FeedFront Magazine, Issue 24
This issue of FeedFront Magazine includes Strengthen Your Q4 Site Offense by Shawn Collins, Affiliate Activation: 3 Steps to Maximizing Performance by Geno Prussakov, Who is your First Defense in Compliance? by Ninfa Cabello, fixing an email list, optimizing long-tail affiliates, FCC's TCPA, increasing your conference ROI, building your own brand, how to fix online shopping, and more.
Aﬃliate Summit West 2014 in Las Vegas: January 12-14 Issue 24 · October 2013 We’ll Always Have Paris Unless you don’t register for Aﬃliate Summit West 2014 in time! Strengthen Your Q4 Site Oﬀense By Shawn Collins - Page 2 Aﬃliate Activation: 3 Steps to Maximizing Performance By Geno Prussakov - Page 11 Who is your First Defense in Compliance? By Ninfa Cabello - Page 24 ff24_full.indb 1 16/10/2013 04:02:50 p.m. ff24_full.indb 2 16/10/2013 04:02:52 p.m. Issue 24 · October 2013 Table of Contents 2 Strengthen Your Q4 Site Oﬀense 3 How To Fix Your Flailing Email List By Hunter Boyle 4 Five Ways to Optimize Long Tail Aﬃliates By Matthew Bell 5 Get More Out of Your Aﬃliate Promotions 7 Keeping Safe When You Work From Home By Missy Ward 8 Get Your Oﬀer on Top Aﬃliate Networks By Travis Glen 10 Creating an Eﬀective Aﬃliate Forecast 11 Aﬃliate Activation: 3 Steps to Maximizing Performance 12 5 Steps to Starting Over 13 Know When You’ve Failed by Setting Goals 14 What Managing Aﬃliate Programs Has Taught Me 15 Process for Recruiting Educating and Retaining Aﬃliates By Shawn Collins 16 Did You Prepare for FCC’s TCPA Deadline? By David O. Klein 17 5 Ways to Increase Your Conference ROI 18 When Specialty Links Go Wrong 19 Size Matters: Proven Strategies to Grow Sales By Jesse Morgan 21 Taking the “Aﬃliate” Out of Aﬃliate Marketing By Rachel Hirsch 22 5 Things to Know About Health Marketing By Jordan Barker 23 Would You Get Aﬃliate Summit Ink? By Shawn Collins 24 Who is your First Defense in Compliance? By Ninfa Cabello 25 Why You Must Build Your Own Brand 27 Aﬃliate Summit East 2013 Recap 30 Big Data: Making Your Stats Really Count 31 7 Ways to Stay Out of Court By Eric Crusius 32 How to Fix Online Shopping By Shawn Collins STAFF Co-Editors in Chief Missy Ward, Shawn Collins Co-Publishers Missy Ward, Shawn Collins Contributing Writers Jordan Barker, Matthew Bell, Sarah Beeskow Blay, Hunter Boyle, Ninfa Cabello, Shawn Collins, Jeremy Coon, Eric Crusius, Sam Engel, Lyndsie Ezell, Travis Glen, Jonathan Goodwin, Erinn Groh, Rachel Hirsch, Zac Johnson, David O. Klein, Jesse Morgan, Geno Prussakov, Kim Salvino, James Thompson, Missy Ward Graphic Design Logan Gattis Designs www.logangattis.com Magazine Coordinator Amy Rodriguez By Shawn Collins By Sarah Beeskow Blay By Jonathan Goodwin By Geno Prussakov By Erinn Groh By James Thompson By Kim Salvino By Lyndsie Ezell By Sam Engel By Zac Johnson By Shawn Collins By Jeremy Coon Aﬃliate Summit 522 Hunt Club Blvd. #411 Apopka, FL 32703 tel (417)-2SUMMIT (278-6648) fax (908) 364-4627 Articles in FeedFront Magazine are the opinions of the author and may not necessarily reﬂect the views of the magazine, or its owners. FeedFront Magazine always welcomes opinions of an opposite nature. For more information, visit: www.FeedFront.com Interested in advertising? Please visit http://feedfront.com/advertising/ or email us at: feedfront@aﬃliatesummit.com © 2013 Aﬃliate Summit, Inc. and Individual Authors. ff24_full.indb 1 16/10/2013 04:01:40 p.m. Shawn Collins · Issue 24 · October 2013 Editor’s Note Strengthen Your Q4 Site Oﬀense by Shawn Collins Y ou started the fourth quarter with a game plan, and things are going right so far, but are you prepared to count on other people telling you. Instead, use a com- call an audible if need be? pany like Pingdom to alert you immediately, so you can Just like in football, you’ll sometimes have to call a sub- stitute play in business to adjust to sudden changes that » Invest in quality hosting: Lots of people are tempt- you see. It’s not ideal to have to switch things up to react ed to go with the cheap hosts to save a few bucks, but to external events, but if you are prepared, you can make at what cost? This tip ties into the previous point about it work for you. monitoring your site performance. Basically, if your site This is a tricky time of year, since it’s the crazy rush for commerce, and lots of people are oﬀ for extended periods is going down, it’s probably because you have a subpar host. » Speed up your site: People and search engines dis- of time for the holidays. What are you going to do when Muhammad Wilkerson like slow sites. But do you even know if you have a slow (obligatory New York Jets reference) knocks your quarter- site? Check out PageSpeed Insights from Google to ﬁnd back out of the game? out what you should ﬁx to increase the speed that your OK, that’s probably not a real scenario for you in par- site loads. ticular, but how about if your server goes down, your site is » Make your site responsive: Your site should be op- hacked, or there is some other time sensitive disaster and timized for any device out there, whether it’s a mobile nobody is around to help? How about if you are simply turn- phone, table, or desktop computer. Test it in all of these ing people away, because your site is slow or inaccessible? environments, and evolve if it’s not responsive. Many Start preparing now for things that might happen, so you don’t have to pull all-nighters or run away from the Thanksgiving table to deal with messes. Here are some tips to fortify your Q4 site oﬀense… » Password security: First, change your passwords » Stay on top of updates: If you are using WordPress or another platform, it’s vital that you update your version and related ﬁles as needed, so you can avoid making it easy for creeps to sneak in the back door and cause mischief. know all of your passwords, or use a service like Robo- Taking these steps should help to preserve some san- » Monitor your site performance: If your site goes down, you’d better know about it right away. Don’t 2 WordPress themes will take care of this. now, and make them stronger. Second, be sure you Form to keep them organized. ff24_full.indb 2 act on it. ity, and to make it easier in the event you have to call an audible. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Shawn is Co-founder of Aﬃliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and blogs at aﬃliatetip.com. 16/10/2013 04:01:41 p.m. Hunter Boyle · Issue 24 · October 2013 How To Fix Your Flailing Email List by Hunter Boyle “T he money’s in the list.” Ever heard that one? While there’s truth to that statement, it’s easy to overlook the $1,000,000 follow-up ques- tion: “What’s the best way to make money from that list?” Short answer: Build trust that leads to long-term business relationships and referrals, not just one-and-done sales and a lack of customer loyalty. » What needs does this email address, or what problems does it solve? » Is the value and WIIFM to readers clearly expressed? » Is it easy for readers to respond and reach me directly? » Rate the quality of the email content in these areas: » Copy: Appropriate voice, style, length? Personality? Spelling? Walk a Mile in Their Shoes Are you excited about most emails you get these days? How often do you feel a strong connection to the organizations that are marketing to you? Let’s face it: we’re all inundated by marketing messages, pitches, deals, updates and so on – but as marketers, we’re also contributing to the overload. We can do better. » Oﬀer: Is it compelling? Expressed well enough? » Design: Does it look professional, and match the copy? » Relevance: Is the content, oﬀer or topic timely for this list? » Shareable: Will this compel readers to share via email or social? Instead of getting caught up in the numbers game (list size, stats, send schedules), we need to step back and examine how closely our goals align with the goals, needs and wants of our readers. After all, if our emails aren’t solving their problems or addressing their needs, why should they keep paying attention, much less buy from us, or share our content? Try This WIIFM (“What’s In It For Me?”) Mini-Checklist … … And One Simple Yet Powerful Tactic To really understand what your audience cares about and needs help with, you have to ask them. Constantly. Annual surveys don’t always cut it. Try this: In your welcome email, test a short survey asking new readers to tell you about themselves, what they do, and what they need your help with. Today it’s critical to think of our email audience as real Derek Halpern uses this tactic with SocialTriggers.com people we’re doing business with, not just list names and to learn more about his readers, inform the site’s content statistics. and provide plenty of value and WIIFM. With that in mind, here’s a mini-checklist that can help evaluate your email for optimal engagement: » What is my primary goal with this email? » What is the true value to the recipient? Can it be increased? Does it work? With that reader-ﬁrst mindset helping to drive the content and build relationships, tactics like this helped triple the email list in one year. Now it’s your turn. What steps will you take to ﬁx your email list? Hunter Boyle is a content marketing and optimization expert. He leads business development for AWeber. ff24_full.indb 3 3 16/10/2013 04:01:41 p.m. Matthew Bell 5 · Issue 24 · October 2013 Ways to Optimize Long Tail Aﬃliates by Matthew Bell I f you’ve ever managed an aﬃliate program before, then aﬃliates are usually passionate about their sites. They you’re probably no stranger to the 80/20 rule, that 80% can become loyal aﬃliates in your program through a of your aﬃliate program’s revenue comes from 20% of strong relationship. 4. your aﬃliates. It’s true. A typical aﬃliate program relies on a small require relationship management, outreach, commu- group of high-performing aﬃliates to drive most of the vol- nication and maybe some negotiating. When working ume, but what if it was possible to grow the group of af- with the smaller volume aﬃliates, it may seem like it’s ﬁliates that comprises 80% of your program, known as the not worth it. I assure you, it is! Remember, one long tail long tail aﬃliates? aﬃliate won’t move the needle, but 100 will! It most certainly IS possible. 1. 2. 3. 4 ff24_full.indb 4 Put in hard work. Like any aﬃliate relationship, it will 5. Repeat. Do steps 1-4 again and again. Remember, Here’s how: the value of long tail aﬃliates is at scale. You’ll need to Understand the value of long tail aﬃliates. Pro- develop a deep network of long tail aﬃliates. They will gram managers often overlook the niche and lower drive very high quality traﬃc but a lower volume. The volume sites. If one long tail aﬃliate can drive you ﬁve key to generating value from a network of long tail af- sales per month, that’s certainly not going to move the ﬁliates is to have as many as possible in your program. needle. But what happens when you add 10, 100, or 500 Not convinced? Here’s a personal success story. long tail aﬃliates to your program? It adds up quickly. When I was Aﬃliate Manager at Shutterstock, I kept Find them. You can’t gain value from them until you coming across this one site in my research eﬀorts that was know who they are. I recommend a very focused grass- a perfect ﬁt contextually, yet I never bothered to reach out roots eﬀort, heavy on relevant Google searches. Use to because it was such a low traﬃc site, according to Alexa. tools like Similar Web to ﬁnd similar sites and build a I ﬁnally got fed up with seeing it all the time and brought long target list. That blog with Alexa rank 955,232 that this site into the program. It turned out to be the highest you continue to pass by because the traﬃc volume is converting site out of all of other aﬃliates in the program. so low? Add it to your list. That’s a solid long tail aﬃliate. The traﬃc quality was extraordinary. Develop a relationship. Like any other aﬃliate a re- Even with the low traﬃc volume, it referred close to lationship is required in order to do business together. $50,000 in new customer revenue annually. This proved Reach out and explore the opportunities to work to- to me that a clear long tail aﬃliate strategy could produce gether through your aﬃliate program. These long tail amazing results. Matthew Bell is an experienced aﬃliate marketing manager and currently Director of Operations at Schaaf-PartnerCentric. 16/10/2013 04:01:43 p.m. · Issue 24 · October 2013 Get More Out of Your Aﬃliate Promotions I Sarah Beeskow Blay by Sarah Beeskow Blay f you are an aﬃliate program manager, you know that one of the biggest challenges is activating your aﬃliate base. You may have 1,000 aﬃliates but only see sales gener- ated from a handful of them. Sound familiar? Fear not, you are not alone. There is The Solution: Personal Performance Goals always going to be some level of inactivity, but you should If the intention is to get a higher percentage of aﬃliate strive to increase the percentage of active aﬃliates. The so- partners active, create promotions that generate immedi- lution: create enticing promotions. ate action without the intimidation factor of competing with One common bonus structure that merchants oﬀer is top earners. the top earner promotion, where the aﬃliate that drives the If a bonus is created as a personal competition, that will most sales, gets x dollar bonus. If the intention is to mo- motivate aﬃliates on an individual level. Let me give you a tivate inactive aﬃliates or move the middle, there are two few examples: issues with this kind of structure, the default winner and perceived unattainability. » Increase conversion rate by .5% this month, earn additional 2% commission » Increase orders by 10% month/month, earn $100 Default Winner The theory of “When I oﬀer more, aﬃliates will do more” does not apply when there is a blanket incentive. There is » Generate 15 sales via the Thanksgiving banner, earn double commission in December » Sell 20 turkey hats, receive a hat-a-month for a year always going to be a ﬁrst and last place. The aﬃliate that is your top earner may be earning the bonus without actually Working on an individual level may only return a few increasing any activity or marketing eﬀort. When that hap- sales initially, but over time this will pay oﬀ in the long run pens, they are essentially earning extra cash accidently. because the aﬃliate will always remember you and want to continue to promote your program. There is a long tail ef- Perceived Unattainability Another unintentional side eﬀect of top tier bonus Having a VIP commission level or higher payout for top goals is they will seem out of reach for the mid-tier aﬃliates. earners is not always a bad idea; it just should not be the Aﬃliates do not know the performance numbers of others only trick in your hat. Save some marketing budget for pro- or even how many aﬃliates are in your program. There is motions that apply to the whole aﬃliate base. no sense of what the bar is, or what competition they are The goal is to have a diverse oﬀering of incentives that up against. Spending your marketing budget on ﬁrst place will both reward your top performers and continue to en- bonuses is not the best way to measure or generate activity. gage the low to mid-level performers as well. Sarah Beeskow Blay is the Director of Client Services at ShareASale.com, Inc. ff24_full.indb 5 fect here. 5 16/10/2013 04:01:44 p.m. ff24_full.indb 6 16/10/2013 04:01:46 p.m. Keeping Safe When You Work From Home Missy Ward · Issue 24 · October 2013 by Missy Ward W ith so many aﬃliate marketers working from home, home oﬃce safety should be on the top of our list of things we should be thinking about. Here are six tips that will help keep you safe when work- ing from home: relax your guard when you hear the doorbell. No mat- » Get to know the neighbors. With so many people ter how safe your neighborhood is, you need to always working from home, it’s highly likely that one of your check carefully before you open the door to anyone, neighbors also works from home during the day. Take particularly when you are home alone. some time to introduce yourself to your neighbors, if » Don’t hold meetings at home. This might seem you haven’t already, and perhaps ﬁnd a local meetup obvious, but even if you’ve had a long email relation- of others that work from home as well (plus it’s good ship with a client, don’t meet them at your home while networking). you’re alone. Schedule a meeting in a public place such » Make your house as secure while you’re in it as as a cafe or coﬀee shop, or even take advantage of co- you do when you aren’t. Sure, we all lock the door working spaces that oﬀer conference rooms for meet- behind us and turn on the alarm system when we go ings to members. out or even when we go to bed, but taking those same » Use a buddy system. If you work alone, it is very precautions when you work from home is a smart bet. important that you have someone you check in with If you don’t yet have a home security system, now is regularly. If you’re meeting a client oﬀsite, let your the time to invest in one. spouse or a friend know before you go, and check » Check your windows – and lock them. I’m not sug- in with them when you return. Use digital tools such gesting you deny yourself the lovely fall breezes we’re as Skype or Gchat to stay in touch with professional having these days, but I do suggest you be sure you friends throughout the day as well (but be careful to lock the windows in the rest of the house while you’re not let them become a distraction). Being connected working in your home oﬃce. Also consider window helps you stay safe. treatments; while it can be nice to see the yard while you work, it also lets strangers see right into your oﬃce full of expensive equipment. » Exercise caution when you answer the door. Chances are you often receive packages from FedEx or UPS if you work from home, and this can teach you to The perks of working from home far outweigh these safety concerns, of course, but it’s still good to bear them in mind. Practicing these basic tips to keep yourself safe will make a diﬀerence. Now, go check those windows. Missy Ward is Co-Founder of Aﬃliate Summit, Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine and blogs on MissyWard.com. ff24_full.indb 7 7 16/10/2013 04:01:49 p.m. · Issue 24 · October 2013 Travis Glenn Get Your Oﬀer on Top Aﬃliate Networks by Travis Glenn M any startups, established corporations, and pages do not leave a good ﬁrst impression on the networks. individuals are interested in working with aﬃli- Replying to ‘Describe your oﬀer’ with non-descriptive ate networks. They want to increase their sales information such as “call me” doesn’t give the biz dev man- numbers, obtain more leads, or grow their base of regis- agers enough information to know if there is a point to tered users. spend any more time considering your company. Aﬃliate networks are always looking to partner with new Another point to note is to ensure that you are coming businesses, so that they can supply their aﬃliates with a fresh across professionally. If there are misspelled words, poor supply of new oﬀers. However, the top networks can get in- grammar, or inappropriate slang, it can indicate that you undated with hundreds of new client requests each week. aren’t a serious candidate. Minor things that could be con- This necessitates a screening process in which business development managers sift through all of the appli- to networks. cants to quickly determine which prospects are best suited Does your email domain lead back to something re- for the network. The other applicants are cut and sent a “no lated to your company, or is from a free email provider? Is thank you” letter. This process works well for the most part; it apparent that your website is on a free hosting plan or however, it can occasionally result in qualiﬁed businesses a MLM-type subdomain? Individually, these factors are not getting denied. a concrete way to categorize a company as good or bad. Why do advertisers with potential get denied? Gener- Taken in context along with other factors, they can lead net- ally speaking, it is because they aren’t representing them- works to believe it isn’t worth the risk to establish a business selves appropriately. There are several common mistakes relationship. that are made by potential advertisers. You can avoid those Review the information you are giving to the networks. missteps by being aware and carefully crafting your ﬁrst Ask yourself, if someone presented you with that same contact with a network. information, would it encourage you to want to work with The most common mistake potential clients make is simply not providing enough information. Networks will them? Or better yet, have an unbiased 3rd party give you feedback. typically utilize a contact form requesting your name, busi- With the volume of new business coming in, the net- ness name, website, and a text ﬁeld that asks for a descrip- works have a small amount of time to make a big decision. tion of the oﬀer you want to promote. Things such as blank Make sure to put your best foot forward and don’t let the ﬁelds, not listing your full name, and URLs that lead to dead small stuﬀ stop you from closing the deal. 8 ff24_full.indb 8 sidered insigniﬁcant in everyday settings can be red ﬂags Travis is PeerFly’s Director of Business Development, you can follow him @TravisPeerFly on Twitter. 16/10/2013 04:01:51 p.m. Available in paperback, Kindle & Nook ff24_full.indb 9 16/10/2013 04:01:58 p.m. Jonathan Goodwin · Issue 24 · October 2013 Creating an Eﬀective Aﬃliate Forecast T he signiﬁcance to creating an aﬃliate forecast is sim- by Jonathan Goodwin ple. It sets the expectations and goals for you and your team to achieve for the program. I also view this as an opportunity to demonstrate your value and credibility that you can be trusted to hit / surpass revenue goals. These revenue goals are the foundation to success, which will drive your actionable plan with you and your team to reach these milestones. tions you can start oﬀ with. This should deﬁnitely create a good discussion with you and your contact. Questions: » What contributing factors are included with this goal? One of the key points to creating an eﬀective forecast and actionable growth plan is providing that added sense of » What is your eﬀective ERS (eﬀective revenue shared) for the program? value that can be very integral to your relationship with your » Do you have peaks and valleys during the year? client. Each client that relies on a forecast plan for growth » Do you have historical data? Last 3-5 years? heavily leans on your ability to manage and convey metrics » Can we have access to your backend analytics? to hit or surpass revenue goals. » Do you anticipate any major changes year-over-year in Demonstrating your knowledge and expertise in creat- promotional cadence calendar? ing an eﬀective forecast can really go a long way with client » What’s the percent lift you anticipate over LY? retention, having a trusting relationship with your contact, » Are there any white periods throughout the year where and establishing your credibility in the aﬃliate space. you do not have any promotions planned? The most important thing you can do as an aﬃliate marketing manager, during your early engagement with Now that you have your questions answered, this your client, is to ask, “What are your revenue goals for the should provide insights into your planning process. You program?” Your client will provide you a dollar amount for should be able to anticipate peaks and valleys, plan on spe- the year, and then you and your contact will be able to dive ciﬁc times of the year, and look at historical data and depict deep in the aﬃliate forecasted plan. the percentage of decrease or increase each year, which will You should also seek additional marketing materials (promotional cadence calendar), data via their backend sys- the aﬃliate program. tem (Omniture, Core-Metrics, etc), and information regard- Establishing an aﬃliate forecasted goal is the blueprint ing promotions, which will allow you to eﬀectively forecast for success. This can provide you and your team solid ac- and manage your aﬃliate budget. tionable items to help achieve or surpass your goals. Secur- During this discussion, both parties will be able to pin- ing paid placements, exclusive coupons, or just relying on point and reveal why and how the dollar amount can be your promotional calendar will provide you that roadmap achieved through the aﬃliate space. Below are a few ques- to success to eﬀectively manage the aﬃliate program. 10 ff24_full.indb 10 illustrate what you anticipate the upcoming year, will be for Jonathan Goodwin is a Senior Aﬃliate Manager at JEBCommerce (Rakuten Agency of year 2012). 16/10/2013 04:01:59 p.m. Aﬃliate Activation: 3 Steps to Maximizing Performance by Geno Prussakov I Geno Prussakov · Issue 24 · October 2013 Step 2: Embed calls-to-activation right from the start While very few aﬃliate managers do it, I recommend encouraging aﬃliates to get active right from the ﬁrst time you’ve invited them into your program. Motivate them to f you have run an aﬃliate program of any size, you know put up your links both in your recruitment, and in your ap- that the proverbial Pareto Principle – also known as the proval emails. Incentivize this type of activation by oﬀering “80/20 Rule” – doesn’t apply here; at least not “by default.” them commission increase(s), longer cookie life, or cash bo- The disheartening reality is that, when it comes to aﬃliates nuses. programs, it turns into more of a 95/5 rule, where only 5% Also, in your approval email, include a performance- of aﬃliates are responsible for 95% of activity within your based incentive – one that would presuppose additional aﬃliate program. extrinsic motivators upon customer referrals. The goals Also, when analyzing such KPI as activity index, or the may range from one sale (with a ﬁrst-sale bonus as a moti- percentage of aﬃliates active in your program, many adver- vator) to a speciﬁc number of conversions within a certain tisers and managers arrive at something between 8% and time period past their approval into the program. Make sure 12%. your goals are realistic. However, in the aﬃliate programs where we strongly focus on aﬃliate activation, we notice that the activity index Step 3: Make activation an can rise to 20% or higher. indispensable part of management I strongly believe that, in addition to conversion rate Those 90%-95% of inactive aﬃliates aboard your pro- optimization, aﬃliate activation is one of the two most ef- gram joined it not because you made them join. They had fective ways to boost any aﬃliate program’s performance. an idea on how they would promote you, but for some rea- But how do you go about it? Here’s a 3-step process that son they never got to it. has worked well for my clients: Segment the inactive aﬃliates into a separate group (or three groups – each corresponding to the above-outlined Step 1: Determine what types of activity), and every time you send your aﬃliate constitutes “activity” newsletter, customize it towards the group, providing (a) There are three basic ways to deﬁne aﬃliate activity: compelling reasons for them to activate (be it conversion or (i) as a display of links, (ii) as a referral of traﬃc, and (iii) as EPC data, success stories of other aﬃliates with all sensitive conversions (be they sales, leads, calls, subscriptions or information removed, of course), and (b) ongoing incentives whatever it is that you seek). Prior to talking about aﬃliate for them to get active. activation, make sure that you (the advertiser), your aﬃliate Remember, the number of recruited aﬃliates is irrel- program manager, and your aﬃliates are all on the same evant. It is the number of active ones that matters. So, ac- page as far as what an “active” aﬃliate means. tivate them continually, compellingly, and contagiously. Prussakov runs AM Navigator OPM agency, chairs Aﬃliate Management Days conference, speaks, writes, blogs, consults. ff24_full.indb 11 11 16/10/2013 04:02:00 p.m. · Issue 24 · October 2013 Erinn Groh 5 Steps to Starting Over by Erinn Groh E you are excited about the change. Share your enthusivery now and then we decide to make a change that asm with your publishers. Let them know that you are can impact our professional life. Change can be a va- thrilled to learn and try new things. Positive attitudes riety of things; good, bad, scary, tough, and exciting. are contagious. Before you know it, your publishers will be rooting for your brand. In many cases, it is necessary for innovation and growth. Sometimes you have to take a step back from your cur- Understand risk involved: Remember, you are rent success and begin all over just to try and move ahead. not the only one taking a risk by making a switch. Whether you have decided to make a radical career Publishers put much time and eﬀort into promoting a move or simply jumped to a new company where you have brand. New and unknown advertisers can be scary. Be to start an aﬃliate program from scratch, here are 5 steps aware that publishers may bump a more mature, suc- that will help you start over: cessful advertiser just to give your new brand some 1. Remember your relationships: This is KEY. Aﬃliate coverage (potentially at a lower cost and revenue share programs are useless if you don’t have a good team rate). Thank your publishers for the opportunity and be of publishers behind you. They are your sales force sympathetic. Only time will tell if the risk was worth it. and reason for your success. Reach out to the publish- Be conﬁdent and it will be for all those involved. ers you have worked with in the past and reintroduce 2. 3. 12 ff24_full.indb 12 4. 5. Be persistent… and don’t get frustrated: After yourself. If you are new to the game, do your research many years of hearing yes from your publishers and start making friends. It is a simple as a phone call. (or others in your ﬁeld), you are likely to hear the No one will know the brand you represent if you don’t dreaded word NO. Don’t throw a tantrum like a 2 take this step. year old when you hear this and don’t get cozy with Identify what makes your brand unique: You are the word either. Instead, use it as fuel to forge forward. at a new place and have wonderful new things to Persistence shows you are serious and conﬁdent in oﬀer. Be sure to tell your publishers all about it. Do you your brand. If you are polite and understanding, while have exciting creative, high quality products, great pric- being persistence, you and your brand will earn the re- ing, awesome technology, high commission rates, or big spect that it deserves. bonus opportunities? Whatever it is, make it known. In the end, all change is good. You have given yourself Share your excitement: Whatever it may be, you the opportunity to look at things in a new light while improv- decided to start over for a reason. Chances are ing your skill set. Erinn, a successful aﬃliate marketer, recently became the Senior Marketing Manager at Piping Rock® Vitamins. 16/10/2013 04:02:02 p.m. Know When You’ve Failed James Thompson · Issue 24 · October 2013 by Setting Goals by James Thompson S etting goals is important. I’d say it’s important for the success of your business, but the opposite is true as well. A lot of people start a venture without a clear cut deﬁnition of when they’ve failed. Most people just set a goal and assume success will come. What if it always stays just outside of your reach? Will you continue on forever with little to no traction? It’s important to deﬁne concrete criteria for success and At my company, we use a service called Pivotal Tracker. milestones for when you’ve met those criteria. If you don’t It’s great for creating a ‘story’ for something you want to meet your objectives in the time allotted, you should pivot, do and attach a ‘point’ estimate. Over time it will track how move on, or reassess your situation. Sometimes, those are many points you or your team can complete in a sprint (pre- the hardest decisions to make, but that’s not the same as deﬁned amount of time). It should be your goal to meet your quitting. As a project manager, business owner, or entrepre- sprint estimates. If you don’t, you should reassess your situ- neur, that’s a thing you’ll need to get used to, so start now. ation and act accordingly. Most projects have a primary mission that can be bro- All of those disparate parts can come together to help ken down almost inﬁnitely into smaller tasks. You should you make important decisions about your workload vs. practice breaking down large goals into smaller chunks that deadlines. If you’ve been estimating your throughput for can be completed quickly. Don’t divide it up much smaller a few weeks, have a pretty healthy average, and estimate than an hour or so though, because you’ll just spend all realistically, you can get a pretty accurate picture of what is of your time managing time. By breaking a project up into possible, given your timeline. smaller bites, you’ll ﬁnd yourself building conﬁdence and momentum. That’s very important for morale. Let’s say you’ve done everything I’ve said and have a deadline in 4 weeks, but Pivotal Tracker says you need 8 The next most important thing you can do now that weeks to complete the project. That means you need to do you’ve broken up your venture into smaller bits is estimate one of three things: abort and land softly, change the scope, the time you’ll spend. I’m not saying track your time for those or change the timeline. Knowing that can help you manage chunks. Just try and estimate them. You’d be surprised how expectations, keep stakeholders happy, and ultimately save much clearer a timeline becomes once you estimate each (and make) more money. Don’t be afraid of making hard de- individual piece that adds up to the greater whole. When cisions about cutting features or asking for more time. It will you’re done, reﬂect on the accuracy of your estimates. save you stress in the long run. James is co-founder of Daft Labs, a tech/marketing company. Find him on Twitter @jtgraphic. ff24_full.indb 13 13 16/10/2013 04:02:02 p.m. Kim Salvino · Issue 24 · October 2013 What Managing Aﬃliate Programs O Has Taught Me by Kim Salvino n my professional journey, I have learned largely by trial and error, and by mirroring those I most admire. When I started managing my ﬁrst aﬃliate program in 2005, degree programs that taught you the in’s and out’s didn’t exist. After 8 years in the industry, I wanted sands of valuable contacts through this industry. Be kind to share some of the most important things I have learned and do what you say you will do and folks will never forget it. that I have also been able to apply to other areas of my life. Your reputation will always precede you and in a day where everyone can Google you, be sure that the only trail you Don’t Make Rash Decisions leave is a positive one. Treat folks the way you want to be Without Examining Data treated and you will accumulate a long list of contacts you The proof is absolutely in the numbers. Conversion can trust. rate down? Analyze individual click data to determine if one partner is the culprit. Revenue down? Conﬁrm that tracking Education is Mandatory, But is working as expected and that your top partners aren’t Degrees and Fancy Titles are Not promoting expired promotions. Always turn to your data to conﬁrm opinions as fact before jumping to conclusions. Don’t discount someone because they don’t have an impressive sounding degree or a top notch title. Today’s Internet Marketing Administrator could be tomorrow’s Direc- Change is the Only Constant tor of Publisher Development. I have found years of experi- Just when you have found your groove, your weekly and ence to be much more valuable than grad school. Get to monthly schedules are mapped out; revenue is on the rise know the person vs. judging them strictly on their LinkedIn and…BAM! A new product launches, your channel suddenly proﬁle. has to save the entire online revenue forecast for the quarter or there is talk of a new site launch. Change will happen. When You are Doing What You It will never be at a great time and you must be willing to Love, You Radiate Joy adapt and stay ﬂexible. It’s true. Think of a job you may have held where you felt underappreciated or “stuck.” You were unhappy in that Relationships are Valuable environment and when you are unhappy, everyone around Beyond Measure you can tell. When you ﬁnd your niche and are blessed to I am still in regular contact with the very boss that hired me to look after my ﬁrst aﬃliate program. I have made thou- 14 ff24_full.indb 14 do what you love each day, you are more productive, more content, a better friend and a better parent. Kim Salvino is Director of Publisher Development for Chateau 20. 16/10/2013 04:02:04 p.m. Process for Recruiting, Educating, and Retaining Aﬃliates by Shawn Collins Shawn Collins · Issue 24 · October 2013 ates you think will be the best ﬁt for your company. And, just like I was doing way back when, you should treat them like your sales team. That means you provide them with the educational materials they need to best promote you; and you also focus on retaining them, because it’s a whole lot easier to keep the aﬃliates you have than it is to replace them. You should be recruiting all the time so that your base I just published a new book, Aﬃliate Manager Boot Camp: Recruiting, Educating, and Retaining Aﬃliates, where I present a three-step approach for aﬃliate managers to re- of quality aﬃliates continues to grow. Please read through my tactics, but don’t stop there. Apply them, too. cruit, educate, and retain aﬃliates in their aﬃliate programs. Aﬃliate Manager Boot Camp: Recruiting, Educating, Drawing on my ten years of experience as an aﬃliate and Retaining Aﬃliates is available in paperback and on manager and my work as an aﬃliate marketer since 1997, Kindle at Amazon.com. I reveal a process for cultivating and maintaining relationships with aﬃliates. The book describes a method that focuses on quality over quantity when it comes to aﬃliates, and it recommends working side by side with aﬃliates as valuable partners in a mutually beneﬁcial aﬃliation. Aﬃliate Manager Boot Camp: Recruiting, Educating, and Retaining Aﬃliates is not about the other nuts and bolts of starting and running an aﬃliate program. You won’t learn about policing aﬃliates, setting budgets and projections, determining commission rates, etc. It’s all about recruiting, educating, and retaining aﬃliates for a strong aﬃliate program. My process is based on one important thing, which is that aﬃliate marketing is all about relationships. You want to have aﬃliates you can trust representing your brand. That means you should know each aﬃliate in your aﬃliate program and have an ongoing dialogue with them. Sure, you’ll get some aﬃliates who apply to your aﬃliate program organically through exposure in an aﬃliate network, but it is your responsibility to actively recruit the aﬃliShawn is Co-founder of Aﬃliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and blogs at aﬃliatetip.com. ff24_full.indb 15 15 16/10/2013 04:02:05 p.m. David O. Klein · Issue 24 · October 2013 Did You Prepare for FCC’s TCPA Deadline? by David O. Klein a concerted eﬀort to understand and comply with the TC- B PA’s new requirements. y the time you read this, the Federal Communication Since October 16, 2013, prior express written consent Commission’s (FCC) deadline will have passed, one has been required for all marketing calls/texts made to cell which requires telemarketers to obtain consumers’ phones using autodialed technology and/or pre-recorded prior written consent before using autodialed technology messages. Additionally, prior express written consent is re- and/or prerecorded messages to contact them. quired for pre-recorded marketing calls made to residential Eﬀective October 16, 2013, the FCC’s newest Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulations are unques- The FCC has made clear that complying with the E-SIGN tionably the most encompassing and perilous changes af- Act satisﬁes the “written” requirement, meaning that elec- fecting the telemarketing and lead generation industries in tronic or digital forms of signature are acceptable. Courts have strictly interpreted, and in some cases ex- recent memory. Unlike many other statutes, where a consumer may panded the plain meaning of, the TCPA in order to ﬁnd tele- only recover proven damages, the TCPA sets forth auto- marketers liable. There are two crucial aspects of the TCPA matic damages per call/message ranging from $500.00 to that should concern marketers: the TCPA deﬁnition of “auto- $1,500.00. No speciﬁc or actual damages must be proven dialer” and the language used to obtain consumer consent. by the consumer. Considering that telemarketing cam- The FCC has expansively interpreted the term “autodial- paigns often involve thousands to, in some cases, millions, er” and courts have found telemarketers liable for contact- of calls/text messages, potential TCPA damages may esca- ing consumers through systems that have the ‘capacity’ to late very quickly. make automated calls, even if the call was placed by a live Due to the large potential payday, TCPA lawsuits are up 40-60% in 2013, compared to the same period in 2012. Perhaps even more worrisome are the settlement amounts person and the automated features of the system were not used. Consumer TCPA consent must be unambiguous, meaning that the telemarketer must provide “clear and conspicu- that defendants are willing to pay to avoid litigation. For instance, in two unrelated class action lawsuits this ous disclosures” that the consumer will receive calls that year, Papa John’s and Domino’s agreed to pay up to $16 mil- deliver autodialed and/or pre-recorded telemarketing mes- lion and $9.75 million, respectively, to settle TCPA cases. sages to the number(s) provided by the consumer and that Likewise, Steve Madden, Ltd. settled a TCPA class action consent is not a condition of purchase. for up to $10 million for texts sent to consumers through It is advised that telemarketers consult with an attorney a third-party advertiser. These are but a few examples of to construct proper TCPA consent language. The new TCPA TCPA settlements that have occurred in the past several requirements impose unprecedented burdens on telemar- months. Obviously, the best way to avoid liability is to make keters, which shouldn’t be taken lightly. 16 ff24_full.indb 16 landlines. David O. Klein is the managing partner of the law ﬁrm, Klein Moynihan Turco LLP. 16/10/2013 04:02:05 p.m. · Issue 24 · October 2013 5 Conference ROI Ways to Increase Your I Lyndsie Ezell by Lyndsie Ezell f you are exhibiting at a conference, it is likely that you are among hundreds of other exhibitors. There are many ways to increase your brand’s exposure beyond your not throw money at a sponsorship. Reﬂect on your confer- booth, for every budget, that will help you stand out over ence goals and select an option that best ﬁts your brand’s all the rest. needs. Don’t feel limited to the options they have to oﬀer. If you have a great idea, talk to the organizers about it. Keep in Be Seen & Heard mind that the purpose is to drive attendees to your booth. Be a speaker at the conference. By stepping onstage and sharing your knowledge, you are seen as an expert in Bring Your Brand to Life the industry. This is not just an opportunity for industry Think about getting a mascot. This can be costly up leaders or senior executives. With the right topic and pitch, front, but consider the return on investment. At a confer- both you and your company can beneﬁt from the network- ence a mascot is the equivalent of a walking billboard, pro- ing and exposure that comes from a speaking position. Best moting your brand throughout the exhibit hall. This will give of all, it’s free. If there isn’t an open call application process, you exposure beyond your booth. When people stop to reach out to your conference sales manager and ask how take pictures with your mascot, ask them to tag or tweet the you can be considered. photo at you. This will expand your reach and increase your presence at no additional cost to you. Get Sweet Swag This sounds simple and obvious, but it’s not about Make 24/7 Your 9-5 having items; it is about having items that stand out. Know In the aﬃliate marketing industry, the show does not your audience and appeal to not only their needs, but end when the exhibit hall closes. You have a limited amount their unique personality traits, as well. These are the items of time to get in front of clients and are competing with hun- people will keep and use. Don’t let your swag end up in the dreds of companies in the exhibit hall. Use “after hours” as dumpster. When selecting your show items, ask yourself an opportunity for extra exposure and networking by host- what makes it better than your competitors. If you can’t ing or sponsoring a networking event/party. come up with a solid answer, move onto something else. If you are spending money exhibiting at a conference, consider some of the items listed above to maximize your Boost Booth Traﬃc Most conferences have sponsorships available and offer options for every budget. Biggest is not always best. Do Lyndsie Ezell is the Director of Public Relations at Clickbooth. ff24_full.indb 17 exposure. This will not only make you stand out over your competitors, but can potentially yield a higher return on your conference investment in the long run. 17 16/10/2013 04:02:09 p.m. · Issue 24 · October 2013 When Specialty Links Sam Engel Go Wrong by Sam Engel unique link identiﬁer and then bid on some of your branded A keywords to get started. lternatives to the typical aﬃliate marketing relationship, such as referral programs, MLM (Multi- MLM (Multi-Level-Marketing) Scenarios Level-Marketing), and sub-aﬃliate arrangements Some brands’ reward systems even go to the lengths of can be useful tools for brands to gain new customers. oﬀering customizable landing pages or personalized stores. These systems often have lower barriers to entry than tra- These allow your brand representatives to take their refer- ditional aﬃliate networks, and can quickly introduce fresh rals to the next level, adding some of their own personality traﬃc and incremental revenue. and salesmanship to the visitor experience. Complete with However, because these systems are so open and ﬂex- vanity subdomains or some other unique identiﬁer in their ible, they can also be manipulated by black hats, exposing URL structure, these systems can be gamed in a similar brands to abuse. fashion. Furthermore, MLM systems may be more likely to award cash, rather than discounts or account credits, put- Fewer Hurdles Mean ting them at additional risk. More Potential Threats Although aﬃliate networks are not immune to exploits, Sub-Aﬃliate Relationships such as brand bidding and ad hijacking, they do provide Transparency can be a real challenge in these systems. some valuable measures to mitigate these issues. Compli- While a sub-aﬃliate can usually be added with a simple URL ance teams, aﬃliate approval processes, reports, and com- parameter, the brand will have little visibility into or control mission reversals all contribute to accountability. over how its sub-aﬃliates drive traﬃc. This makes it easy for Alternative systems, on the other hand, do not usually a sub-aﬃliate to run PPC traﬃc through its unique link. Even provide these layers of security. There are few, if any, ways though the ﬁrst-tier aﬃliate may still be complying with the to appropriately vet or check up on your pseudo-aﬃliates. brand’s policies, brand abuse can still proliferate. They are essentially anonymous—making it easier for them to hide, obscure their tactics, or mislead a brand. Conclusion Unfortunately, the available data makes it hard to dis- Refer-a-Friend Programs Who makes a better spokesman than a loyal customer? without the recourse of turning to the network for these By rewarding your biggest fans for speaking up about your issues, the onus falls entirely on the brand to monitor and brand, you can stimulate some valuable gains in traﬃc and police such promotions. revenue. But do you know how your brand ambassadors So if you run any of the programs above, we recom- are getting the word out? Unfortunately, if your referral pro- mend putting some eﬀort into evaluating whether they’re gram uses special URLs to assign your rewards (as many truly adding value. By starting with some manual searches do), a good portion of this traﬃc could be generated by PPC for your branded keywords, you can at least identify any ob- trademark poaching. A black hat simply has to locate their vious examples of abuse. 18 ff24_full.indb 18 tinguish brand poaching from successful marketing. And The Marketing Manager at BrandVerity, Sam informs the industry on how to prevent brand abuse. 16/10/2013 04:02:10 p.m. Size Matters: Jesse Morgan · Issue 24 · October 2013 Proven Strategies to Grow Sales by Jesse Morgan M anaging an established aﬃliate program can be a challenge. Day-to-day responsibilities can be overwhelming, not to mention the daily and monthly test of exceeding the sales numbers of the previous year. While all aﬃliate programs are managed diﬀerently, product sells better than another, ﬁgure out if it’s the prod- promoted diﬀerently, and have diﬀerent goals, the common uct or how it’s being promoted. Most products have dif- denominator for each is revenue. After all, it’s unimagina- ferent margins so doing your homework to ﬁnd out what ble to think of a program or entrepreneur out there that products generate more revenue than others. doesn’t ask, “How can I grow sales?” Once you have determined what is proﬁtable, present As bosses and major stakeholders continue to demand the best oﬀers and sales message in all sales channels. It’s year-over-year growth, consistently delivering and exceed- also a great idea to test diﬀerent wording and creative to de- ing expectations is more important than ever. To do this, termine what resonates best with your shoppers. You may there are a number of proven strategies that can help boost ﬁnd out “save over” verses “save up to” messaging is more your sales and manage both top-line and bottom-line rev- successful in terms of driving clicks and revenue. Best ad- enue. vice here is to test, test, and test. Most importantly, your strategy should be tailored to Another way to maximize your overall program perfor- your brand and product’s unique needs. First, start by hav- mance is to segment paid commissions at levels based on ing a strategy in place. If you have not outlined a plan or incremental value. By segmenting, you can pay out diﬀer- identiﬁed goals, your program will more than likely not sur- ently for publishers who are really driving the sale. This can vive long-term. be tricky and requires click path data not available in every With the strategy in place, the next step is to determine how you will measure the outcomes of your actions. Identify aﬃliate network. If you have Google Analytics in place, this is a good place to start. the key revenue drivers (clicks, AOV, conversion, items per In summary, bottom-line wins, but you want to drive order, etc. .) and forecast revenue based on performance top-line revenue. With a strategy outlined, revenue drivers trends. evaluated, outcome measurements determined, attribu- Start with your products. Promoting the right products tion mapped out and premium marketing promotions iden- and managing your program for proﬁt can change the tra- tiﬁed, you will be taking the most important steps to set up jectory and success of your eCommerce site. If a certain your aﬃliate program for long-term success. Jesse Morgan, Aﬃliate Marketing Manager for Magazines.com, the largest magazine subscription agency online. ff24_full.indb 19 19 16/10/2013 04:02:11 p.m. Available in paperback and Kindle â€“ exclusively at Amazon.com ff24_full.indb 20 16/10/2013 04:02:11 p.m. Taking The “Aﬃliate” Out of Aﬃliate Marketing Rachel Hirsch · Issue 24 · October 2013 by Rachel Hirsch W e all have heard of the term “aﬃliate marketing.” In the Internet marketing industry, advertisers and net- Unfortunately, the term aﬃliate can be easily works certainly do not want to be exposed to legal liability misunderstood, generating confusion and sce- for an aﬃliate marketer’s misconduct, nor does an aﬃliate narios that are neither rewarding nor fun. Maybe the time want to be on the hook for the quality or eﬃciency of the has arrived to rethink the use of the term “aﬃliate.” merchant’s product. And this is exactly where the Federal In simple terms, aﬃliate marketing is simply a type of Trade Commission, among others, appears to be headed. performance-based marketing in which a merchant busi- And these circumstances are not merely conﬁned to in- ness rewards one or more of its aﬃliates for customers stances where the advertiser or network is encouraging the generated by that aﬃliate’s marketing eﬀorts. misconduct. Although the term “aﬃliate” is commonly-used in the In- So what happens, for example, when a network is ternet marketing industry, the term “aﬃliate” has an entirely subjected to liability due to the actions of a rogue aﬃliate? diﬀerent meaning in other contexts, which can spell trouble Should a network be liable for an aﬃliate who has gone oﬀ for all parties. Indeed, in other contexts, the term connotes the beaten path, despite the network’s internal compliance a legal relationship between two businesses. procedures? In typical legal parlance, aﬃliates are organizations or Logically speaking, the answers to those questions individuals that control each other or that are controlled by should be “no.” But because of the traditional use of the a third party. Control may consist of, among other things, term aﬃliate, staﬀ attorneys at the FTC and motivated plain- shared management or employment and common use of tiﬀs’ attorneys may be all too willing to answer that question facilities, equipment, and employees. One consequence of in the aﬃrmative. I have personally witnessed the look of aﬃliate relationships in business is that merchants can of- confusion on an opponent’s face when trying to explain why ten be on the hook for the conduct of their aﬃliates and a network is not the same entity as its aﬃliates or vice versa vice versa. and why imposing liability on one for the action of the other It should come as no surprise that astute plaintiﬀs’ is not logical under the circumstances. lawyers are always on the lookout to reach the assets of While the best evidence of the distinct relationships is a parent company in the event of misconduct by one of its often found in the network’s contractual agreement with its aﬃliate entities. To the extent that the business relationship aﬃliates and the course of conduct between the parties, is not obvious, courts, as part of litigation, often require perhaps an even better solution to deﬁning the network- companies to ﬁle corporate disclosure forms identifying any aﬃliate relationship is taking the “aﬃliate” out of the term parent or aﬃliated corporations. aﬃliate marketing. “Publisher” marketing, anybody? Rachel Hirsch is a Senior Associate at Ifrah PLLC, a law ﬁrm in Washington, D.C. ff24_full.indb 21 21 16/10/2013 04:02:12 p.m. Jordan Barker · Issue 24 · October 2013 5 Things to Know About Health Marketing by Jordan Barker 3. Chronic Health Conditions are Growing Chronic health conditions are on the rise, and consumers need real solutions to deal with their health issues. For W example, the number of diabetics is projected to double, if hat do my cholesterol, Miley Cyrus, and digital not triple, by the year 2050 according to the CDC (Center for health marketing all have in common? They are Disease Control). That would mean that nearly 1 in 3 adults all on the rise and gaining momentum whether would suﬀer from diabetes—the numbers are staggering you want them to be or not. and the need for solutions will only increase. If you haven’t been involved in the online health vertical, or even if you have, here are ﬁve things that you should know: 4. Health Issues are Emotional This may sound cliché, but health issues are something people have a passion about—tap into that emotion. Every- 1. Health Management is Evolving one has either dealt with health issues at some point, or The dynamic of how a consumer manages their health knows someone who has struggled with health issues. As is evolving, and consumers are demanding more transpar- a marketer, if you can help someone cope with something ency and choice. For this reason, consumers are looking to as serious as a health condition, you really begin to make an connect with brands, device manufacturers, and doctors impact and add value. through digital channels now more than ever. While some 5. Patients Need a Voice companies have been slow to adopt emerging technologies Patients need a platform where they can interact with initially, there are many are who ﬁnally embracing the need other individuals who are like-minded, and understand to change the status quo of communicating with patients. their daily struggles. It is human nature to want to belong, and dealing with health challenges is no diﬀerent. Increas- 2. Compliance is Paramount In some industries, you may get a slap on the wrist if support one another and talk about challenges, treatment you violate rules and regulations. However, within the health options, as well as to simply ﬁnd a friend who understands. space there are often no second chances, so you have to While obnoxious pop stars and their 15 minutes of fame play by the rules. Recent changes with HIPAA (Health Insur- may come and go, and while I may ﬁnd the will power to put ance Portability and Accountability Act) and Medicare have down the doughnut and get on a treadmill to get rid of a few required more consumer transparency, and more explicit pounds, health issues are not going away. Now is the time consumer consent to be contacted and by what entity. to get involved and start the critical conversations. 22 ff24_full.indb 22 ingly, social media is being leveraged as a tool for people to Jordan is the Director of Online Marketing for Alliance Health Networks, Inc. 16/10/2013 04:02:14 p.m. · Issue 24 · October 2013 Would You Get Aﬃliate Summit Ink? by Shawn Collins D o you love Aﬃliate Summit? We’ve got a way for you to show it, and we’ll bring you out to Las Vegas for Aﬃliate Summit West 2014 if you take us up on this opportunity. Get an Aﬃliate Summit tattoo, and we’ll provide you with an All Access pass to Aﬃliate Summit West 2014; as well as coach air; 3 nights at the Paris Las Vegas; and dinner with Aﬃliate Summit co-founders, Missy Ward and Shawn Collins, on the night of Monday, January 13, 2014. Some terms from our lawyer about this special tattoo arrangement… » You are 18 years old or older. » Your tattoo will be 1) based on the Aﬃliate Summit logo, an example of which can be found at aﬃliatesummit.com/images/bestlogo.jpg, 2) placed in an area of » You release all rights to any photographs taken of you the body that can be exposed in a non-oﬀensive man- and the tattoo by or on behalf of Aﬃliate Summit, and ner, and 3) permanent. you give consent in advance to their reproduction in » All tattoo designs must be approved by Aﬃliate Summit in advance. » You are responsible for purchasing your tattoo. » You release Aﬃliate Summit, to the fullest extent per- print or electronic form. » Aﬃliate Summit may exclude or reject participants in its sole discretion. » This promotion is void where prohibited by law. mitted by law, from any liability whatsoever, for all This opportunity is open through November 30, 2013. claims or causes of action you may have for personal Contact Aﬃliate Summit at aﬃliatesummit.com/contact injury or otherwise, including any direct or consequen- with any questions. tial damages, which result from your obtaining a tattoo to participate in this promotion. Aﬃliate Summit West 2014 is taking place on January 12-14, 2014 at Paris Las Vegas. Shawn is Co-founder of Aﬃliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and blogs at aﬃliatetip.com. ff24_full.indb 23 23 16/10/2013 04:02:17 p.m. Ninfa Cabello D Who is your First Defense in Compliance? by Ninfa Cabello id you know that your Advertiser Representatives’ and Business Development employees’ could be your ﬁrst defense in creative and landing page compliance? Here is a quick guide to help you and your employees Rebilling/Continuity: All rebilling and continuity programs need to be fully disclosed and not hidden. This also falls in Truth and Adver- review landing pages. tising as noted above. Truth in Advertising: Shipping and Handling: Everything that constitutes the creative must be true. Shipping and Handling (S&H) must be easily visible on A good example is saving money on a product or service: the creative or the landing page. S&H must be visibly pres- “Save 70%” vs. “Save up to 70%”. A company cannot guaran- ent ABOVE the submit button. This falls in Truth and Adver- tee that each consumer will save 70%, but it can guarantee tising as noted above. that each consumer can save up to 70%. The advertiser is From and Subject Lines: not giving a speciﬁc amount of saving; instead the adver- From lines must be relevant to the site you are mail- tiser is giving a broader statement to ensure compliance. ing on behalf of. The actual site (domain name) is preferred. As Seen on TV or Radio: This falls in Truth and Advertising as noted above. Has it really been on TV or Radio? Do some research Subject lines must be true and they must have as little to make sure your campaign is compliant and has actually embellishments as possible. They must accurately identify been seen on TV or radio. If you are advertising a similar the content in the advertisement. product, and not an EXACT one, as the products shown on Privacy Link: TV or promoted on the radio, then your campaign should The Privacy link must be working. Personally, I do not not reference As Seen on TV or Radio. This falls in Truth in read the privacy language, as this is provided by the adver- Advertising as noted above. tisers’ legal department; I just make sure there is a privacy Logos: link that is working. Logos can only be used with prior written approval from Ad Solicitation: the company. Pulling a logo from the WallStreet Journal, FTC, Make sure that it is disclosed somewhere on the adver- FDA, etc. cannot be used without consent from their right- tisement that the message is identiﬁed as an ad. I normally ful owner. If prior written approval is not obtained, the logo see “This is an advertisement” or “This is a solicitation”. must be removed from the site immediately. Opt-Out: Testimonials: The testimonials used must be from real individuals and The Opt-Out link must be working and must also include a physical address to unsubscribe from. a notiﬁcation to the respective individual is required prior Please share this checklist to your employees to as- to using their quote. Advertisers should provide an aﬃdavit sist in compliance. Your employees are your ﬁrst defense stating a testimonial/quote can be used and is legitimate. in keeping your creatives and landing pages compliant.. 24 ff24_full.indb 24 · Issue 24 · October 2013 Ninfa Cabello is Director of Business Development at Madrivo Media, LLC. 16/10/2013 04:02:18 p.m. · Issue 24 · October 2013 Why You Must Build Your Own Brand by Zac Johnson W hen I ﬁrst started making money online over 17 years ago, I knew aﬃliate marketing was going to be huge. Back in the mid to late 90s when I ﬁrst got introduced to the world of aﬃliate marketing, it was still fairly new. Zac Johnson Amazon.com had their aﬃliate program, but there weren’t many other ad networks or aﬃliate programs out there to choose from. The growth of the internet and afﬁliate marketing has been massive over the years, and if you are an aﬃliate marketer, your earnings have probably increased with it... but has your brand? It’s about time you stopped making someone else rich through your talents and eﬀorts and started to build a A common trend that we are seeing in online marketing brand that grows with you. Aﬃliate marketing is awesome, right now is that successful aﬃliate marketers are leaving and you can still use it to make a good amount of money, the concept of “just being an aﬃliate” and moving on to be- but the whole concept of jumping from ad campaign to ad come their own brands and companies. This is something I campaign and sending someone else all of your data and did back in 2007 when I decided to launch my blog at Zac- customers is ﬂawed. Johnson.com. Since launching the blog, my business and name recognition have increased in immeasurable multiples. Without It’s a great opportunity and legitimate business model, but you are limited on your reach and may always be reliant on the success and failure of your next ad campaign. even focusing on the revenue and business made through Starting a brand of your own is extremely easy and you the blog, the opportunities of getting my name out there can get started right now. All it takes is setting up a few so- and becoming an authority ﬁgure in the aﬃliate space has cial network proﬁles, grabbing a domain name (preferably been quite amazing. your real name or company name) and throwing WordPress Through the blog I’ve had the opportunity to be a key- on your site to create a blog. Blogging is one of the best note speaker in Australia, travel the world and speak at dif- ways to get your name out there, as it will grow with content ferent conferences, appear on Fox News and ABC News, over time and allow other people to follow your journey and and launch my own book. connect with you in the process. Bottom line... you need to start building a brand of your own! Start your branding process today and think about where you could be in a year from now. Zac Johnson is an entrepreneur with over 17 years in internet marketing and branding. ff24_full.indb 25 25 16/10/2013 04:02:20 p.m. ff24_full.indb 26 16/10/2013 04:02:22 p.m. · Issue 24 · October 2013 Aﬃliate Summit East 2013 Recap by Shawn Collins S unday, August 18, 2013 was the ﬁrst day of Aﬃliate The Meet Market opened at noon and ran through 6:00 Summit East 2013 at the Pennsylvania Convention PM with a steady stream of attendees meeting with the Center. table exhibitors. Registration check-in and set-up for the Meet Market kicked oﬀ the day at 8:00 AM. During the day, exhibitors built out their booths in the exhibit hall for Monday and Tuesday. I gave my First Timers Orientation for Aﬃliate Sum- The day wrapped up with Emcee Wade Tonkin leading mit East 2013 session at 10:00 AM, and I was glad to see a a series of Elevator Pitches, where attendees could get be- packed crowd of folks eager to learn how to optimize their hind the microphone and share what sorts of people they time at the conference. were trying to meet at the conference. This was followed by sixteen breakout sessions This was followed by the Newcomer Program meetup, throughout the day that covered aﬃliate programs, blog- and then everybody heading out for their Aﬃliate Summit ging, aﬃliate management, mobile, legal, video, SEO, social evening plans. media, and more topics. Shawn is Co-founder of Aﬃliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and blogs at aﬃliatetip.com. ff24_full.indb 27 27 16/10/2013 04:02:28 p.m. · Issue 24 · October 2013 I might be a little biased, but my favorite slide was one where Dr. Pinkett featured pictures of a bunch of diﬀerent entrepreneurs and talked about how none were individuals – they were all teams. Among the teams featured were Missy Ward and me. :) It was fun to see so many of the attendees sharing pic- The exhibit hall opened on day 2 and thousands of af- tures on social media of their cheesesteaks and visits to the ﬁliate marketers came together for a full day of networking. Rocky stairs. Monday, August 19, 2013 was the second day of Aﬃliate Summit East 2013 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. In addition to all of the business talk in the exhibit hall, there were also educational sessions throughout the day at Aﬃliate Summit East 2013. And we had a Philadelphia themed lunch complete with cheesesteaks, hoagies, soft pretzels, and Tastykakes. After the education sessions, there were a series of Ask the Experts roundtables, where a number of interactive discussions were led by industry veterans. The day started with a tasty breakfast for VIP and All Access pass holders, followed by some brief announcements from Aﬃliate Summit East 2013 Emcee, Wade Tonkin. Then there was an inspiring keynote address from Dr. Randal Pinkett, Founder, Chairman and CEO of BCT Partners. 28 ff24_full.indb 28 16/10/2013 04:02:35 p.m. · Issue 24 · October 2013 Tuesday, August 20, 2013 was the third and ﬁnal day of Aﬃliate Summit East 2013 at Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA. The day started with a tasty attendee breakfast, and I got nice and fueled up on bacon and juice. This was followed by a power packed keynote from Wil After Aﬃliate Summit East 2013 wrapped up, we Reynolds on the changes coming from Google and how af- brought speakers and some attendees (there was a chance ﬁliate marketers should adapt. to get a spot during my First Timers Orientation) from the The ﬁnal day of Aﬃliate Summit East 2013 also featured a series of breakout sessions and lots of networking in the exhibit hall. conference to enjoy dinner, drinks, networking, and general goofy times at the Phillies game. Thank you to everybody who came out to network, learn and have fun with us – Aﬃliate Summit East 2013 was the biggest Aﬃliate Summit ever with over 4,400 attendees! If you haven’t heard, we’ll be back in NYC for Aﬃliate Summit East 2014 on August 10-12, 2014 at the New York Marriott Marquis. The conference closed out with a diﬀerent sort of keynote from Rae Hoﬀman – she talked about things her son taught her about life and business. I will neither conﬁrm nor deny that I got a little teary eyed. 29 ff24_full.indb 29 16/10/2013 04:02:41 p.m. · Issue 24 · October 2013 Jeremy Coon Big Data: T Making Your Stats Really Count by Jeremy Coon he early days of online marketing were wild. Entre- Where Do I Get Started? preneurs, eager to take advantage of new technol- It’s easy to look at something as simple as a click-through ogy, made a killing overnight with minimal eﬀort. rate and jump to a conclusion about which creatives are We’ve come a long way since those early days, though. working, but you need more information than that. Innovation, regulation and increasingly web savvy con- Generally speaking there are two kinds of stats: sumers have transformed the industry, requiring marketers » Stats that tell you about how the advertisement and to perfect their strategy and decision making. landing page perform » Stats that tell you about the type of consumer that Why Big Data? wants your product Right at the heart of eﬀective strategy is information. Successful aﬃliate marketers use a combination of Not the kind of information that comes from a quick glance both in order to understand what causes a consumer to at your reports, but the insights you get from watching the buy, as well as the type of traﬃc displaying each creative. Referring URLs, countries, day of the week, time of day, ups and downs of your traﬃc and ﬁnding patterns over a and even user agents contribute to telling the story of your prolonged period of time. In the past, the cost and logistics of storing and analyzing that kind of data made it nearly impossible to do so, but target traﬃc, and should be used as you design and test your campaigns. The next time you take a look at your reports, consider as technology has advanced, so too has our opportunity to these tips: dig deep. 1. The Big Deal they mean. You could stare at stats and graphs for hours, but at 2. Take the time to learn Microsoft Excel. It’s a powerful the end of your day you’re no farther ahead. The value with organization and sorting tool where most reports can big data isn’t in the data itself, it’s in the changes you make be exported. 3. through accurate analysis. highest sales, what makes the perfect aﬃliate or just who’s Analyze the stats surrounding what has worked and what hasn’t, so you can guide future decisions. Whether you’re trying to uncover what leads to the 4. If you’re not the advertiser, ask what ongoing information pulling their weight, big data can provide important insight they would be willing to pass back to you. This will give you into things like consumer demographics, behavior and pat- an idea about which consumers are repeat buyers, and terns. ultimately allow you to trace that back at a deeper level. As you develop your aﬃliate program with fact-based 5. Don’t be afraid to start your marketing eﬀorts on a ﬁndings, rather than assumptions, you’ll increase eﬃciency, broad scale and focus your traﬃc down as you start cut costs, and minimize your risk of failure. seeing trends. 30 ff24_full.indb 30 Learn what stats you have in front of you, and what Jeremy Coon Is the Director of Sales and Business Development at aﬃliate tracking leader, LinkTrust. 16/10/2013 04:02:42 p.m. · Issue 24 · October 2013 7 Ways to Stay Out of Court by Eric S. Crusius Eric S. Crusius I admit it: I like going to court. The rush of adrenaline that comes whenever I stand up and speak before a jury, a judge, or a panel of judges is exhilarating; much more so than my very short, and often remarkably unsuccessful “career” in athletics (it took me years to score my ﬁrst soccer goal and I was not on defense; after that, it got better). I enjoy going to court, but I do it for a living. Most of other party in addition to possible six-ﬁgure statutory dam- the time, my clients have a much less enjoyable experience. ages per violation. As such, it is important to understand This is not because I sneer at them or make them feel bad (I what rights you have to use another’s intellectual property am known to have a good bench-side manner), but because including logos, copy, and pictures. This should hopefully be they are in court when someone has harmed their business explained in a contract. or they are accused of harming another’s business. Step #4 - Know the CAN-SPAM Act: if you send out e- The good news is that there are some basic steps aﬃli- mails, you are probably required to follow certain rules out- ate marketers and networks can take to help insulate them- lined in the Act. There are some attorneys who “troll” for selves from legal pitfalls, because, believe it or not, lawsuits CAN-SPAM Act violations. The Act’s requirements are pretty in the aﬃliate marketing space are not uncommon. Here straight forward, so following them is not too diﬃcult. they are: Step #5 – Stay out of the FTC’s crosshairs: marketers Step #1 - Get real and incorporate: this is more of a help have long been the target of the FTC, and those who engage if you do get sued. If you’re not incorporated, your personal in aﬃliate marketing are no exception. Be sure to avoid us- assets could be at risk. You generally do not need an attor- ing deceptive formats, false endorsements, or unsubstanti- ney to do this. ated claims. Step #2 – Have contracts with your network or aﬃliate: Step #6 – Beware of State Attorney’s General: State AGs often times misunderstandings can be avoided if the par- often get involved when the FTC will not, and there are 50 of ties know the rules of the road. Also, be sure to read any- them. They love getting aﬃliates over “free trial” claims and thing before you sign it. will threaten lawsuits if they are not happy with proposed Step #3 – Understand intellectual property rights: resolutions with consumers. trademarks and copyrights are guarded jealously by their owners. Any violation will likely result in a demand letter, if Step #7 – Search yourself: bad reviews on review websites can be deadly. Promptly deal with them. not a lawsuit. These lawsuits can sometimes come with extreme penalties – having to pay the attorneys’ fees for the These steps are not a guarantee, but will help you stay away from lawsuits. Happy marketing! Eric Crusius is an attorney that helps aﬃliate marketers stay out of legal trouble. ff24_full.indb 31 31 16/10/2013 04:02:43 p.m. Shawn Collins · Issue 24 · October 2013 How to Fix Online Shopping by Shawn Collins A ﬃliate Summit Press, a new publishing arm of Af- The book includes the winning entries, as well as the ﬁliate Summit, has put out the ﬁrst in a series of others that were submitted, which conformed to the mini- books aimed at the digital marketing space called mum or maximum word count. Online Shopping is Broken: How to Fix It. The book is based on short essays from U.S. college students who answered the question, “What is your biggest Online Shopping is Broken: How to Fix It is available in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon.com. Keep an eye out for more Aﬃliate Summit Press books. frustration with online shopping and how would you suggest ﬁxing it?,” in 250-500 words. The essays were part of a contest from Aﬃliate Summit, where we provided ten scholarships of $1,000 each to college students, based on their essay entries. Winners were selected by the Aﬃliate Summit Advisory Board. » Kerry Anderson – University of Maryland » Maria Andrade – Arizona State University » Julia Anthony – West Chester University » Andrew Arredondo – University of Utah » Julia Belsky – Washington University in St. Louis » Clayton Bradshaw – Tulsa Community College » Justin Davis – Cowley College » Jacquelyn D Grammer – Valencia College » Sanya Lalani – George Mason University » Andrew Joseph McCarty – Arcadia University The winning essays, as well as all other submissions, are listed in this book in alphabetical order by last name. 32 ff24_full.indb 32 Shawn is Co-founder of Aﬃliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and blogs at aﬃliatetip.com. 16/10/2013 04:02:45 p.m. LAUNCHED! ShareASale Welcomes the GoDaddy Affiliate Program! As the world’s #1 domain name registrar and #1 hosting provider*, GoDaddy makes it simple for people to get on the Web and successfully accomplish their goals. Why we’re excited: GoDaddy is one of the Internet’s most iconic brands with a worldwide presence and more than 12 million customers. On a philosophical level, both GoDaddy and ShareASale are committed to helping businesses start and grow. We look forward to building a successful partnership. www.ShareASale.com To join the GoDaddy Affiliate Program and learn more about ShareASale visit ShareASale.com/Business Chicago-based ShareASale is a provider of e-commerce tracking and affiliate management solutions for retailers. By facilitating relationships between affiliate marketers and over 3,900 merchants, ShareASale helps its clients tap into new sources of revenue. *GoDaddy is the largest worldwide mass-market hosting provider by annual revenue according to 451 Research (Mass-Market Hosting Report-Fall 2012). ff24_full.indb 3 16/10/2013 04:02:52 p.m. ff24_full.indb 2 16/10/2013 04:02:52 p.m. Shawn Collins · Issue 24 · October 2013 Editor’s Note Strengthen Your Q4 Site Oﬀense by Shawn Collins Y ou started the fourth quarter with a game plan, and things are going right so far, but are you prepared to count on other people telling you. Instead, use a com- call an audible if need be? pany like Pingdom to alert you immediately, so you can Just like in football, you’ll sometimes have to call a sub- stitute play in business to adjust to sudden changes that » Invest in quality hosting: Lots of people are tempt- you see. It’s not ideal to have to switch things up to react ed to go with the cheap hosts to save a few bucks, but to external events, but if you are prepared, you can make at what cost? This tip ties into the previous point about it work for you. monitoring your site performance. Basically, if your site This is a tricky time of year, since it’s the crazy rush for commerce, and lots of people are oﬀ for extended periods is going down, it’s probably because you have a subpar host. » Speed up your site: People and search engines dis- of time for the holidays. What are you going to do when Muhammad Wilkerson like slow sites. But do you even know if you have a slow (obligatory New York Jets reference) knocks your quarter- site? Check out PageSpeed Insights from Google to ﬁnd back out of the game? out what you should ﬁx to increase the speed that your OK, that’s probably not a real scenario for you in par- site loads. ticular, but how about if your server goes down, your site is » Make your site responsive: Your site should be op- hacked, or there is some other time sensitive disaster and timized for any device out there, whether it’s a mobile nobody is around to help? How about if you are simply turn- phone, table, or desktop computer. Test it in all of these ing people away, because your site is slow or inaccessible? environments, and evolve if it’s not responsive. Many Start preparing now for things that might happen, so you don’t have to pull all-nighters or run away from the Thanksgiving table to deal with messes. Here are some tips to fortify your Q4 site oﬀense… » Password security: First, change your passwords » Stay on top of updates: If you are using WordPress or another platform, it’s vital that you update your version and related ﬁles as needed, so you can avoid making it easy for creeps to sneak in the back door and cause mischief. know all of your passwords, or use a service like Robo- Taking these steps should help to preserve some san- » Monitor your site performance: If your site goes down, you’d better know about it right away. Don’t 2 WordPress themes will take care of this. now, and make them stronger. Second, be sure you Form to keep them organized. ff24_full.indb 2 act on it. ity, and to make it easier in the event you have to call an audible. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Shawn is Co-founder of Aﬃliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and blogs at aﬃliatetip.com. 16/10/2013 04:01:41 p.m.