In today’s Meet The Team blog, I interview Kelsey Aschenbeck who is a Graphic Designer for Schaaf-PartnerCentric.
What is your background and how did you find Schaaf-PartnerCentric?
“I studied architecture in college and moved into graphic design. I like to make things easily interpreted by visual means. I found myself at Schaaf-PartnerCentric when I was introduced to Brook Schaaf. After meeting with him a few times, I found myself doing part-time work with Schaaf-PartnerCentric and now I work here full time as a Graphic Designer.”
What do you like the most about your position?
“Every day is a new day for me. I spend my mornings checking my Asana page and then I go from there with my design projects. My days either consist of very big projects or a bunch of little projects. I usually have bigger projects in the morning and little things later in the day.”
“It’s nice to be the main designer in the office. It feels good knowing that I create a standard and represent the company with my work. I also enjoy the company humor and how the company collaborates and talks together as a team to get things done.”
What do you work on outside of SPC?
“When I am not working, I enjoy making hand-lettered typography. I also have side projects for my designs such as print making, drawing, and photography.”
What advice would you give to new hires here at SPC?
“I would advise new hires to try to learn the lingo fast. There are so many things related to affiliate marketing that I had no idea existed until I situated into my position. The learning curve is pretty big when trying to work in this industry. Be open and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
If you liked this blog, go check out my article on what it is like being the Marketing and Events Coordinator here or learn more about the life of a Marketing Analyst here. If you want to get the latest Affiliate Marketing news, go ahead and give us a like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
The affiliate sandbox is shifting. The composite we have played in since the late ‘90s, layered with coupon, loyalty, data feed, and a smattering of content sites, has been disrupted. As the performance marketing industry matures, the perception of what a “valuable affiliate” is, and how it is measured, has evolved. Advertisers want more affiliate revenue, but only from sources and touch-points they recognize as incremental sales.
How many times have affiliate marketers found themselves in challenging conversations about those who “introduce” and those who “conclude” a sale, about “mommy bloggers”, about valuable content or niche sites, and “less valuable” traditional affiliate sites? Efforts are being re-directed to respond to this shift, and a cottage industry has emerged to address a clear gap. There are countless departments, specialist roles, processes, and software aimed at coaxing these high-valued content and blogger sites into the affiliate sandbox.
One of the biggest indicators of this is the shift away from the last-click-wins-all and toward the multi-touch model, with the most valued affiliates pegged as the “initiators”. Advertisers seek to grow this bucket of sites, and to address this need a great deal of time is spent in the pursuit of recruiting potential initiators. Through these efforts, the insight we’ve gleaned is that, with some exceptions, the engagement we need to have with these types of sites is different from affiliate engagement, and requires a pivot in thinking, in workflow, and in the structural model in order to address it. We can still grow the relationships our advertisers have with these types of sites, but not necessarily through the affiliate channel, and not always by working within our own sandbox.
These sites, as a whole, don’t respond well to the pay-per-performance model. Anyone who has tried tirelessly over the years to forge relationships with these sites at their conferences and in their milieu, and drag them out of their box, over the line, and into an affiliate program can attest to this. They are of a different breed. Affiliate marketing is traditionally focused on the conversion of a sale, and the traditional affiliate role is the execution of that sale. To focus on influencing the sale is a different strategy. And it requires a different approach.
To understand the most effective method is to understand the motivation. Why do advertisers want to spend so much time recruiting these sites? It’s not for the revenue they generate, or their sheer volume – typically these sites won’t do near the volume of the traditional affiliate, which is built more for mass appeal. What is valuable is their platform to speak to niche, targeted potential customers with a high customer lifetime value. And what are the sites interested in? They want to introduce brands to their audience, build enthusiasm, and generate content and sponsorships.
The essence of influencer marketing is the same as affiliate marketing: it’s about finding, creating, and fostering direct relationships with sites that advertisers care about. But we need to measure success, the ultimate sandcastle, in terms of reach and engagement, not on a converted sale. Sponsoring giveaways, contests, reviews, or creative paid placement, in exchange for an upfront fee for their time and access to their audience, gives advertisers the traction they’re looking for with these sites. Playing with a different set of guidelines for a different kind of sandbox will allow an advertiser to secure real estate on the coveted influencer sites, as well as foster relationships with site owners who have influence with target brand enthusiasts. This is a new day, and a new way to play.
If you’re interested in learning about how our new REACH program could help your brand, please request a consultation below.
For a lead-based affiliate program fraud prevention can be a daunting task that is critical to success. If done correctly from the beginning, it can save thousands of dollars in unnecessary commissions and fees. Here are three steps to ensuring your program is protected against fraudulent publishers.
Choose the right tracking platform.
One of the most important decisions for preventing fraud in a new affiliate program is choosing the correct tracking platform. There are a myriad of tracking platforms out there and they all have their benefits and drawbacks. Make sure that the tracking platform you’re considering is vigilant in vetting publishers and has a strong QA process in place for all traffic. Some of the larger tracking platforms place equal importance on fraud prevention as its merchants, which leads to expanded services to help control fraud such as real-time fraud detection and brand monitoring.
Set up program terms appropriately.
Once the tracking platform is in place, make sure that the program terms are not attractive to black-hat publishers. If you have a multiple-action program, such as paying on a lead and then a conversion to a paid sign-up, put the weight of the payout on the second conversion. In a pure lead program, keep the payout as close to the competition as possible without putting too much money out there. The bottom line is if you have a strong offer and the publisher drives quality traffic, they’ll understand that larger payouts come as private offers. A high, default-rate payout attracts publishers who may be more interested in taking advantage of the offer as opposed to converting high quality traffic.
Create a rock solid vetting process for new publishers.
All tracking platforms have their own publisher vetting process, with some being much more detailed than others. To ensure a trust-worthy publisher base, personally review all affiliate applications. It is a manual and time-consuming process, but is worth the effort in the end. To help speed up the process, put countries where fraud has a habit of originating from on auto-decline. The most common type of fraudulent publisher I am seeing lately are publishers with content sites that are related and look good for the program I am managing while having little actual traffic. If someone unseasoned was reviewing the application they would assuredly be accepted into the program. Once in the program they generally have a very high conversion ratio with bad leads. However, these sites do have a few tells that are easy to spot:
1) The banners for various programs in the tracking platform are listed on the site
2) They have low traffic scores when looking at Alexa and Google
Another type of suspect application I see are random publishers inserting extremely popular sites into the URL portion of the application. It is obvious that these people have nothing to do with the site, so that is an easy decline. But when it isn’t obvious, there are a few easy ways to gain information and put yourself ahead of the fraudsters:
1) Review the website – In many cases there will be information on the site that does not match up with the application or vice versa
2) Impose traffic restrictions – Create a minimum traffic requirement based on Alexa/Google/Anything else you want. Sites over a million in Alexa generally won’t generate any volume.
3) Make good use of a WHOIS tool – In many cases the domain information will be private, but when it’s not that information is helpful in determining the validity of an application
4) Reach Out – Any publisher that you are on the fence on in terms of acceptance or will be accepting you should reach out to in order to determine their marketing methods and begin a relationship. If it is a publisher you are unsure of and they don’t communicate back, well there is your answer. Invariably, some good publishers will be caught up in the net we’ve laid to prevent any fraud from entering the program.
This is a small price to pay for a clean program and in many cases they will reach out themselves allowing you to review everything again in a different light.
In the end, the most important way to keep your lead program fraud-free is to build long-lasting mutually-beneficial relationships with your publishers.
Nevada passed a click-through nexus law that affects the affiliate marketing industry. Nevada AB380 has two effective dates – one on July 1st and one on October 1st, 2015. If you are an out-of-state retailer, as most of our merchants are, compliance is required by October 1, 2015. The enactment of this bill was based on the existing nexus laws in Colorado and New York. As a result there is a work-around included similar to the New York bill, using non-solicitation.
For more information, check out our Affiliate Nexus Tax Guide, last updated May 2015.
We are excited to announce the launch of REACH, our newest service offering! REACH is an engagement solution that provides curated outreach and guaranteed placements on influencer websites and social outlets. Web retailers can now expand beyond performance marketing through Relationships, Exposure, Advocacy, Connection, and Hype.
The traditional performance marketing model rewards publishers for sale conversions, but REACH shifts that model to compensate based on the ability to engage with consumers, and ultimately influence their behavior online. Rather than rewarding influencers for the conversion of a sale, REACH tracks and reports engagement metrics like the number of shares or comments for each placement.
REACH can be embraced by any web retailer, not just those serviced by Schaaf-PartnerCentric’s affiliate program management services.
REACH helps web retailers:
Maximize brand exposure.
Build hype and exposure for new product launches.
Roll out targeted giveaways and contests to unique audiences.
Build a brand ambassador program with a troop of bloggers at the ready.
Open the door for long-term relationships with bloggers and influencers.
Increase a brand’s community awareness and engagement.
Build brand authority with original content.
We’ll be offering special launch promotions through September. If you’re interested in learning how REACH could help your brand, please request a consultation.
On Saturday, June 13th, Chairman and Co-founder of Schaaf-PartnerCentric, Brook Schaaf, got married. The wedding ceremony was held at the First United Methodist Church, with the reception at Hotel Ella, on a warm and humid day in Austin, Texas. Allison Stevens Schaaf displayed no outward signs of trepidation, and the wedding ceremony itself could not have been more picturesque.
The evening was filled with delicious, paleo-inspired food, embarrassing stories from family members, and a full dance floor. The newly weds have plans for a month-long honeymoon in Africa.
It was a beautiful evening spent celebrating the love and partnership of two beautiful people. The Schaaf-PartnerCentric team extends only the highest of well wishes for Mr. & Mrs. Schaaf.
If you would like to see more photos of the wedding as well as other articles we post from Schaaf-PartnerCentric, check out our Facebook page here.
Welcome to our second “Meet The Team” blog post, where I interview new members of Schaaf-PartnerCentric and talk to them about how they ended up in the affiliate marketing industry and how their experience is here at Schaaf-PartnerCentric. In today’s Meet The Team blog, I have decided to interview Gayoung Lee who is an Affiliate Marketing Analyst for Schaaf-PartnerCentric.
What is your background and how did you find Schaaf-PartnerCentric?
“Before Schaaf-PartnerCentric, I was a Marketing Manager at an exhibitionist center in Korea and spent seven years as a director in a private school in South Korea. I started using Social media campaigning in Korea and the U.S. and I received a MBA from St. Edwards University in Austin. What brought me to Schaaf-PartnerCentric was their need for a Korean Marketing Analyst and I was amazed by the size of the industry and it’s potential for growth.”
What do you do for SPC and what do you like the most about your position?
“My daily routine starts by checking my emails with publishers and then creating weekly and monthly reports for clients with data. I also aid in recruitment and generate sales and new accounts as well as data mine for potential client recruitments. Other duties that I have throughout the day are PR reports, correcting data, aiding with program manager support and trademark monitoring. Whenever I am free from working on reports, I also work as the team photographer by taking pictures for new members as well as pictures for our networking events.”
“What motivates me when working is knowing that I am helping people by giving them good information. I love learning more about the industry as well as compiling data and integrating it into reports. I take pride in being very detail-oriented and making sure all of my data is correct before presenting it to clients.”
What do you like the most about SPC?
“I love the company culture, the idea of how it was founded, and especially the team members that I work with. I like the idea that everyone is open for change and improvements with the company.”
What do you work on outside of SPC?
“When I am not working in the office, I like to work on my Korean blog, manage a movie social media platform, and produce international documentaries. My other hobbies include loving animals, traveling, and taking photos.”
What advice would you give to new hires here at SPC?
“My job as a marketing analyst is very specific and the industry is always changing. New hires do not expect to know everything right away so keep an open mind when learning about the position. Everybody is nice and helpful so try not to stress out and remember to relax to the new information and the environment.”
If you liked this blog, go check out my article on what it is like being the Marketing and Events Coordinator here and go ahead and give us a like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
We are happy to announce that Schaaf-PartnerCentric is now managing the Allied Shirt Affiliate Program.
At Allied Shirts their love for T-shirts goes beyond the cotton. They strive to offer custom, great looking t-shirts for all of life’s milestones. T-shirts are an awesome way to let your personality out and to remember a special event or give your team some real spirit.
Allied Shirts works to infuse every aspect of the company with their love of T-shirts. Their team literally checks every shirt order that comes in for print quality and overall look. You never have to worry whether you uploaded the image incorrectly or if it will look great on a Tee. They check it over, and if necessary, fix it. They do all this by hand for every individual order. What does this mean for the customer? It means that your T-shirt order is going to come out right and look great. Allied Shirts guarantees it.
To learn more and join the Allied Shirts affiliate program click here.
The Allied Shirt affiliate program is professionally managed by Kris Ritchie, Schaaf-PartnerCentric Affiliate Program Manager.
If you’re interested in determining how Schaaf-PartnerCentric might help your affiliate program, please request a consultation.
Online retailers work hard on a primary store brand, but they also need to be mindful of their affiliate program’s brand. Offering compelling terms and consistently showcasing good management practices moves the affiliate program needle quicker, so it’s no surprise that supported programs with good reputations are the best publisher recruiting tools.
There are steps a merchant can take to establish affiliate program authority in any given vertical. By planning and investing time cultivating a strong program brand, merchants can mitigate risks and lower costs. Below are five important components for building a strong affiliate program brand.
Program Manager Visibility
Perhaps the most important component of building and maintaining a strong affiliate marketing program is having a knowledgeable, personable, and easy to access day-to-day program manager. Extra points for a manager who’s a thought leader, or one engaged in meet-ups, tradeshow panels, forums, etc. The more visible the program manager the better. Having an effective program manager matters, so choose wisely and understand their worth.
Affiliate programs launching (or re-launching) can get great online publicity. Creating hype often starts with a merchant press release and blog post. Follow-up with a social media blitz linking back to the authoritative source (generally the blog) and encourage others to share. To spice things up offer a launch promotion like “First 5 affiliates to send $1,000 in sales gets a $100 cash bonus”.
Dialed First Impression
Create a solid first impression for new publishers coming on board. Pay close attention to network acceptance email templates and craft the welcome with a branded, sincere, informative note that’s not too long. If possible embed a discount code in the email and mention launch promos or incentives. Reach out with a personalized 1:1 intro to any key publishers who sign-up, in addition to the packaged welcome email.
Maintained Ad List
There is nothing worse for an affiliate program’s brand than having stagnant, outdated, or expired banners and text ads available for publishers. If it’s summer time and there are winter banners, that’s a key indicator to serious publishers that support for the program is lacking. Stay on top of ad creative, be sure to sync all promos with networks, and send out notification emails to maximize publisher exposure to the offers.
Effective, to-the-point publisher communication is key. Publishers get many emails daily from many merchants so program-wide messages should be useful and include promotions, special offers or codes that generate strong sales. Consistent and potent outreach that impacts revenue for publishers sets a standard, and ultimately helps an affiliate program shine.
Build a strong affiliate program brand, become more visible and attract top publishers. Program managers can utilize the five tips in this article, and other simple measures, to help their programs stand out. Everyone wants access to the same top players. By supporting publishers and doing performance marketing better, a more healthy program develops which translates to a stronger ROI over time.
If you’re interested in learning how Schaaf-PartnerCentric builds respected affiliate programs for online merchants, please request a consultation.
An affiliate program is an excellent way to drive new traffic and conversions to an online site, as well as increase the buzz around a product. Launching an affiliate program requires a bit of technical expertise, some initial funds, and an understanding of the merchant’s business model. Affiliate programs are often considered a less risky choice by marketing professionals and small businesses as affiliate programs are Cost Per Action (CPA) based. This means that funds are not paid out unless a sale is made through an affiliate link.
Here are 5 basic steps to launch an affiliate program:
Look at competitors and see how their affiliate programs are run. Notice what tracking software or network they are using and the commission structure for affiliate payout. It’s also helpful to try to estimate how much revenue is being driven through the affiliate program, and what could be done better.
Choose an Affiliate Tracking Network
Some merchants build their affiliate tracking software in-house but this option is not recommended unless it is a huge brand. Merchants interested in launching a new program will have more success joining an established tracking network or marketing platform like CJ Affiliate, ShareASale, Impact Radius or LinkShare. Third-party tracking platforms offer better tracking, an easy-to-use interface, multi-faceted reporting, and (sometimes) access to pools of affiliates.
Have an Affiliate Program Management Plan
Affiliate program management is important to the growth and stability of an affiliate program. Affiliate programs can be managed by the merchant in-house, or, more commonly, out-sourced to an experienced affiliate program management agency. When deciding which is best, consider their expertise in the industry, past success with similar programs, and their established relationships.
Set Up the Affiliate Program
Setting up an affiliate program involves:
Choosing a commissionable action and a commission amount. Most tracking platforms will allow merchants to pay a flat fee or a percentage of each sale.
Drafting an Affiliate Agreement that outlines a search marketing policy, a trademark policy, a refund policy, and how fraudulent orders will be handled
Placing and testing the affiliate tracking code on the site
Creating banners, logos, and text links that affiliates can use to promote products and offers
Launch the program
Once the affiliate program has been set-up, start promoting. Invite repeat customers to join, announce it in a company newsletter, blog, and even on Facebook. The best promoters are people who already buy.
Once the program is live, begin affiliate recruitment to see traffic and revenue flow in.
For some recruitment ideas, please download our Top 15 Affiliates to Watch list.