Notes from the Webinar – 23 April 2020
This has been a difficult start to the year for a lot of online advertisers. The webinar was intended to point out issues and opportunities that can arise from this in affiliate engagement and recruitment (expanding on areas we covered in a previous post) and specifically how communication style matters.
Why vary my style?
The affiliate landscape is incredibly varied with almost as many types of affiliate as there are publishers. That’s not just in the market sectors they work in but also in their sizes and styles of communication. These vary hugely depending on sector and audience. From discussions with our users and based on several email specialists’ recommendations, we know that your style of messaging and tone of voice can make a great difference in how the message is received.
Having regard to exactly who each person in your audience is can help to make that difference. So how do we categorise them?
Types of Affiliate
Different affiliates may need a different approach – but segmenting them can be more tricky. They vary from corporate partnerships to cashback membership sites and software developers to high-level influencers. In the webinar we looked at identifying the various types.
Checking through other writers’ assessment we see anything from 6 to 20+ different types listed. We looked at examples of corporate partnerships, cashback, content sites and mainstream media – and that just in the travel sector.
AM Navigator has looked at the number over the years and recently decided on 20 in this blog piece. Even then, we see six different types of content publisher in a recent piece from Conversant. Each will have quite different ways of working, different organisational style – and often different commercial drivers. For most advertisers, market segment isn’t a huge issue, though for others like department stores, segmentation by market should also be brought into consideration.
Segmenting publishers can have a number of benefits. Not least it can reduce the time taken by at least having a series of message templates. You can add to these any specific notes based on their own content and activity. Segmentation also helps you address more relevant broadcast programme messaging to each affiliate.
If you’re recruiting by phone, in the JEB Commerce blog, Shane covers all the ‘nuts and bolts’ of getting them to engage and sign up after a phone call (see the Resources section).
It’s fair to say you’d write a quite different email to a solo blogger than to a potential corporate partner. So have regard to your language and style – you may already have a corporate ‘tone of voice’ for your customers. Bear in mind though that shouldn’t necessarily be carried through to the affiliate communications. Vary the style slightly to suit when you engage with affiliates – but always be true to yourself as most people can spot a ‘fake’.
For most of us the old standby was a keyword search in Google – then try and find an email address to send a recruiting message. In many cases this would have to be a website form – not ideal by any means – and with an even lower % chance of a reply than email. Getting a 3% response could be seen as a triumph!
Most of what we’ve suggested so far has been referencing email as the outreach mechanism. Many OPMs have been varying this by engaging via social media accounts as well. Examples of these are @Equator_aff and @AMNavigator.
Other OPMs and advertisers have gone a stage further and set up a specific brand+affiliates account, such as @udemyaffiliates, an idea I originally heard of from Sarah Bundy of AIM at an AM Days conference. This enables real engagement as we can see from the couple of messages shown here.
With Publisher Discovery, we have built a platform to help affiliate managers in several ways to short-cut this activity. The platform lets you see a list of websites all of which are linking to advertisers affiliate programmes in your market. We also show you the social accounts and email addresses we find – plus an idea of the traffic levels and relevance to your market place.
This can save hours of searching each week – and leave more time for outreach and communications to develop the relationships with your new publishers. You can see more in a Free Trial – just click the Get Started link above.
Maintaining Affiliate Relationships
Of course, recruiting is just the start of the relationship. Affiliate Managers do occasionally get lost in the data and reporting of their programme’s sales and successes – and forget that publishers are people as well.
Its crucial to continue the communication – and not just with standard newsy mailings. Build the relationships with your main traffic drivers of course. But don’t forget that it’s worth investing the time in a more personal dialogue.
Having just had confirmation that Affiliate Summit East 2020 is now postponed, meeting up with your affiliates at a conference won’t be possible for a while. If and when the current lockdown is eased, it will be important to reach out and put those meetings in the diary even if it is at arms length! And of course we look forward to meeting up with everyone at the next affiliate conference – wherever and whenever that may be!
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The following blogs were referenced in the webinar: