skoutOne of the most referenced articles on this blog has been the first “How To” article on creating effective welcome emails, which broke down a highly personal and engaging welcome email example from the JensonUSA affiliate program. In the year and a half since that article was written, a new feature has been added to the affiliate acceptance email tool and another example is setting the standard on how to properly compose high-impact, effective welcome emails.

This new example comes from the Skout Natural Foods affiliate program (which, if you’re not an affiliate for, I would highly recommend joining their program). Skout has a lot of what makes a program appealing to new affiliates. A fantastic organic food lineup, great promos and creative, a baseline commission is 12%, and a cookie length of 120 days. But they’ve also dialed in a welcome email that helps communicate these points in a package that’s personal, informative, and extremely actionable.

The Ideal Welcome Email

First, here’s a screenshot of the raw email that sent out to all new Skout affiliates:


The Technical Elements

In this example, it’s clear Skout has made use of a number of technical features to help make this email more relevant to the new affiliate:

  1. Dynamic Tags: At several points in the text, words surrounded by % signs are referenced. These are dynamic tags that program managers can embed in their email content to automatically fill with information relevant to the affiliate receiving the email. For example, %FIRST_NAME% will auto-populate with the first name of the affiliate recipient. Certainly not rocket science, but it does help make the welcome email more personal to the end user. Skout has also opted to use the %COMMISSION% and %LOGIN_URL% tags to help the new affiliate get started with the program immediately upon approval. A full list of dynamic tags that can be included with these welcome emails can be found on the Welcome Email composition tool screen.
  2. Embedded Campaigns: The ability to embed banner or text ad campaigns in emails is a new feature since the last article on welcome emails and one that has proved to be immensely powerful. This tool allows managers to include any active affiliate ads from their programs within the content of an email, giving the affiliate who receives the email both a full visual preview of the ad but also a “Get HTML” link to immediately get the tracking code for any ad they like and wish to promote. In this case, Skout has wisely chosen to include the program’s most popular ad in the welcome email and make it immediately available to any new affiliates.
Best Practice: Always keep the embedded, recommended ads in your email up-to-date and matching with your current seasonal, sale, or promo ads available in your ad campaign list.

The Affiliate’s Roadmap

The most effective element of this email comes in the second paragraph when Skout offers the affiliate a free sample of their trailbar product. In our monthly merchant interface trainings, we always strive to emphasize the importance of giving an affiliate a roadmap of how to get started with your program. One of the most efficient ways to do this is to identify what makes your program unique and offer that in a clear and actionable way to your new affiliates. In this case, Skout has done just that.

  1. The Spoken: Free trailbars are offered in order to get new affiliates more familiar with the Skout brand. This not only helps the affiliate get more educated on the products that the merchant offers, but also gives the affiliate some direct personal experience with the brand.
  2. The Unspoken: While not explicitly written out in the email, the second part to the free trailbar is the assumption that the affiliate’s personal experience will translate into some sort of online documentation or written content about that experience, including affiliate links.

By offering a sample of what their company is about, Skout gives each affiliate the option to become personally experienced with their products at no cost, thereby establishing that roadmap for getting involved with the program and putting the ball in the affiliate’s court.

Short & Sweet

In the wake of the ever shortening attention span of the person online, Skout’s email has done a fantastic job of quickly summing up the most vital information for new affiliates in a relatively small package. Remember that any affiliate worth creating a relationship with is likely being sought after by other programs. The more you can do to reduce the time that affiliate needs to get involved with your program while still delivering the most amount of actionable information, the more you will shift the loyalty of that affiliate in your favor.

A big thanks to Skout Natural Foods for letting us break down their fantastic welcome email. If you’d like to experience their top-notch welcome email for yourself, head over to the Skout Natural Food program description page and apply.


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