Affiliate newsletters are an integral part of creating and maintaining solid relationships with affiliates. However, it isn’t unusual for merchants to miss some of the key ingredients of an effective newsletter. I have seen newsletters that include only new or upcoming deals or a brief announcement about the program, but what lack structure, personalization, and other important elements. Not that there is anything wrong with sending new deals to your affiliates, but it should be in a manner that catches their attention. Affiliates may get hundreds of newsletters a month, so making yours stand out is critical.
The goal of affiliate newsletters is to show your affiliates that you care about them and want them to succeed. By showing you care the chances the newsletter is successful is greater. Affiliates are busy professionals too and a newsletter should be personalized, helpful, and motivating. Here are the elements I include in newsletters to affiliates:
Thank the affiliates for being aboard your program and then outline what the newsletter is going to include (deals, contests, new banners, etc.). This will let them know what to expect when reading it.
This is the section where you want to inform your affiliates of any new promotions/deals that will be run during the next 30 days or so. Provide as much information about the deals as possible including any promo codes, expiration dates, and ready-made links to the deals that include the affiliates unique ID. Providing ready-made links with the affiliates ID embedded allows them to simply copy and paste instead of creating it themselves. If you cannot provide the ready-made links then you should provide them clear instructions on where they can locate them within the network interface (CJ, ShareASale, LinkShare, etc.).
3. Top Performing Creatives
Pick out your 5 top performing creatives (banners and/or text links) and include them in this section of the newsletter. As with the promotions/deals section you want to provide them with ready-made links so that the affiliate can simply copy and paste. Affiliates want to promote your products using creatives that convert, so provide it to them. They do not have access to the analytics data for each creative, so by providing it to them they know which ones are going to make them the most money.
4. Bonus Opportunities/Contests
This touches upon the motivating piece of affiliate newsletters. Providing affiliates additional ways to earn more money will keep them motivated and also push them to promote the product/service harder. Bonuses can be first sale bonuses (to inactive affiliates) or include a sales threshold to receive additional money (i.e. refer 10 sales in 30 days and receive a $50 bonus). Contests are also a fun way to get all your affiliates involved. By having cash prizes or highly sought after electronics (iPads) will help motivate your affiliate base.
Reiterate any important information and be sure to let your affiliates know that you are there for them at any time. In this section I include the email address I can be reached at and also my twitter handle so if so some reason I cannot be reached via email they can tweet me. Providing affiliates with as much contact information as possible is our (AM Navigator’s) rule of thumb.
To recap: affiliate newsletters should be personalized, helpful, and motivating. Your newsletter is one of many they receive and you must make it stand out among your competitors. Including the 5 above elements (not all 5 need to be included in each newsletter) into your newsletters will show the affiliates of your program that you care and want them to succeed.