Building a new business relationship can be difficult, especially in a remote environment. Without the ability to meet every business connection in person, it is important to possess the skills necessary to build relationships quickly via email and phone conversations. Building strong relationships with affiliate partners is essential; affiliates that know, like and trust you will be more inclined to put extra care and time into promoting your brand. With that in mind, here are five ways to foster high-value affiliate relationships.
Before sending out any communication to a potential publisher, it’s important to do research. Look through their website, LinkedIn pages, or other available information sources to learn about their business model and how they promote other brands. Then leverage this information to draw parallels between the affiliate program their affiliate partnership opportunities. Communicate these connections to the publisher to get them excited to begin a relationship, stating specific examples of how you see a partnership forming.
While oftentimes relationships begin via email, setting up a call with the publisher is vital to building a relationship. Email is a great way to connect and leaves a paper trail for future reference but talking on the phone is more personal, puts a voice behind the emails, and allows for a bit more candid conversation. Use this time to learn more about the publisher’s website but also to go in depth with the them regarding the programs you represent. Have a list of questions prepared which confirm to the publisher that you are eager to work with them.
While talking business is important, it should not be the only focus of your first phone conversation. Ask a few questions about them. While you do not want to get too personal, ask them how their day is going, how the weather is near them, if they have any fun weekend plans, etc. Going the extra mile shows that you not only care about business, but also the person you are talking with, and it adds a level of personalization that you would not get through email.
After any call, it’s great to follow up with the key points that were discussed and any action items needed from the publisher. Add any information that you promised to provide for them. Acting quickly with follow-ups is another way to show how interested you are in a partnership. This is also a great time to mention the personal points you discussed earlier; for example, “I hope your day continues to be great,” “Fingers crossed the rain stopped for you,” “Hope you have a great weekend.” While a simple idea, it shows the publisher that you are interested in forming a personal working relationship.
Trust is an essential part of any relationship, especially in business. The above tips are a great way to begin that partnership, but in order for a relationship to be successful in the long term, that trust must continue to grow. Some tips to continue a strong relationship are: follow up to their emails quickly, inform the publisher of any issues immediately, and check in with the publisher on a regular cadence to keep the line of communication open. Additionally, if there is an opportunity to meet with a publisher at a conference, this is a great time to set up some one-on-one time and meet in person.
Building a relationship via email and phone can be difficult; however, doing your research, chatting with the partner on a personal level, and following up with the publisher quickly are great ways to start. Strong relationships with publishers are essential to a strong affiliate program. The goal is to make the publisher want to work hard for you and, in turn, help your affiliate program succeed.
Check out our guide to Creating High-Value Publisher Partnerships.