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5 Foundational Pillars of Affiliate Program’s Success

  1. 5 Foundational Pillars of Affiliate Program Success Geno Prussakov CEO, AM Navigator (affiliate management agency) Founder, Affiliate Management Days (conference) 888-588-8866 | Washington, DC | @ePrussakov .
  2. The 5 Pillars
  3. - 1 - Affiliate Recruitment
  4. 2 Kinds of Affiliate Recruitment Active Passive You reach out to them They find you
  5. Active Recruitment Source: 2013 Affiliate Summit AffStat Report Active: Direct contact: 42.4% Conferences: 8.9%
  6. Source: AffiliateBenchmarks 2013 Global Affiliate Questionnaire Active: Network emails: 36.3% Blogs: 29.6% Aff. manager emails: 13.9% Active Recruitment
  7. Active Recruitment 5 Key Principles o Automation o Personalization o Persistence o Leaving Options Open o Education
  8. 1. Automation au·to·ma·tion noun ˌȯ-tə-ˈmā-shən the technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary Employ Tools to Perform Routine Tasks E.g.: don’t just “google” it, but have Google Alerts deliver prospective affiliate’s info to your inbox!
  9. Free & Inexpensive Tools 1. SEO Quake (free) 2. Backlink Watch (free) 3. Open Site Explorer (free) 4. Citation Labs (~$20 per 500-1000) 5. BuzzStream ($29/mo - $249/mo) 6. Raven Backlink Explorer ($99-$249/mo) 7. iBusinessPromoter ($250-$500) Paid Tools 1. 2. Linkdex 3. Syntryx
  10. Linkdex (sector/niche-specific)
  11. Linkdex (advertiser level query) Interrogating affiliate program-specific tracking domain(s), yielding lists of affiliate sites linking in
  12. Personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened. Adestra July 2012 Report Personalized emails had a 5.13% higher average open rate than the regular emails. …they also had 17.36% higher clickthrough rate. 2012 AWeber Case Study A study by email marketing provider YesMail found that personalization increased their clients' response rates from 4.7% to 14.8%. "The Quiet Revolution in Email Marketing" by Bill Nussey 2. Personalization
  13. 3. Persistence
  14. Effectiveness of Following up:  Initial email: max. 4% sign up  Follow-ups: ≈12% more join Frequency: 1. A week from original email 2. 1 more week down the road 3. 2-3 months 4. Half a year 5. A year 3. Persistence
  15. 4. Leaving Options Open Besides Primary Call to Action (“join our affiliate program”)… Embed also a Secondary CTA into your affiliate recruitment emails!
  16. 5. Educating Them Source: Technorati Media 2013 Digital Influence Report
  17. Source: 2013 Affiliate Summit AffStat Report Passive: Merchant site: 51.3% Search engines: 38.6% Directories: 38% Word of mouth: 20.3% Support efforts: 14.6% Passive Recruitment
  18. Source: AffiliateBenchmarks 2013 Global Affiliate Questionnaire Passive: Support pages: 47% Network sites: 44.7% Search engines: 33.1% Forums & directories: 17.6% Word of mouth: 17.5% Passive Recruitment
  19. Passive Recruitment Ways to Get Found by Affiliates: o Program description (with visible link) o Program FAQ and/or support site/blog o Affiliate directories o Social media o Second-tier affiliates o “Subscribe to affiliate news” link o Press releases
  20. - 2 - Affiliate Activation
  21. Affiliate Activation What % of your current affiliates are active? …between 5% and 10%
  22. Pattern to Follow: 1. Remind them of your program details 2. Include an activation promo 3. Enclose performance-based incentive 4. Pre-coded affiliate links (incl. coupons, feed, etc) 5. Detailed contact information Start With Approval Email!
  23. “What’s the maximum acceptable affiliate program application response time?” Source: 2010 AffStat Report
  24. Motivate Continuously!
  25. Congratulations! You have been chosen as a CSN Stores Affiliate Program Rising Star. All the members of this group have been able to bring in a significant amount of traffic to our sites over the last few month. We want to help you make sure those visits lead to sales and commissions! For the next month, April 1st - May 1st, the CSN Stores Affiliate program will be offering an exclusive promotion to the members of this Rising Stars group. If in the month of April you can convert just 10 sales you will receive an additional $150 bonus on top of your commissions. Example of Motivating Newsletter
  26. To motivate others effectively, managers must have “a clear, unbiased understanding of the situation at hand, deep insights into the vagaries of human nature, the establishment of appropriate and reasonable expectations and goals, and the constructions of a balanced set of… incentives.” Bronwyn Fryer, "Moving Mountains“ (Harvard Business Review on Motivating People, 2003)  Start with the truth  Appeal to greatness  Make them proud  Stick to your values  Provide constant & consistent communication channel  Build trust  Care for the little guy  Set different incentive levels How to Motivate
  27. - 3 - Compliance Policing
  28. Remember… Do not call it a “violation” unless you’ve defined it as such in your TOS!
  29. What to Police o Trademark use o FTC disclosures o Coupon usage o Brand placement(s)
  30. Trademarks  TMs (and domains) as PPC keywords,  TMs in domain names;  … “misspellings and variations” wording
  31. How to Police: In Paid Search Campaigns: • iTrademarkBidding – • Brandverity PoachMark – • SearchMonitor – • AdGooroo Trademark Insight – In Domain Names: • CitizenHawk – • Typo Assassin – .
  32. BrandVerity PoachMark
  33. FTC Compliance
  34. FTC's Rules on Endorsements In essence… • merchant-affiliate = sponsor-endorser relationships • relationship must be clearly disclosed by marketer • advertiser responsible for educating, equipping, and policing compliance
  35. What to Do: 1. Sub-clause of Affiliate Obligations clause in TOS 2. Provide affiliates with disclosure template(s) 3. Routinely analyze sites of top performers 4. Look into content monitoring solutions by BrandVerity and TheSearchMonitor to automate policing
  36. Coupon Usage  Coupon harvesting or usage of protected coupon codes  Pseudo-couponing  Click-to-reveal “technology”
  37. BrandVerity for Policing (on LS) Protected coupon codes posted on affiliate sites
  38. Brand Placements Brand = your most valuable asset. Safeguard it!!
  39. Linkdex for Policing (on SaS) Filter on specific affiliate ID reveals 155 websites with their links
  40. Linkdex for Policing (on CJ) Filter on one of tracking domains for a single affiliate ID - 34 sites
  41. - 4 - Communication
  42. Global Problem
  43. Global Problem
  44. Communication Channel Build a two-way communication channel (via all available means, including social media)
  45. Source: 2014 AffStat Report
  46. Communication Frequency Source: 2010 AffStat Report
  47. - 5 - Optimization
  48. How to Optimize o Replicate your own successes o Employ best practices o Spy on your competition
  49. Monitoring Competition Competitive intelligence – “the process by which companies inform themselves about every aspect of their rivals’ activities and performance” (Christopher West, Competitive Intelligence, p. 12)
  50. What to Monitor:  Technologies used  Product/service features  Price levels  Customer-oriented promos, discounts, rebates  Perceptions they create for their brand  Means of creating perceptions online  Affiliate program specifics (cookie life, locking period, creatives, marketing collateral, etc)  Types of affiliates used (and avoided!)  Affiliate-oriented incentives (bonuses, contests, tiered commissions, private commissions, etc)  Affiliate program policies
  51. Focus: Practical Application “The real purpose of competitive intelligence is to learn and to act” …not merely collect data or “develop information”. (Seena Sharp, Competitive Intelligence Advantage, p 101)
  52. How to Spy on Your Competition: 1. Analyze their performance stats 2. Become their customer & affiliate 3. Create automatic monitoring campaigns 4. Do friend and follow them 5. Employ traffic measuring tools
  53. Beware of Misleading Metrics!
  54. Example:
  55. To Recap:
  56. In Conclusion…
  57. Give "old" stuff tools new life!