Tips For Communicating with Advertisers

Thanks but no thanks email


In my post on blogging sins I've committed, I wrote under Wrath: I received more contact from press agencies and people looking for coverage. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve sent a nasty email or two that has likely burned a bridge I wish it hadn’t. 

Recently an affiliate program reached out to me and invited me to join their network.  I try to keep my network circle tight and full of stores I personally use and happily recommend.  This is for a site I've never heard of, focusing on a type of jewelry I'd never wear.

Hello Ashley,
I have visited your site at and saw it is about fashion, life & style in New Orleans….

Your website would be a good fit for our products. I'm writing to invite you to join our partner program and earn 8% commission on sales by placing text, banner and product links on

Would you be the proper person to contact regarding a partnership with COMPANY?

I've been adopting a policy of “don't be rude, because you never know when you'll meet up with someone again.” So I sent back a quick reply of,

Thank you so much for reaching out and sharing information about your affiliate program. I'll be sure to review the program to see if it is a good fit with my site. If I have any questions, I'll be sure to get in touch.

(I like to call this a polite TNT- “Thanks, but No Thanks” email.)

It was when I received a reply saying, “Thank you for your email and interest in our affiliate programme,” and “Let me know if you have any problem registering” that I realized perhaps my intent wasn't quite clear enough.

The problem with interacting via email is simply our grasp of the written language: both in composing and comprehending what's in front of us.  Nothing replaces in-person interaction, but in the world of digital publications, email is de rigueur.

So how can you make sure that you're communicating clearly with potential advertisers and companies?


  • Have a published page of policies in place you can refer them to.   It's (theoretically) easier if it's easy to find on your site, but having something you can point them to that answers their questions shortens the need for unnecessary conversations.
  • Create response templates: create a standard letter you can send. Not interested in selling text links? Thank you for your interest in sponsored content on my site! Unfortunately I do not accept guest posts on my site, but if you're interested in advertising options, please see this page for my rates and policies.  Copy. Paste. Add in a name. Hit send.
  • Be direct about what you will and won't do.  Don't waver back and force in your email: “Well, I don't typically accept sponsored posts, but maybe I could for this brand.”  You either do or you don't.  “Thanks for your interest in purchasing text links, but I don't sell those on my site,” or “Thanks for the invitation to join your affiliate program, but I don't run advertising on my site.” It's all simple, direct, and not wasting anyone's time.
  • Be firm when necessary.  I've had dozens of text link advertisers respond to my, “No thank you,” email with “Well I will give you this and you will accept.” And on hearing “no thank you” again? Still trying to push me! Sometimes your patience wears thin, but remember you can be firm, say “no,” and be polite at the same time. If that doesn't work, there's no harm in ignoring them.
  • If you're not certain what they're asking for, say so.  “Could you give me more details about the type of program you're interested in running?” is usually enough for them to clarify what their “advertising opportunity” really is.


Communication online will never be perfect or easy– we're missing out on some vital parts of interaction, after all! (Body language, voice, tone, expression, etc.)  But by writing clearly, simply, and directly, you can clear up a lot of miscommunication early on.

What other ways do you keep the lines of communication clear and static free online?

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12 Responses

  1. April

    I just wrote on of these emails last night! Here’s what mine said:

    “Thank you for thinking of Knocked Up Fabulous! Though your site looks great (as do the dresses!), at this time I am not interested in partnering up.”

    Short. Simple. To the point.

  2. Chelsea Rae

    It’s a great idea to keep a stock rejection letter because that saves a ton of time. As a PR girl (not quite the person looking to pay for text links, but…) I know we, and advertisers, can be pushy because we can’t just tell our clients “sorry, they said no.” The best way for us to present a rejection to the client is to provide reasoning or feedback.

    So, if your reasoning is more of a preference and less of a “I don’t sell those” sitation, it might be helpful to also add a sentence, stating your reason for rejecting the offer (e.g. Brand X does not fit with the theme of my website, etc.). That way, they have no reason to follow up!

    • Ashley "Ashe" Robison

      “it might be helpful to also add a sentence, stating your reason for rejecting the offer (e.g. Brand X does not fit with the theme of my website, etc.).” A great point that I’ve done as well, but didn’t mention, Chelsea Rae! I’ve had people reach out with children’s merchandise and partnerships and have written back to say, “Thank you for the interest. Unfortunately I’m childless, and a majority of my readers are, so I don’t feel this is a great fit. If you have any promotions for fashion or accessories coming up, please contact me again.” — again, keeping open those lines, not pissing anyone off, but saving time!

  3. Stephanie

    I haven’t received any offers that I’ve thought to turn down as of yet (since I don’t receive many to begin with!) but if I was still being hassled after a simple “Thanks, but no thanks” , I’d be a little more stern with my denial in the nicest way possible. They’re people, too.

    Steph, Chocolate Laced

  4. FallForFall

    I never had issues with making myself unclear or having brands pushing me to do something, however, it happened to me in more than one case that person who is writing e-mails for brand just ( I assume, because not all brands that have contacted me are from countries where English is first language) doesn’t know English very well, so their answers to my concerns are very unclear and hard to understand. It’s pity because sometimes I really like their products, it’s just that lack of information I’m not comfortable with.

  5. Becky Bedbug

    I’ve had this before and I found it quite simple: “Thank you for your interest in… However, I do not feel that my readership is quite the right target audience for you. I’ll be sure to get in touch if this changes at any time”


  6. Elisa

    I totally agree with everything you said Ashe! I always try to be polite and leave space for a follow up (they’re pr so they could handle other brands as well) but sometimes they wind me up! If you just have a look at the first couple of posts on the homepage of my blog, or even just read the name and switch your brain on for a second you, dear pr, would understand immediately that there’s no space for corporate clothing or electronic cigarettes!

  7. Yanira Garza

    I just wrote one of these. Not only did these dresses not have anything to do with my site (I’m pretty casual) but they didn’t even bother to say Dear Yanira, instead it was as generic as possible. This article came at a perfect time!


  8. .

    I usually don’t have advertisements on my site, because none of the companies that have contacted me don’t fit my style nor my blog’s aesthetics. And I always make sure I clearly state that in the “rejection e-mail”. These tips are great! Now I’d like to see a post on here about where and how to find brands that fit into my style and with whom I’d like to work!