As a publisher it’s vital that you maintain strong communication with your advertisers - without them you’re unlikely to succeed long-term in affiliate marketing. Quite often, an ‘’inactive’’ publisher i.e. someone who doesn’t respond to various forms of communication, can be removed from an advertiser’s programme during an audit. With so many new publishers entering this industry on a daily basis (Affiliate Window sees 30 new publisher signups a day) you need to ensure that you’re not forgotten about and remain at the forefront of advertiser’s minds.
Here are some top tips to ensure you maintain communication with your advertisers:
Don’t have a relationship with a faceless programme
As a publisher you need to be proactive. Although this varies by advertiser, quite often they expect you to come to them with promotional opportunities and an interest in promoting their brand. Get to know the point of contact, perhaps have an introductory phone call or try and meet them at an industry event. Just being able to put a face to a name can really benefit your relationship in the long-term.
Make communication personal
As publisher teams get larger and larger, response time becomes more important from the advertiser’s perspective. They’re far more likely to communicate with a particular person they have regular dealings with on the publisher side rather than through an affiliates@ e-mail address so try and provide that personal point of contact, particularly for your bigger brands. Even if you’re a one man band, having your name included in your e-mail address comes across a lot friendlier and more approachable versus a generic address.
Allow your phone number to be displayed within your signature when contacting your advertisers so that they can get hold of you quickly if they need to. There is often a worry that you’ll be overwhelmed with phone calls but there are significant benefits to displaying this information. Firstly, it helps build credibility especially if you’re a new publisher and the advertiser hasn’t worked with you before. Secondly, it shows that you’re available and willing to answer any question the advertiser may have. Thirdly, if for some reason the information on your site is wrong, if the logo is out-of-date for example, they’ll be reassured to know that there is a quick form of communication to get it amended. If your site goes down or information is displayed incorrectly it’s also likely they’ll be the first to notice. Fast feedback cuts down recovery time on your end and enables the advertiser to trust that if things do go wrong, someone is quickly on hand to fix them.
Maintain a 24 hour turnaround time
Always try and maintain a 24-hour response time. If an advertiser has a last-minute exclusive code, they’re far more likely to go to the publisher they know is proactive and will respond to say that they can provide extra promotional coverage at short notice in return.
Monthly calls and quarterly meetings to discuss performance
Whilst it’s not always practical to meet all of your advertisers as regularly as you would like to, it’s definitely worthwhile meeting your top ten on a quarterly basis whenever possible. A phone call is a good alternative method to keep in touch if a face-to-face meeting isn’t possible. Presenting to an advertiser on what has worked well over the last quarter and ways to continue this growth is really important information they’ll be keen for you to share. Additionally, providing them with insights on what has worked well with their competitors is invaluable. Case studies for both situations encourages communication as you’ll come up with ideas together on what to try next.
Send advertisers newsletters or summary e-mails
Ensure advertisers are kept up-to-date with any developments your end. As a publisher it’s likely that you’ll have regular new promotional opportunities, perhaps a themed newsletter around Mother’s Day or Christmas and without informing your advertisers its coming up they’re not going to be aware of this. This newsletter is your chance to maintain communication with your advertisers so add a bit of personality to it. Add in something that will encourage advertisers to respond in some way so it opens up two-way communication.
Within your newsletters you can also feature ‘success stories’ of a promotion that has worked in the past month. This will make that advertiser feel a sense of loyalty to you and should in turn encourage ‘competitors’ of theirs to get involved with you and replicate this for their own success story.
Keep advertisers up-to-date
Ensure your advertisers know if you’re going to change your site in any way which may affect them. Additions such as social codes to a site or installing a toolbar can have differing reactions from advertisers, so it’s best to negate this by giving plenty of advanced warning and allowing them to voice their opinions to you. Again, by allowing them to share their thoughts you’re forging a strong relationship for the long-term.
What are your advertisers key KPI’s
At a basic level you should be aware of what your advertisers key KPI’s are. Having this knowledge is vital for good communication as you can tailor your promotions around them and follow up with case studies focusing on these indicators. Did you increase AOV monthly and if so, by how much? Was it better than this time last year? And what can be done to further improve this next month?
Subsequently, if your advertisers are looking to trial multi-attribution for example or make a key change to one of their KPI’s, you need to make sure you’re on top of this as this will put you ahead of competing publishers and further showcase your proactive attitude to the advertiser.
Keep up-to-date with Industry regulations
With the IAB as our governing body, there are always changes being made to the industry regulations. Over recent years changes such as how you display voucher codes on site has provoked a lot of debate therefore as a publisher it’s vital that you are open and communicative with your advertisers and abide by these guidelines. Remember that affiliate marketing only makes up a small proportion of an advertisers overall digital mix and you don’t want them putting more resource into other channels if they’re unsure guidelines are being adhered to by their publishers.
Hold advertiser days
Ask your network to host an advertiser day for you. Particularly if you’re based in an area outside of London or where few of your advertisers are, having a whole day where you can meet them for back-to-back meetings is a great way to improve and maintain communication with your advertisers. This setting is not only social but also creates learnings and key takeaways you can use to follow up with advertisers at a later stage.
Attend industry events
Industry events allow publishers to see a number of advertisers in one go. It enables you to communicate in a relaxed manner whilst in a working environment. Annual industry events or smaller, more frequent events hosted by networks are particularly beneficial for publishers who live a distance away from where their top advertisers are based. Perhaps you can take your largest brand out for dinner beforehand to build up the personal relationship. Whilst it’s important to form a professional relationship, getting to know what they enjoy doing away from the office can prove extremely valuable. After all, affiliate marketing is based on relationships and building these along the way is an added bonus.
Additionally, if your advertisers hold press days then it is worthwhile trying to attend these, as having the additional knowledge of their products and showing interest in their brand is likely to go down very well. It opens up further dialogue you can have with the retailer, as you can provide your feedback on the day and feature particular products you saw on your site.
If you’re new to the industry or are doing something slightly different from traditional publishers then being transparent is extremely important, particularly in the early days of forming relationships with advertisers. If they require referral URLs or what to know how you’re promoting them then it’s advisable to readily share this information with them. With so many publishers around you don’t want them deciding to work with your competitor simply because you provided inadequate information.
Ask for feedback on your performance
Finally, it’s always worth remembering that strong, constant communication between parties is integral to the success of any business and this is particularly important for a business whose success is built on relationships. However, this does need to be two-way so encourage this by asking advertisers for feedback. What do they think is/isn’t working? Can they provide you with a better discount, do their offers do well on particular days of the week or times of the year? This two-way insight is a great foundation on which to maintain communication with your advertisers through the affiliate channel.