LinkConnector’s Publisher Discovery powered integration transforms the essential recruiting process by connecting merchants with the most relevant affiliate matches.
As COVID-19 has upended our worlds and forced us into a new normal, we unquestionably recognize the importance of human connections and adaptability in these unprecedented times—two defining features of affiliate marketing.
This state of crisis that has become our reality has redefined ecosystems, shifted consumer shopping behavior and altered stages of growth—quickly beckoning the need for eCommerce retailers to adjust their online advertising spend and strategies.
As digital marketing initiatives are being constrained or paused due to budget cuts, online retailers are leveraging the cost-effective value of affiliate marketing ever more so to help reach today’s consumer and fuel online revenue growth.
Here are some examples demonstrating how affiliate programs are empowering growth for online retailers amidst the coronavirus pandemic:
Employing Customer Ambassadors: Underscoring the human connection factor, retailers are emphasizing the opportunity for their customers to earn money by referring their community of friends and peers to purchase from the retailer’s online store. A retailer’s customers are effectively becoming a 100% commission-based online salesforce for retailers.
Matching Talent to the Environment: Just as sports coaches adjust game time strategies to external factors like weather, injuries and opponents, affiliates are essential players in these changing times—a powerful combination of entrepreneurship and innovation that helps drive growth for retailers in ways now deemed necessary. Retailers that previously eschewed Coupon affiliates are now placing them in the starting lineup; recognizing the importance of giving consumers a cost-savings in these tough economic times. Search Engine Marketing affiliates are given priority for their peripheral vision expertise in helping retailers become discoverable for search results potential customers are now seeking.
Communicating Value Add: The affiliate marketing industry is a guiding beacon for the importance of communicating and sharing ideas and strategies to help our ecosystem respond to, and rebound from, setbacks. Affiliate managers are utilizing LinkConnector resources to communicate top-selling products, inventory availability, promotional offers and shipping times to their affiliates, who then communicate (within their promotional context) these important details to consumers. Similarly, affiliates are making their resiliency known by highlighting innovative ways which they can quickly pivot to give merchants exposure to relevant customer demographics in need.
Driving Orders in Surging Categories:
On the closing day of Affiliate Summit East (#ASE19) in New York City, LinkConnector’s Co-Founder and Co-President, Choots Humphries, presented on the topic of 5 Benefits and 5 Techniques that Add Value to Affiliate Networks. We are excited to recap actionable takeaways from this presentation.
Choots opened by making the point that all Affiliate Networks are not created equally and there are many types of networks. There are affiliate networks, like LinkConnector, offering a full range of technology and tracking solutions along with management services and program optimization. There are Ad Networks (or CPA Networks) which generally act without transparency to promote an advertiser’s offer based usually on an insertion order. And, there are networks which would be better classified as a pure tracking solution which offer advertisers tracking solutions for all forms of online advertising and aren’t exclusively geared towards an affiliate program. Choots further elaborated that the contents of this presentation were going to be focused around traditional affiliate networks.
Choots kicked off the presentation by listing five benefits of Affiliate Networks and announced he would be offering five techniques or considerations for each to extract value from network relationships. Here are the five benefits…
Proper Tracking and Crediting
Proper tracking and crediting for merchant and affiliate customers is one of the most critical functions of a network. Here are five consideration points shared to demonstrate such:
ITP 2.2 Compliant and Supports Parallel Tracking
On the opening day of the Affiliate Summit West conference (#ASW19), LinkConnector’s Co-President, Choots Humphries, moderated the panel discussion, Coupon Affiliates Speak Out About Incremental Value. The room was packed with attendees; a testament to the strong interest and chance to learn from three Coupon affiliate experts.
The cardinal question the panel tackled: Can coupon affiliates add value to a merchant’s Affiliate Marketing program? The panel shared insights and strategies as to why and how the answer is a resounding YES. Beyond success stories and challenges, the panelists also explained how merchant brands could empower their coupon affiliates with data and tools to better reach a brand’s Performance Marketing goals.
Here are just a few of the topics discussed with wisdom shared from each influential panelist.
CH: Describe the value proposition representative of Coupon Affiliates.
JM: Coupon affiliates earn the trust of users. Consumers seek out the best deal or coupon offer; they often don’t trust that the merchant’s deal is the best attainable.
PS: User experience is enhanced through the cost-savings gained from storefront pages on Coupon sites resulting in a happy customer for the merchant.
JH: The forums available to users of Slickdeals enables users to engage others and help to highlight what they have found to be the best coupon offer.
The Affiliate Summit West conference (#ASW19) wrapped last week where over 6,000 digital marketers from over 70 countries gathered at Paris Las Vegas Hotel for all things #performancemarketing. LinkConnector was honored to once again exhibit and be a part of this must-attend industry conference.
On day one of the conference, LinkConnector’s Tara McCommons moderated the panel session, Leveraging Influencers in a Performance Marketing Arena to a packed room of attendees. On the panel were affiliate managers Nick Goodling of Bollman Hat, Charity Gerke of U.S. Elite; and Kimberly Cashwell, marketing manager of FMTC.
These three affiliate marketing leaders shared misconceptions, strategies and tactical advice on how they’ve leveraged the power of social media influencers to drive revenue and elevate brand reputation.
Tara: I see influencers as telling a story; they seem intimately in touch with a brand’s products. What do you see as the main differences between an affiliate and an influencer?
NG: Influencers are an extension of a brand’s marketing arm. Affiliates concentrate their efforts more on ROI, traffic and conversions.
CG: Influencers have a positive impact on a merchant’s brand. Affiliates are less concerned with the intangibles.
No school like the old school; learn how pay-per-click campaigns are sparking appeal with bloggers and influencer affiliates.
In the world of Affiliate Marketing there are always new strategies merchants will use to make their program attractive to potential affiliates. These strategies may include bonuses, extended cookie durations and most importantly – commissions paid to the affiliates. There are several methods of rewarding commissions by merchants; pay-per-sale, pay-per-lead, pay-per- call, and pay-per-click as examples.
In the early days of Affiliate Marketing there was an explosion of campaigns compensating affiliates on a pay-per-click basis. Unfortunately affiliates utilized nefarious tactics (e.g., click bots) to drive up their commissions with these types of campaigns. Now, with the advancement of affiliate marketing technology networks are able to identify fraudulent clicks when they occur and prevent costs from being incurred by merchants.
Presently we are witnessing a comeback of pay-per-click campaigns due to the interest they garner from influencers and bloggers. This compensation method is an effective way for brands to ignite relationships with these types of affiliates.
Here are three reasons why:
First, pay-per-click compensation helps bloggers and influencers who may be unfamiliar with affiliate marketing to easily test the waters and gauge their audiences’ interest in the brand (or product) to determine if a successful match may be born.
Secondly, merchants who structure pay-per-click compensation to be based on clicks to specific product pages can appeal to niche influencers who creatively expose the merchant’s products to an enthusiast audience.
Last but not least, this compensation method can be a catalyst for merchants to gain exposure on influencer platforms, those connecting brands with Twitch streamers (as one example) to monetize their content.
Naturally pay-per-click can be inherently risky for merchants. Consulting with your network or agency on the best structure that aligns with your overall affiliate marketing goals is always recommended. You may be surprised by the tools and technologies available to support a pay-per-click monetization component with your program and build additional relevant relationships.
David Troop manages LinkConnector’s Affiliate Operations where he is integral in growing affiliate and merchant relationships.
Are you an affiliate seeking pay-per-click campaigns from esteemed merchant brands? LinkConnector has many; contact us to apply to these programs
Inspiring the excitement, energy and engagement from affiliates is one of the many coveted skill-sets affiliate managers proudly possess. And, it’s one that can be the most challenging.
LinkConnector’s Tara McCommons took the stage at Affiliate Summit in NYC last month to speak about ways affiliate managers can gain attention from affiliates; she also shared difference makers to spark affiliate growth.
Tara started with underscoring the importance of understanding what may motivate one type of affiliate, may not work for another. Whether it be a Google AdWords affiliate, a blogger or a social media influencer, each type of affiliate has different needs at different times. Techniques to find out what those needs may be and glean the needed ingredients that will boost growth include:
Questions aren’t only important when you are unsure of something or trying to figure out something new–they are a catalyst to deepening discussions. Harvard Business Review published a study noting how “asking questions unlocks learning and improves personal bonding”. An example of one powerful question to ask of affiliates is “What can I do to make our brand’s promotion better for you?”
To demonstrate value learned from asking thought provoking questions of affiliates, Tara spotlighted award-winning blogger, social media influencer and LinkConnector affiliate partner, Kim Rowley of ShoppingKim.com who shared the following as items that empower her to thrive when promoting merchant partners:
“120 x 60 banners, and images sized for social media,
True top selling products – not simply those showcased on merchant homepages,
Vanity coupon codes tracked exclusively to me,
Higher payouts attainable for bloggers and not solely available as a bonus to the top-selling affiliate,
Unique content from merchants,
And, Sharing my posts is so appreciated!”
Did you know LinkConnector and Feedonomics have teamed up to enable LC merchants to get the most out of their product feeds? Read More...
These award-winning Founders & CEOs shared challenges, lessons and rich insights into how they’ve pushed the boundaries in an ever-evolving performance marketing industry. Below are a few Q & A highlights.
Tara: What is one of your core principles that has helped your employees to bring more of themselves to their role and feel pride in being a part of your company?
mThink Blue Ribbon Panel Member, Jackie Bates, recently sat down with Revenue to discuss current trends in performance marketing. Here, we shine a light on Q4 strategy for merchants and two other trending topics.
1. Motivating Affiliates (and Yourself)
Sometimes when you tirelessly reach out to affiliates and don’t hear back, it may be tempting to give up. Keep trying (in a non- annoying way of course); find new things to emphasize with your affiliates. For example, notice the good content they are using in promoting seasonal brands —compliment them on this and share ways in which your brand aligns with their seasonal focus. Creative yet meaningful messaging can help you get a response. Don’t give up. You’ll find that hard work eventually pays off.
2. Stretching Your Reach
Are you working with only one or two affiliate segments? Diversifying your affiliate portfolio and welcoming multiple types of affiliate disciplines (e.g., Paid Search, Content, Coupon etc.) will set your program up for greater success. You can always talk with LinkConnector to discuss benefits that any particular type of promotion can provide based upon your unique program goals.
3. Be Personable
You are more likely to get a response if you message affiliates by their name and also share your name and a way to reach you by phone or email. Adding humor to your emails and conveying an energetic tone can also result in better response rates. Be available to help your affiliates and be someone they would like to have a conversation with – your personal touch will go a long way!
4. Listen to Your Customer
Don’t spend the entire conversation talking about how great your campaign is. This is your opportunity to listen, to gain valuable insights from your affiliate partners. They will tell you what they need to best promote your campaign. Now, empowered with this knowledge, you can equip affilaites with the tools, resources, data, etc. they need to be successful with your campaign.
5. Keep Your Affiliates Engaged
Don’t lose your best affiliates to lack of attention or communication. Keep them interested with new bonus structures, incentives and promotions that are fresh. Learn from others in the industry and see what works for them—it may work for you too!
Block off time on your calendar to follow up with your affiliates and set up calls to learn more about what they need to be successful with your campaign. Be consistent in your communication with your affiliates and try to accommodate their needs. In turn, they will be able to drive more traffic and sales for you.
Jamie drove the narrative to focus dialogue around affiliate marketing technology features available via each of the panelists’ platforms, how these technologies are used and critical considerations (e.g., data and program goals) merchants must recognize when deciding which tools to utilize and how to correctly apply them.
Here are just a few of the valuable perspectives voiced by these industry stalwarts.
Each of the panelists underlined the importance of their platforms in providing the data to empower merchants to make educated decisions on which technologies to leverage to best accomplish their specific program goals.