Affiliate marketing is a payout to affiliates, generally influencers or media that promote your brand or product with a unique link that tracks their contribution to your sales. When a sale is made from their link, they earn a commission, generally 5%-10% of the product cost. You can think about affiliates, also known as publishers, as external salespeople for your brand — they essentially market your product, whether consumer packaged goods, consumer electronics or pretty much anything else you can physically sell.
As a communications executive, the first media outlet I really saw put affiliate deals to works was Wirecutter, a product reviews site that was quick to monetize and today sits within The New York Times Company. This new model was a critical development for publishers because media outlets struggled to make up for declining ad sales. Today, most media outlets have commerce teams that handle their affiliate programs. Transparency is critical, so most publish their terms to explain the separation of editorial content from affiliate programs.
Most influencers also leverage affiliate programs today. They use their personal brand equity and channels to endorse and promote products, with affiliate revenue often representing their largest stream of income.
The adoption of affiliate marketing today is incredible: 81% of brands and 84% of publishers leverage it, with spend increasing 10% a year, expected to reach $6.8 billion in 2020.
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Article Resource: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2020/06/05/we-are-living-in-an-affiliate-world/#1ec4f71d32a0
affiliate marketing to account for all of these changes.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected shopping trends in a number of ways. In April of 2020, 30% of all retail sales were made online (ONS), which is the highest percentage we’ve seen so far. It’s also worth noting that certain products have been in higher demand over the last few months and, with people being concerned about the safety of warehouse staff and the logistics of receiving deliveries during this crisis, a lot of consumers are only shopping for essentials. Such changes in consumer behaviour can arise for a whole host of reasons, though, which is why you always need to be ready to change your tact in one way or another.
Here, I’m going to outline just some of the ways you can make it as easy as possible to adapt your approach.
Get to know your customers:
Overall, the affiliate space can be quite predictable, as a lot of shopping behaviours are determined by seasonality as well as peak times when we know more people are going to be shopping online — on Black Friday or Boxing Day, for example. We also know, for instance, that January is historically the most popular month for booking summer holidays so, as you can imagine, this is always a very important time for travel companies.
While seasonality and peak times might affect your entire industry in a similar way, it’s also important that you understand your typical customers’ shopping behaviours more specifically. The more information you collect about them (within the GDPR guidelines, of course), the better you’ll be at predicting their shopping behaviours.
So, when do they usually visit your site, do they tend to shop in the day or at night, and how long does it take people to convert once they’ve clicked through to your website? It’s also vital that you always know where most of your traffic comes from, whether that’s from influencers’ Instagram stories, voucher sites, or more traditional online media, as this can help to inform how you target potential customers all year round.
Keep an eye on the news and plan accordingly:
As we’ve seen with the coronavirus, certain current events can have a huge effect on people’s shopping habits. For example, in the last few months, the online retail space has seen an increase in demand for certain products, such as food delivery services, lounge-wear, and even toilet roll. So, understandably, we’ve seen affiliate marketing strategies adapt as a result.
As with most areas of digital marketing, though, it’s always best to be ahead of the curve and making changes proactively, rather than reactively, to stay ahead of the competition. This means it’s vital that you keep an eye on the news at all levels, from local, to national, and even globally. For example, when Italy went into lockdown, UK affiliate marketing managers should have been anticipating the same happening here, and thinking about what people in lockdown are going to be looking to buy: comfortable clothing and products to entertain themselves with are just two of the obvious choices.
While most news stories might not have quite as big of an impact on the whole retail space as coronavirus has, different industries are being affected in different ways all of the time. So, it’s vital that affiliate marketing managers are always on the look out for news that might call for a change to their strategies.
Keep an eye on your stock levels:
Of course, you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure your affiliate marketing strategies bag you as many sales as possible, but you also need to ensure you can deliver on these orders quickly to keep customers happy. This means you always need to be aware of what you have in stock, and ensure there’s clear communication between all relevant parties in case any items need to be restocked at short notice. It’s also important that your product feed is always up to date, so you have easy access to all of the information you need, from official product names, to their descriptions and dimensions, as well as their availability.
Affiliate marketing managers should be in constant contact with website or stock managers to ensure every campaign goes off without a hitch, too. This will also help to ensure preparations can be put in place, whether extra stock needs to be ordered or warehouse staff need to be warned, if you expect that demand for a specific type of product is going to go through the roof thanks to your marketing campaigns.
Consumer behaviours are subtly shifting all of the time, but they can also be severely impacted by current events, just like we’ve seen with the coronavirus crisis. Of course, your affiliate marketing strategies always need to adapt to this and, by taking these tips on board, you should be able to change your tack whenever necessary, so you can stay ahead of your competition.
Article Resource: https://www.telemediaonline.co.uk/how-to-adapt-your-affiliate-marketing-strategy-as-consumer-trends-shift/
affiliate marketing, yet the factors that go into a partner’s decision to work with a brand remain vague to many marketers. Some factors such as brand awareness and consumer reviews might be common knowledge, while aspects like commission thresholds and promotional calendars may not be as obvious. In this piece, we detail the factors that must be considered, and partners to work with throughout the funnel, for marketers to find success through content partnerships.
How can I prepare my brand to work with content sites?
--Brand awareness and size:
Generally speaking, content sites are looking to work with brands that have established their marketing touchpoints and have built a recognizable brand through the use of those touchpoints. The marketing rule of seven touchpoints to conversion continues to reign as king, meaning if a brand has existing digital content that is driving consumers through the buyers’ funnel, content sites are more likely to agree to a partnership. This is important because it increases the probability of a consumer landing on the content partner’s article. To ensure a content partnership fits seamlessly within the conversion funnel, marketers may provide the partner with a promotion to include within the article, enticing the consumer to continue moving towards a purchase.
If a marketer is new to the affiliate marketing space and doesn’t offer promotions to partners, the likelihood of content sites wanting to write about that brand become slim to none. Content sites need a call to action, and promotions or discounts typically prove to be the best at converting. Therefore, it is highly recommended that brands who are interested in working with content sites provide promotions to offer their readers. In doing so, it draws in greater traffic for the partner, attracts the consumer, and helps to drive a higher ROI for the marketer.
When looking to onboard content partners, marketers should anticipate the need for flexibility with their commission rates, both on a Cost per Action (CPA) and revshare model. As a general rule of thumb, content sites typically request higher commission rates than mid and lower-funnel partners; this is largely due to the fact that upper-funnel partners are less likely to receive last-click attribution, so a higher commission compensates for potentially not being paid out on the sale, in addition to the level of effort that goes into writing specific branded content. If a brand is not willing to be flexible with commission thresholds, content sites will likely go elsewhere.
Content sites will often consider a brand’s online presence and consumer reviews prior to considering a partnership. Sources such as Trustpilot and Better Business Bureau are crucial to the health of a brand’s online reviews; if sites such as these are touting negative reviews of a brand, content sites will usually avoid that partnership. However, even if a brand’s reviews aren’t exactly stellar, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost.
If a brand is new to the space or needs to boost existing ratings, partnering with review sites like Trustpilot and others can work with brands to create a strategy to increase their ratings. Doing well by consumers generally drives ratings to be positive but it’s imperative for brands to be proactive when it comes to reviews. By establishing regular outreach to consumers post-purchase, brands have the opportunity to catch and remedy poor user experiences before they become negative reviews.
Promotional or content calendars are a great way for marketers to entice content partners to write about their brand. By providing the partner with something fresh and newsworthy to write about up-front, marketers remove an extra layer of work for the partner, giving them a leg up on competitors who may not have prepared as thoroughly. Whether it’s a new collaboration, an exciting product launch, or seasonal promotions, content partners appreciate this level of visibility and being able to plan their editorial calendars accordingly.
Why content partnerships are only a piece of a successful marketing strategy:
Content partners largely serve the purpose of increasing brand awareness and driving consumers into the buyer’s funnel because traditional affiliate programs typically run on a last-click attribution model. However, depending on a marketer’s goals, there are additional attribution models that can be implemented to partner more heavily with content sites. If a marketer is solely working with content partners on a last-click model, the likelihood of their consumers converting is exponentially lower than a marketer who utilizes a holistic approach to performance marketing. It’s a misconception of many marketers that working with content sites will lead directly to customer conversions.
Integrating a full-funnel strategy is essential to driving consumers to convert on a brand’s product or service. By employing mid and lower-funnel partners, such as coupon and loyalty sites, in addition to upper-funnel partners, consumers remain engaged throughout the entire buyers’ journey.
Upper-funnel partnerships like content sites are only the first step in creating a full-funnel performance strategy. By implementing a full-funnel strategy, marketers can put themselves and their affiliate programs in a much stronger position for success.
Article Resource: https://performancein.com/news/2020/06/01/how-to-work-with-content-sites-in-affiliate-marketing/
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