Just a decade ago, influencer marketing wasn’t a concrete strategy that brands were employing because it didn’t really exist. Sure, there were bloggers and various YouTube channels dedicated to fashion, reviews and trends but the brands were still setting the rules and telling consumers what they should be purchasing. Oh, how times have changed!
In a modern world full of competing viewpoints and general information overload, consumers want to know that they are making well-informed decisions when it comes to the brands that they support. The much-discussed millennial generation is comprised of over 75 million Americans. There is endless chatter about how to engage these millennial consumers. While it is known that they want to spend money on experiences and brands that aim to do good, how come so many large brands find it so difficult to connect with these coveted consumers?
Influencer marketing has become a great tool for brands to access because it allows them to reach a targeted audience in a more authentic way. A millennial might not trust a large clothing brand, but if their favorite blogger is touting the clothing and the company’s ethics, that millennial could very well turn into a loyal follower and consumer. Here are just four reasons why you should make influencer marketing a part of your overall marketing strategy:
Consumers Want Trusted Brands Only – In 2015, the percentage of brands people trusted in North America was only 22%. That’s quite low when you consider the fact that every brand wants to be considered reputable and attract loyal consumers. The term “influencer” is bestowed upon individuals who have built trust in order to grow a targeted and loyal following. If a brand works with an influencer and that influencer gives an honest review of a product, it builds trust for the brand. A consumer will feel comfortable making a purchase because a blogger they admire and respect has touted the benefits of the brand.
Authenticity is Valued – According to Forbes, “43% of millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news.” Consumers are savvier than ever and want to make sure they support genuine brands who champion causes and are honest and clear with their values. The easiest way to convey this authenticity is to work with influencers who respect the brand and vertical. They often have a targeted group of followers who engage with them for their honesty. The key here is to work with influencers who understand your brand and who are authentic with their reviews and opinions. Fortune 500 brands can often appear “faceless.” Because they are so large, they can’t connect with consumers the way an influencer can. Influencers aren’t on the corporate payroll and have more freedom to express themselves in a “real” way. There are no canned statements and PR departments when you’re a blogger telling people about the brands and products you genuinely like.
Know Your Audience to Make Meaningful Connections – Plain and simple, make sure you understand the audience you’re trying to connect with before you consider influencer marketing. A fashion blogger won’t build meaningful relationships with your target audience if your brand sells car accessories. Know how your intended audience thinks and understand their unique demographics.
Take A Targeted Approach – Now that you know how influencer marketing can help your brand connect with targeted consumers in a genuine way, how do you get started? REACH is Schaaf-PartnerCentric’s service offering that focuses on engaging influencers. We act as an extension of your team and partner with the best and most relevant influencers for your brand. With our years of knowledge and expertise in the industry, we have established many meaningful relationships with influencers and understand their unique audiences. Based on campaign objectives, we then report on chosen metrics.
The ideal REACH clients are brands that are looking to begin or expand their influencer marketing efforts, regardless of whether or not they have an existing affiliate program. If you’re ready to see what influencer marketing can do for your brand or just want to learn more about REACH, contact us.
We all know there’s fraud out there – in fact, it’s a huge buzzword in digital marketing right now. Truly, it is crucial that all affiliate marketers monitor the quality of their traffic and converters. Picture this: You are an e-commerce jewelry company. Your affiliate program is skyrocketing, revenue is strong and everyone is happy. But suddenly, all that jewelry everyone bought is being returned. All your beautiful converters disappear in a puff of smoke. This type of problem happens too often in affiliate marketing.
Schaaf-PartnerCentric takes an extremely vested approach to handling fraud. Below are just a few of the ways we ensure compliance:
Our Internal Support team proactively monitors known violators network-wide
Your dedicated account manager is constantly on the look-out for major changes or discrepancies week-to-week by publisher to identify trends that seem suspicious
Vanity code and promotional audits are conducted bi-monthly to proactively address any potential issues
Additionally, here are a few other best practices to prevent against fraud:
Analytics – Look at the quality of your visitors that are converting via certain partners. Now, we know that not everyone has the best tracking tools but even with a free version of Google Analytics, you can see metrics that indicate if these partners are truly high quality. Did the consumer come to your site, spend 30 seconds on the site and then buy a $10K ring? That’s a sign to start digging.
Customer Reps – Track the returns, refunds, and complaints from each affiliate partner. Sometimes this can involve walking over to your customer reps team and talking with them about something a consumer said. But if your consumer is calling to say, “I was incentivized to buy this ring and return it,” you might have a problem.
Legality – Make sure your affiliate marketing agreements state that if a product is returned, the commission is de-valued or nulled. That way, you are also making sure your company isn’t losing money. In addition, make sure your agreements also have strong minimums in returns/complains. If, suddenly, ten of out of the last fifteen purchases made are returned, there needs to be a solid legal plan to opt out of the contract or stop using the affiliate.
By incorporating these best practices, you will be on your way to having a strong affiliate program. To learn more about how Schaaf-PartnerCentric ensures that your affiliate marketing program maximizes ROI while protecting it against fraud, contact us.
I’ve worked in the affiliate marketing industry for over a decade and I still regularly get asked by family and friends, “What is affiliate marketing? What do you do?!” I understand. It can be a tricky concept when you hear it explained, but really it is pretty simple. As an Affiliate Marketing Manager, I build partnerships with blogs and websites to help promote my clients. The brands that Schaaf-PartnerCentric works with provides offers and promotions to these partners and rewards them by paying for performance. Schaaf-PartnerCentric will help you grow revenue with all the expertise, strategy and best practices behind it.
Here’s a video to explain a little more about our team, our company, and Affiliate Marketing.
For more information and to get in touch with us, click here.
One constant always true for an affiliate program is the goal to differentiate from its competitors. We can do this through payouts, product offerings, publisher communication and the tools available to those publishers. What I’d like to focus on in this article is one of the most important tools we can provide our publishers: the creative they use to put our products and services in front of the customer.
Updating the main creative of a program is often overlooked and can lead to a poor representation of your company’s brand as well as the products you are trying to sell. Not only that, but this area is a ripe opportunity for you to interact with and convince your publishers that your program is worth running. Publishers want to know that you are just as invested in the affiliate model as much as they are, if creative is updated on a consistent basis this will assure publishers that you are invested. Giving publishers access to a strong creative arsenal can increase a programs performance on two fronts, with both conversion and activity.
Putting new creative in the hands of your publishers is just one aspect of developing a strong creative footprint. Before supplying new banners or text links, they should be tested on your own campaigns in various channels. This way you can tell publishers with confidence that they have the best creative for their type of marketing and what kind of conversion to expect. Available data on performance allows publishers to push out budget for campaigns quicker and get your program in front of more eyeballs.
Recently, one of my clients, Allianz Global Assistance, conducted a publisher survey where we found that publishers felt having strong creative assets was just as important has having a strong product offering. With this information in hand we took a look at our creative library and worked on creating a piece of creative that would be worthwhile for publishers to take notice of and incorporate into their marketing channels growing both their commissions and our revenue. This new creative was a quote widget as seen below:
A creative tool such as this widget brings the consumers one step closer to the publisher and reduces the chance of losing them once they make it over to the merchant’s site.
As mentioned, there are many ways to separate your program from the herd. Building out a creative library and keeping it relevant and useful is one of the more cost effective ways of creating more activity in your program. Not only will your publishers appreciate the time and effort you put towards your brand image in their tools, but the testing you do to make sure that creative work will also help your other channels be more profitable.
Calling all ‘pinning’ fanatics!! Whether you’re looking for the perfect dinnerware to impress your in-laws, seeking inspiration for your living room decor or hunting for the perfect outfit to wear to your company holiday party, Pinterest is the pretty little hub for all things fabulous. Its status has grown exponentially and quickly become the place where shoppers everywhere start their journey to from first-click to shopping cart check-out! This is why we are SO excited that Pinterest is allowing affiliate links again! This infographic says it all on why this is such great news. Take a good look because Pinterest is about to transform your affiliate program!
At Schaaf-PartnerCentric, one of our favorite things about the affiliate marketing industry is the fantastic partnerships we’ve been able to form. FMTC is one of those, and today we are excited to have OPM and Agency Liaison, Larissa Feuerstein, guest posting on our blog. Continue reading to find out program management tips and tricks for the upcoming back to school season!
It’s time for families to gear up for back to school, and time for affiliate managers to gear up for Back to School sales and promotions. Students and parents will be shopping soon (if they aren’t already!) so make sure they know everything you have to offer. Here are a few tips to help promote your back to school deals and get an A+ on revenue!
Get Creative on Your BTS Deals
Even if you don’t have “school supplies” necessarily, many products can be used for BTS promotions.
Here are a few examples:
Household – College students are preparing move into their dorms, so they need household goods to make it feel like home. You can promote bedding, decor, kitchen supplies, microwaves, mini-fridges, and anything else for their new place.
Clothing & Accessories – Everyone wants the trendiest clothes, shoes, and accessories for the new school year! Highlight fashionable pieces for kids and teens. You can even put together outfit ideas.
Glasses & Contacts – Make sure students can see the board and read their books without eye strain! Offer new contacts or stylish glasses for the school year.
Computers & Electronics – Students may need a laptop or tablet to take notes and work on assignments, or they may want a new phone! Put together some of your must-have electronics.
Gifts – Loved ones can send gift baskets and care packages to students to brighten their day. Pick some examples of great gifts for students and mention why they’ll love it.
The sky is the limit on what you can include in your back to school offers! You can also create a back to school code for the season, even if you don’t have school specific products, like BACKTOSCHOOL10, BTS20, or COOL4SCHOOL.
Make Your Offers Stand Out
Codes – Catch the eye of customers and publishers with fun codes, like the ones mentioned above. Don’t forget to include Back To School in your deal info, especially if your program is integrated with FMTC. Data engineers will select Back To School as a seasonal category, which will help affiliates searching for BTS specific offers.
Free Shipping – Any offer with free shipping is always a hit – so don’t forget to either add a free shipping or flat rate shipping offer. Promos with free shipping or a code attached to it will be picked up by more publishers using FMTC.
Short Term Deals – Want to create a sense of urgency? Have your offers only last for a few days or a week max. Don’t forget to put an expiration date on your deal.
BTS Posts & Pages – Another great way to promote all your Back To School products is to write a blog post that highlights your top items, linking to each product. Create a whole new Back To School page with all the items already in one spot, making it easy for shoppers. Have all these products on sale or limit it to a select few. If you’re adding a coupon, make it valid for everything listed on that page and readily visible. Shoppers don’t like hunting for deal eggs all year round!
Once you’ve created all of your awesome BTS offers and posted them on the network, be sure to include them in your newsletters to spread the word!
As we all know, performance marketing is an ever-changing industry. There is no shortage of new trends, changes, acquisitions and surprises. We’ve already seen some really exciting things happening in 2016 and thought an infographic would be a great way to share it all with you…
At Schaaf-PartnerCentric, one of our favorite things about the affiliate marketing industry is the fantastic partnerships we’ve been able to form. Affiliate Window is one of those, and today we are excited to have PR & Marketing Coordinator, Courtney Lowenthal, guest posting on our blog. Continue reading to find out five summer content ideas!
With the lack of gifting holidays during the summer months, this time of year tends to lend itself as a slow period for both advertisers and publishers. Although this season can be quieter than others, the warmer weather brings the opportunity for consumers to participate in more activities and events, most of which require new purchases. So, if you’re a publisher and looking to beat the heat (and summer slump), check out these content ideas from Affiliate Window, sure to boost sales over the next few months.
Sporting Events and Equipment No matter which state or country you are in, summer is a time full of major sporting events. Aside from the typical MLB season, this summer will be jammed packed with events including the UEFA Euros, Wimbledon, Tour de France and of course, the Rio Olympic Games which begin in August. Although many of these events are hosted internationally, all provide the opportunity for people to come together and watch games, purchase gear and host parties for family and friends. From decorations and recipes, to jerseys and décor to cheer on their favorite teams, publishers have an abundance of content topics to choose from that will help your readers enjoy the games. Why not create a guide on ‘How to host an Olympics party’ or ‘Wimbledon Party Essentials’, to name a few.
The warmer weather also increases consumer’s involvement in outdoor activities such as cycling, tennis, hiking and golf. Publishers can create blog posts on their favorite local golf courses, or gather reviews of equipment for more experienced athletes. Wedding Season Love it or not, wedding season is upon us which means consumers are evaluating their party attire and searching for gifts. According to data from eBay, searches for ‘wedding presents’ and other wedding related items are set to surge this month, as June 2015 saw a 33% increase compared to the two months prior. To stand out from the traditional wedding bloggers, tailor your content to include gift ideas on a budget, DIY gifts or alternative wedding attire options. BBQs and Gardening There’s nothing better than firing up the grill for the first barbecue of the summer! Grilling equipment, outdoor furniture and summer recipes are great ways to target this market. Why not get even more creative and suggest ways how to spruce up gardens, make the most of smaller outdoor spaces, and garden on a budget. Last Minute Travel The peak travel booking season may be in January, but that doesn’t mean that all consumers have booked their summer vacations yet. Now is a great time for publishers to put together a list of the best last minute travel bargains on destination near and far. For those readers who are well prepared and have booked their travel in advance, create a guide full of the essential items they will need on their trip: beach apparel, sunscreen, travel adapters, headphones, car rentals, airports transfers…the list goes on!
Activities for Children
While summer is an exciting time of year for most people, let’s think about the parents who now have to keep their children entertained for two months! Here is where you can step in with a list of activities and toys perfect for a hot summer day, such as pools and trampolines, as well as trips to local theme parks, zoos, festivals, museums, and more. For most publishers, the more local the offers, the better as this will ensure you are targeting the correct audience. For those with larger amounts of traffic, try contacting local businesses directly to enquire about a partnership. If you don’t ask, you will never know what they can offer!
Slow season? I think not! With all of these content ideas, plus countless more possibilities, publishers have an endless number of ways to keep readers engaged this summer.
Thanks Courtney, and if you’d like to read more great performance marketing tips and tricks head over to the Affiliate Window blog.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to build a successful affiliate program? Of course you have, it is one of the questions most commonly asked to our team. Schaaf-PartnerCentric has partnered with Avangate to bring you a webinar that answers all of your top performance marketing questions:
How should I handle my affiliate program technical implementation?
What kind of payout structure is best for my affiliate program? How will I know if the payout I offer my affiliates is competitive?
What are the best practices to prevent fraud in my affiliate program?
Schaaf-PartnerCentric is currently working on a thought leadership piece on incremental revenue and the personalization of the commission segmentation process between advertisers and affiliates. We are looking for insight from both advertisers and affiliates and your feedback is highly valuable to us.
We will be publicly sharing the survey results once our piece is published, and the findings will be used in a presentation Schaaf-PartnerCentris CEO Stephanie Harris is giving at Affiliate Summit East on “Managing Incremental Revenue” this year.
If you have any additional feedback or questions, don’t hesitate to let us know and in the meantime feel free to download our latest white paper on Creating an Affiliate Program that Drives Incremental Revenue…