With great excitement we bring you the first-ever guest post at AM Navigator’s blog. We loved Graham Jenner‘s approach, and happily accepted his contribution. Should you want to contribute to this blog as well, email us.
I read with interest Geno’s recent post about a drop in open rates on email newsletters. It flagged an interest as I had been talking to an affiliate manager only the week before about improving communication. I would agree with the findings as I prefer to have information over email. It is easier to find and refer back to than IM’s or phone calls and allows less chance for misunderstanding. I think that if email is the method you are using though there are 5 things you can do to make them relevant, interesting and increase the likelihood they are read.
1. Find out who is best to contact for different areas
One of the keys to successful marketing is to make sure that you are communicating with the correct contacts. My role involves meeting and creating strategic plans with our key partners with whom I work closely. Working for one of the largest publishers in the UK I am often added to the communication lists of brands I have not met or don’t directly work with.
I then receive generic emails with promotions to update on site. We have a team dedicated to updating the site that these emails would be relevant to but they are often not included on the list. So my first piece of advice would be to find out the best contact for your emails and make them aware you are going to send them weekly/monthly. I am sure that your open rate would increase dramatically.
2. Segment your database
Geno made this point in his post. Different affiliates will have different needs. A content affiliate might want details on your recent rebranding or latest competition as it helps them to create interesting and factually accurate content. A voucher code might want links and terms and condition for the latest codes. Making sure your affiliates are getting what they want from a newsletter is important and leads me to my next point.
3. Ask for feedback
If your open rate has gone down speak to your affiliates. What do they want to see in your newsletter? What do they find useful? Do they have an example of one they find useful? Getting feedback from affiliates is key to getting the most from your programme. Opening the dialogue for feedback and acting on it will also make people more likely to be open to provide it.
4. Personalise your emails
It’s not always possible to send personalised emails due to time constraints but where possible you should try to do this. Sending a personal email is more likely to get a response and open the dialogue. For me, Affiliate Marketing is all about relationships. You should be trying to speak to your affiliates as much as you can as their feedback can often help to take your programme to new levels. Maybe you could even drop some of your affiliates a quick message to check they got your email and let know if there is anything they need. Why not try emailing 10 different affiliates personally each month to see what response you get. You will often be surprised. Make sure you get peoples name right though. My colleague James often gets ‘Dear John/Jake/Jerry’ emails which undo the good intentions of the personal email and make him feel devalued!
5. Avoid over emailing
Sending affiliate newsletters is like any other emailing marketing. If you email too much you are likely to see people unsubscribe or stop opening them. Make a plan for when you are going to email whether this is once a month or once a week. Then stick to it. Before you send an email think to yourself, “would I need to know this?”. If you email too regularly content that’s not relevant or interesting you are likely to see your open rates fall.
I think in summary it’s clear that to improve your open rates you need to be open to communicating with your affiliates. Getting feedback from publishers will allow you to understand what they want and engage with them more. This increased engagement should lead to more people opening your emails. You can then tailor your newsletters to suit different segments or publisher types and make them more relevant.