You’ve tackled recruitment and hooked some great partners, now what? A recruited partner is not a profitable partner – an active partner is, though. However, once an affiliate decides to sign up for a partnership a lot aren’t quite sure what the next steps are. Or, your brand is added to a very long list of other brands. Therefore, when it comes to your affiliate program, communication with your partners is key.
For the best form of communication, email has been declared as an affiliate’s preferred contact with program managers – 84.12% of affiliates to be exact. A great way to stay within what the affiliate prefers and to get as much information across as possible are monthly newsletters.
In the marketing world, you have email campaigns, and this is mostly how brands speak to their consumers, but these newsletters are different. Unlike email campaigns, an affiliate newsletter is a more personal form of getting your message across. Think of an affiliate newsletter as a cross between a mass email campaign and a regular email. Most account managers are used to these affiliate newsletters, but some managers who are not familiar with a marketing email campaign can tend to rely on their regular email skills when drafting a monthly newsletter.
How do you get that sweet combination of a marketing email campaign and a personal email? With best practices that keep your newsletter professional and branded, while maintaining a certain level of personality to make the publisher feel like you’re talking to them.
With the inboxes of affiliates full of emails on a daily basis, especially top publishers, it’s easy to get lost in the mix. Not to worry, this list of dos and don’ts will help you find your sweet spot and get to the top of their priority list.
Create a header and include an intro
Creating a header helps brand your newsletters and make it more official – making your partners aware you’re giving them important information. Go a step further and create a few different headers that are titled appropriately for what you’re sending (i.e. Affiliate News, Promotion Alert, etc.). With the header in place, an introduction to what they are going to read should not be ignored. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a long five sentence paragraph. Think of it as the headline to an email campaign. Make it catchy and grab their interest.
Add personality but be concise
Personality is needed, but nothing will make a reader stop reading more than a long-winded email or run-on sentences. Have fun with your copy but get to the point. The faster they grab their info, the faster they can start promoting.
Make the important info prominent
Have a sale going on? Make the promotional info and/or coupon code stand out. Try a bold coloured font to grab their attention. Also, bold keywords or phrases that you want them to pay attention to. This tip will help with the skimmers.
Another point to these newsletters is to open the door of communication. Let your partners know that they can contact you for further info or to discuss the program. Always include your contact information.
DO add imagery. Articles with images get 94% more views (source) and this goes for newsletters too. People engage better when there’s something visual in front of them. Campaigns and newsletters also look more professional and appealing to imagery.
Provide an array of info
If you’re only sending one topic over and over, it tends to lose its meaning. Sure, promotional information is important; however, if an affiliate isn’t really thinking about your brand and they already know what will be in your email, not even a sale will entice them if they’re busy. Giving options and keeping things fresh makes people want to open. They want to see what you’re offering. Getting them to open will give you more opportunities to stay on their mind, even if you weren’t there, to begin with. On top of your important sale newsletters, try pre-written content ideas, or marketing tips.
Leave your point at the end
Making the reader wait until the end to find out the point of your newsletter can have them stop reading before ever reaching it. Give a little towards the beginning and then finish with an actionable call-to-action at the end.
Overdo the correspondence
Just like not sending enough newsletters can hurt your chance of getting promoted, so can sending too much. One to two newsletters a month is a nice sweet spot. Keeps you on top of the affiliate’s mind without being pushy. Of course, there will always be one-offs from time to time with an announcement or huge sale; that’s okay, just make sure to space them out.
Write a novel
When there’s a ton of information to be given, make it easy to read. As mentioned above, it’s best to be concise. That doesn’t necessarily mean short and sweet, it’s just about making your point without a lot of fluff. More information shouldn’t equal more words. If you have a lot to give, make it a list format for an easy read.
Assume the affiliate will do the work
Affiliates work hard, so that’s not what this best practice means. What this ‘Don’t’ is referring to is – don’t assume that just because you gave them sale information or inspiration for an article that you’ve guaranteed that the affiliate will close your newsletter and promote. Life can get in the way or a million little things can deter them from finishing what you started. Help them out by including related text links, banners, or products within the newsletter. If they’re interested and you’ve taken out most of the work, your chances of getting promoted just went up.
Creating a content calendar that helps you organize your topics and deployment is an easy way to stay on top of your newsletters and these best practices. Planning ahead will also help with the writing process, giving you the freedom to take your time when drafting up the perfect affiliate newsletter.
Remember, staying on top of your communications and giving your brand the best chance of getting read is the key to more promoting. Just keep these best practices in mind when writing and do some A/B testing to see what your partners prefer.