first: the program where the affiliate manager states his or her name or the program that markets a famous brand but the only contact is manager@affiliates.com?
    Last edited by Rhia7; May 13th, 2007 at 12:47 AM.
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  23. #23
    Affiliate Manager davidscookies's Avatar
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    I agree 100% that the, "produce or else" email is silly and negative. Any class in Psych 101 will teach you that positive reinforcement always wins out over any form of punishment. I practice this belief in all aspects of my life. I would also recommend reading the classic Dale Carnegie book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People." It's got some great common sense tips to building relationships.

    That being said, I'm going to play a bit of a Devil's Advocate here because well, I send bulk emails in addition to the personal ones I write. The bottom line is that it's impossible to write a personal email to each of 15,000 inactive affiliates and 500,000+ affiliate accounts that never looked at my program. If I have an incentive to join my program, or a coupon code to promote or whatever else, I'd like to get that message to whoever might be interested.

    Marketing to affiliates needs to be done in strategic phases. What works for me is to have a number of bulk campaigns that run simultaneously with very personalized campaigns targeted at specific groups of affiliates and websites that are most compatible with our product. Otherwise, it could be 3 years before Affiliate X even gets so much as a, "Hello" from me.

    My signature is in every email and I reply to all emails I receive within 24 hours (usually within 10 minutes) except on some weekends/holidays.

  24. #24
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Dennis, I don't mind bulk e-mails especially if your name is included in the signature. You get kudos for including your name

    *But* a threat from a non-named AM to remove an affiliate when there has been a lack of any type of communication is very annoying.
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  25. #25
    Affiliate Manager davidscookies's Avatar
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    totally agree.

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