Introducing Affiliation Marketing and Referrals into your Web Strategy
1.- TRAVEL DISTRIBUTION IS A COMPLEX WORLD:
Whether we are Apartment Companies, Apartment Owners etc in today´s World bookings are made
(mainly) online. This Infography depicts the different options to book online that a user can choose
depending on what moment of research is: looking for inspiration, planning a trip, researching for the
best offer and finally booking. Across those moments there are different choices (metasearch engines,
Hotel/Aparments Booking Sites, Review´s Sites,…) to book Accommodation.
Brands have to define the best route to get bookings (being in all of them is not possible) and moreover
they will have to increase direct bookings and maintain a good balance between direct/indirect sales in
order to get profitability
Another view about the Online Travel Ecosystem:
Affilinet, Affiliation Network, published an “online barometer” about which online sources are
customer using to book online (European data). They reported that 50% of “online bookings”
were made through “travel content sites” like Trip Advisor.
1.1 Direct Sales:
So in order to get direct bookings it is pretty important to set up a strategy to get qualified
traffic: paid search, natural search, social networks are commonly used. But Affiliate
Marketing has been growing through the last 10 years and becoming a great source of
leads & sales with the added beauty that “you only pay per confirmed booking”.
Affiliate marketing is a medium whereby an online store (also known as the “merchant” or
“advertiser”) receives leads or sales from 3rd party websites (also known as “affiliates”). The
beauty of affiliate marketing is that the advertisers only pay for actual sales or pre-defined
actions that are agreed from the launch of the program.
Pre-defined actions could be any or a combination of the following:
Cost per click (CPC)
Cost per lead or per registration (CPL)
Cost per acquisition (CPA)
Cost per sale
The affiliate will promote the advertiser through various methods, for example through email
marketing, display advertising through banners or on a comparison site, maybe even through
social media. Affiliate types vary and depend on the promotional methods described above.
Some typical affiliate types include content sites (that promote advertisers by including text
links within the article and copy), vouchercode sites, cashback sites, email database owners
and distributers, corporate/employee rewards companies, shopping comparison engines and
Tracking sales and leads are the heart of affiliate marketing. Without the ability to track
results reliably, performance marketing doesn’t exist. Affiliate tracking is surprisingly simple.
Each time a visitor clicks an affiliate URL the affiliate network will set or store tracking
information on the visitor’s computer. The affiliate network then knows which affiliate
referred that visitor to that advertiser.
The affiliate network will provide each advertiser with their individual HTML tracking code. It’s
then added to the page at the end of any action the advertiser is paying affiliates for, normally
the “success” or “thank you” page shown after making a purchase. This tracking code will pass
order or lead data to the affiliate network. When the affiliate network’s tracking code is
shown, for example after each purchase, the affiliate network will read back it’s tracking
information, which was previously set. Commission is then paid
Affiliate networks in the UK currently operate on a “last click wins” basis.
If before a transaction takes place multiple affiliates refer the same visitor, only the last
affiliate who sent the visitor before the transaction takes place will be paid the commission.
2.2 AFFILIATION PITCH AND PLAYERS:
WHAT IS AN AFFILIATE NETWORK AND WHAT DO THEY DO?
The network provides a platform for an advertiser to run its affiliate programme. It provides
the technical infrastructure that allows the advertiser to work with affiliate publishers knowing
that there is a tracking, reporting and payment mechanism in place. Networks also benefit
advertisers and publishers by offering the trust and reassurance of account management staff
to assist according to specified service level.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF AN AFFILIATE AGENCY?
An affiliate agency is an extension of the advertiser's existing marketing team and fulfils the
role of an outsourced affiliate manager. The agency ensures the programme has a strategy
that is understood by client and publishers and a sustainable commercial base. On a day-today level it is about the practical administration of promotions, voucher codes, creative
(banners) and newsletters and reporting back to the client.
Identifying and recruiting new affiliates that fit the advertiser’s target customer base
Engaging with affiliates using a strategic communications approach
Leveraging advertiser awareness with the network(s) so if there are new
publishers/affiliates or technology solutions which aid in the sales growth, then it is the
role of a good affiliate agency to bring these to the attention of the advertiser.
Reporting and ensuring a communications feedback loop between the advertiser,
network and affiliate in an effective manner and pret-targeting companies operate on a cost
per sale or a cost per click basis.
4. REFERRAL MARKETING:
When we get customers getting new users for our company and we reward them (either with
cash, loyalty points, added value…) we talk then of Referral Marketing:
Both models are able to get new lead/sales to our business
While “an affiliate” is an advocate that maybe does not know our brand and is moved by
financial motivations, the “referrer” is aloyal customer which recomemend our brand (and
furthermore gets cash but many times only gets features, bonus, points…)
U.S Affiliation Marketing will reach 4.1 $ Billion spending in 2014.
83% of satisfied customer are willing to refer products and services.
5. SETTING UP YOUR STRATEGY
1. Either if you use your Own Program or use a external platform, you need to DESIGN
your Affiliation Program:
What Commission are you sharing with Affiliates (Networks and Websites)
Which channels you allow to be used by them: PPC? EMAIL? RETARGETTING?
Which kind of websites are you planning to work with
2. PROVIDE WITH TOOLS: in order to generate sales for you, Affiliated need some tools:
-Tracked links: Home, Landing Pages, Specific Product Places, etc
- Banner-Creativities: to Display in an attractive way
- Marketing tools: voucher codes, offers,
- HTML-XML tools: like Search-boxes widgets, XML product feeds, etc
3. RECRUIT: If you are using your Own program, you will be responsible to communicate
and get onboard Affiliates and Super Affiliates, when you work with Platform and
Agencies they will take care of that part as well
4. MESURE AND PAYMENTS: it is crucial for the Affiliate to be in the know of its sales
(eventhough the Visitors and Clicks is getting for your company) on real time basis. The
most important thing is to pay them (directly or through Platforms) on time and in
easy ways (Paypal).
As with all marketing, the setting of clear objectives is vital.
Objectives should be distinct and
measureable and be clearly understood by all internal parties.
The objective could be to:
•Increase brand awareness within demographics or geography
•Increase traffic to your desktop site or mobile site
•Increase relevant consumer details into your CRM databases or onto your social pages
•Increase the downloads of your mobile app
•Generate warm sales leads
•Generate additional sales
•Increase basket sizes