UPDATE [of 8/23/2012; 7:32 pm ET]: By the end of Day 8, we’ve had 2 more affiliates react to the follow-up email which bumps success rate to 42%.
As an outsourced affiliate program management agency we have recently took aboard an aged affiliate program. Having analyzed their current situation, we have discovered the program’s activity index to be at around 12.5%. No, in a market where the average fluctuates between 5% and 10%, it wasn’t bad at all.
However, we have also noticed that they’ve had a good number of super affiliates aboard — many of which were either moderately active, or inactive altogether. It is, actually, normal for bigger affiliates to sign up with new affiliate programs as they get launched on the network (and this one was an affiliate network-based program). Yet, however unfortunate, it also common for some of them to never “activate” the relationship with the merchant.
So with individualized/personalized emails we reached out to the 50 power affiliates (in our case, the program was on Commission Junction, so those were 5-bar affiliates) who were either moderately active, or stagnant. No, we did not offer them a commission increase or bonus for activation. We suggested an exclusive offer (for each) coupled with a co-branded landing page to increase conversions. And here are the results we’ve registered so far:
- Activation emails sent: 50 (100%)
- Bounce-backs: 0
- Day 1: 6 positive replies (12%)
- Day 4: 1 positive reply (2%)
- Day 7: follow-up email -> 11 positive replies (22%)
- Day 8: 1 positive reply already (2%)
Since we’re only on Day 8 now, we do not yet have enough data to truly quantify (in sales increase numbers) the activations that have already happened. However, the very fact that within 1 week we’ve activated 38% of the top echelon affiliates (who were either under-performing or plain stagnant before our outreach), spending under 1.5 hour on this, is worth blogging about.
Having said this, in light of the time at which this post occurs [i.e. (i) we're waiting on more responses, and (ii) we'll do at least one more follow-up/reminder] do expect a “Part Deux” post on the topic in 4-6 weeks time. But even now we can confidently state that with (un)/(under)managed affiliate programs the above one may well be the best and quickest way to improve the overall affiliate program performance. So, do take a serious look at that list of strong affiliates that are aboard your program, but aren’t yet producing substantial results.