Most merchants run monthly campaigns. A lot of coupons are valid for one month only and often targeted to aid and improve the effectiveness of that month's campaign.
Sites that specialize in promoting merchant campaigns - like coupon sites and other sites that target and attract bargain hunting customers - have their busiest days at the end of the month and the first days of the following month as they replace expiring campaigns with new ones. If possible, announce upcoming or about-to-be discontinued campaigns outside of this timeframe.
This will increase the chances that your campaign will get more attention and decrease the chances that the discontinuation announcement is unintentionally missed. Affiliates are humans, and humans make mistakes, especially when they are under stress.
Unplanned discontinuation of any promotion
Keep in mind that affiliates likely promote long running promotions in multiple ways. To stop all of them takes more than a few minutes.
Affiliates are busy, too, and the ones who do it right are employing resource planning as any other healthy business would, and are not able to halt their business operations for you because you want them to do something immediately.
Only if there is very good reason (legal issue, natural disaster, end of the world and that sort of thing) is it acceptable and also understandable to your affiliate if you demand an immediate cessation of a promotional campaign. If you have to demand an immediate stop, explain it.
For example, the promotion and even the release of new action movies that involved terrorists was stopped or delayed immediately after 9/11. TV stations changed their programming and replaced what was considered offensive or thoughtless with more appropriate programming.
This could not be planned ahead, but it was the right thing to do and no one complained about the extra time it took to do it or the fact that it had to be done quickly.
Announcements via email
Regardless of what, when and why you announce something important and/or time critical to your affiliates via email, make sure that you state in the subject of the email message your intention and content of the email. Don't just title the email correspondence "Affiliate Newsletter" unless you are providing only general information and news to your affiliates.
A generic title is the worst subject line that you can use for emails that require immediate attention or actions to be taken by the affiliates. Your emails are not the only emails an affiliate receives.
Precise email subject lines facilitate quick, efficient response by the affiliate and reduce the chances that critical emails are overlooked.
Affiliate Marketing Rule No.1: Affiliates and merchants are business partners, treat them as such.
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©2006 Carsten Cumbrowski
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