LinkConnector’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Tara McCommons, kicked off day 3 of Affiliate Summit East behind the podium, leading an insightful panel discussion between four thought leaders in the affiliate marketing industry. Trials & Triumphs From Affiliate Marketing Front Lines, an extension of a top 10 session from ASW earlier this year, progressed through a wide range of industry-disrupting topics.
In an effort to get the audience involved in the various discussion points, the panelists set up a unique icebreaker to begin their session, randomly placing cards with affiliate marketing related keywords under several chairs throughout the room. Each person who could relate the keyword back to their role in an affiliate marketing position received a chochkie for participating.
Tara’s first discussion point focused on aligning a company’s affiliate marketing strategy to suit the various needs of its affiliates/merchants. DollarDays Director of Marketing, Jackie Eldridge, drew a perfect parallel between managing her affiliate accounts and falling in love. “Explaining to our affiliates how our model works and giving them tools to overcome hurdles is essential. It’s always a wonderful thing to have a one on one relationship with your affiliates. It’s almost like falling in love with someone—if you really like someone and you want to keep dating, you hug them and love them, and your relationship will continue to grow and become stronger. I believe it is the same with your affiliate marketing relationships.”
In her next discussion point, Tara asked the panelists to recommend resources for continued knowledge and development within the affiliate marketing space. Coupons.com Marketing Manager, Helen Fang, uses three traits to accurately describe affiliate marketing: wholistic, marketing and hustle. “I am constantly busy in my role at Coupons.com, so I am very particular about where I spend my time and what resources I use to stay updated. I wake up each morning, hop on Twitter, check my smart briefs and check buzzsumo. Buzzsumo is a great tool because it gives you the ability to see how people are engaging with your content.”
Tara’s third discussion point was geared toward targeting new customers—“Retailers are looking for the incremental, the new customer acquision – how do you plan for that?” Owner of Pocket Your Dollars, Carrie Rocha provided a great explanation from the affiliate angle. “When I think about my readers, I think of how I need to continually build my readership. I started a facebook group (different from a fan page) and every time it is updated my group gets the little red 1 signaling a notification which prompts engagement. I don’t have as large of a following in my Facebook group as I do on my fan page but I see a lot more engagement this way which has helped build up my readership following.”
Turning the conversation in a slightly different direction, Tara asked the panelists what one of the biggest changes they had experienced in the affiliate marketing industry over the past 12-months and how they had adjusted their strategies accordingly. Digital Media Director at CheckIntoCash, Sylvia Cintron, shared a few shocking statistics caused by the change in Google’s algorithm earlier this year. “One CheckIntoCash affiliate experienced a significant drop in overall traffic volume—9.6 million visits in June 2014 decreased to 128,000 visits in June 2015. It is important to identify when affiliates decrease their performance—it is my job to understand the needs of the affiliate so I can help them to better plan and keep track of performance goals.”
These comments and discussion points represent only a fraction of the insightful information covered during Trials & Triumphs From Affiliate Marketing Front lines. Be on the lookout for a video of the full session, coming soon.
Stay tuned to AffiliateTip.com for the video release of this full “Trials & Triumphs From Affiliate Marketing Front Lines” session (and all the other valuable ASE15 sessions) for select conference pass attendees.