You all know that I love my affiliate manager friends (and family). They are some of my favorite people in the world. I know the stresses they are undergoing between their merchants and their affiliates. They have to make decisions based on the bottom line of the merchants that sometimes really hurt the affiliates, and they have no choice. I know affiliates are a pain in the rear. We can be needy and rude and demanding.
There are some things that I have seen in the last few weeks that I really need to address. In part I want to give some perspective to the affiliate managers that they might not otherwise understand. In part, I want to yell from the rooftops that these things are not good and should be avoided at all cost. They are all 98% true with just a smidge of exaggeration.
- Breast Cancer Awareness is not a promotion in and of itself. I’ve had at least 5 merchants try to push “Breast Cancer Awareness” promotions on me that are nothing more than a coupon tied to the word “breast” or “pink.” No money is going to charity. The products don’t promote Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns. As someone who believes in this cause (you can still support my Avon Walk!), it makes me REALLY angry when merchants just want to use the cause as another reason to run a sale. Just because a product is pink doesn’t mean it has anything to do with Breast Cancer Awareness.
- Stop trying to get me to promote in-store sales when I won’t get a commission. I had 3 different merchants in the last week send out affiliate emails about in-store promotions. However, there is no tracking in place to provide me any credit for it. Why would I want them to buy something in the store and I get no credit when I could encourage them to buy it online and I would get credit?? One is free advertising for you…the other is how affiliate marketing works.
- Tell me when you are lowering my commission and why. It’s great that the network sends out a notice that my commission is being reduced, but that’s not enough if you want to have any kind of relationship with me. I need to know if I’m doing something wrong, if the program as a whole is being cut back, etc. I need to know if there is any room for negotiation or if maybe it was a mistake because a new employee didn’t realize that we have had a standing deal for years. A simple email to affected affiliates explaining the change goes a long way in helping our relationship.
- Don’t use URGENT in the subject line unless it really is URGENT. You will fool me once and I will open the email to see that you have a new coupon. But now you are the boy who cried wolf and I won’t open the email next time. Be honest in your subject line. If it’s a flash sale, say it’s a flash sale. If I have time to run flash deals that day, I will open the email. If I’m not in the office, I won’t rush to read it.
- Help me with coupons (Part 1). It’s October. I’m guessing that is the biggest costume month of the year. You are a Halloween Costume merchant. You have coupons on your site. And yet you have no coupons listed in the network for affiliates (even though you have every year up until now). Did you get lazy? Did you decide coupon sites can’t have any coupons? I’d love to send you some traffic but I don’t know for sure if I will get my commission revoked if my visitors use the coupons you have listed on your site because I didn’t have any on mine. You wouldn’t be the first merchant to do that. I don’t want to take the risk. But it’s October and you aren’t answering your emails.
- Help me with coupons (Part 2). If you don’t classify coupons appropriately as deals in the network but rather as text links, I don’t get them through the deal feed. Then when you email me complaining that I don’t have your deals posted, I first spend 10 minutes trying to figure out why the feed isn’t working and then I realize you didn’t do your job right. But you want me to spend the extra time manually adding them. Can you imagine the time it would take for an affiliate to manually add deals for thousands of merchants as opposed to the amount of time it would take for the affiliate manager just to add them right to begin with?
- Stop sending all your newsletters Friday afternoon. I know you probably work on newsletters throughout the week to get them all queued up in the network by your Friday afternoon deadline. But imagine all of us affiliates sitting at our computers at 2 on Friday trying to get everything done to turn off for the weekend and then BAM!!! 50 newsletters hit our inboxes. Some Friday afternoons I will get as many as 100, especially if 5 or 10 OPMs all send them out for all of their programs at the same time. Do I just ignore them all over the weekend, letting them sit in my inbox with me not knowing if there is stuff I need to know for first thing Monday morning? Nope. I sit and go through them all….meaning that I’ve just extended my work week into my family time to try to catch up. I guess that’s my own fault? But I suspect it happens to lots of others like me.
I will reiterate that on the whole I get so much help from affiliate managers and have a GREAT relationship with many of them. But things like what I have mentioned above, especially in Q4, are enough to make me question how long I want to continue being an affiliate.
Let’s help each other be more successful, not less!