2019 Update: HasOffers has rebranded to TUNE! TUNE is the same great technology behind HasOffers, now enhanced with new tools and features for performance advertisers and affiliate networks. Check out our new platform features page or read the rebrand announcement.
If you look at my spam folder, you might conclude the CAN-SPAM Act was a massive failure. I get at least as much junk mail now as I did prior to it becoming law at the end of 2003. At the same time, CAN-SPAM was successful in establishing a set of rules that help separate legitimate senders from junk mailers. It also birthed the business of suppression list management, by requiring email senders to remove addresses from email lists.
It’s easy to limit the possibility of suppression list management to CAN-SPAM compliance, but that would be ignoring some of the other great ways you can use suppression list functionality to improve your marketing campaigns.
How Suppression Lists Work with Affiliate Marketing
Before we dig into creative ways to use suppression lists in affiliate marketing campaigns, I’ll briefly cover how they work.
When you create an email marketing offer in the HasOffers platform, you can associate a suppression list file with the offer. This list is a hashed file of the addresses affiliates are not allowed to send to. The affiliate uses the hashed file to filter the addresses from their own marketing list, ensuring the affiliate is only sending to the addresses you allow them to.
In the past, the process for sharing a suppression list with an affiliate varied depending whether the list was stored with HasOffers or with a third party.
Working with HasOffers to integrate suppression lists just got a whole lot easier. Now instead of several manual steps, we’ve integrated support for UnsubCentral. After authorizing integration in your UnsubCentral account, you can simply associate any of your existing suppression list files without ever leaving the HasOffers interface.
As Corey Gleichenhaus, CEO of Double Play Media put it, “Before the HasOffers integration with UnsubCentral, getting suppression files to our mailers was a nightmare. Most are too big to simply email, so we had to use FTP or third party data transfer sites to send the lists. Now, suppression files that are managed by UnsubCentral can be accessed by our mailers via the HasOffers platform. This integration avoids the need to have multiple versions of the same suppression list stored in different places.”
So now that we’ve made suppression list management easier, what else can you do with those lists besides comply with CAN-SPAM?
More Intelligent Targeting
Suppression lists make great tools for more intelligent targeting of affiliate offers. Companies with multiple products often know specific things about customer purchase behavior. For instance, a company may know that customers who purchased Product A also purchase Product B 60% of the time, but virtually never purchase Product C.
When you create an affiliate offer for Product C, you may want to consider only promoting the offer to people who have never purchased from you before and those who purchased Product B in the past. You can include a suppression list with the offer that filters existing customers who purchased Product A as a way to keep the offer focused on the highest probability buyers.
Removing Unrelated Email Addresses
One great use for suppression lists is eliminating addresses unrelated to an offer. Lets say you have a list of prospects who are all geographically located in the Pacific Northwest. If you create an affiliate offer targeting potential buyers in Florida, you probably don’t want to send it to anyone from Washington or Oregon. If you create a suppression list of those addresses of Washington and Oregon customers, you can make sure your affiliates aren’t targeting the wrong customers.
Granted my example above probably needs to eliminate a few more states, but you get the idea.
Control Remarketing to Customers
Affiliate marketing isn’t happening in a vacuum. Most companies have other marketing channels with different goals. When an affiliate sends one offer to an existing customer, while the company is sending a separate promotion, it creates the potential for confusion.
To give you an example, a couple of years ago I purchased a Windows app that let me stream videos to my Xbox 360. A week after making the purchase, the company emailed me with an offer for the same product at a 50 percent lower price. Did I have buyer’s remorse at having paid too much? Absolutely. If the company had used a suppression list to filter out anyone who had purchased, I would have never seen their current special.
New Customer Acquisition
While sending the wrong message to existing customers can be undesirable, you may not want affiliates marketing to your established client base at all. Creating a suppression list made up of existing customers allows you to keep all affiliate emails focused on new customer acquisition.
Start Building Your Suppression Lists
As you can see, suppression lists go far beyond compliance with CAN-SPAM. They are also a powerful tool in your online marketing arsenal. If you aren’t currently using suppression lists, you can get started by signing up with UnsubCentral.
How are you using suppression lists and email list segmentation to manage your affiliate marketing? Let us know in the comments!
Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.