February 23, 2010

Study says Facebook fan pages do pay off

Author : Tom Rathbone

In our experience offering social media marketing to e-tailers of all shapes and sizes, we know it’s the single biggest roadblock to a brand’s decision to invest in social media marketing. Is there a return on investment? Will we see a return on the time, resources and money we invest? A new study by Rice University says YES.

study by Rice University finds that Facebook fanpages have a positive impact on customer loyalty and purchases. The study included more than 1,700 respondents. The results were proof that social media marketing can have a positive effect on branding, customer loyalty and, most importantly, on sales. Of those surveyed, those who were Facebook fans of the brand spent 33 percent more than non-fans, and Facebook fans were 41 percent more loyal to the brand than non-fans.

If you’re still not convinced, it’s time for your brand to enter the conversation, tear down the walls, interact directly with customers and potential customers and experience the true power of social media.

February 16, 2010

Flirt Catalog sees 115% revenue growth year over year

Author : Tom Rathbone

comScore’s latest research suggests that the average growth rate for e-commerce in 2009 fluctuated between 1% and -1%, but a relatively new client under PartnerCentric management experienced considerably stronger results as evidenced by the year-end report just issued by PartnerCentric.

“We knew from the start that Flirt! had all of the makings of a great affiliate program, and the results have been extraordinary,” said PartnerCentric Director of Client Services Stephanie Lewis. “Flirt! saw its revenue more than double – 115% – year over year by the end of 2009. By any measure that is phenomenal growth.”

Flirt! hired PartnerCentric to manage its affiliate program in Sept. 2009, giving the team one month to prepare for Flirt’s biggest time of year – Halloween and the costume shopping season. Through innovative creative and promotional strategies, PartnerCentric helped Flirt! achieve its biggest Halloween revenue numbers yet.

Affiliate recruitment was an important part of our strategy – as was activation of existing affiliates in the costume space,” Lewis said. “We nearly doubled Flirt’s affiliate base within four months with an emphasis onquality over quantity. The result speaks for itself.”

For more information about this success story, read the case study.

February 13, 2010

Advertisers who forge ahead now will do better later

Author : Tom Rathbone

ComScore’s latest research – based on analysis of fourth quarter e-commerce earnings – demonstrates clearly that advertisers who continue to advertise during shaky economic times will fare better during and after economic downswing has ended. Those advertisers who pull back on their marketing have a harder time recovering even after the economy rights itself.

That particular finding, shared in a comScore webinar Thursday afternoon, is not part of the research findings just released by comScore but is a compelling discovery the research firm made while analyzing Q4 2009 data.

Also revealed in the report is online retail sales’ current marketshare, which now represents more than 7 percent of the total retail economy. That share is expected to grow to 29-30% over the next several years.

As expected, social media, video marketing and mobile marketing are all growing steadily month over month, quarter over quarter. Read the comScore report and see for yourself the current state and future direction of e-commerce sales.

February 12, 2010

Silhouettes – Valentine’s Day Event

Author : Tom Rathbone

From now until 2/15, get FREE SHIPPING on orders of $75 or more* Enter AFLOVE at checkout.

Valentine’s Day Event at Silhouettes – Get Free Shipping on your order of $75 or more! Use Code AFLOVE at checkout. Ends 2/15/2010


*Enter promo code AFLOVE at checkout. Free regular delivery within the continental U.S. on new orders of in stock merchandise only, a $10.95 minimum value. Required $75 minimum merchandise purchase. For residents of PR, AK, HI and U.S. Territories: this offer does not include the additional $9.95 fee. Offer good only to the first “ship to” address in your order. One time use. Internet orders only. Cannot be combined with any other promotions (except the Silhouettes Buyers Club discount) and does not apply to items shipped directly from the manufacturer or the purchase of gift cards. Offer ends 11:59 pm (ET) 2/15/10.

Scandia Down (Scandia Home) – 25% off 3 Winter Favorites

Author : Tom Rathbone

Scandia Down is now Scandia Home! We have changed our brand name to better reflect our product offerings. Updated creative will be uploaded to CJ as soon as possible to make sure that you have the most up to date messaging. You have nothing to worry about for now though, as all current Scandia Down creative is redirecting to the new Scandia Home site.

Also, we’re very excited to announce that we are currently running a 25% discount on three of our best selling wintertime favorites! Scandia Home rarely offers discounts on their products, and we expect this to do very well. Product links are below, and as soon as we have banners, we’ll send them your way.

25% Off Winter Favorites

R716_DownBoot Down Filled Foot Duvet

R713_DownJacket Scandia Down™ Jacket

R705_DownRobeScandia Down™ Robe

10754299-1 10754301-1

Wysong.net Spring Promotion

Author : Tom Rathbone

Wysong is proud to present our affiliates a special coupon designed to make your customers happy and bring you strong conversions! Starting this month and running through May 31st, Wysong presents our Spring Savings promotion. Customers receive FREE SHIPPING on any order over $75 with coupon code SPRING2010 at checkout!

You can take advantage of this great promotion by visiting Wysong.net today!

Wysong.net also offers our affiliates a special affiliate only coupon – customers can save 10% off their first order. Make sure you log into Commission Junction and post this coupon today!

Not already a part of the Wysong.net Affiliate Program? We’d love for you to join us! Sign up for us here, or email Tara and Adam to get started and feature these great products today!

Illinois now pursuing affiliate nexus legislation

Author : Tom Rathbone

Just when you thought it was safe to enter the statehouse, it appears that Illinois is picking up its own version of an advertising tax. The Performance Marketing Association reported today that they’ve just learned about proposed legislation in the state that targets out-of-state merchants using affiliates to establish nexus.

The bill is called SB 3353 and was introduced on the February 10, 2010 by Sen. Jeffrey M. Schoenberg.

Stay tuned here – and to the Performance Marketing Association – for news as it comes in. We have faith that the industry – and the public – will band together to fight this ill-conceived bill as they just did in Colorado.

February 11, 2010

N-fini™ creator talks shapewear and the future

Author : Tom Rathbone

We sat down for an interview recently with Martha Istefanidis, whose N-fini™ line of bodywear and shapewear for women launched in August 2007 to rave reviews from the fashion industry and from everday women for whom the line was created. The N-fini brand has grown tremendously in the past two years and is preparing to launch an affiliate program.

The N-fini story is becoming legendary in fashion circles for the speed with which your line of shapewear has taken its hold on the market. Tell us what makes N-fini’s line of shapewear so important to the women who have made it must-wear apparel?

Martha: Shapewear is versatile – designed to fit into their lifestyles. As those lifestyles change, we use technology that ensures the fashion continues to fit the lifestyles.

What distinguishes shapewear from undergarments of the past?

Martha: Modern shapewear is made differently. We use technology in the construction that didn’t exist in the past. This enables us to make our own fabric. As we make the garment, we control if we want that fabric to be tight or looser to fit correctly. It’s comfortable. It’s not hot. The main problem with old underwear is that it’s very tight and cuts into the body. They were very uncomfortable.

You come from a fashion background. How did your experience influence your shapewear line?

Martha: My mother was a designer. What I learned is that a designer exists to serve the public and to learn what people want so that you can design a garment to fit the need. You ask yourself,
‘What is the future? What will people need to wear to the office and to go out for the evening?’ You look at the designs of Ralph Lauren and Chanel – they are classic. You can wear them every day.

The fashion industry is not immune to the stresses of the current economy – so the story of shapewear – with increased popularity, demand and sales, is causing industry insiders to take note. As a manufacturer of N-fini shapewear, to what do you attribute this success?

Martha: Women don’t want to spend money on a new wardrobe right now. Shapewear allows you to fit into your existing wardrobe. Shapewear makes your current wardrobe look amazing. Your clothes fit as never before. People prefer to spend money on value – something that is going to last. Value has now become a priority – and shapewear fits that need perfectly.

What trends do you see when you consider the future of shapewear and N-fini?

Martha: A lot of trends, really. It is already moving into outerwear. It’s here to stay. Shapewear and everything we’ve learned about comfort, fit and style will be incorporated into different types of garments – by that I mean outerwear and activewear. New technology allows us to create completely new garments that we haven’t been able to do before.

What do you hear most often from women who adopt the N-fini brand of sharewear?

Martha: They are surprised that it gives them support but at the same time it’s so comfortable. It’s like wearing a pair of socks. When we get feedback it’s always about how comfortable the shapewear is and how good you feel when you wear it.

For more information about N-fini Shapewear, visit www.n-fini.com.

February 10, 2010

Why transparency matters

Author : Tom Rathbone

PartnerCentric is one of the oldest affiliate program management firms in the industry. Our President/Founder Linda Woods saw the need for affiliate program management services 10 years ago while working for a little startup company called Commission Junction, and in 2004 she started a company that today has managed some of the most successful affiliate programs in the industry for some of the best brands.

So, we were a bit sad to read a press release issued today and learn that we didn’t make topseos.com’s list of the Best Affiliate Program Marketing Companies for February 2010. We can’t say it came as a complete surprise, of course. We had the opportunity – as did the firms that did make the list – to join the paid inclusion directory on topseos.com. The folks over there make a compelling case for the value of being listed on their site. They certainly have a right to make a living.

No, what troubles us about the press release issued today is not so much what is says but what it doesn’t say. It states “topseos.com, the independent authority on search vendors, has released the February 2010 rankings of the best affiliate marketing services. Thousands of vendors were put through a rigorous evaluation process by an experienced research team in order to find the best affiliate marketing experts.”

Nowhere in the press release does the company disclose that the firms that made the list paid the companyfor the right to be considered. I should state for the record that we certainly do not begrudge those firms the right to do so, either. They heard the same pitch we did and made a different choice. They saw value in the listing and were thus considered for – and received – inclusion on the list.

The issue we have with this announcement is that by all appearances this “independent authority” undertook research, considered “thousands of vendors” and came up with this list of the best affiliate marketing companies. Our firm, and others like it, appear not to have made the grade when in fact the only thing that prevented our company from being considered for this ranking was our decision not to pay the monthly fee to be listed in the topseos.com directory.

We have no problem being judged among the best of the best. It happens all the time – each time a potential client considers hiring us. Our problem comes in the lack of transparency with respect to this ranking. If you want to see how we stack up, we encourage you to contact us today to hear about our experience and expertise in affiliate program management.

As the press release states: “It can be difficult to find a quality affiliate marketing program management company. The industry is full of companies that promise results and conversions, but which ones deliver the quality results is a lot more difficult question to answer. topseos.com identifies companies as the best based on five keys areas: network, implementation, monitoring, reporting, and optimization.”

If only they had added a sentence to the end of that: “Only companies that paid for inclusion in the topseos.com site were considered for this ranking.”

In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that when we brought our concerns to the folks at topseos.com, they were gracious enough to present us once again with the option to become part of their paid inclusion program.

I suppose our point in bringing all of this up is that in an industry where transparency is a core value, it becomes more important than ever that you consider the source whenever you are hearing from an independent authority. I hope when this press release is prepared for future months, the company will remember the importance of transparency and be, for lack of a better word, honest.

February 09, 2010

Public outcry topples Colorado Advertising Tax

Author : Tom Rathbone

In a stunning victory for our industry, Colorado lawmakers today announced the removal of any mention of affiliates in a bill that once sought to establish nexus for affiliates in the state.

The Performance Marketing Alliance, the performance marketing watchdog group that is coordinating the offensive against such legislation nationwide, attributes this unexpected news to the large number of Colorado citizens who turned out en masse Thursday night to express their displeasure about HB 1193.

HB1193 is now solely focused on collecting use tax and no longer has anything do with affiliates.
This is not the amendment that has been under development, creating partial exemption for online affiliates.

For more information visit the Performance Marketing Alliance.