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  1. #1
    Newbie BigEmpire's Avatar
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    Should I tell you what to do?
    Hello Everyone!

    I am thinking of becoming a merchant and using Shareasale, but I have a question for all of you affiliates.

    When I am looking for affiliates I plan on going to sites that relate to my niche, and asking if they are interested in my program.

    But I don't plan on saying "Hey You! send traffic to my site"

    I would prefer to send personalized emails to each site with helpful information like:

    I have an image that would look great on the left hand side of the page
    I can design a banner to match your green color scheme
    If you put one of my links next to this image......
    I have this great text copy that would fit under that logo
    etc....

    Or would this be too intrusive, would you be offended that I made a suggestion to change your site?

    Or would this stand out from other recruiting emails?

    Would I be wasting my time doing this for each site?

  2. #2
    affiliate emeritus missdonna's Avatar
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    It would show that you had at least visited the site, and not just sending out blanket spam. That's good.

    But I don't think anyone would be likely to put your ads where or how you suggest. If you try it you should be sure to make it clear you aren't insisting they follow your suggestion -- "Of course, any way you chose to promote my products would be fine with me, I don't want to try to teach you how to run your business"
    Affiliate Marketing - The hardest easy money I ever made.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    If you don't have years of successful sales behind you as an affiliate, I would not even thinking of telling the pros in this business how to run their business. Each has his own way of doing things that works for them.

    You would not only be wasting some of your time, you would be upsetting and turning away a lot of good affiliates.

    If you are not interested in hiring a full time experienced affiliate manager, consider an outsourced one or even have one come in as a consultant and get the ball rolling for you.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  4. #4
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Never tell a professional affiliate what to do or they might just tell you what to do
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  5. #5
    Not that fat. ReallyBigGuy's Avatar
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    I'd be offended, but a personal email is nice.... maybe less of a change type suggestion, and maybe say. "I think our products are a good fit for your site, and I'd love for you to consider adding us to your fantastic site" (gotta butter us up a bit), then ask if there's anything you can do to help make it work out.

  6. #6
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    When I am looking for affiliates I plan on going to sites that relate to my niche, and asking if they are interested in my program.
    I think you would be missing out assuming that the sites listed at SAS are all that an affiliate has. Only a couple of mine are there.

    I have built sites for certain merchants if their site, products, etc interest me. Don't go to much buy what you see in the sites that are showing. Lay out a great offer and if your site looks like it would convert, then affiliates will give it a go.

    You could probably benefit from Geno's A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing. It's aimed at the merchant side of the equation.

  7. #7
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I suggested personalized recuriting emails in the Merchant Best Practices Forum. I think a personalized email to prospective affiliates is a good thing. Telling them what to do isn't. Letting them know what you're willing to do for them is. Taking the time to see what information they need and providing it in the same format they use is very helpful.

    For instance, for every store on my site I need to know exactly how they like their site name displayed, my general affiliate link, a short blurb about the site, details on shipping, the customer service phone number, detailed instructions on how to enter a coupon, which of my categories they fit in, and what EPC I can expect to see (I usually ask what EPC sites similar to mine get for the merchant). Every affiliate needs different things, and the merchant can figure out most if not all of those things if they spend a little time looking around the affiliate's site.

    There's a lot of other advice of things to include (activation bonuses, etc.) in that post.
    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

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    As a merchant, I've found that being patient and participating here and attending industry events has been a tremendous benefit to forging new relationships. I have yet to send an email to an affiliate soliciting their partnership. I still use the old fashioned way of just being here, sharing thoughts, announcing occasional news etc.

    However, when a new affiliate signs up with my program, I always make sure that I review any listed sites they include, and then send a personalized note offering information and asking for their input as to how we can best work together.

    With couponers or shopping sites, I ask them what they would like to see and / or for recommendations, and then follow up once we evaluate feasibility of an idea etc. But if you elect to email affiliates, I'd sure suggest that you frame it as an introduction, and ask for their thoughts on your program and desireability for their niche. Good luck with your recruitment.

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

  9. #9
    Newbie BigEmpire's Avatar
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    I just wanted to thank everyone for the replies. If I do send out any recruiting emails, I'll make sure to personalize them. But I will also try to avoid any design suggestions.

    If anyone else has any comments I would love to hear them.

  10. #10
    Full Member
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    Don't assume all affiliates are "professionals". I certainly don't see myself as one. I don't mind getting occasional emails letting me know there is a merchant out there that I might have overlooked. I agree with everyone else in not wanting someone to tell me where to put their link.

    On the plus side....getting a personalized email shows you are involved with the program and want to work with the affiliates. Many times emails to merchants go unanswered and that is frustrating.

    One thing you might do down the road is for your current affiliates who are not pulling in sales for you......I have received emails saying "we noticed you have not had any clicks or sales recently"......"how may we help you?" I don't find these offensive it is more of a motivation for me to get working.

  11. #11
    Affiliate Network Rep Danny K's Avatar
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    I'd dig into what Michael is saying above and take a pinch of Alan's approach for good measure. Affiliate relationships are meant to be long-term and any suggestions for placement are received well once history is involved in the conversation.

    In the past I've personalized my mail merge's with a single sentence anchoring them all together that recognizes something about each site. This doesn't have to be a long paragraph with more than one actual field merge. And it should be at the beginning of the message right after a short introduction statement.

    "what I especially like about your site was......"
    (Set up a field in database and make comments as you are adding or going through your prospect's sites)

    Then appeal to the revenue potential of joining your program to investigate the opportunity further.

    It seems that some publishers notice plain text and a little copy better. But really, You gotta find a way to show the specifics of your opportunity in a way that they stand out if the reader just scanned the whole thing quickly.

    Use the word "You" instead of "I or we" as much as possible. Because after-all it is all about "the affiliate" here and you are interupting them for a mutually beneficial possibility. Not to trick the reader with hype but rather for you to illustrate your posture in the correspondence. It's a little thing. Yet, I think it helps.


    Let people catch up. Although carefully sending a reminder re-cap email a week or three later can be effective too. It's not a suprise to sometimes see sign-ups as much as a year later.

    End with a statement that you are open to their suggestions and inviting them to contact you.
    Danny K. - Network Administrator, Digital River- oneNetworkDirect.com, Email: dkautt@digitalriver.com

  12. #12
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    I'm with Porkchop ... I've had affiliate managers suggest locations on my site I would never have thought of for their banner or link and made sales in those locations. Sometimes, offering advice can be a very good thing.

    I don't see why anyone would be offended by good advice. Drop the ego at the door and anyone, no ,matter how seasoned, could learn something or benefit by a new outlook on their site.

    Suggesting a link or banner on everyone's home page is not gonna win you friends, however.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  13. #13
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I think many of the people are responding to your "Should I tell you what to do?" question in the title rather than the actual content of your post. The answer to that question is "Absolutely not." It's good to suggest and offer to do things for affiliates, but you'll turn many of them off by telling them what to do.

    You post doesn't sound at all like you want to "tell people what to do", so I think you just titled your thread poorly.

    I should also point out that you shouldn't make unreasonable suggestions. "I think my banner would do well at the top of your home page" would usually be a poor suggestion in most cases. That's a very coveted position, and there's probably already something much more focused (and thus better performing) there. Something much more focused is much better, like: "I noticed that this page is about Disney, and we have Disney checks that I think would appeal to the visitors to that page. Here's your affiliate link and here's a banner that would fit well on that page. I'm also raising your commissions to 15% because I see some great potential from your site!" Or: "I see that you're selling [Product] from [Competitor] on this page. We sell the same product for [Lower Price] and pay [Higher Commission]. We offer free shipping and have excellent conversion ratios, phone tracking, and are parasite free. I hope that you'll consider an affiliate relationship with us. If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know."
    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

  14. #14
    Newbie BigEmpire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey
    I think many of the people are responding to your "Should I tell you what to do?" question in the title rather than the actual content of your post. The answer to that question is "Absolutely not." It's good to suggest and offer to do things for affiliates, but you'll turn many of them off by telling them what to do.
    I do admit that the title comes off a little strong. Believe me, I would never tell anyone how to run their site or demand where they put my links.

    I just felt it would be nice to suggest some things because simply put it is easy to think outside of the box when you have never been in it.

    You look at your site every day the same way, and a fresh set of eyes might make both of us some money.

    Keep the comments coming I am learning a bunch!

  15. #15
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    I know your initial question is about sites already in your niche, but for the rest of us, a little something about marketing in your niche may help spark some ideas. A lot of the pros know marketing, but the more you can tell them about your industry, the better they'll do.

    For example, many many many product lines do best between 9 am EST and 5 pm PST, when people are slacking off at work, but my own customers tend to shop more after work and on weekends (especially after payday and when the weather keeps them in). A PPC pro might use that information to target the hours of his/her campaigns. Without that info they might do just the opposite...

    By offering insight rather than marketing suggestions, you might do a bit better with those already on top of their game marketing wise.

    Best of luck!
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  16. #16
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    Make them genuinely personal
    I've received recruiting emails from merchants that attempted to be personal, but were obviously nothing more than boiler plate junk probably sent to thousands of people.

    Some mentioned my site, some actually mentioned a detail or two about my main page. But they somehow just oozed BS. They reminded me of the ones I used to get offering to translate my site into 137 languages or submit my site to every known search engine.

    So take care not to appear like some automated bot. Be genuinely person to person.

  17. #17
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Your best bet is to get your program set up right:

    -a good clean and well tagged ftp data feed to all who join and request
    -auto deposit

    Then send out emails announcing your program and that you have these features. If you don't have auto deposit, many will not join. The affiliates will know what to do with your links after they join - they know more about their site audience than anyone.

    Your idea might be interpreted as "micromanaging" even though that's not what I think you had in mind. You are just trying to provide helpful suggestions. I had a merchant (not SAS) actually demand specific text in my page (not even his links!) - I did not work with this person nor would most others. So you don't want to come off this way.
    This World is Not My Home
    We're gonna go inside, we're gonna go outside, inside and outside. . . And then we're gonna go go go and we're not gonna stop til we get across that goalline! Quotes from the movie Rudy, 1993

  18. #18
    Outsourced Program Manager
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    Hi;
    As an AM it boils down to a numbers game.

    I try and personalize the email to some extent, letting them know i visited their site and also making a suggestion which page i feel our product would fit. This really helps on mall sites

    I also add info about the product so they can see what I am trying to get them to sign up for without having them take the time to visit the site.

    I also tell them that a link to us on the top of their home page earns them a 10% increase in commissions.

    Work at it and they will come

    PS: What is hardest in my eyes is the Subject title, tell them exactly what your writing them for. Honesty is very important.
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

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