When you look at the 5 foundational pillars of affiliate management, the one that consumes the most of the affiliate manager’s time is recruitment. We estimate that we spend 70-80% of our time actively recruiting new affiliates into our affiliate programs. Thus, it’s important to really know how to do this part of the job as efficiently as possible in order to maximize your recruitment efforts.
Below are 4 tips for following up via email when recruiting affiliates into your affiliate program.
There are certainly many opinions out there on how often you should follow up with prospective affiliates and how many times you should attempt to contact them before closing the lead. The magic numbers that have worked well for me have been 7 days and 12 times. After initially contacting a prospective affiliate, I’ll follow up again in a week. I’ll continue these weekly follow-ups for roughly the next 3 months if I don’t hear anything back. If after 12 outreaches I still have not been answered, I’ll mark the lead closed on my list.
Another thing I’ll do when following up, if they’re being unresponsive, is hit them from many different angles. Along with emails, I’ve been known to send Facebook messages, Twitter mentions, and even sometimes Instagram direct messages. If no email address is available, I’ll also use contact forms on websites. Using some of these less conventional contact methods can occasionally help yield a quicker reply.
The saying “short but sweet” goes a long way when structuring your follow-ups to affiliates. Generally, initial emails will have a lot of information in them. You’re going to want to introduce yourself as well as your program and sometimes those messages can get a bit lengthy. This is okay for the initial outreach; however, when you’re doing your secondary follow-ups, sending a one or two sentence message can actually be very effective.
Affiliates get a lot of emails so sometimes when they see longer body text they gloss over or ignore it completely. A one to two sentence message with a question like “did you receive my invite?” will be easy to digest and is likely to get an answer. If affiliates are not interested in your program, they’ll usually reply with a short message and say so. Getting a “not interested” reply, while not nearly as good as a yes, is still valuable because now you can close that lead and free up your pipeline a bit.
How To Stay Organized
Remaining organized when working on your recruitment efforts is of the utmost importance. You never want to let any potential partner slide through the cracks, but you don’t want to contact the same prospective affiliate every 24 hours either. I’m old fashioned and recommend using a master spreadsheet for recruiting. Within this spreadsheet you should log not only the website/target affiliate, but also their contact information/email and dates you’re reaching out to them. Leave an optional section for notes as well.
Keep your spreadsheet ordered by date so that when you’re following up with people it’s easy to just go down your sheet as you do your reach out. I realize not everyone has access to multiple screens/monitors, but this is a perfect example of a time where it benefits you greatly to have a second screen. You can then always keep the recruitment spreadsheet open on the secondary screen while you work from your main screen.
Lastly, I recommend using color highlighting when you convert or reject leads. I use a light green when I get them on-boarded and a light red when they decline. Segmenting like this helps you visualize how well you’re doing and also reminds you not to continue following up with someone you may have already on-boarded.
Several affiliate networks have started to offer recruitment tools that help merchants better tap into their network of publishers. For example, ShareASale’s recruitment tool is available to merchants who run their programs exclusively on their network. AM Navigator has several programs on ShareASale and we have been able to take advantage of this tool.
ShareASale’s recruitment tool specifically allows you to send out a maximum of 50 VIP invites every month to affiliates within their network that you’re attempting to attract. However, every time one of the affiliates you send an invite to accepts your invite, ShareASale then gives you two more invites to use. Since ShareASale gives you these bonus invites when affiliates accept your initial invites, they become very plentiful.
Another great thing about ShareASale’s recruitment tool is that the affiliate is incentivized to accept your VIP invite because they receive $25 from ShareASale when they do. This extra money makes affiliates that much more likely to actually see your recruitment emails and engage with you.
Good luck with all your recruiting efforts and feel free to email us or comment below with any comments or questions. I would love to hear from you!