The 7 Things You Need to Know About Super Affiliates

affiliate marketing podcast

Are you a merchant looking to strike up a relationship with super affiliates, but don’t know where to start? Is your business ready to take the next step in building your social, search and digital marketing strategies, but aren’t sure how to reach out?

This is the Digital Strategy Insights podcast, proudly brought to you by All Inclusive Marketing and hosted by Jon Levine. Bringing you the latest and greatest information on all things super affiliates, ensuring merchants and affiliates can have the most beneficial relationship possible.

In this episode your host Levine is speaking with fellow AIM colleague Meaghan Causton, the Publisher Development Manager and 10-year veteran in business. She is an expert on delivering great results in challenging environments, providing the best possible service for companies. The proof is in the pudding as her “customer first” attitude has gained her 20 nominations for various industry awards over her career. Not only this but she uses her expertise and voice to influence others as a board member of the Publisher Recruitment Council.

This episode focuses on the relationship between super affiliates and merchants how they benefit each other, how to create a mutually beneficial relationship, and how to overcome any tricky hurdles along the way.

Play the Long Game

If you are new to the game and don’t have an array of contacts and relationships in the affiliate marketing space, never fear, just reach out and think creatively. You need to play the long game and search for delayed gratification in order to succeed in this marketing space.

Thinking creatively and coming up with alternative ways to make the relationship being super affiliate and merchant mutually beneficial will help both parties to learn, evolve and grow both their knowledge and their sales. Becoming outside the box and comfortable in working towards a long-term goal is the key to your success.

Have a Goal in Mind

Before you even reach out and make the first port of contact with super affiliates it is important to have a clear goal in your mind. What is the main focus of the campaign, who is your target audience and what benefits are you looking for? Having this set out in your mind will make the process a whole lot easier, and better for both parties.

Listen as Levine and Causton discuss all things super affiliates, including:

  • What are the best ways to overcome merchants who don’t want to part with their cash?
  • Is special tracking necessary when it comes to paid placements?
  • Is there a tried and tested approach for an affiliate wanting to build a business relationship with a merchant?
  • As a merchant, is there anything in particular I need to think about before discussing placement with affiliates?
  • Which placements yield the best ROI, and how?
  • What are the biggest benefits I will see from placements?

The long and short of it is that super affiliates are wanting to work with merchants, so finding a middle ground and being able to compromise another course of action over “hard-dollar” spend will be beneficial to both parties, creating a good business relationship.

Know who the best partners are going to be for you and your business, whether a merchant or a super affiliate. Having this foundational knowledge before you reach out and try to build a relationship is the first step to helping you both grow your digital, search and influencer marketing.

If this sounds like your kind of podcast then take a 20-minute break and listen to the experts. If you have any more questions, or want further advice on super affiliates or merchants, then contact the team at All Inclusive Marketing, or connect through social media, @TrustTheExperts on Twitter or Facebook.com/TrustTheExperts.

Essential “Need to Knows” for Affiliate Coupon Management

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to listen to Todd Crawford speak about coupon affiliate management at the Online Marketing Summit. He made some really great points. Here are my immediate takeaways:

 

A Few Top Coupon / Loyalty Affiliates:

  • Offers.com
  • Shopathome.com
  • Cheapsally.com
  • Bradsdeals.com
  • Clickdeals.com
  • Dealtaker.com
  • Couponsurfer.com
  • Mrrebates.com
  • Deals.com
  • Savings.com
  • CouponCabin.com
  • Amazing-Bargains.com
  • RetailMeNot.com

 

Two Types of Buyers on Coupon Sites:

  1. “Penny Pinchers” – can only afford to buy if they get a discount
  2. “Deal Seekers” – will buy (and up their order volume) only if there is a deal on

 

Challenges with Working with Coupon / Deal Sites:

  1. Margin Erosion
  2. Increased media cost (pay for affiliate plus ppc)
  3. Brand dilution
  4. Poor customer satisfaction (the coupon doesn’t work)
  5. Loss of control (once you let it loose where do you go? It gets out of control)
  6. Inaccurate analytics
    1. – how do you measure the effectiveness of one particular coupon on one particular site when it gets let loose and picked up everywhere?

 

 Alternatives to Giving a Discount Coupon

  1. Free shipping
  2. Minimum purchase amount
  3. Product, Brand or Category Specific
  4. Deal of the Day
  5. Limited Quantity
  6. Bundling
  7. Gift with Purchase
  8. Clearance
  9. Seasonal Sales

 

Marketing Goals of Working with Coupons (and you should be measuring these):

  1. Increased AOV
  2. Acquire new customers
  3. Re-engaging existing customers
  4. Limit Exposure
  5. Control media costs
  6. Extend Brand

 

How to Manage your Coupons Properly:

  1. Test with select groups of partners – try a coupon with only one or two affiliates first and see how they work.
  2. Use exclusives / vanity code
  3. Negotiate for premium placement
  4. Limit use to channel or partners
  5. Determine the right metrics to measure before you start

5 Myths About Your Affiliates

There are several misconceptions that merchants have about their affiliates and their affiliate marketing programs. Here are 5 common myths I’ve come across over the years.

1. Affiliates Work for You

Affiliates work WITH you, not for you. They work for themselves. Many merchants have the mentality that affiliates are their employees or subcontractors. They are not.

The beauty of being an affiliate is that you have the freedom to pick and chose what merchants you want to work with, which products you want to promote, which hours you want to work, what you want your website to look like and how you want to market them.

Affiliates can be anything from stay at home moms and dads to large corporations looking to further monetize their websites.

So how, then, do you work with them? As valued partners. As respected peers. You have to ask nicely, show them that you care, provide the tools they need, have good response times to their questions and inquiries and respect that they have the right and freedom to work with you or not.

It’s your job as the merchant to provide them with the value they are looking for and a solid working relationship so they feel happy and confident promoting you and your brand.

2. Affiliates Don’t Want To Be Reached Out To

It’s true that not every affiliate wants to be called at home or constantly harassed by email, but for the most part, the vast majority of affiliates want to be reached out to.

Better yet, affiliates are shocked when you personally find the time to look through their website and call them to explore ideas or send them a personal message to see how they are doing, if they need anything or had any questions about your program.

Affiliates need to be communicated with. How else do they get the most relevant information that’s applicable only to them? Or ask the questions they’ve been wondering about how to best position or sell your niche products?

Most affiliate managers send a newsletter one a month or once a quarter. However you’ll get better results if you do a little more. Try personal outreach. Host a live webinar where affiliates can ask you questions about your program or how to better position your products so you can ALL have better sales.

If you must rely on your monthly newsletter being your only form of outreach, try to include as much information as possible to help them make better decisions and updates to pre-sell your products on their websites. Things like best sellers, new products, new features on your website, upcoming sales, new banners or text links or videos should all be included.

I would even take this one step further and encourage you to segment your affiliate list to send separate newsletters to different groups of affiliates depending on their level of expertise and performance. You don’t want to send basic tips and tricks on Facebook marketing to an affiliate who strictly does PPC, and you don’t what to send data feed updates to affiliates who only have a content site and strictly use text links.

The point is, affiliates need relevant information and they need to know you’re looking out for them. This way, you can work together to find the best possible solutions that will help them, and you, get the sale.

3. You Should Only Care About Your Top 1% of Affiliates

This is a very dangerous belief that a lot of merchants seem to take. Think of it this way, if you only have 100 affiliates in your program, with 1 (your top 1%) producing all your program’s sales, you have just put all your eggs in one basket.

What happens if that affiliate decides to leave your program? Or one of your competitors comes along and snatches them up instead? Your program has just gone from high performance to zero performance overnight.

Instead, spend time taking care of your higher performing affiliates, but also look to bring in new potential high performers as well as help the guys who are already in your program.

You never know if someone already in your program who’s relatively new in the field will end up being one of your best performers, and they are simply waiting for you to work with them before they break out.

4. Affiliates are Thieves and Scammers

Affiliate marketing has had a bad reputation for a long time due to unethical behavior from a few affiliates as well as the quick fix, porn, gaming or get rich quick schemes.

Fortunately there are also a TON of ethical affiliates who work hard, put forth the honest time, effort and financial investment, and have a legitimate business for themselves.

These guys follow the rules, honor your program terms of service and are able to capture the right targeted audience with the same skill and technique that some of the leading marketing agencies in the world use.

From this, it’s important to know how to identify fraudulent affiliates in order to better protect your program, but also important how to recruit super affiliates who just know what they are doing, and do it right.

5. Affiliates Should Perform Immediately or You Should Kick Them Out

First of all, unless an affiliate has done something incredibly unethical, illegal or diminishing to your brand, it’s better not to kick an affiliate out of your program.

Here’s why:

Your affiliates, being self employed and in high demand, are extremely busy people. Many affiliates sign up for multiple programs at the same time and don’t always get to them right away.

Some affiliates sign up for a program because they have a domain that would be suitable for your products but haven’t had a chance to launch their new site yet.

Other affiliates are simply new to affiliate marketing (or internet marketing in general) and are still trying to figure out the best way to promote your product or brand while they learn the ropes. There is no reason they can’t become a top producer for you within a few months.

There are a hundred reasons why your affiliates haven’t gotten you up on their site yet, but it’s important to know that one day they may, and that it could mean a lot of sales for you.

Affiliate marketing is a long term strategy. If you want fast results, launch a Paid Search campaign. However if you want to work with your affiliates as valued partners, you’ll both need to invest in a relationship together, both working to understand the others’ needs and desires, then finding a way to help each other achieve them. Usually as the affiliate manager, that next step comes from you and your affiliate outreach strategies.

As a merchant you need to help educate your affiliates about your products or services, what works well to convert sales, what keywords perform over others, what products sell better than others, what value propositions or words to use in their copy and so on. Ultimately, they need to test these things themselves, specific to their website traffic and make adjustments that work for them.

Not every affiliate is going to work the same way and not every method is going to be successful for each affiliate. Just like any other marketing channel, you (and they) need to test what works, measure, tweak and try again. It’s a process and it takes time. So give it the time it needs to grow and flourish into something beautiful and profitable for all.

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