Merchant-Affiliate relationships have a lot to be desired for. Gaps in communication have increased over the past years, and although the underlying business relationship hasn’t been affected much, the lack of valuable communication, nevertheless, has created a gap in what could be one of the best relationship building processes.
Recent data from the U.S and the U.K indicates lots of complaints about the lack of personal attention and irregularity of communication. There is a constant theme for greater communication between affiliates and merchants, whether something that needs to be improved or as a redesign of the system to positively impact the affiliate marketing sector.
A 2010 worldwide survey by Affiliate Summit, titled AffStat Report, touched upon two of the more important questions about affiliate-merchant communication – Frequency of Communication and Methods of Communication.
Most affiliates, almost over 85% wanted to hear from merchant managers. The percentage that preferred a monthly communication stood at 49%, and the percentage of affiliates who preferred a weekly communication from managers stood at 36.1%. As this data suggests, it would be a good idea to maintain a monthly communication with affiliates, whilst toying with the idea of bi-monthly newsletters.
Answers to the second question in the survey indicated over 62% of the affiliates preferred to be contacted by email, with 41% wanting contact through regular email, and 21.4% preferred network internal email systems. More than a few answers also suggested that affiliate markets would also like the idea of being communicated with through merchant websites, with 13.8% of the 22% respondents looking at company sites for communication, and 8.1% of the 22% preferring to be communicated with through the affiliate program’s blog.
The use of social media for communication was not entirely shunned, however, all current methods of micro-blogging and social networking landed amongst the least favored means of communication.
Not all this data should indicate that managers unwillingly engage with affiliate marketers even if there is nothing to be communicated. The data, instead, drives home the point of a need existing in a vacuum created by not even trying. And even though the content of communication is a subject of its own, every newsletter, blog, or website must actually report some news.
Chances are your affiliate network partners may well be holding their breath in wait for you r next communication. But if you really don’t have anything to send, then communicate that too!