Affiliates Are Marketers, Not Customers. They Need Tools, Not Carrots

Earlier this morning thousands of affiliates received a newsletter that looked like this:

And while it is fairly easy to figure out who the merchant was, it is not any particular brand that I would like to draw your attention to. There is an affiliate program management (or more specifically, an affiliate communication) problem. Newsletters similar to the above one are landing in affiliate in-boxes day in and day out. Hundreds if not thousands of merchants and affiliate program managers are routinely committing a very particular mistake. Back in late 2009 I wrote about it:

…while it is extremely important to keep affiliates updated on the sales promotions (or customer-oriented campaigns) that you are running, advertisers must word their newsletters in a way that does not suggest mistaking affiliates for customers.

Yet, it keeps happening. And multiple merchants keep committing blunders of the following kinds:

  • “Signing up” affiliates (read: you have to opt out to stop receiving them) for their customer-geared newsletters immediately upon acceptance into affiliate program.
  • Making their affiliate newsletters look like an email to a customer or a lead (direct links to the highlighted sections and products/services, calls to follow them on Facebook and Twitter, etc).

When you’re working on an affiliate newsletter you want to equip, not tell. Going back to the above-mentioned example, what good is it for an affiliate to know that you offer “free express shipping” on all orders over $150 unless you also help them to feature this great offer on their websites (through pre-coded text links, banners, and a dedicated landing page)? And if you want them to feature these truly great 50% and 60% off deals/discounts, why guide them to your homepage, and not give them the actual code for deep-linked unique links under each offer, or a widget with the deepest discounts, or a choice of banners for your “Sale” section?

If you want affiliates to invest their time, effort and money into promoting you, you gotta invest your own time and effort into equipping them well too.

2 thoughts on “Affiliates Are Marketers, Not Customers. They Need Tools, Not Carrots”

  1. I have written to more than one merchant about this kind of useless information. It hasn’t stopped one yet. If the networks offer tools to help make these tasks easier, they aren’t getting the word out. Useless.

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