How To Group Affiliates in Rakuten Affiliate Network

As an affiliate manager, do you group affiliates or do they all reside in one single cohort (unassigned)? Many program managers do not group their affiliates, but they should be. Do you send all affiliates the same message all the time? I sure hope not. By grouping affiliates, it allows you (as the affiliate manager) to target specific group of affiliates with special promos, exclusive deals, activation incentives, etc. In this post, I will outline how to group affiliates on the Rakuten Affiliate Network.

The first step is to log in to your Rakuten Affiliate Network merchant account. Next, hover over the “Publishers” tab and click “Publisher Groups”.

From there, simply input the group name and click “Add”. This will create the group and it will be shown with the rest of your available groups (if you have any). By default, RAN adds all publishers to the “Unassigned” group until you move them.

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Next step is to select the publishers you want to move to the newly created group. You will want to go to hover over the “Publishers” tab and click “My Publishers”. You can filter your current affiliates in various ways, but if you want to see the complete list just click “Search” (do not apply any filters). After all your affiliates are listed check the box in the left column of the ones you want to move to the new group. After the box is checked, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the “Move to Group” button and it will give you a drop-down menu to choose the “Selected” affiliates or “All matches”, you will click “Selected”.

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The final step is to choose the group to move the selected affiliates to. The newly created group will be available in the drop-down menu, select it and hit submit. You will get a success message and that is it, you created and moved affiliates to groups.

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How To Use Rakuten’s Deal Dispatcher

If you are an advertiser that runs an affiliate program on Rakuten Affiliate Network, then this post is important to read. With Q4 officially under way, it is time to start planning for the key online shopping days leading up to Christmas. Getting your deals/coupons in front of your affiliates will be critical and I will show you how to do that with a step-by-step guide to using RAN’s Deal Dispatcher tool. The Deal Dispatcher is a monthly newsletter sent to subscribing publishers that allows you to advertise special promotions and even publisher promotions (ex. Commission increases, bonuses, etc.).

Step – 1

Log in to your RAN merchant (advertiser) account. Navigate to and hover over “Messaging” in the top navigation and click “Deal Dispatcher”.

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Step 2 –

Now, this is where the deals (consumer facing or publisher facing) are entered. There are a few things to keep in mind when planning to use RAN’s Deal Dispatcher:

  1. All deals must be entered before the 15th of the month.
  2. You can pay a flat fee and be placed as a “Featured Promotion” To inquire about this just contact your RAN account rep.

It is a very straight forward process to enter and submit deals. The following information must be included:

  1. Promotion Type – use the drop own menu to select the appropriate promotion. The options include: consumer – coupons, consumer – free shipping, consumer – sales/percentage off, publisher – increased commissions/return days, publisher – new creative/link type, just to name a few.
  2. Destination Link –  It could be the homepage or a product specific landing page. The link must properly correspond with the offer being entered.
  3. Promotion Text – there is a 125 character limit, but be as detailed as possible and make sure the deal is worded so that it cannot be interpreted a different way.
  4. Offer – This is the offer going to be used for publishers (aka – terms). Will you be using the baseline offer or create a completely new offer for this promo?
  5. Stat and End Date – make sure to make the deal valid for at least 30 days so that affiliates who may have missed it can still act.

Once everything is filled out, hit “Submit”. If anything is wrong it will let you know what needs to be fixed.

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If you want to see a sample of the Deal Dispatcher you can do so by clicking the “View the most recent Deal Dispatcher” (you must be logged in to your RAN account) link . Below is a screenshot of a recent Deal Dispatcher newsletter.

us-deal-dispatcher-publisher-help-center-rakuten-affiliate-networkThis is just one step in the process to making sure you are optimizing your affiliate program for the upcoming holiday season.

Creating Publisher Groups in CJ Affiliate Network

Do you have trouble communicating with your affiliates? Do you have messages for different types of affiliates? Are you unsure of how to send different messages to different affiliates? If you answered yes to any of the three questions I am here to help. I have seen it numerous times when we take over management of affiliate programs for clients and their affiliate database is a complete mess, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are a merchant with your affiliate program on CJ Affiliate I am going to show you how to create groups for your affiliates and how to put them in the appropriate group(s). After you read this article you will have one of the most organized affiliate databases out there.

Step # 1 – Go to “Groups” tab

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After you are logged in to your CJ Affiliate account click the “Publishers” tab and then click the “Groups” tab. This will take you to the page where you will create groups to place your affiliates in.

Step # 2 – Create Affiliate Group

There will be groups already created, but they were done so by CJ Affiliate. To create a new group click the “Create Publisher Group” button to the far right of the screen. A pop-up box will appear next.

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Step # 3 – Name your new publisher group

This is where you name the group. You want to be as clear as possible so in the future you know exactly who is in the group. Once you complete inputting the name click “Save”. Your new group has been created and the next step is filling it with affiliates.

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Step # 4 – Add affiliate to a group

Go to your affiliate list (through “Publishers” – Manage by Program Terms”) and check affiliates that you want to include in your newly created group and then click “Add to Group”.

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After you click “Add to Group” a pop-up window will appear and you will select the group to place the affiliate in from the drop down box. After the group is selected click “Add” and then you are finished.

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That is it. Instead of sending all your affiliates the same message, this functionality allows you to now segment message to specific affiliates. You may have a bonus opportunity for content affiliates, but do not want coupon/deal affiliates to see this, so having groups set up will allow you to send to the audience you want.

How to Send an Affiliate Newsletter Through CJ Affiliate

Communication is one of the keys to success in affiliate marketing (as a merchant). What do I mean by that? Communicating with your affiliates is a vital piece (behind recruiting/activation) to a successful program and letting them know the happenings within your affiliate program is a must for many reasons. Newsletters are the #1 option for communicating with affiliates. For merchants that use CJ Affiliate I will be going step-by-step on how to send a newsletter through the CJ Affiliate interface.

Step 1 – How to Get Started

Once logged in to your CJ Affiliate merchant interface you will want to click the “Mail” tab. A drop-down box will appear and then click the “Email Campaigns” tab. You will then be directed to the page that will guide you through the rest of the set-up and sending process.

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Step 2 – Create New Email Campaign

This step is where you can see any old newsletters that were sent, along with the statistics of them. This is useful for gauging the open rates by your affiliates. For the purpose of this post we are going to click the “Create New Campaign”.

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Step 3 – Input General Information

You want to name the campaign (something relevant to the content), plus add the name of the email, but most importantly you want to select the audience to target. Select joined and the next step will get into specifics of what groups and affiliates you can target with your newsletter.

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Step 4 – Select Targeting Options

You can select all joined, a specific group of affiliates (only if you have them broken into groups), active affiliates, their network ranking, and their country.

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Step 5 – Compose the Affiliate Newsletter

You have the option to create an HTML to text version of the newsletter, but I recommend an HTML version. Here you will create the newsletter subject, who the newsletter is from, and select the reply-to address (make sure it is an inbox that is monitored closely), and paste the HTML into the rectangle box.  CJ Affiliate also provides you the ability to add quick links to the newsletter by simply clicking on them in the box next to the HTML message.

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Step 6 – Send a Test Email

Insert the email address you want the test to go to and hit “Send Test”. Make sure to review the newsletter carefully for any spelling, grammar, or formatting errors. Once the test has been review hit the “next” button.

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Step 7 – Send Newsletter

The final step is where you review the important details of the newsletter. Ensure the information provided is correct. The last thing to do is hit the “send” button.

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CJ affiliate has made it rather easy to send a newsletter to your affiliates. Make sure to communicate any important changes or special deals to your affiliates as they happen. The affiliates need to know what is going on in the program to effectively promote it and to make money for them and you.

 

How to Give an Affiliate a Bonus Using ShareASale

A few weeks ago I wrote a post that showed advertisers that operate their affiliate program on CJ Affiliate how to provide their affiliates a bonus. In today’s post I am going to show merchants how to manually bonus their affiliates that operate on the ShareASale affiliate network. I will provide a step – by – step guide to follow during the process.

Step 1 – Log in to Merchant Account and Click “Affiliate List” under the tab of “Affiliates”

After logging into your ShareASale merchant account you want to hover over the “Affiliates” tab in the main navigation and click “Affiliate List.” The affiliate list will show you all your current affiliates in order of performance to date. The top performers will be at the top of the list.SaS 1

Step 2 – Locate Affiliate You Want to Bonus

Once you are in your affiliate list scroll down the list until you locate the one to manual bonus. Once located click the “Details” link under their name. It will take you to their individual affiliate page where the bonus activity will take place.

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Step 3 – Submit the Bonus

Once you are on the affiliates ShareASale page you will need to scroll down until you get to the section titled “Affiliate Actions”. From there you will put the desired bonus amount and the type of transaction. You will fill in the field “Specific Amount to Give Affiliate” (i.e. the dollar amount) and change the drop down box to “Bonus”. Once complete you must hit “Submit Transaction” for it to be complete.

Please note: Even though it is not a sale/lead tracked through ShareASale there will still be a 20% fee charged to you for the manual bonus transaction.

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Using the manual bonus feature in ShareASale is straight forward process and necessary for rewarding performance, paying for placements with affiliates, and even correcting transactions (I will dive into this next week).

How to View ShareASale Newsletter Performance Reports

Your affiliate newsletter has been sent to your affiliates, but how to you find out who is opening it? It is important to analyze such things as the open rate, bounce rate, and the individual affiliates that are reading the newsletter. I will provide a step-by-step guide to finding and reading your affiliate newsletter performance reports.

Step 1 – Locate and Click on the “Send Newsletter” Icon

Once logged in you will need to hover over the “Affiliates” tab and click the “Send Newsletter” icon.

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Step 2 – Click on the “Full Archive Page” Link

After you click on the “Send Newsletter” icon you will need to scroll down and click the “Full Archive Page” link. The link will take you to a page where it will show you all your previous newsletters sent.

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Step 3 – Choose “Report” from Newsletter Archive

This section will show you every single newsletter sent along with other pertinent information including: newsletter ID, the send date, how many affiliate it was sent to, the option to view the newsletter, and report. For the purpose of this post we are going to click on “Report”.

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Step 4  – Review Data for Specific Newsletters

Here is the data for each newsletter you chose. The rectangle box at the top will have the entire selection of available newsletters that have performance data. I removed all the sensitive information from the image, but you should see a few choices (if you have sent them in the past).

The information provided below provides exact numbers of opens, the open percentage, bounces, the bounce percentage, and the individual affiliates that opened the newsletter. To find out who the affiliates are that opened it simply click the “plus sign” (red square).

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Why are affiliate newsletter open rates and bounce rates important? They help in determining the best method to communicate with affiliates as well as the best times and days. The bounce rate could be a combination of invalid email addresses, mailboxes full, etc. To determine the best day and time to send affiliate newsletters we recommend A/B testing. Send a newsletter out on different days of the week, at different times, with different subject lines. Once you have completed the tests, simply review the data, learning from your successes, and constantly refining how you handle your future mailings.

 

How To Create and Send ShareASale Affiliate Newsletters

Affiliate newsletters are an important component in managing relationship with your affiliates. Communicating with your affiliates is extremely important to keeping them engaged and active. Newsletters should have a personal touch and provide affiliates with information they can use to further promote your products. In January I wrote a post on writing effective newsletters, but today I am going to show you how to send a newsletter through the ShareASale interface. I will provide a step-by-step guide to this very important, but sometimes overlooked piece.

Step 1 – Locate the “Send Newsletter” Icon

After you log in to your ShareASale merchant account, hover over the “Affiliates” tab and you will see a “Send Newsletter” icon (looks like a stack of newspapers). Click the “Send Newsletter” icon.

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Step 2 – Choose the Format You Want to Send the Newsletter In

You have three (3) options on how to send the newsletter to your affiliates:

  1. Text
  2. HTML
  3. Split Campaign.

When I send newsletters out for clients I use the HTML option because it allows me to create a robust newsletter with images and clickable links. The split campaign option is available when you want to maximize your open rate.

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Step 3 – Determine the Recipients of the Newsletter

By default is provides a list of ALL affiliates to send to, but if you do not want to send it to all affiliates ShareASale allows you to search affiliates in many ways including: groups, tags, commissions earned, clicks, country they reside in, or even past newsletter recipients. Once you determine who is getting the newsletter you will see them in the recipients section to the right.

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Step 4 – Compose your Newsletter

This is the section where you actually compose your newsletter. For this articles purpose I have chosen the HTML format. You must enter a compelling subject line (you want affiliates to open it) and the body of the newsletter. ShareASale offers ways to customize and personalize newsletter using Macros. You can insert a Macro and have the affiliates name automatically populate when it is sent to them and also include specific creatives that will embed the affiliates ID automatically.

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Step 5 – Preview your Newsletter

Once the subject line and body of the affiliate newsletter are complete you can preview it and make sure it is formatted the way you want and it is mistake free. In this step you can send a test to yourself to make sure all is good.

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Step 6 – Finalize the Newsletter and Prepare to Send

This is the final step before the newsletter is sent to your affiliates. To the right you will see a summary that will include any items that need your attention. The ones that require your attention will be in red. Here you will choose a From/Reply-to address and the delivery date and time. You have the option to schedule it, but not for a specific time, only certain times during the day. Please note that Friday’s are not a recommended day to send newsletters.

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There you have it, a guide to sending an affiliate newsletter through ShareASale. Like many of the other tasks in ShareASale it is straight forward. Next week I will show you how to locate affiliate newsletter open rate information.

Tips For an Effective Affiliate Newsletter

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:

1.       Introduction

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.

2.       Promotions/Deals

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.

5.       Conclusion

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.