I had a bit of an epiphany this week after speaking with a US based affiliate who recently launched a website targeting Canadian buyers. This affiliate started in the industry about eight years ago with one website and a two man team. Today, this affiliate owns over 25 different Google Page Rank 4 properties and is able to fund the employment of 25 people strictly on commission from the merchants they promote.
It was an interesting conversation which led to me sending myself about 10 emails from bed the other night as my husband and baby slept beside me. The evolution of ideas keep coming in and I required my blackberry remind me in the morning each exciting angle that came to me.
What was the bottom line? Canada is the next big opportunity for US based affiliate marketing programs. Merchants and marketing companies have done such a good job advertising their brands that the US marketplace has become somewhat saturated and margins cut to a bare minimum.
That means US based companies are looking for new places to emerge. They need new customers who they can sell and deliver to easily. The obvious solution? Canada. Canadians think similarly to Americans in many ways because they are exposed to many of the same tv shows, movies, commercials and celebrities that Americans have been exposed to.
In general, Canadians know more about the US government than their own. They know more about American news, can name more American celebrities and in a lot of cases, have stronger brand recognition with US based companies than Canadian ones.
Combine that with the fact that shipping products by land is cheaper than by air and voia la! Your next big unsaturated target market for the States.
But here's where it gets interesting. Like Americans, Canadians are also extremely pratriotic. They love their country and will do anything to support it. So just as Americans would rather buy from a US based company than a Canadian one, Canadians would rather buy from a Canadian based company, or at least one that's in their own currency and targeted specifically to them.
That's why US based affiliate SurfMyAds relaunched Coupons.ca after years of testing in the Canadian market. Three years ago Canada wasn't ready for this website. There were not enough US based merchants shipping to Canada and there were not enough affiliate programs from Canadian based companies. Today that's all changed as shipping has become less of an issue and Canadian companies are waking up to the opportunity of Canadian based online shoppers.
This leads to an incredible opportunity for Canadian based distribution companies, affiliates, merchants and Outsourced Affiliate Program Managers, such as Vancouver based All Inclusive Marketing, Toronto based GrowthSpurt Media and Vancouver Island based Her Media, which specialize in affiliate marketing management for both US and Canadian based clients.
There are many Canadian affiliates looking to partner with US based merchants targeting Canadian shoppers. Better offers, exclusive coupons for Canadian customers, a better selections of merchants and the possibility of different tax regulations open the doors for interesting opportunities for these groups.
What many Americans don't know is that Canadians have a hard time finding products that can be shipped to them from the US. For example, many products on Amazon.com cannot be delivered to Canada. Even Zappos doesn't ship to Canada anymore due to high shipping rates and limited cross boarder tracking. That's why Amazon.ca is building up their next empire in international destinations, such as Canada, offering larger inventories and wider selection than anything seen in previous years.
Needless to say, you don't have to be Amazon to take advantage of the Canadian shoppers waiting to get their hands on your goods. By offering quick shipping, exclusive coupons and ensuring orders can be placed in CND, you're opening the doors to new revenue opportunities. With 33 million people and several billion dollars spent on shopping each year, even a small piece of that pie could equate to a small fortune.