Attracting Top Tier Affiliates

We were hired last year to work with a large e-tailer with a mature affiliate program. There merchant asked us to meet several goals at the outset including the addition of more top tier affiliates and an expansion of the number of productive affiliates.

The immediate challenge, given the time of year, was to encourage top tier affiliates to join the program – and to encourage existing affiliates to rev up their efforts – just as the holiday shopping season was beginning.

The holiday shopping season started early in 2011. E-tailers started promoting their deals in early November and never let up. According to a Complete Inc. survey, 54% of consumers had ¼ of their holiday shopping done before Black Friday.

First, we worked with the networks to audit the existing affiliate base, looking for affiliates who could potentially be doing more to promote the brand in the short term. We reached out to these affiliates with suggestions for placements and ways to optimize existing promotions.

Next we examined and expanded all creative assets including all links and promotional text. The coupon strategy was also revised to improve the average order size. We created a monthly newsletter to communicate the new creative and strategies. Finally, the most successful coupons were given custom-built landing pages to maximize their effect.

We also recruited new affiliates. We personally reached out to top tier and second tier affiliates, answering questions and resolving any concerns. We tracked signups and rejections and A:B tested the messaging to aid future efforts.

The results of our efforts came quickly and are remarkable.

Through our recruitment efforts, we added 118 new affiliates to the program while maintaining the client’s high standards for accepting affiliates.

This, coupled with the activation of existing affiliates who now had new creative at their disposal, brought a great boost to the program.

In January, the second month under our management, the affiliate program saw a 135% year over year increase.

This program is now on pace to increase sales by another 100% year over year in February.