Reach Out and LISTEN! – Some Rules & Lessons Learned About Affiliate Communications

When I first started managing client’s affiliate programs I dreaded the thought of becoming inundated with emails from anybody with a website. I figured I’d get umpteen questions like: “I joined your affiliate program, so how do I start making money?” or “How is this code going to turn into a banner on my site?” or worse yet, “I just bought a $20 product on your site, so where’s my commission check?”

With visions of overflowing inboxes in my head, one of the first things I did was to create an information page to put on my client’s sites that answered many of the basic questions neophyte affiliates may have. This then evolved into a full-blown section where I was able to provide extensive training and tips to all of their affiliates on an ongoing basis

Both of these site enhancements have been well received and I encourage you to do the same, but the question remains – Did it I still become inundated with inquires?
The answer is no, but I don’t believe it’s because of the plethora of information that I provided on the merchant site. It’s really because affiliates, for the most part, just don’t communicate. Consequently, as an affiliate manager you must follow these communications standards:

Rule #1: It’s absolutely up to YOU to initiate communications. Affiliate Management is primarily a PRO-ACTIVE endeavor.

Rule #2: You must also be RE-ACTIVE, and respond ASAP to any affiliate communications that you do receive. ASAP in my book means within 24 hours – 7 days a week.

I’m reminded of the time I checked my affiliate email on Sunday and received one stating that our banners weren’t working. I thought ‘yeah right, must be a problem with his site.’ But because I’m a bit obsessive, I tried the banners on my affiliate test site – they weren’t working! Seems the webmaster did some ‘fixing’ and didn’t include a folder needed to accept the incoming traffic from affiliates. Thank goodness I was able to reach the webmaster on Sunday and he was able to correct the problem immediately.

Lesson Learned: Listening to your affiliates can save you’re butt!

But that’s not the only reason to listen to your affiliates…

Reason to Listen #2: Affiliates tell you what works for them on other programs by asking you for the same things.

So are you listening? Are you delivering what they want? And are you doing it in a timely fashion? Finally, are you thanking your communicative affiliates for their questions and feedback, and for their participation in your program – each and every time? Remember, you’re representing the ‘all-powerful merchant’ – words of encouragement and thanks go a long way in motivating affiliates. Even better, your actions in satisfying an affiliate’s request for things like a special offer or link type practically ensures their devotion (and production!).

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