‘Affiliate Marketing’ is not a term the average person can identify with. All of the individual sites which make up the internet branch out in all different directions which should be utilised. After all, there are billions of different websites out there, each with a slightly different target audience. Your target audience is waiting to be…well…targeted.
Affiliate marketing relies on four integral players; The Merchant (e.g. the retailer), The Network (Affiliate Window/Impact Radius/Affili.Net etc.), The Publisher (the affiliate) and The Customer. To be a successful affiliate manager you need to be able to understand and communicate effectively with all four key players.
We created a handy graphic to explain it a little better:
There are four very different types of affiliates. Content, Voucher/Cashback, Display and Soft Click. Content sites are the best way to reach your target audience as the traffic running through these sites will likely include your target audience. Voucher and Cashback sites are the most common affiliate sites, offering customers discounts on their purchases. Display affiliates are like any other display network and work on a CPA (Cost per Action) basis. Soft-Click are the relatively new guys on the affiliate marketing scene taking much more of an active role in the securing of sales from customers rather than advertising the service or products.
Huge businesses like Quidco and Topcashback are built on the CPA model of affiliate marketing and do extremely well. Both of these sites rely on discount codes. There is a large potential issue with relying only discount codes on a site, you submit them on the site in the hope that people will discover through a simple Google search. I am going to give an example of two thought processes of a customer using a voucher code to get money off their purchase:
I am going to buy this deodorant, oh I bet there is going to be a discount code for this, search ‘deodorant discount code’, there it is, now I have this item for cheaper.
I am either going to buy this product or another similar product, I wonder if either has a discount code, this one DOES have a code and the other doesn’t, I will save money and go for the product with the discount.
The latter is the situation which is going to make the sale, the former is only going to lose the merchant money. There are a plethora of different voucher code and cashback sites out there. The reason for this is because it is incredibly easy to put a code on a site and let the commissions slowly trickle in. This is one of the biggest problems with this type of affiliate. What you find as a result is the affiliates will leave expired codes on their site or not have the most up to date content or creative, hindering sales. To help fight against losing money on an already ‘made’ sale, we put in place rules which basically deny commissions to affiliates whereby a customer leaves the site and returns within a certain time frame.
To keep your affiliates fresh and avoid sales becoming stagnant, you as the affiliate manager need to be fresh. Most companies have a content calendar, or failing that a rough plan as to what content they are going to produce and share through social media on a weekly or month to month basis. This is the perfect opportunity to ensure your affiliates stay fresh. Generate codes which mirror the content for that month, create competitions which link in with the month’s content strategy and campaigns, and write exclusive content for the affiliate to use which links in with the overall theme. Engage the affiliate, engage the customer.
Here in the Zeal Digital team we strive to ensure all affiliates are getting the most out of each program and that we maximise profits for the merchants. Find out a little bit more about Affiliate Marketing at Zeal or if you want to chat to chat to one of us, contact us.