How to Effectively Reach and Engage Bloggers


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Bloggers love hearing that they can earn money for writing about merchant brands and products. However, once they receive the instruction manual for affiliate marketing, that includes the arduous tasks of joining affiliate networks, applying for individual merchant programs, and hard coding complex deep links into their site, they turn away. It's too technical and time-consuming for many bloggers, and therefore too hard to get them to engage. This presentation is about how to get in touch with these bloggers and make affiliate marketing a simple, approachable offer they can’t refuse, increasing Merchant sales.

This was presented by Jenny Williams, Merchant Manager for Skimlinks, at the Affiliate Management Days conference in San Francisco on March 9th, 2012.

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  • How many of you attended Sarah Bundy’s session on super affiliate’s yesterday? She did a great job with tips on how to find affiliates and help them find you and I’m going to touch on that a bit, but then focus on how to engage them.
  • Grew up in Silicon Valley, went to college in Boston, and lived in Australia and LA before moving to LondonWorked for Affiliate and Merchant health & lifestyle website, and national commerce brand before SkimlinksMerchant Manager for Skimlinks
  • Skimlinks is an award-winnding technology company that over 20,000+ high quality affiliates use to convert their normal merchant links and keywords into affiliate linksAt Skimlinks I have worked in social media marketing, Publisher sales and now currently Merchant Management,Currently manage our relationships with over 18,000 Merchants worldwide from niche merchants to the big names including Macy’s, Ralph Lauren, Barneys, Best Buy,New Egg
  • A recurring theme with Merchants is wanting to optimize with our bloggers, so I’ve learned from both Publishers and Merchants what works to build a mutually beneficial relationship with a blogger, which is what I’m going to share with you today.
  • The term blog is very generic, while in reality there are so many different types of blog and people who run blogsMultiple variants.. Not useful to generalize
  • Long term value of brand loyalty
  • -why would I start paying for this traffic? At the end of the day, affiliate marketing is about rewarding the people who are promoting your brand and driving sales; and bloggers are motivated by money. If you see them writing about you, giving them a check is a nice way to say thanks and stick in their mind for future articles, while if you don’t, the most recent article may be your last.Finding these people is about getting the basics right.
  • Before I start, the most important thing to remember is that these bloggers you’re wanting to engage with are real people, they’re not just a business partner you’re trying to get the most out of. It’s about how you mutually work together to build your brands together. This potato may look a little random, but I’m using it as a symbol of what a misunderstood blogger would be. Pretty unresponsive. But with these, tips put together, your potato will come to life.
  • Nothing worse with soliciting with inappropriate requests
  • Spoke with Sian Meades from Domestic Sluttery
  • -Last year technorati did a survey of over 4,000 bloggers and when asked what they number 1 influencer was on the topic of their posts…
  • Bloggers are social and already sharing through various social sites, including twitter, facebook, youtube, linkedin, stumbleupon, tumblr, reddit
  • A lot of bloggers are now using video. You can encourage them to to post video reviews to their blogs and YouTube channels, and they can add affiliate links to their videos (viewbix)
  • One of our bloggers ran a ShopRuche competition for a $50 gift card for her users. Users had to visit the ShopRuche site, pick out their favorite items from theirlookbook. And leave a comment about their favorite picks to enter. This competition had over 1300 comments.Inviting your bloggers to events where they can see exclusive launches, or have a unique experience showcasing your brand and products, is a fantastic way to inspire your bloggers about your products and encourage them to write about you more. Ted Baker invited some of their bloggers to a fashion show where they could meet the founder of Ted Baker, and otherwise elusive man.
  • Don’t sting on the samples. If you send cheap products, you either risk poor reviews, or you’re then promoting low-priced items and it will be more difficult to upsell. Send your bloggers your high quality items that they can write about to help drive higher order values for you.
  • Don’t ignore them when asking for more info.
  • Suggest solutions like Skimlinks to make it easier for them to affiliate their links and focus on their content
  • A lot of the brands we are live with work through agencies such as 7thingsMedia, which is a strategic partner of ours. They’ve provided a couple cases studies about how engaging the brands they manage with bloggers has significantly increased sales for the Merchant. Starting with Ted Baker and strong brand In the fashion industry, which was not reflected in its affiliate program.
  • 300 affiliates and completely relying on standard top 10 players in the indsustryCreative 2 years oldNo social media presence
  • Events, inviting variety, not just topMake program part of brand
  • Matched brandsIncreased social presenceGot affiliate info from Skimlinks by pulling reports
  • Very open programAuto accept = not personable
  • Took time to understand different types of affiliates and bloggers
  • Looking for affiliates and matching brandsGave other content such as videosFeeds
  • If you treat your bloggers like people and understand them and how your brands can work together, then you’ll get a happy responsive, mutually beneficial partner and friend.
  • How to Effectively Reach and Engage Bloggers

    1. 1. How to Effectively Reach & Engage BloggersAffiliate Management Days, March 2012 Jenny Williams Merchant Manager
    2. 2. Who am I?
    3. 3. Skimlinks?
    4. 4. What do I knowabout bloggers?
    5. 5. Who is a blogger?
    6. 6. Bloggers who blog about blogging Darren Rowse
    7. 7. Entrepreneurial bloggers Poppy Dinsey
    8. 8. Bloggers who create communities Justine Roberts
    9. 9. Why are they valuable? Long tail Loyal & trusted community Influential voice Add brand legitimacy
    10. 10. How do I Find Them? Google Analytics and Alerts Alexa Find your ambassadors and identify who your competitors are working with
    11. 11. HOW DO I ENGAGE THEM?
    12. 12. Match Your BrandsBloggers are building a brand tooYour brand has to fit with their brand
    13. 13. Match Your Brands
    14. 14. Play by the Golden Rule “Talk to us like we’re people.”
    15. 15. Golden Rule“Don’t just get intouch when you wantsomething. Talk to uson Twitter, engagewith us.If you just talk to usevery time you wanta favor or needsomething promoted,you’ll find us less andless willing.” Sian Meades Founding Editor,
    16. 16. Golden Rule “It’s all just manners, really. Were just people who want to do what we love doing and we want to do it really well. Help us make that as easy as possible and youve got our attention.”
    17. 17. Be social The #1 influence on a blogger’s topic choice is other blogs they read 81% of all bloggers use Facebook to promote their blog More than half of all bloggers use Twitter to drive traffic to their site
    18. 18. Amplify their voice
    19. 19. AmplifyRepostarticles thatyourbloggershavewrittenabout yourbrand
    20. 20. Go Beyond Written Content @HannahRoseKeys
    21. 21. Feed Them Opportunities Competitions Events
    22. 22. Feed Them Opportunities Samples
    23. 23. Feed Them Opportunities Unique codes Increased commission rates Providing written content is pointless – that’s their job! They want to write about you, not for you.
    24. 24. Give them toolsWidgetsStore frontsPay Per Call
    25. 25. Give them tools Provide high-res jpegs not PDFs Send videos Make your banners attractive and current
    26. 26. Make it easy for them
    27. 27. Do these tips work?
    28. 28. Ted Baker case studyOne of the fastest-growing leading lifestylebrands in the UK with a collection of US storesand presence in department stores
    29. 29. Ted Baker case studyLimited affiliate base Over reliance on a small number of affiliates (9% sale active) Too many sales from voucher code affiliates Lack of creative options Stagnant commission rate Limited communicationBrand had no personality in the space
    30. 30. Ted Baker case study Strong affiliate recruitment Segmented communication by affiliate type Implemented custom affiliate plans and campaigns per affiliate type Increased engagement with fashion/content websites Increased awareness of the programme industry wide & with super affiliates
    31. 31. Ted Baker case study  1,192% sales value increase in affiliate sales  Revenue from content sites increased by 1,462%  63% of the traffic from outside the top 10 affiliate  Active affiliates up 105% totalling over 800 individual “on brand” affiliates“Ted Bakers affiliate campaign is forensically managed and executed. Sales driven duringthe year, and the Christmas season have surpassed expectations and 7thingsmedia continuesto show us the value of an integrated affiliate solution to stimulate awareness, and drivetraffic and sales.”Eve Henrikson – Head of Ecommerce at Ted Baker
    32. 32. Agent Provocateur case studyGlobally recognized luxury lingerie, nightwear,and designer swimwear
    33. 33. Agent Provocateur case study Voucher and cashback sites counted for 80% of the programme Lack of understanding internally and pressure to close the channel Auto acceptance for publishers Affiliate sales drove 3% of overall Ecommerce revenue
    34. 34. Agent Provocateur case study Produced a board-level affiliate strategy  including “what is an AP affiliate” Program audit  Removed the un-wanted incentive websites Produced a weekly plan per quarter  Communication  Creative  Commission Affiliate hub to access high res images Identified high international traffic potential
    35. 35. Agent Provocateur case study  Affiliate sales revenue up 274%  Affiliates on the program increased by 146% (including initial 50% removal)  The affiliate programme now accounts for 23% of Ecommerce sales (from 3%)  AOV up 59% – evidence of targeting a more affluent consumer base through relevant publishers  International sales can account for up to 60% of sales“7thingsmedia has demonstrated the absolute worth of affiliates as a key and profitable channel forAgent Provocateur; driving results that were previously thought to be unachievable”Joanna Kelly, Senior Ecommerce Manager, Agent Provocateur
    36. 36. Summary Match your brands Play by the Golden Rule Be Social Amplify their voice Go beyond written content Feed them opportunities Give them tools
    37. 37. THANK YOU! JENNY WILLIAMS MERCHANT MANAGER EMAIL JENNY@SKIMLINKS.COM MOBILE +44 (0)77 9988 7551 SAN FRANCISCO +1 (650) 669 8543 LONDON +44 (0)20 3397 1306