As your ‘virtual sales force’, updating affiliates on key issues is crucial to the success of your programme. You wouldn’t walk with your eyes shut, so why let affiliates promote you blind? As a general rule, we encourage you to communicate at least once monthly and no more than two to three times per week, so we’ve put together some of the reasons for, and means of, communicating to affiliates.
The major reasons for communication include:
• Changes to Terms & Conditions
• Changes to the Commission Structure
• Site-downtime (planned or otherwise)
• Modifications to the site or links/li>
• Affiliate Suspension
• Promotional Opportunities (e.g. new products, sales)
• Updates to promotional tools (e.g. New Creative, datafeeds, Hot Picks)
Whilst all the above are important, there are some points to note particularly for the first two.
Changes to Terms & Conditions
To ensure clarity, we strongly recommend detailing terms and conditions in the Listing Details section from the programme’s launch. Prime examples of significant changes include those made to the PPC Policy or new restrictions to the types of affiliate that can promote the programme such as incentive-based affiliates offering cashback, for example, to which some merchants object.
Where major changes are made, merchants should make every effort to communicate and discuss these with affiliates in advance, particularly when they are likely to affect top performers. Best practice is to give 30 days notice, or more if feasible, but please ensure you inform your point of contact at the network prior to taking any action. Essentially, the longer in advance affiliates know about changes, the more likely they are to adhere to them whilst minimising disruption to themselves and therefore to their activity on your programme.
Changes to Commission Structures
Though increasing commission can be a great incentive, affiliates have to know about this to make any necessary adjustments to their campaigns. As such, it is important to push offers and opportunities as much as possible if they are to drive performance.
At the same time, if commissions are going to be reduced, it is imperative that you contact the network so this can be authorized and it’s essential to give as much notice as possible since this can impact greatly on the affiliate’s return on investment. Indeed, if you attempt to lower the rate in the interface (via Commission Manager), the following message will appear advising you to contact us, so please feel free to do so
Methods of Communication
The next step is to select the best way to talk to your affiliates. The key methods are as follows:
Our dedicated email tool where you can choose to adopt a simple text format or HTML if you wish to include images and deep links. It’s perfect for communicating anything from general announcements directed at all affiliates to specific one-to-one messages.
This grants some exposure to merchants that have recently launched on the network, but also contains sections on the Merchant of the Month, the Offer of the Week and Featured promotions. If you have a particularly strong offer, it’s a good medium to let affiliates know about it, so visit the Affiliate Newsletter link in the admin area for an online submissions form, alternatively contact our content manager via firstname.lastname@example.org or your point of contact if you wish to feature.
A popular industry forum, the A4U Forum is where merchants, affiliates and networks come together to discuss a range of topical issues in the industry as well as merchant-specific threads. There is a dedicated forum for Affiliate Window, which is the only network forum to have a promotions section, so it is good practice to visit this regularly and get some extra exposure for any promotions you may have. To visit the site, click here and please get in touch with your point of contact if you would like a guide on how to use it.
AWin Offers Blog
This is another great platform for miscellaneous communication, with dedicated categories for new programmes, promotions, policy changes and closures. Subscribing affiliates can even receive automatic live updates on particular sections, including offers emerging from specific sectors, allowing your promotions to reach a much wider audience! For a step-by-step guide on how to use this, you can click on ‘Offers Blog’ under ‘Communication Tools’ in the merchant administration area.
One-to-One Communication (E-mail, telephone and Instant Messaging)
It is good practice to keep in regular one-to-one contact with your top performers to ensure they have all they need to promote you effectively. Ask your point of contact if you need contact details.
There has been some skepticism about the effectiveness of Twitter; however we have been using it now for about 6 months and we have seen fantastic results both qualitative and quantitative. There has been positive response from fellow affiliate and merchant users and it has brought a significant amount of extra traffic to our sites. We are able to also keep abreast of trending topics and deal with any queries or issues that arise in real time. For more information and some tips and tricks to using Twitter click here to read our feature in Retail Technology
If you are yet to join Twitter, signing up is easy and once you are there why not drop by and say hello to us @affwin.
If you have any queries, the Account Development Team is always at hand to assist you. Tel: 0844 557 9242 and E-mail: email@example.com