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The AvantLink “How To” series is an ongoing series featuring best practices and strategies for affiliates and merchants with actionable, practical information to improve your affiliate marketing efforts.  

So you’ve just recruited xyz.com affiliate…. now what?

As any seasoned affiliate program manager will tell you, getting affiliates to join your program is only half the battle. The other half involves the process of you trying to get them active and invested in your program, a task that is often far more difficult than it sounds. Place yourself in the affiliate’s shoes and ask this question: why should I invest my time in this program?

To answer this question it’s important to consider the very first communication touch point you’ll have with an affiliate once they’ve joined your program.  For programs on AvantLink, this touch point is the acceptance/welcome email sent out immediately after the affiliate has been accepted to an affiliate program. And it’s this email that can set the stage for a fruitful and productive relationship or, alternatively, keep the affiliate from feeling valued and dissuade them from moving forward.

The Shining Example

How, then, do you establish a feeling of value up front in your welcome emails to affiliates? Below is an absolutely superb welcome email example crafted by Jared Saunders, manager of the JensonUSA affiliate program:

Congratulations and welcome to our Affiliate Program. I am Jared Saunders, Affiliate Program Manager for JensonUSA. I would again like to personally welcome you to the JensonUSA Affiliate Program! Your first bonus worth $10, should you choose to accept it, is two small steps away. I know at times it can be difficult and confusing when getting a new program up and running, but you are not alone in your efforts. If you have ANY questions about Avantlink, the cycling niche in general, or ideas on how to implement our program into your business model, let us know and we will do our best to assist you. We enjoy providing the best service possible, whether to our customers, our vendors, or our affiliates, like yourself. Now that we have embarked on this journey together and you know a little about us, we would like to get to know you better. In doing so it will give us the tools we both need to make us successful. The first and most valuable tool is your active email address. We use this for personalized contact, like this email. As well as for timely newsletters, bonus promotions, and quick one-on-one communication that can have you in the loop of upcoming profit makers. The second tool we use is instant messengers; specifically Skype, Twitter,  and Gmail. Sometimes an email chain is slower moving than we’d both like, but a phone call isn’t necessary. If you have an instant messenger address we’d love to add it to our list. If you have any quick questions we want to make sure we are there for you and don’t accidentally reject your request because we didn’t recognize your messenger ID.

The third tool is for emergencies only. I know most affiliates are a bit phone shy, personally I spurn them. If you’d like to add your phone number it’d be great for those urgent communication needs, but it is not necessary.

The last tool is a favorite of mine and it is used to help celebrate you, I would be thrilled if we could get your birthday (no year is necessary) as I like to send out bonuses and special performance deals on a day that is special just for you.

That said this brings me to how you can receive my first bonus for you, hit the reply button and add the essential tools inside and hit send, that’s it! You’ll get $5 for helping us get to know you better and making it possible for our relationship to thrive. And for placing a banner or text links and sending the link to where I can find them you’ll get another $5.

Once again it is great to have you in our program, and we look forward to cultivating a profitable business relationship with you!

Jared Saunders

(*Followed by every contact option known to man- phone, AIM, email, etc- which I’ve kept from this post)

5 Crucial Elements

That email is the first thing new affiliates see when they join the JensonUSA program and very successfully establishes the value of the relationship and gives incentive to become active with the program. Let’s dissect, shall we?

  1. Welcome – I Am Human: From the very beginning the email has an incredibly cordial and genuine feel to it. After just the first two sentences I already know the purpose of this email and the person behind the words, ensuring that if I email back I will reach a person and not some automated support system.
  2. What’s In It For Me? Without any pause, Jared launches straight into the most attention-grabbing portion of the entire email: the incentive for the end user. In this case, it’s a generous instant $10 bonus for completing a simple, two-step process which is laid out in the remainder of the email.
  3. Sympathize: Equally as powerful as the $10 bonus is Jared sympathetic statement  “I know at times it can be difficult and confusing when getting a new program up and running, but you are not alone in your efforts.” This one sentence establishes that the JensonUSA affiliate program manager understands the difficulty it takes to get the ball rolling with a new affiliate program and therefore must have some solution to make the process easier.
  4. Let’s Talk About You: A major flaw with many merchant’s welcome emails comes down to restating old information. Jared doesn’t launch into a recap of commission rates, cookie duration, or any other info that affiliates most likely are already complete aware of. After all, remember that all of this can be found on the program description page when an affiliate applies to the program. Instead, his next four paragraphs are aimed at learning more about your contact preferences and communication tools that work best for you. In addition, he even asks for a birthday (no year needed) so that the JensonUSA program can send out special bonuses and and performance deals just for you on your birthday. That’s both a very personal, human request and an incredibly efficient tactic to get a new affiliate invested.
  5. The Deal: In the last paragraph, the email lays out what needs to be done to get the $10 instant bonus based around everything we’ve just read above. For the first $5, each new affiliate is asked to respond to the intro email with their preferred contact information. Simple, yet effective. Secondly, another $5 is rewarded when the affiliate puts up any sort of JensonUSA affiliate ad and sends the URL with those ads over to Jared. Again, incredibly simple but a most effective way to get new affiliates advertising for your program ASAP.

Try On The Affiliate’s Shoes

It would seem that the key to success with an introduction email is to really look at it from the affiliate’s perspective. In other words, what would make this email valuable to you as an affiliate? Consider this quote from Jared:

 

The first interaction I got with many of these programs was, well to be blunt, cold and disconnected. I didn’t feel like they were glad I was there, or that they were imparting some knowledge to help me. Most of them had minimal contact information, and how some of them misused form fillers, or had redundant email responses I felt like they were too busy to understand their own tools of success. So I decided to try to create something that would be what I was expecting. It took some time, but I focused on trying to write the letter like I was writing it specifically for the person reading it. It’s contents would be personal, welcoming, informative, supportive, and would give them all of my contact information, and even have a little of my humor and personality in it.

 

He then goes on to mention that he revisits this email once a quarter to make sure that it is still relevant to the program and helpful from an affiliate’s perspective, sound advice for anyone who wants to make sure their correspondence still jives with their program. The introduction email from JensonUSA is as good of an example as one can get on how to help your affiliates feel valued as a part of your program while offering extra incentive to start advertising immediately.

 

Read it over another time or two and try to incorporate some of the key elements into your intro emails to affiliates. Have another suggestion on how to make these emails even more valuable? Let us know in the comments below!
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  • Great piece, Chad; and excellent job on that welcome email, Jared.

    I’ve been preaching this forever! Welcome emails are one of the most frequently overlooked activation opportunities.

    “Recruiting an affiliate into your program is only half the job done. You need to motivate them to get [i]active[/i]. And one of the main places to call them to activation is the affiliate program’s approval email… In addition to the call to activation (the motivational piece), you want your approval email to contain useful/practical information about your affiliate program…. (1) Remind them of your program details… (2) Include an activation promo… (3) Include also a performance-based incentive… (4) Enclose precoded affiliate links… (5) In conclusion, assure them that you are there for them, and provide them with you detailed contact information… In addition to all of these… it is also a good idea to include brief demographic data in your email. It will help your affiliates focus their marketing campaigns in a way that effectively targets the right markets, yielding faster results.” [source: “Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day”, pp 187-188]

  • Chad, this is brilliant!

    Our busy season has started right after labor day and will last for the next 3 months… Since I hadn’t been activating affiliates, this was a great way to re-connect with our inactive affiliates to get A TON of exposure to some of our big holiday promos.

    New affiliates are stoked to be able to earn some quick $ with our program, too!

    Thanks again for putting this post together!

    • Hey, thanks Miles! Definitely glad to hear it’s been of some use to you and the very best of luck to you on the rest of Q4.

  • Paul Love

    Yes, very useful. Thanks Chad.

    • You’re totally welcome, Paul! Glad to hear you’ve found it helpful.