The Hitchhikers Guide to Affiliate Marketing ft. LinkConnector’s David Troop

As the travel industry continues to rebound and thrive in the wake of a challenging 2+ years, a vast array of authors, social influencers, brands, industry leaders and more descended on Memphis from April 29 – May 1 to celebrate, connect and learn at TravelCon 2022.

With so many talented content creators and entrepreneurs under one roof, LinkConnector Manager of Affiliate Operations, David Troop saw this as the perfect opportunity to educate attendees on the key factors for affiliate marketing success.

Affiliate marketing relationships can offer a significant source of profitable revenue for publishers and advertisers in the travel vertical, and with affiliate marketing growth drastically expanded across the digital galaxy–from search engine marketing to influencers to retargeting, the innovative approaches publishers take to drive success are ever evolving.

In his session, titled “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing,” David took attendees through several key performance marketing elements and how they help to boost results with affiliate relationships. These included:

1.) Knowing your Audience: The first step to affiliate marketing success is understanding who is viewing your digital content, and there are several ways to easily accomplish this. For example, Google Analytics is a powerful, free and highly customizable tool for tracking activity on your website. Also, determining the ideal social media platforms for your content and increasing your social media activity on these platforms are vital action items for tracking your audience, communicating with them and gathering essential feedback to help improve your content. Similarly, you can track and connect with your audience by establishing an email newsletter that your audience can sign up for through your website.

2.) Promoting the Right Products: Another key part of building success as an affiliate is promoting products and services that will appeal to your audience. The best place to start is with products that you yourself love. Chances are that most of your favorite products and services will have an affiliate program, and you can usually find information on a merchant’s affiliate program directly on their website. If not, seek out their contact info, either on the company’s website or social media profiles, and submit an inquiry. Finally, once you’ve selected the ideal products, you will need the right resources to promote them. This includes things like product photos, graphics, descriptions, sizes and colors. Often, you can find this information on the merchant’s website or within their product feed.

“You can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been”
-Maya Angelou

3.) Set Up Proper Tracking: Once you are up and running with your promotions, you’ll need to establish an effective tracking system to measure your success. Part of proper tracking involves appending SUB-IDs to every link that you set up. A SUB-ID is a parameter that you can add to each link to track the source of your traffic. So, let’s say you are promoting the same product on your website, on Facebook and in an email campaign –you should add unique SUB-IDs to the links on each of these platforms to track where the clicks are originating from (see image). Additionally, you will want to establish a method of tracking coupons. This can be accomplished though technology such as LinkConnector’s Naked Coupons which use unique, private coupon codes to attribute credit and track the source of the code, all without the need for a click or cookie. And, when it comes to creating coupon codes LinkConnector offers another powerful tool with our proprietary Infinity Codes, which empower affiliates to easily create an unlimited number of unique codes while offering a large number of optimization possibilities.

4.) Reporting: What is tracked will be reported and affiliate networks like LinkConnector can provide you with a wide variety of reporting options. These reports are essential tools that help affiliates follow their progress. Some of the more popular reports include Transaction Reports, Geography Reports and Link Type Reports. Transaction Reports provide a summary of all your transactions and will include items such as the sale amount, date of sale, commission amount, coupon used and SUB-ID information. Geography Reports will show you the geographic location where your clicks, leads and sales originated from. And, Link Type Reports show you which links are generating clicks, leads and sales. These are just three examples of commonly used reports but there are hundreds of additional reporting options out there that can help you pinpoint the successes and shortfalls of your affiliate marketing efforts.

5.) Compensation: And this brings us to the top question on every new affiliate’s mind – how do you get compensated for your efforts? In some cases, you will earn a commission for generating a sale, and this will come as either a percentage of the sale amount, or as a set fee for each sale. In other cases, you could be compensated for simply generating a lead, without a purchase (for example, directing a user to fill out a contact form on a merchant’s website). A click campaign will offer compensation every time the promotional link is clicked, although this will usually be a fraction of what you would earn for a sale campaign. Be sure to review the payment terms when promoting a campaign. Usually, you will get paid 30 days after generating a sale (i.e., “net 30”) but this could be longer with some merchants.

In the end, TravelCon 2022 proved to be an exciting and valuable experience for everyone who was lucky enough to attend, and David was honored to have been invited to share his knowledge and expertise.

While these five points offer a great introduction to affiliate marketing, there is still is a lot more to learn and understand. If you are interested diving deeper into the essential ingredients for affiliate marketing success, David Troop and the LinkConnector team would love to connect with you. To schedule a meeting, contact us at [email protected] with your availability.

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