Overcoming Hurdles to Publisher Engagement – By Kim Salvino

by Colleen on January 26, 2015

Customers are actively seeking your product. Your e-commerce site is thriving. Customers are actively seeking your product. Your affiliate program has 1,000+ approved publishers. feedfront-cover-29-188x240

So why are less than 100 of those driving traffic? More importantly, why are only 30 driving conversions? Consider how you fare against the hurdles to publisher engagement I’ve outlined below.

PUBLISHERS DON’T KNOW YOU

There are publishers who sign up for every program. Every. Single. Program. If there are four other merchants that specialize in blue widgets, what makes yours different for them? Do you offer something above and beyond? Why should they place you in their top promotional areas or recommend you?

PUBLISHERS DON’T KNOW HOW BEST TO PROMOTE YOU

Do you manufacture your product using a specific process consumers would find unique? Are your products made of recycled materials? Reach out to publishers that indicate a specific specialty based on their URL with personalized ideas. If you can’t find a unique angle independently, reach out anyway. Ask for a few minutes of their time and educate them on a new angle for your brand.

PUBLISHERS DON’T UNDERSTAND THE EARNING POTENTIAL

Not all blue widgets are created equal, but publishers won’t know that inherently. Are yours available at the lowest price? Do you pay a higher commission rate, offer tiers based on performance or regularly bonus publishers? A program that pays 10% commission but has a poorly converting site is less profitable than a program paying 8% and converting at a 30%+ rate. Payout does not always equal earning potential, so clearly address that with your publishers.

PUBLISHERS RECEIVE THE SAME SALES PITCH FROM EVERYONE ELSE

The best affiliate program managers are already doing the above and more. Get crafty with your communications. Emails are an option, but publishers aren’t likely to respond to an automated email when they receive hundreds per day. Send a personalized email, addressing items most relevant based upon site theme or promotional method.

I once sent out handwritten holiday cards to hundreds of affiliates because mail that arrives with a handwritten address is less likely to be thrown away. I have sent custom magnets with the next year’s calendar printed on them, thinking that a useful item with my contact information and branding would be kept in a visible place. My hope was that a magnetic calendar would incite the need to work with my program more in the coming year. It worked! Be different from the rest of the affiliate managers vying for the same publisher’s attention and site traffic.

In the end, the best ways to engage publishers and encourage promotional activity remain steadfast. Communicate. Educate. Inform. Be different. Your current dormant affiliate could be your top earner with a bit of effort on your part.

Kim Salvino is Client Services Director for Performance Horizon and has been managing and optimizing affiliate programs since 2005.

This article appeared in issue 29 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in January 2015.http://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-29

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