I am a huge Boston Redsox fan, so as you can image it was very frustrating watching their 2012 season literally fall apart in front of my eyes. “How could this be!?” many fans asked, as the Boston Redsox had the second highest payroll in MLB yet were also one of the most underperforming teams.
The truth is, the source of the Sox outcome was very simple: they lost their way and were focused only on signing high priced free agents. The result was they were forced late in the season to do one of the biggest trades in professional sports history to unleash all of their overpriced players and witness their very expensive season go to waste.
What does this have to do with affiliate marketing you ask? Well it actually has a lot to do with affiliate marketing. Just like the 2012 Boston Redsox, here at Commission Junction we see far too many affiliate marketing advertisers focused only on one strategy, or think that offering higher publisher commissions is the answer to growing sales in their affiliate marketing channel.
Building and growing a successful affiliate marketing program involves a diversified approach that is focused on core KPI’s that are measurable and easy to deploy.
As affiliate marketing has evolved over the years, it is very crucial that advertisers are focusing on key strategies to increase sales in their affiliate channels. Yet, advertisers still struggle at times with this and sometimes don’t even know where to begin or what they should be focused on first to help them increase online sales and revenue.
During Commission Junction University, our annual affiliate marketing conference held every September in Santa Barbara, I had the honor in putting together a panel of seasoned Commission Junction affiliate marketing experts who manage a wide spectrum of verticals from electronics and retail to travel and niche, all having great success within Commission Junction. You can watch the entire session, “Today’s Evolving Advertisers: Top 5 Ways to Grow Your Affiliate Marketing Program” below, but some of the affiliate marketing strategies we discussed during this panel included:
Core Fundamentals: How can advertisers launch and monitor affiliate marketing promotions and create a successful recruitment and optimization strategy? What are some of the best practices in managing media buys? Learn how flat-rate media buys, home page category placement and how looking at publisher value and conversion rate can optimize your program.
- Building relationships
- Identifying publishers that will help you accomplish your goals
- Working with publishers that resonate with your consumers
Technology: From Pay Per Call to Product Data Feeds, Lead Generation widgets to mobile tracking, what are some of the key types of technology that key advertisers are using in affiliate marketing to increase online reach and increase sales?
- Incorporating video content into affiliate links
- Ensuring that advertisers are leveraging data feeds and if they are, that they are optimized
- Leveraging publishers that you can incorporate their technology within your business
Getting to Yes: Too many times advertisers are not willing to do a small test with a group of strategic publishers. How do you go about doing that without compromising your goals?
- Test with a small group of publishers
- Willingness to work with new publishers
- Give a little to get a little
Communications: How often should you be communicating with your publishers and what types of vehicles do you communicate in? Also, how often are newsletter being sent and how often are publisher applications reviewed and publisher inquires responded too?
- Talking with publishers on an ongoing basis/ following up quickly
- Frequent newsletters
- Application review on a daily basis
Analytics: What are the key analytic metrics that affiliate marketing advertisers are reviewing and how is that helping them make more sound business decisions?
- Average order size (AOS), conversion rate and click through rate
- Publishers driving traffic
- Year-over-year and month-over-month performance
So, learn from the Redsox (and maybe a few things from our Commission Junction panel of experts) and of course we hope to see you at Commission Junction University 2013!