Between The Broke-Ass Bride and Bourbon & Sparkle, I get more than my fair share of affiliate marketing emails on the regs, a large number of which tend to be emails trying to recruit me into a new program. Some of them, of course, are a great match and I jump at the chance to join the program. Others? Well ... no. Nope. Nuh-uh. Not gonna happen.
With hundreds, if not thousands, of emails coming through our inboxes every day, bloggers are already facing inbox fatigue. It's essential to be efficient, succinct and detailed in your pitch, but do so in a personalized fashion. If you're trying to holler at us wedding bloggers, specifically, that definitely takes a delicate touch ... we're special snowflakes, after all. Remember: You're reaching out to pitch us, so make it good. Make it worth it. Make us want what you have to offer.
So, what makes for a good affiliate recruitment email vs. one that will likely wind up in the trash?
The No. 1 reason my blogger friends cited for eschewing recruitment emails is lack of personalization -- whether that's knowing the blogger's name (and spelling it correctly) or knowing what the blog is about. If you approach a wedding blogger as you would a mommy/lifestyle blogger, you're losing their attention pretty much immediately. Most networks have a field where bloggers fill in who their contact person is. Read that field. Make sure you're reaching the right person. If an email comes to The Broke-Ass Bride and just says "Hey brokeassbride.com" or "Hi Broke-Ass Media" I'm likely to skim and delete pretty much immediately. I am listed as the contact person in all the networks where it's possible to do so in. Email me and address me by name.
In addition, know what the hell the blog is about -- no two blogs are the same, and this is especially true among wedding blogs. We all have our own specialty, and sometimes that's a specialty within a specialty ... it gets ultra-niche up in here, yo! Disney wedding bloggers aren't going to have the same audience as budget wedding bloggers, who are also going to be vastly different from socially conscious wedding bloggers. A little research will go a long way. Want to make your pitch uber effective? Read through some posts, follow the blogger on social media and highlight a few specific products from the merchant in your pitch that are perfectly in line with what the blogger speaks to regularly.
We know that you're not going to be able to offer up big-money sponsored posts or lots of free products up front, but be clear about whether special opportunities are possible in the future. Set clear expectations for our relationship, not just a bunch of copy 'n' paste terms. Of course we want to know what the commission rate is, how long the cookie lasts and what the average order value (and sometimes the EPC) is, but we also want to know if it really is going to be a relationship you're looking forward to cultivating or if we're just another among myriad affiliates. We're often picky about who we work with, whether it's a direct sponsorship or through affiliate marketing, because we're dealing with a very discerning audience. If you approach our relationship with that understanding and respect, and realize that our blog posts are valuable real estate, then we'll have a great partnership.
Don't pitch something that has jack shit to do with our blog. I looked through my spam email today and found a number of recruitment emails from merchants in the tech and home repair verticals, saying The Broke-Ass Bride "is a perfect fit for their program." Yeah, dude, how so? We've never, ever touched on anything even remotely close to your program in our eight years of existence. You're wasting my time and yours.
And finally, know if we're already in your program or if we work together in another program you or your agency manages. This seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, I recently got an email from ModCloth's AM trying to recruit The Broke-Ass Bride into their program ... despite us having driven multiple thousands of dollars in sales for them in each of the last three years. You can pretty much guarantee I was totally miffed when I received that -- honest mistake or not. I know you have an assload of affiliates to communicate with, but a little attention to detail goes a long way.
A few other helpful tips:
- Have a subject line that speaks to us but isn't overly salesy -- and don't mention sponsored opportunity unless you plan to back that up immediately. Affiliate money ≠ sponsored money.
- Include a link to the merchant's website AND their signup page. If it's in a network that doesn't allow for individual program signups, push the affiliate a private offer and clarify that in the email.
- Tell us whether we'll be working with you or one of your colleagues. There are few things more frustrating than trying to reach you only to realize you don't actually manage the program, but another person entirely does.