You know that regularly communicating with your affiliates is one of the best ways to keep them engaged, but how do you craft that perfect newsletter that stands out in their inbox and inspires action?
An affiliate newsletter is your chance to inform your affiliates about everything at once, from your brand image and current promotions, to important contact information and resources they need. But more importantly, it’s your chance to motivate your affiliates. As exciting as your affiliate program may be, most people have busy lives; considering this in your approach can help you find the sweet spot that will make your affiliates’ lives easier and make you money!
In this post we’ve collected some of the key ingredients to help you rock your affiliate newsletters, and get your affiliates moving!
First things first: relevance
Your affiliates don’t want to read uninteresting emails any more than you do, so at the very minimum you want your newsletter to be relevant. While it may be tempting to stay in constant contact (which certainly can be good), bombarding your affiliates with nonstop emails can be a bit…overwhelming, to say the least. Think about it from the affiliate’s perspective: what kind of email would get your attention? What would get you to click to open that email – and actually read it? Well-timed and appropriate newsletters can make all the difference, from giving your affiliates notice of seasonal promotions and sales, to announcing new product releases, contests, or other incentives.
Do you have different affiliates for different product lines, campaigns, or industry niches? Email marketing services like MailChimp allow you to create different mailing lists, which means that you can segment your audience in order to send the most appropriate newsletters to relevant affiliates – and keep your affiliate program well-organized, too! It’s worth noting that some newsletters are better when they’re not segmented; a regular monthly newsletter can create a sense of camaraderie when all affiliates are included.
What is the incentive, anyway?
Since you want to capture your affiliates’ attention right away and get them to want to click and open your email, highlighting any special incentives can be very effective. A contest, giveaway, or special promotion can motivate affiliates more than usual, so you want to make newsletter recipients immediately aware of them.
The subject line
This is the first thing your affiliates will see in their inbox, so make it count! The subject line should be short enough to read on one line, while communicating the essence of the newsletter. Including the name of your affiliate program (or some reference to it) can make your newsletter more easily identifiable amongst an inbox full of offers and other messages – and it can also create consistency if your affiliates are on the look-out for your emails. Additionally, affixing a phrase about the purpose of the newsletter (new promotion, sale, or special offer) after the name of your program can effectively communicate the subject without appearing too “salesy” straight away.
Alternately, you might decide to thank your affiliates for their participation, ask an interesting question, or include a call-to-action in your subject line. Whatever is both eye-catching and appropriate to the content of the newsletter should essentially be summarized concisely in your subject line. Depending on their level of commitment, personal life circumstances, and other factors, your affiliates will often make the decision whether or not to open your email based on the subject line alone!
The email greeting is a great opportunity to personalize your newsletter – and some email marketing services have built-in methods for adding subscriber-specific content to your campaigns. For example, MailChimp has a feature that allows you to personalize greetings (and other elements) via text-based labels (“merge tags”) that correspond with specific data, such as a first or last name.
The main message
At this point, you’ve captured your affiliate’s attention enough to open your email, or perhaps they have their inbox settings set to show previews of the email contents. To account for both situations, it’s important to put the most pressing information toward the beginning of your newsletter; you want your affiliates to know right away that your email is worth reading!
The body of your email should convey all the main points as concisely as possible, keeping in mind that your goal is to effectively and efficiently communicate to your affiliates, while respecting their time as well. Remember, you’re building a relationship with each affiliate, and the more positive (and less salesy) your presence, the better! Don’t forget: your affiliates are not necessarily your customers, and because email is a 1-to-1 communication method, personal touches really make a difference; therefore, while images and HTML may make a newsletter look nice, plain text appears more personal, and is beneficial when it comes to click-through rates!
You might be sending a newsletter to notify your affiliates of an upcoming promotion. Increase engagement by providing all of the details and resources they need, including things like promo codes, banners and other creatives, as well as the designated time period for the promotion. Keeping these details straight and to the point, ideally bulleted or otherwise clearly highlighted, can help your affiliates quickly and easily identify what they need to get started.
Whatever you’re promoting, you’ll want to include information about the most notable (or relevant) product features – you might even include some short suggestions or examples of how to promote it! Discounting a product that rarely goes on sale? Make a big deal about it. Offering a timely seasonal product? Use your creativity to craft a short and sweet line that gets your affiliates excited. You might even give them things like keywords, phrases, or other “inspo” to help them craft interesting social media posts, blog posts, or YouTube videos.
Direct contact information
One of the most important aspects of your newsletter is direct contact information, which enables your affiliates to easily get in touch with you (and/or their affiliate manager) if they have questions or concerns. This includes things like your phone number, email address, Skype handle, any other social media accounts you may use for affiliate communication, and a link to your website for the affiliate’s reference and inspiration. When your affiliates know that you’re reachable and reliably there for them if they need support, they are more likely to want to invest in your program!
Think specific, short, and sweet! When it comes to affiliate communications in general, speaking your affiliates’ language (incentives, details, and personalized information) keeps your program, your brand, and your products in front of them in a way that creates a positive association and inspires them to succeed. When your affiliates know that you value their time and efforts, that you’re reliable and available to guide them, and that you will provide them with everything they need to do well in your program, they might just surprise you with better performance, increased conversions, and more revenue!
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