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…
We don’t want to brag, but at Schaaf-PartnerCentric, when it comes to employees, we have the best. You’ve likely heard us mention that our Affiliate Managers have an average of 10 years in the industry, but have you heard about our technology team? From program implementation to solving tracking issues to addressing attribution, they are performance marketing experts through and through. We’ve been keeping their expertise to ourselves and our clients, and have decided it is time we share their wealth of knowledge with the world. We will be doing this through a new monthly series called ‘Trends and Moves’ where Tom Rathbone, Schaaf-PartnerCentric Head of Technology, will share news stories and updates on where the industry is headed.
May Trends & Moves: Bot Buying
As consumers begin to engage in brands more conversationally, it opens the door to a different level of interaction where purchasing is done proactively at a time of need or desire, not relying on a consumer to come looking.
This involves consumers interacting with a bot conversationally, which then goes out and makes a purchase for you. Facebook opening this up is the biggest shift here, as bots move from a site popup (“How can I help you today?”) towards interaction that can immediately result in a purchase right when a consumer would need it.
What effects could this have?
It will certainly pull dollars away from the traditional marketing channels we are so used to seeing funds go towards. And here, at Schaaf-PartnerCentric, where we spend countless hours thinking about the future trends of performance marketing, we have been actively seeking, engaging, and nurturing relationships with affiliates partners utilizing this technology. As the year progresses, we expect to see more and more affiliates innovating and leveraging the world of bots. Here are a few real-world example of bots in the digital landscape…
The week when digital marketing entered the bots era
“Now, chat bots — as well as chats with, you know, actual humans — have begun to populate websites, like helpful sales associates promptly showing up as you walk through the door of a store in a mall. It’s so much more convenient to ask a sales associate/bot what you really need, than having to figure out yourself what that is and where to find it.”- Marketing Land
How I sent Mark Zuckerberg flowers using a Facebook Messenger bot
“To test this pitch, I decided to send him a bouquet using Messenger’s new ability. And it worked!” – Marketing Land
Slackobot: Taco Bell pilots an order bot on Slack
The Mexican food chain has teamed with workplace messaging service Slack to refine a bot capable of processing and arranging food pickups. TacoBot leverages artificial intelligence for group and single ordering through natural language – fully equipped with Taco Bell’s sharp and witty personality. Read More here.
Have you been working with bots, as a developer, advertiser, or other? Feel free to drop me a line – I’d love to learn more about your experiences!
At Schaaf-PartnerCentric, we will be the first ones to tell you that affiliate marketing can be a bit confusing. We’d go so far as to say that the complicated landscape for performance marketing is part of what keeps us in business. With that said, we thought it would be beneficial to shed a little light on the top affiliate misconceptions we see. To do so, we chatted with Megan Sabo, one of Schaaf-PartnerCentric’s experienced Account Managers. Continue reading to learn about the top 6 misunderstandings (and the truths that accompany them!) she’s observed in the affiliate marketing industry…
Misconception 1: Affiliate Programs are high risk and low ROI. The truth…
The affiliate channel is inherently low risk due to the structure of a traditional pay-per-performance affiliate program, where you only need to pay commissions when an affiliate generates a sale or lead (sales are inherently less risky), and don’t need to pay for clicks or impressions
There is a huge opportunity for high ROI given that there are ongoing costs are typically only for affiliate management services and commissions, no other associated costs.
Misconception 2: Affiliate could cause arbitrage and conflict with other digital marketing channels. The truth…
You can setup restrictions regarding how the brand is promoted via other channels like paid search trademark terms restrictions, email marketing requires compliance with CAN-SPAM and prior written approval from the advertiser. You should also setup attribution for your affiliate program to help mitigate this issue.
Misconception 3: Coupon sites have either less value or no value when compared to other publishers in an affiliate program. The truth…
You should create strong promotions for products/ areas where you’d like to see more sales (such as a product that isn’t performing well in other channels) and only allow coupon affiliates to promote these types of promotions. You can also segment the commission structure and offer coupon affiliates lower commissions than other affiliates.
The best way to keep coupon sites from taking sales from the affiliate channel and other channels is to control the messaging on the coupon sites through the promotions you offer.
Misconception 4: You only need to provide affiliates with text links and banners, and you can use the same creative/ text link copy through the year. The truth…
For better conversion rates, you should try new link types such as video, content, smart links, etc.
You should also create new banners, text links, and offers on a quarterly basis (or more frequently to match what you’re doing in other digital channels) to prevent stagnant performance and coupon fatigue. Pull performance reports to see which banner sizes, text link copy, and offer types perform best and replicate for future needs. Bonus: Ensure your product data feed is regularly updated (daily is deal!).
Misconception 5: Your affiliate program needs to be in as many networks as possible. The truth…
It is often beneficial to consolidate your program into fewer networks for cost savings (your top 1-2 performing networks), and ensure that your top performers in the lower performing networks are okay with moving to the other networks. Also, it’s helpful to give incentives for moving networks to these performers i.e. 1st sale bonus in the other networks, limited time exclusive offer, temporary commission increase, etc.
Misconception 6: You don’t need to communicate with your affiliates, you can just set up the program and forget it. The truth…
You should set up a regular communication schedule with your affiliates to keep them informed of new creative (see above), offers, as well as product updates and other newsworthy items that will keep your brand and products top-of-mind with your affiliates. Bonus: Include sample blog content for blogger affiliates to reuse in their blogs, makes it easy for them to promote you!