I’ve been a member of the Amazon Associates affiliate program for years. In fact, as a book author, I probably signed up and joined when the program was first released. It feels like I’ve been working with the company forever.
Even after all these years, though, I’m constantly astonished at just how boring and uninspired the communications from the group are. Just this morning I got my Amazon Associates statement and from the subject of the message to its content, the way it presents my earnings to the fact that there’s no individual signing the message, is shockingly banal.
I mean, really, guys, the subject title Remittance Advice from “Amazon Accounts Payable <email@example.com>” just seems like the poster example of what happens when accountants run a program, not marketing people. This should be “Great news from Amazon Associates!” and should come from the head of the program at Amazon, or at least the Associates program itself.
Then the message itself? Holy cow, it needs an injection of some sort of positive thinking. Here’s what you get instead:
In case you can’t read it, it’s basically just accounting talk, details about how payments are processed and, at the bottom, barely even recognizable, is the actual amount you’ve earned. Not even a “$” is included to help you see it in a glance, though.
If I were reframing this email, I’d start by saying thank you to the associates for helping Amazon sell products and be a bit more enthusiastic about the actual amount earned. For example:
“We’re pleased to tell you that you earned $152.04 on this payment cycle through the Amazon Associates program. We at Amazon.com thank you for your help in selling our products and will be mailing you a check (or initiating an electronic funds transaction) within the next 48 hours.”
Doesn’t that seem a bit more friendly and perhaps a bit more motivating to Associates who you really want to be excited about the program?
In fact, why not include 3-4 bullet items that highlight exciting changes to the program, new product lines available for promotion, and even case studies on people who are doing very well in the program?
But perhaps I’m just a lone voice in the wilderness. Are you in the Associates program, and if so, does their current email earnings notification work just fine for you?
As one of the marketing people trying to fix these emails (not for Amazon, however), we often get the “our billing system can’t do that” response. See also: the reservation system can’t do that, the confirmation system can’t do that, etc.
Sometimes it appears as though all software is written in a world where Courier is the only font and system emails will never need to change.
We’re making a point to bring the marketing team into every programming/implementation project early to point out these kinds of issues.
thanks for the info its very interesting
I do not use Amazon affiliate program but as a person who purchases books on occasion I have transitioned from Amazon to Barnes and Noble. As you had mentioned concerning the communications aspect I have found Amazon to be clinical and diluted as a brand, which was not always the case. I should also mention that I have found that for better or worse that companies are generally consistent with their brand. Thank you for sharing this.
I had an Amazon affiliate account, but they recently cancelled it because my state might start imposing a tax on affiliate earnings. As a matter of fact, several programs dropped us because of this. But yes, Amazon is profit oriented and not big on words. Also, congrats on the WSJ interview.