Proving the Power of Tapping a Niche

When Schaaf-PartnerCentric took on  management responsibilities for an e-tailer in a competitive, seasonal niche in 2006, the primary challenge was convincing affiliates – particularly top performers – that this affiliate program wasn’t just a niche offering.

“A lot of affiliates didn’t engage initially because they didn’t think the products were mass market enough to suit their customers,” said Stephanie Harris, Director of Affiliate Management at Schaaf-PartnerCentric. “Our biggest challenge was in educating affiliates about the size and strength of the industry. “

While most affiliates understand that finding and tapping into a niche can be profitable, most are often afraid to take that initial leap with a relatively unknown brand – even if the niche is ripe for sales.

Schaaf-PartnerCentric’s strategy for the program was to show affiliates the opportunity that exists with this affiliate program.

“We had to prove to the affiliates that it was in their best interest to take a chance with this program – especially during the seasons when these products sell best,” Harris said. “Our message resonated because this was something affiliates can promote at times of the year when their sales aren’t necessarily as high as in Q4. “

It was slow-going at first, but the strategy paid off over time.

A program that started small on one affiliate network, where smaller network fees cater to smaller merchants, began to experience a true growth spurt once a sister program launched in the Google Affiliate Network.

Today the affiliate program has 75% marketshare for top affiliates in its category and has grown into a multi-million dollar program with triple-digit growth year-over-year.

“Here’s a case of taking a program, educating affiliates, finding a coupon code that works and making it evergreen and making it work,” Harris said.

“This program has become a real juggernaut because we stuck with it and convinced affiliates of the opportunity that existed.”