A guest blog post from Riaan de JagerI don’t always envy the job of an affiliate manager. Even though an effective working relationship with an affiliate can be very rewarding, trying to get a foot in the door with a new prospect is sometimes a challenge.
You often need nerves of steel and a healthy dose of resilience. You will frequently get knocked back. It’s important to realize that these affiliates aren’t just ignoring your attempts for no good reason. They are probably quite happy with the programmes they already promote, or adding new partners to their sites just isn’t high on their list of priorities.
Unfortunately there is no silver bullet that will get you noticed, but following some basic principles in your communication will go a long way to increasing your hit rate.
Below I share some tips on how you should approach your affiliate outreach. These are some simple techniques that I know are likely to catch my eye as an affiliate and draw a positive response.
1. Personalize your message
“First impressions last.” This rings true no matter what you’re selling. Your first email has to be concise, to the point and, even though you may not know much about the affiliate you are targeting, try to make it as personal as possible.
Canned emails get deleted, and making mistakes in your message will set you on the back foot. I have received many emails asking for positions on websites that we don’t even manage. Worse yet are emails that contain someone else’s name or bad spelling and grammar.
Try to learn as much as you can about the affiliate and their websites. It is not as hard as you think.
2. Don’t make unfounded claims
Even though you may really believe in your product, player conversion rate and customer service levels, you should never make statements that you can’t back up.
Although you might feel that your products are the best, suggesting that your conversions are the highest in the industry is not the way to start. You can’t substantiate a claim like that. By all means, don’t be shy to point out the advantages of your products but remember that you are dealing with people who really have heard it all before.
3. Display solid knowledge of their websites
If you know the sites operated by the affiliate or how they get traffic, try to understand their structure and make a few suggestions where your brands could fit in. Intelligent suggestions will get you much further than simply asking for top positions, which you are unlikely to get.
4. Be clear on what you’re asking for
Top positions on high-traffic sites are more often than not locked into existing deals with other groups. Ask for something more achievable. Aiming lower is much more likely to get you a foot in the door. Asking for too much, too soon from the outset could easily be seen as antagonistic.
Make a few suggestions, citing page examples. In my own experience I am far more inclined to answer an email when I can see that some thought has gone into it. Use concrete examples with screen shots or suggest content that the site may lack. This will always grab an affiliate’s attention.
5. Don’t give up and focus on building a relationship
Try not to get disheartened if you don’t receive a response after your first couple of emails. Change your approach, and keep up the communication. Some of our biggest partners today were trying to bash down the door a few years ago with little success, but they were on our radar as a result of their persistence. Remember that building relationships might often have nothing to do with the business itself.
I hope that these few simple tips will help affiliate managers out there to improve their success rate when it comes to signing up new affiliate partners!