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Issue 26 ― May 2014

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Affiliate Summit East 2014 in New York City: August 10-12

Don’t Make Your Spouse an Entrepreneur W idow By Shawn Collins - Page 2

Can Search & Affiliate Play Nicely Together? By Lori Weiman - Page 7

Four Pillars of Building a Membership Site By Zac Johnson - Page 12


Issue 26 ·May 2014

Table of Contents 2

Don’t Make Your Spouse an Entrepreneur Widow

Shawn Collins

3

Don’t Be Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

Rachel Hirsch

4

Everyone Can Do Well by Doing Good

Sean Steinmarc

5

Best Practices for Native Advertising

Debbie Bookstaber

7

Can Search & Affiliate Play Nicely Together?

Lori Weiman

8

Five Keys for Successful Pay-Per-Call Campaign

Matt Mirman

10

Communication is Key When Working with Affiliates

Adam Brown

11

How to Create the Perfect About Page

12

Four Pillars of Building a Membership Site

13

Four Strategies to Start Promoting Digital Goods

Cristian Miculi

14

Double Your Sales in Three Months

Robert French

15

Is Negative the New Positive for Email?

Khris Thayer

16

Affiliate Content Compliance Raises Tough Questions

Georgia Gier

17

Simple Terms Can Help Avoid Big Headache

18

Four Steps to Optimal Performance for Affiliates

19

The Future of Software Monetization

21

Capitalize on Driving New To File Customers

22

Affiliate Firsts on My Affiliate Journey

23

Your Affiliate Program Needs a Check-up!

24

How to Befriend Your Affiliate Manager

25

Three Groups Affiliate Managers Must Keep Happy

27

Affiliate Summit West 2014 Recap

31

Pre-Planning for Maximum Conference Success

32

Incorporating Affiliate Offers Into Your Blog

STAFF Co-Editors in Chief Missy Ward, Shawn Collins Co-Publishers Missy Ward, Shawn Collins

Contributing Writers

Vinayak Ahuja, Julie Avila, Debbie Bookstaber, Adam Brown, Shawn Collins, Patrick S. Cooper, Robert French, Georgia Gier, Travis Glenn, Jonathan Goodwin, Rachel Hirsch, Calista Ikeme, Zac Johnson, Matt McWilliams, Cristian Miculi, Matt Mirman, Christopher Park, Kim Salvino, Sean Steinmarc, Nadia Tatlow, Khris Thayer, Donika Todorova and Lori Weiman

Graphic Design Logan Gattis Designs www.logangattis.com Magazine Coordinator Amy Rodriguez

Matt McWilliams Zac Johnson

Patrick S. Cooper Vinayak Ahuja Nadia Tatlow Jonathan Goodwin Donika Todorova Kim Salvino Calista Ikeme Christopher Park Shawn Collins Travis Glenn Julie Avila

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 © 2014 Affiliate Summit, Inc. and Individual Authors.


Shawn Collins

· Issue 26 · May 2014

Editor’s Note

Don’t Make Your Spouse an Entrepreneur Widow by Shawn Collins

It felt right then – there was the need to support the family, so the long hours, skipped vacations, and little sleep equaled kicking ass in my mind.

A

For the first year or so of Affiliate Summit, I was also ffiliate Summit started at a time when my wife, Vicky,

working full-time at ClubMom.com as affiliate manager, as

was pregnant with our third baby, Kerrigan.

well as juggling a handful of affiliate management clients.

Thinking back, the near decade of babies in the

I was so excited and consumed with what was happening

house marked a different stage in our relationship from the

in my professional life that I became blind to what should have

first few years we were married. Suddenly, I assumed the role

been my true priorities.

as second fiddle at home and started working more. I understood it on a rational level that Caity needed nonstop TLC when she was born in 1999, but still it was somewhat lonely and isolating, compared to the way things used to be. It left me looking to fill the void.

My wonderful, patient wife was essentially an entrepreneur widow who was raising our kids largely on her own. That was no good and not fair. It took some tough conversations for me to wake up to my lack of balance that had evolved into my new normal.

This repeated itself in 2001 with Lexie, then 2003 when

I am proud of many things I have done, but I am not proud

Kerri was born (a month after the first Affiliate Summit), and

of what I didn’t do for too long… be the best husband and dad

on to Jack in 2006.

I could be.

In a way, it was perfect timing for losing myself in the en-

So, I’ve got a new startup (BITTW.com: Blood Is Thicker

trepreneur lifestyle. This period coincided with some of my

Than Water) with a focus on family life. This is the new stage

most productive years as an entrepreneur.

where I rededicate, rediscover, reboot, renew, and rebalance.

I prided myself in being called a workaholic. To me, it was

How about you… are you picking work at the expense of

a badge of honor that I was working like crazy, and people

people you care about? Don’t wait until it’s too late to start

would marvel at my productivity.

keeping your eyes on the right prize.

2

Shawn is Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and blogs at affiliatetip.com.


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - Why investing in contracts early on can mean costs savings in the long run.

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish by Rachel Hirsch

T

he affiliate marketing industry fosters relationships

Rachel Hirsch

Don’t Be

between online marketers that would not otherwise blossom in traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.

2. Identify each party correctly. While this may seem obvi-

It allows people from all over the world to connect with the

ous, often contracts capture incorrect legal names with

simple click of a mouse, engendering almost instantaneous

the wrong spelling. The difference between identifying a

trust between business partners without the stuffiness and

company as an LLC or Inc. can be crucial to future en-

formalities of the corporate world.

forcement.

While doing business over email, Skype, or AIM certainly

3.

Include details. The contract should spell out the rights,

has its advantages, and can be cost-effective, sometimes the

duties, and obligations of each party in detail, including

cost of doing business online is that online marketers forgo

each party’s representations and warranties in carrying

certain corporate formalities that would actually save them

out the contract. Courts generally interpret contracts

money in the long run.

based on their “four corners,” so include all of the details

Often, online marketers pinch pennies when it comes to paying attorneys to draft solid business contracts, think-

to which the parties agreed. 4.

Specify payment obligations. The exchange of money is

ing that they will save money by either drafting the contracts

often the most contentious issue in contract negotiation.

themselves or by relying on oral agreements with their busi-

Specify who pays home, when the payments must be

ness partners.

made, and under what conditions.

What actually happens, however, is that the lack of a bind-

5.

Specify a termination date. If applicable, specify the

ing written contract leaves the online marketer defenseless

events on the occurrence of which the contract will be

when a business dispute inevitably arises.

terminated, and describe the method of giving notice.

Although oral agreements are legal and binding in many

6.

Include indemnification provisions. Make sure each par-

situations, they are often difficult to enforce in court (and, in

ty is responsible for carrying out its individual duties and

some situations, are not enforceable at all). A written agree-

indemnifies the other party for its failure to do so.

ment is less risky than an oral agreement, because you have

7.

Include relief provisions. Should a dispute arise in the

a document that clearly spells out each party’s rights and ob-

future, specify the relief available to the aggrieved party

ligations in case of confusion or disagreement.

(e.g., liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees), how that relief

When drafting a legally-binding contract, keep in mind the

is obtained (e.g., through litigation, arbitration, or media-

following:

tion), and where the relief is obtained (e.g., the governing

1.

Keep it simple. Written contracts do not need a lot of le-

law and jurisdiction).

galese to make the contract enforceable. Instead, create

Investing in a solid, written contract at the start of a busi-

short, clear sentences with simple, numbered paragraph

ness relationship can actually save a business a lot of money,

headings.

and heartache, in the future. Don’t be fooled otherwise!

Rachel Hirsch is a Senior Associate at Ifrah PLLC, a law firm in Washington, D.C.

3


· Issue 26 · May 2014

Sean Steinmarc

tl;dr - Learn how any brand can effectively connect with consumers by marketing through social good.

Everyone

Can Do Well by Doing Good by Sean Steinmarc

I wouldn’t recommend trying to repeat Pepsi’s attempt these days, begging for online votes has become a bit of a sore

H

spot for nonprofits (and their supporters). Creativity is the key ow ‘good’ are you? Do consumers associate your

component - find a creative way to associate your brand with

brand with positive social impact, or see you as just

a great cause, and align with one relevant to your image.

another company out to make a buck? It matters,

because 82% of consumers are influenced by brand support of social issues. (2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study)

Find the right partner. Do you sell fashion targeted at women? Support the search for a cure to breast cancer, and create cause-specific

Typically, when brands want to associate with a cause,

fashion lines. Do you market power tools, or other products in

they use a traditional cause-marketing campaign and give

the DIY/Home Improvement space? Engage in building proj-

a percentage of sales to a specified non-profit for each pur-

ects that benefit under-resourced individuals, and share pho-

chase made. While effective at point-of-sale, with 89% of

tos & videos of your efforts online.

American consumers likely to switch brands to one that sup-

A perfect example of how ANY company can find an ap-

ports a good cause (Cone), there is no real follow-up, nor en-

propriate cause relevancy: Celestron, a manufacturer of prod-

gagement.

ucts such as telescopes and binoculars, partnered with nonprofit Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) to create a quality,

Be creative.

portable, inexpensive telescope to make the stars more ac-

Better cause marketing campaigns are those that cre-

cessible, and a portion of each purchase benefits AWB.

ate buzz around the social impact provided by your brand. In

Even if you don’t focus on any particular product type, you

2010, Pepsi decided to forgo Super Bowl advertising, instead

can still find an appropriate cause partner. Focus on what is

running a cause marketing campaign across social networks

important to you and to your fans. For example, you could find

with the Pepsi Refresh Project.

local nonprofit to show that you care for the community in

This was one of the first cause marketing efforts that took

which you live and work.

full advantage of social media. Fans voted on Pepsi’s Facebook page to determine which nonprofits would receive a por-

Be authentic!

tion of $1.3 million in grants - one grantee per month. From

The most important aspect of your campaign will be its

this campaign, Pepsi became one of the most talked about

authenticity - if you don’t truly want to support the cause, fans

brands at the Super Bowl despite not advertising (Nielsen).

will sense the fact that you might be taking advantage of their

Pepsi also saw a 600% increase in its Facebook likes, and

emotions to drive revenue, causing a PR disaster. As long as

had over 18 million unique visitors to its RefreshEverything.

you have an honest desire to do good, you are almost guaran-

com landing page.

teed to do well.

4

Sean Steinmarc is a digital marketing professional who runs social-impact marketing startup psGive.


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - Transparency, value, and focus are essential elements when affiliates are creating content.

Best Practices Debbie Bookstaber

for Native Advertising by Debbie Bookstaber

“N

ative advertising” (or advertising that matches the format of surrounding content) is one of the

Many of these principles are common sense, such as:

hottest online advertising trends. Sites such as

“Simply put: Regardless of context, a reasonable consumer

Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, and the Wall Street Journal are

should be able to distinguish between what is paid advertising

hosting native advertising, and brands such as Unilever are in-

vs. what is publisher editorial content.”

creasing their investment in this advertising model. According to eMarketer, native ad spending will grow by 29% this year.

Native advertising should complement the editorial content, but it should not attempt to “dupe” or “trick” the user. In-

The growing popularity of “native advertising” won’t come

cluding a disclosure will not reduce the effectiveness of the

as a shock to the affiliate industry. As a group, affiliate market-

content if the sponsored content improves or enhances the

ers are early adaptors. Affiliates often test new platforms and

user experience.

methods long before the rest of the advertising world discovers them.

Create Value

Affiliate marketers may not use the term “native adver-

As affiliates, we’re focused on converting clicks into sales

tising” to describe their methods, but it’s no secret to them

and leads. Your sponsored content should have a clear call-

that creating good content is essential to affiliate marketing

to-action, and it also should be good enough that a consumer

success. As click-thru rates on banner ads, pop-ups and other

might share it with a friend voluntarily.

forms of advertising have declined, affiliate advertisers have

For example, if I managed a party supply affiliate program,

increased their efforts to gain placement on blogs and con-

I might write a sample post for a top affiliate/blogger: “How to

tent-focused websites.

Plan a Disney-Themed Birthday Party for Under $100.” The

Native advertising is still at an early phase, which means that standards – as well as definitions of terms such as “spon-

post would contain specific product recommendations and a clear call to action.

sored content,” “branded content,” “native ad” – are still evolving. Whatever term you prefer, here are some tips for creating effective content for use in affiliate marketing.

Focus Your Efforts While it doesn’t hurt to include a sample post in an affiliate newsletter, I’ve found that it is more effective to write

Be Transparent FTC regulations require that advertising be disclosed.

custom content for specific, high-value affiliates. Affiliates are more willing to share content if it is exclusive to their sites.

I recommend familiarizing yourself with the IAB Native Ad-

By focusing your efforts, you can adapt the posts to fit the

vertising Playbook (feedfront.com/iab-nap), which provides

style and tone of the affiliate site. This is a time-consuming

sample disclosure language and discusses the importance of

tactic, but it can be incredibly effective if you target the right

“disclosure principles.”

affiliate sites for your program.

Debbie Bookstaber is the President of ElementAssociates.com, a digital marketing agency based in Philadelphia.

5


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - Can marketers optimize the paid search channel in a universe where SEM and affiliate teams are pitted against each other?

Search & Affiliate

Play Nicely Together? by Lori Weiman

I

Lori Weiman

Can

attribution credit. In turn, bidding tools may make wrong decisions for the SEM team or affiliates may appear to

t is incredibly common for a merchant to have both an af-

under-perform.

filiate program and a robust search marketing initiative for

Does this mean that merchants or affiliates should aban-

paid search ads and organic ‘free’ listings. At The Search

don the search channel? No, not at all. Both can and should co-exist together, and can do so

Monitor, 100% of our clients manage both an affiliate program and search campaigns. It is also common for affiliate teams and search market-

ing teams to work completely in isolation from one another.

successfully. Working together provides tangible benefits of owning more search result real-estate and blocking out competitors.

When two marketing teams work in the same marketing chan-

Here are some ideas on how to avoid cross-channel con-

nel, but are not coordinated with each other, channel conflict

flict as well as gain efficiencies from SEM teams and affiliate

risk is extremely high.

partners working together:

Channel conflict in turn can equate to financial repercus-

4.

Unify Teams. Teams that report to the same manage-

sions, including:

ment work best. Ideally your agency will be able to man-

1.

Increased Advertising Costs. When search teams and

age your affiliate channel and your SEM activities in one

affiliate partners both vie for the same keywords for paid

roof.

search ads, the two teams wind up creating artificial

5.

affiliate channel to police compliance? Maybe compli-

either channel want to run-up CPC costs?

ance is better owned by the SEM team, who has the most

2. Lost Business. Business losses can occur when offers are out of sync between the actual brand and offers pub-

interest in optimizing the search channel. 6.

Share Attribution. Is it possible to share attribution, so

lished by affiliate partners. For example, cart abandon-

that both the SEM team and the affiliate teams get partial

ment risk increases if a consumer expects a discount

credit for keyword level sales?

because of a published but expired coupon code, and is 3.

Compliance Responsibility. Does it make sense for the

competition, thus causing CPC increases. Why would

7.

Coordinate Bids, Offers, Keywords. If your search team

not able to receive this benefit upon check-out.

is handling management of the search channel, then it

Interference with PPC Bid Automation. Attribution of

will be able to better coordinate bidding cohesively with

clicks and conversions can cause problems with auto-

affiliates, ensuring that all ad copy maintains consistent

mated bidding rules that rely on accurate ROI, volume,

offers, and that the keywords used by each channel are

or CPA calculations. Attribution is usually mutually ex-

coordinated and work well together.

clusive (i.e. only one channel will get credit for a sale or

In conclusion, the two groups can work together and

lead). This means that if the search teams and affiliate

avoid channel conflict with consistent rules and channel man-

teams are competing, only one of those teams will get

agement that falls under one roof.

Lori is CEO of The Search Monitor which provides compliance monitoring and competitive intelligence tools.

7


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - Pay-per-call campaign success is determined by offer vertical, required call duration, geos, traffic sources, and KPIs.

Five Keys for a

Successful

Pay-Per-Call Campaign Matt Mirman

by Matt Mirman Don’t forget, this is still predominantly a lead-based traffic source, so duration times should reflect that.

I

3.

Geos. Is it a national or a local campaign? How large is

f pictures are worth a thousand words, then phone calls

the audience you can market to? Should you use geo-

are worth millions, at least to advertisers. Phone calls are

fencing to make sure you’re hitting only the designated

immensely valuable to advertisers, because they yield a

audience? Do you have enough reach for a national cam-

higher conversion rate than your average lead form-based

paign? These are all important questions to ask to make

campaign.

sure your campaign is scalable and efficient.

This affords the advertiser the ability to pay more for a

4.

Traffic Sources Allowed. Verify which traffic sources are

qualified call, which in return, earns you, the publisher, a higher

allowed for each campaign, as this is a great opportunity

earning per click.

to diversify. For local campaigns, in particular, you might

These pay-per-call campaigns open the door for publish-

want to try your hand at some new traffic sources, in-

ers to diversify their traffic sources, while earning higher pay-

cluding offline methods. With pay-per-call, anywhere you

outs for driving qualified and interested calls to an advertiser’s

can stick a phone number is an opportunity for a conver-

doorstep.

sion, so it’s worth the effort to experiment. At Dedicated

Now is the perfect time for publishers to become pay-per-

Media, we’ve seen search, display and call-centers per-

call experts, because the practice is still relatively young, so competition is limited and opportunities are abundant. Here are five things to consider when running pay-per-call

form really well across all verticals. 5.

KPIs. Which backend metrics is the campaign being judged against? Is the advertiser measuring success

campaigns.

based on number of calls, number of sales, average order

1.

Offer Vertical. Pay-per-call campaigns work exception-

value? Optimizing your campaigns for the advertiser’s ul-

ally well across virtually every vertical, but the five most

timate goal will ensure campaign longevity and can lead

opportunity-rich verticals we’ve seen so far at Dedicated

to increased budgets.

Media are education, insurance, home security, legal services, and home services.

Compliance

2. Required Call Duration. Make sure you know how long

As with any campaign, compliance is key. Any quality net-

the prospect has to stay on the phone before you earn

work will hold you to extremely high standards when it comes

a payout. This can range from 30 seconds up to several

to pay-per-call compliance, and you don’t want to be caught

minutes, with longer call times usually meaning higher

red-handed breaking the rules. It’s imperative that you not

payouts. A good rule of thumb here is that the duration

only follow the campaign guidelines dictated by the advertiser,

required should be the shortest amount of time possible

but also ensure that the campaign is allowed on the traffic

to determine if the caller is a qualified prospect or not.

sources you’re utilizing.

8

Matt Mirman is Vice President of Performance Marketing at Dedicated Media.


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - Find out how your affiliates like being contacted, and reach them that way.

Communication is Key

Adam Brown

When Working with Affiliates by Adam Brown

A

Email s a network owner and affiliate manager for a lot of

Email can be very effective, as you can’t always be online

years, I have learned many things about how impor-

to respond to IM and Skype calls. Many of us get email to our

tant communication is between affiliate managers

phones, so it is easy to respond to them at any given point of

and affiliates. Without effective communication; every relation-

time. Email should always be on a personal basis, not a group

ship, every goal, every strategy, and every organization is at risk.

email format. You will get a much better response rate back

We know how to do it. We know that we should do it, but

from your affiliates.

yet it’s often neglected. Before we get started, I would like to point out that it is

Social Media

very important for affiliate managers to understand two-

Facebook could be a great way to communicate with

way communication. This means you need to listen to your

your affiliate, as well as recruiting new affiliates. Communi-

affiliates, accepting their comments and ideas, not only giv-

cating with affiliate managers through Facebook messages

ing your input on other campaign metrics, and responding to

is also very effective and easy.

them on a timely manner. The most important responsibility of any affiliate managers job is communicating with your affiliates (new or established).

Phone It is important that you talk to new affiliates on the phone

There are many effective ways to do this. Understanding

- this should be part of your approval process. This is a good

how your affiliates prefer to be contacted will help you build a

time to find out how they are going to market your program.

successful program and relationships.

You won’t be able to call everybody on a timely basis, however

Here are some of the best ways to communicate with affiliates:

you should make time to call your high volume affiliates. This helps in building your relationships with them. Check- ins with your mid level affiliates can also help to increases the volume.

Instant Messenger Affiliates use many different IM services to do the major-

In Person

ity of their communication with networks and affiliate manag-

Remember most of our work and relationships are virtual,

ers. Don’t forget to ask your affiliates for their Instant Mes-

so face to face meetings are very important. This also means

senger name as this is an easy way to get in touch. This also

attending industry shows like Affiliate Summit or flying to

includes Skype. Affiliates like to have the ability to get in touch

meet your affiliates.

with you quick. The more you’re available for them, the better your success will be.

10

Affiliate marketing is 100 % based on relationships and communication, so let’s get talking. Adam Brown is CEO of OfferVision..


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - Get 6 common mistakes and 6 keys to a great “about” page.

How to Create the

Perfect

Matt McWilliams

About Page by Matt McWilliams

Y

our “about” page is more important than you think. If you’re like me, you spent a few minutes on it once and left it alone to gather dust. Who reads that

page anyway?

In other words, more engagement and ultimately more buyers.

Apparently, a lot of people.

So, how do you create the perfect “about” page?

According to my stats, my “about” page hasn’t been in the top ten most visited pages in any single month ever. That’s a

6 Keys to the Perfect About Page

problem, because it means I ignored it.

7.

Start with the key benefit to your audience. What’s in it

However, it is the fifth most popular page on my site over

for them? Start off with a headline I learned from Derek

the past year. Heatmaps showed me that the “about” page

Halpern of Social Triggers, “Here’s what [My Site] is all

was the second or third most clicked link. In other words, this

about.” Boom! Right to the good stuff.

was a permanently important page… and I was doing nothing

8.

with it.

Ask for opt-ins early and often. You are never going to have a better chance to collect email subscribers. Never.

I was making every one of the common mistakes below.

They are on your “about” page! I tested various ways, but I found that putting an email subscription box every 3300

6 Common “About” Page Mistakes

vertical pixels was best. That’s slightly more than the av-

1.

erage height of a monitor. Shoot for three total.

Making it a biography, not a “what’s in it for you” page.

2. Not collecting email sign-ups early and often on the page. 3.

9.

Include your top posts. People reading this page are

Not giving your visitors, who are probably new, some di-

brand new. Give them some direction by including your

rection.

top ten posts of all-time.

4.

Not being personal enough.

10. Your story. There is a time for your biography… at the end.

5.

No images or video.

This is the time to get personal. How did you end up here?

6.

Not split-testing variables.

Share your embarrassing failures, like “I’ve been fired four

Two months ago, I completely overhauled my “about”

times, including by my own dad.” It shows authenticity and

page. The key was that I spent the time. I treated it like an epic

gives you credibility to speak on your subject matter.

blog post. I shared it with my mastermind, tweaked it, and did

11. Images and Video. Lots of them! You are a human being,

some split tests. That was only two months ago and it’s still a work in progress, but the results have been astounding.

right? 12. Test, test, test. Test the location of the email sign-ups,

»» 54% increase in opt-ins from the page.

test where certain images go, test…everything. Ultimate-

»» 28% increase in pageviews by those who visit the “about”

ly, what works for me might not work for you, so find out

page.

for yourself.

Matt McWilliams is an award-winning affiliate manager and blogger at MattMcWilliams.com.

11


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - Four important aspects for building a quality membership site.

Four Pillars

Zac Johnson

of Building a Membership Site by Zac Johnson

O

wning your own product and having a source of re-

secure, password-protected members only area that can pro-

curring income are among the best ways to make

cess billing.

money in any business. What’s even better is that in

the age of the internet, anyone can be an expert at anything and start their own business and brand in the process.

Making Your Membership Site Special Taking the leap from offering free content on your blog for

I continually preach about how much a blog can change

everyone to read, to starting a paid membership site is a big

a person’s life, let alone what it can do for an existing blog or

deal. With trust and authority already established, it shouldn’t

business. In this article, we are going to move a step forward

be hard for you to convert your existing traffic into paying cus-

and focus on how to build a quality membership-based site

tomers. At the end of the day, it comes down to the quality

that can bring in recurring revenue month after month.

of products and services that you are offering through your site. For a user to actually take out their credit card and pay a

Building a Brand Around You

monthly or one-time fee, there must be a huge value in return.

The importance of building a trustworthy brand around your personal name, business, or blog cannot be stressed

How to Price Membership for Your Site

enough. If you want to build a loyal following of readers who

Knowing how much to charge for access to your mem-

are actively checking your blog for new content and hanging

bership site is crucial. Not only how much but also how often.

on your every word, you need to gain their trust and be “the

Many membership sites will have a monthly, yearly and life-

authority” for whatever it is you are writing about. This is the

time payment option. Monthly recurring income streams are

type of coaching and premium access that people are willing

nice, but the lump sum of an upfront lifetime payment also

to pay for.

has its benefits. Be sure not to come off too pricey to your audience as you can always increase your rate later if need be.

Launching Your Membership Site

It’s better to start low and increase over time.

When it comes time to launch your site, you will have a

There is a great need for higher learning and training

lot of options. For the backend, there are many advanced and

courses online. Don’t limit yourself to just the “make money

simple pre-built solutions out there to choose from. The setup

online” crowd. Create a membership based around the author-

process alone should not hold you back from creating your

ity and expertise you’ve established for yourself and let your

own membership site. The main concern here is to set up a

brand and content do the work for you.

12

Zac Johnson is an entrepreneur who blogs at ZacJohnson.com and Brand.com.


· Issue 26 · May 2014

Four Strategies

Cristian Miculi

tl;dr - Compliment current promotions, bundle, cross-promote, and become an advertiser yourself with digital goods.

to Start Promoting Digital Goods by Cristian Miculi

T

he worldwide digital goods market was estimated to reach $140 billion in 2013, with most sales in the North American and Asia Pacific markets, thanks

month when some (most) subscriptions will renew.

to a compound annual growth rate of 15 percent expected

For example, you could offer a complimentary 30-day

through 2015, according to the PWC Global Media and Enter-

subscription to a gardening magazine along with a $30

tainment Outlook 2011.

minimum purchase of seeds. The following month, when

The 2013 AffStat report clearly shows that at least 40 percent of affiliates belong to a dedicated digital goods affili-

users renew, you earn commission on these renewals. 3.

Create another channel for promoting digital goods, but use your current audience to get started. Cross-

ate network – but that means 60 percent don’t! If you’re not already promoting digital goods, you’re miss-

promote physical and digital products on your websites.

ing out on important revenue. Why not enter this space?

Use social media communication channels to under-

Promoting digital goods is much easier than promoting

stand customer needs. Send your current users a news-

physical goods, since you don’t have to worry about inventory

letter with some trial downloads or software deals (for

or shipping costs. Plus, customers get immediate gratifica-

example) related to their existing purchases, and use

tion after purchasing a digital product or subscription.

banners pointing your new software deals dedicated

Now that I have you thinking about the opportunity, let’s

website. Don’t be afraid to try the affiliate game in the

go through 4 strategies that will help you get an accelerated start in promoting digital goods: 1.

mobile area via your own app. 4.

Become an advertiser yourself. We’re discussing af-

Complement current promotions with digital goods.

filiates here, but in the software space, there are many

Say you’re working in the travel niche promoting tourism

white-label opportunities you can take advantage of.

packages. It would be a great idea to offer your clients

Usually, you’ll have to pay an upfront fee plus a revenue

eBooks about the destination they’re thinking of going –

share on the sales to come. You can have your own an-

e.g. “tips from locals for getting the most out of Amster-

tivirus or registry cleaning solution, sell it online, and get

dam,” or even eBooks to help them create an itinerary.

your own affiliates for that product as well.

If you promote electronics on your website, think about

To wrap this up, I definitely recommend giving digital

offering software to go with laptops and tablets, or an eBook that teaches users how to conserve energy.

goods your best effort. The key is to start promoting something relevant to the

2. Bundle current products with content subscriptions.

audience you can get. Be sure you choose the best platform

This way, your customers will see the added value and

that can deliver the product catalog and features you need for

you will see added revenue in your account the following

the digital goods you want to promote.

Cristian helps software advertisers and affiliates grow their online sales in the Avangate Affiliate Network.

13


· Issue 26 · May 2014

Robert French

tl;dr - Know about the next big thing, know your buyers, and develop a 360 degree marketing plan.

Double Your Sales

in Three Months by Robert French

A

ffiliate marketing changes fast, and when your clients trust you to bring in the big bucks, you need to

Bottom line: Know about the next big thing, not the latest big thing.

keep up.

With 10 years of experience in the affiliate business, as

Use Google Analytics as your best friend

both a publisher and an advertiser, I’ve developed a no-fail

This tool shows you where to invest your dollars. It’s more

strategy that helps keep me on top of the latest trends and

than just checking which publishers bring in the most visits. By

ahead of the competition.

analyzing your data, you can see the percentage of qualified

When I started as the new affiliate marketing specialist

traffic they bring in, what their conversion rate is, which devices

at Le Site one year ago, I applied this no-fail strategy to one of

their visitors use and many other variables. These insights al-

their biggest clients. The client was a huge corporation that

low you to reward your best publishers with better commission

sold for millions of dollars online every year, and I knew I need-

structures and exclusive offers for their audience, which guar-

ed to bring my A-game to my first account.

antees you more exposure on your top performing sites.

The results? I doubled their sales within the first quarter

Bottom line: Get to know your buyers.

after applying this strategy. Here are the three simple steps to my approach:

Leverage your other marketing efforts

Invest your time in strong affiliate research

thing e-commerce. This means that all departments can

Le Site is great because it’s a one-stop shop for everyExperience brings connections, but those aren’t neces-

work with each other and leverage the efforts made on other

sary for success. What really pays off is doing research and

marketing fronts. When I see that one affiliate channel is per-

figuring out who the next big publisher will be before everyone

forming really well, I can talk to our Media Buy expert to make

else does. Besides, affiliate marketing changes so quickly that

sure we’re investing in the same channel. This gives us better

no amount of experience can keep you on top of your field. It’s

placement, more promotional communications, and an over-

your job to know about new product tools and trends before

all increase in ROI.

they come out.

14

Bottom line: Develop a 360° marketing plan. Robert French is the Director of Affiliate Marketing and Display Advertising at Le Site, an e-commerce agency.


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - The changing landscape of acquisition email, deliverability, and compliance and how some “perceived” negative impact is creating positive change.

Is Negative

the New Positive for Email? Khris Thayer

by Khris Thayer

E

mail is evolving, and as a result, dynamically altering

For sustainable email programs, you should never sacri-

the affiliate marketing landscape. Deliverability is the

fice quality over quantity. The businesses that we are seeing

primary indicator of whether a campaign is successful

continue to grow are the ones who make the investments in

or not, and many companies in the space are unable to overcome ISP filtering and fingerprinting.

organically procuring quality data to market to. Also, those that take compliance seriously; not just be-

Further, lots of companies are unwilling to put compre-

cause it limits liability and mitigates risk, but because of the

hensive compliance measures in place, and there is an overall

marketing intelligence they obtain through what is known as

lack of quality data available to provide tangible insights.

“Negative Marketing Signals” and “Behavioral Targeting”; will

Put simply, email marketing is changing!

win in the end.

I am approached frequently by industry partners in regard

Lastly, those companies that go to great lengths to moni-

to their thoughts and feelings about email acquisition, affiliate

tor and safeguard IP reputation for deliverability, which still

marketing, and a variety of aspects that affect our space and

tends to trump everything and is more likely if the previous

have noticed an overwhelming “doom & gloom” mentality.

two household items are in order, will emerge ahead of the

All that said, I disagree with that sentiment.

competition.

Despite the negative outlook some may have in regard

New players enter the industry, new techniques are being

to our industry’s perceived decline, my company grows at an

used to accomplish successful results, and legacy companies

approximate 40% revenue curve annually. This means that

that want to be around for the next several years must adapt.

brands are still allocating budget dollars toward implementing

Technology continues to advance and ISPs are more fo-

email campaigns and affiliate programs, including brands that

cused on consumer protection. So affiliate marketers need to

have historically been opposed to email.

be cognizant of their reputation with their audience and utilize

It is important to differentiate your business and have a positive impact despite perceived negative change. Focus on

the tools and processes that are readily available to them in order to do things the right way, the ethical way.

quality over quantity. In our space, you pay for good and bad

That is what makes the industry sustainable for all in-

traffic alike and as brands have become more aware of negli-

volved and reduces the negative exposure from ISPs, regula-

gent practices in email acquisition and lead gen, they are less

tory agencies, brands, and consumers who keep the money

likely to tolerate it nowadays.

flowing into your pockets.

Khris Thayer is CEO and Co-founder of email compliance and suppression list management company, OPTIZMO.

15


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - Four questions for affiliate programs to limit risks and stay in compliance.

Georgia Gier

Affiliate Content

Compliance

Raises Tough Questions

by Georgia Gier

Y

but checking for correctly displayed offers on all of your affiliour affiliate channel is a great way to help promotions

ates’ sites can be an enormous undertaking. Should you take

reach a wider audience and increase your brand’s ex-

the time to proactively monitor each of your affiliates in order

posure. But with those benefits come certain risks,

to preserve the customer experience? If so, how often?

including misrepresentation of your brand, poor customer experiences, and potentially even fines from the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).

Representation of Your Brand Affiliates may have good intentions, but the methods they

To prevent these issues, many merchants choose to keep

use to promote your brand don’t always match up with the

an eye on their affiliates—but visiting each and every affiliate

way you’d like to be represented. Some affiliates may place

site to check their content is tedious and time consuming. It’s

your offers on pages containing inappropriate content, while

a serious challenge to find the right balance of risk avoidance

others may use language you don’t want associated with your

and time investment. In negotiating that difficult balance,

brand, such as pushy wording or misspellings. You certainly

there are certain questions that can help you clarify your

don’t want your affiliates’ content to reflect poorly on your

strategy.

brand, but you need to consider how important this is in the long run. How significant are the effects of affiliates misrepre-

Regulatory Compliance and Disclosures The FTC has various regulations for affiliate content, including requirements that affiliates appropriately disclose

senting your brand? Should you be spending large chunks of time policing affiliates’ sites to catch issues as soon as they crop up, or can you remediate this down the road?

their advertiser relationships on blogs. Plus, in certain verticals (such as consumer finance) there are more specific regu-

Ask Yourself the Difficult Questions

lations on things like misleading affiliate content, for which

Lack of affiliate disclosure, poor customer experiences,

brands can face strict penalties. When weighing your options

and brand misrepresentation are all important considerations

here, it’s tough to draw a clear line. How far do you need to go

when deciding how much you’re willing to invest in affiliate

to protect yourself? How much due diligence is enough?

compliance. There’s no doubt that weighing the negative impacts of non-compliance against the amount of time and

Customer Experience

resources you want to devote to monitoring your affiliates

Occasionally, affiliates misrepresent an offer. Whether it’s

forces you to think through some difficult questions.

by promoting a steeper discount than intended or posting an

However, taking the time to answer those tough ques-

offer that isn’t currently running, this leads to a negative ex-

tions should provide guidance that will help you strike the right

perience for the customer. Of course, every affiliate manager

balance for your brand, allowing you to make the most out of

would love to ensure a positive customer experience here—

your affiliate program.

16

Georgia is an Account Manager at BrandVerity where she helps clients maintain affiliate compliance.


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - You’re putting yourself at risk if your website does not have a good Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Can Help Avoid Big Headache by Patrick S. Cooper

F

or many website owners, terms of service and privacy

Patrick S. Cooper

Simple Terms

policies are the last thing on their minds. Does anyone even read them?

Well, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) does, and

brought suits against companies that don’t live up to their privacy policies, especially following data breaches.

you should, too. Experienced affiliates not only have terms of service and privacy policies, they have good terms and po-

Terms of Service

lices. Having accurate terms of service and privacy policies

Terms of service lay the ground rules governing the use

reduces your risk, increases your credibility, and protects your

of your website. The interaction between a user and a website

business.

is a business transaction, even if no money changes hands. By clearly posting terms of service, you can protect yourself

Privacy Policies

against a variety of risks.

A privacy policy describes how your website collects,

Terms of service let the user know how they can and can’t

uses, and discloses user information. Smart website users

use your website. For example, terms of service should con-

are cautious to enter their personal information into a website

tain rules and restrictions on user-generated content in order

without first reviewing its privacy policy. Apart from the practi-

to limit your liability for users’ copyright infringement.

cal reasons to have a privacy policy, failing to have a privacy policy, or having an inaccurate privacy policy, can subject the website owner to substantial legal risk.

Tip: Are you registered under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act? Terms of service can also contain the full details for any

There is a high probability you are already required to

disclosures, disclaimers, or refund or other policies. However,

have a privacy policy. For example, states like California re-

important disclaimers should not be contained solely in your

quire all website owners that collect information from Cali-

terms of service.

fornia residents to post detailed privacy policies. Federal law

Finally, terms of service can provide you certain advan-

requires privacy policies for certain regulated industries and

tages in the event you get into a dispute with a user, including

for websites collecting information from children. Advertisers

limits on your liability and where a lawsuit must be brought.

may also require you to have a privacy policy. For example,

In summary, failing to draft and post a privacy policy and

Google AdSense requires participating websites to post a pri-

comprehensive terms of service lessens your website’s cred-

vacy policy disclosing certain information.

ibility, places you at risk of noncompliance, and fails to protect

However, do not think that copying a privacy policy from

your business.

another website will cover you. Posting a privacy policy that

Posting an inaccurate privacy policy or terms of service can

does not reflect your data collection and use practices can

create additional risk. Drafting and reviewing these documents

give rise to a complaint by the FTC. The FTC has repeatedly

now can substantially benefit your website down the line.

Patrick Cooper is an internet law attorney at Fraser Stryker PC, LLO in Omaha, Nebraska.

17


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - Four questions for affiliates/publishers to ask themselves to optimize their earning potential.

Four Steps to

Optimal Performance Vinayak Ahuja

for Affiliates

T

by Vinayak Ahuja

he day-to-day life of any publisher is an extreme struggle for attention (from advertisers, visitors,

forming best for you. Once you have a standard to work

search engines, etc.), leaving little to no bandwidth

with, you can gauge how efficiently your users convert to

for anything else. But every day is another dollar and the

consumers, or how poorly your advertising partners are

space you dedicate to advertisers (your inventory) can either

performing in reference to the standards.

be running at optimal efficiency or not.

3.

Gauge how your users respond as your partners’ con-

Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if

sumers: Beyond conversion rates and AOV, it’s good to

your inventory is generating the most revenue that it can year-

know what, when, and how your users are buying. Are

round:

they buying for their children, friends, families, etc.? Are

1.

Dig deeper into the value proposition you offer your

they buying bulk, immediately buying, or taking more

audience: on top of understanding what your brand is

time to convert? What are they buying exactly and what

all about and what kind service you have to offer your

time of year? You’ll start to see attractive trends and out-

uniques, it’s important to know and cater to what your

liers in data that’ll help you refine your partnerships with

audience has come to appreciate you for. A deals/dis-

both current partners and perhaps other partners in simi-

count portal, for example, may be in the business of of-

lar verticals.

fering a multitude of discounts from various advertisers,

4.

Learn when to ask why: Each case is different and it’s

but users have become accustomed to visiting their sites

not always easy to identify attractive trends or unique

for particular services and products (say electronics and

outliers that can lead to greater insight to your users. But

automotive). Find out what advertisers have been work-

taking time to work backwards and follow bread crumbs

ing the best for you if you haven’t already then move on

is an important step and always a good idea. You notice

to the next suggestions.

that though your EPC is higher with an automotive ven-

2. Compare your performance to the standards: Even

dor during the 2nd quarter of any year, the conversion

most of the major networks NEVER include AOV and

rates mostly occur in March, April, and early May with

conversion rates information in their basic description

few to no traffic being sent from your site after mid-April.

of advertisers, and it’s not always easy to get this infor-

Though your performance indicates your results to pro-

mation from your advertisers either (they’re busy, they

mote through q2, the analytics would indicate that you

don’t know, they don’t want to give inaccurate informa-

should actually promote from February through April and

tion, etc.). Generally, an industry standard is a good start

not May or June, encouraging you to change your strat-

and bare minimum in regards to the vertical that’s per-

egy and your advertiser to invest in paid placement.

18

Vinayak specializes in improving publishing portal performance and relationship building between advertisers and publishers.


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - The evolution of software monetization, what’s next and how to get there first.

The Future of Software Monetization by Nadia Tatlow

F

lashback to 1995; your trusty workstation memory requirements suddenly jump up several megabytes to coincide perfectly with the release of the new WinNadia Tatlow

dows software. Better yet, you just capped out at level three of the most addictive demo game known to man. Game over, or $19.99 for the full version. Anything for my personal computer, you think to yourself, as you jump in your car and drive off to purchase the latest and greatest. A few fancy new icons to decorate your screen display, and you are back on track.

players and more innovation; technology giants are forced to coexist with their smaller, more nimble counterparts within

The Evolution

the freeware landscape.

Software monetization has come a long way, moving out of the hands of a few: from paid in-store products, to free-trial (remember trying everything for 30 days?) right up to today’s more even playing field with installation monetization.

What’s Next? Time isn’t always money, but data for free downloads certainly is.

The trend has been towards decreasing friction between

The internet world moves fast, and with more and more

the user and the end product, towards instant gratification at

users every day, tracking and analyzing data until we redefine

little or no cost. We are in the era of free.

the front-end is critical.

We have learned to decrease breakage and increase met-

We’ve seen an explosion in the download space over the

rics by monetizing at the very front end, starting from the first

last few years, and yet the value of advertising is still in its

click.

infancy. I think the value placed on free will continue to grow.

The user has come to expect to get exactly what they want now. We are a long away from tracking cash register sales. Re-

With this continued growth comes an increasing need for good data: more accurate, cross-platform data. We need to be innovative in the way that we track and monetize free.

al-time metrics allow publishers to buy traffic and understand

The solution?

its value within minutes. This has opened the door to new

Technology.

Nadia is an Account Manager at Air Installer, the leading download platform.

19


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - Incentivize affiliates to drive more new-to-file customers.

Jonathan Goodwin

Capitalize on Driving New To

File Customers by Jonathan Goodwin

S

uccess in the affiliate channel can be determined in

locations? Or someone who has not shopped in 3 years

several ways, the most common being revenue gen-

with the merchant online?

erated, but more and more, we are seeing merchants

»» Do you have your backend systems: (Core-Metrics, Om-

value new customer acquisition above simply how much rev-

niture, Google Analytics) properly set-up to effectively

enue the channel brings.

track and gauge NTF coming into the channel?

So how do we differentiate between new customers and existing customers?

»» Granularity – Are you able to effectively track NTF at the specific affiliate level?

First of all, what does the client consider to be a new cus-

Now that you have your questions answered, your next

tomer, or new-to-file (NTF)? There are many questions that

step is to create an incentive campaign to get affiliates to drive

need to be asked in order to effectively gauge and provide ac-

more new-to-file customers. There are many tactics to use,

tionable items when tracking new customers coming into the

when engaging with affiliates to drive more new customers.

affiliate program. A common definition is that any customer that doesn’t

Below are a couple of ideas you can use when creating an incentive campaign for NTF.

show up previously in their analytics platform is considered

»» No baseline rate change, but manually adding a dollar

new-to-file. So how do we capitalize on the affiliates that are

bonus per new customer driven by the affiliate after the

already driving new customers and how do we work with af-

fact.

filiates that are sending low percentages of NTF customers?

»» Very low baseline, with a higher commission on new cus-

If you have the tools at your disposal to accurately iden-

tomers coming through an affiliate. This method is more

tify which affiliate is sending new customers to the affiliate

real-time and requires a higher level of technical ability

channel, you can incentivize affiliates to increase the number

that many merchants do not possess currently. Example:

of new customers, thereby aligning your goals.

3% baseline, 15% on new customers.

This will not only give you the opportunity to drive new

Once you have established your incentive for affiliates,

customers, but convey the effectiveness of the affiliate pro-

meet with them and have a thorough discussion on acquiring

gram by adding new customers each week / month.

new customers and the opportunity it brings for them to earn

Here are a few things to consider:

more on commissions.

»» First of all, what do you consider a new to file? Someone

This process may take some time, but when executed

who has never shopped online before? Someone who

properly, all parties (merchant, affiliate manager, affiliate) will

has never purchased online, but used to shop in-store

greatly benefit from this incentive.

Jonathan Goodwin is a Senior Affiliate Manager at JEBCommerce (Rakuten Agency of year 2012).

21


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - How I discovered affiliate marketing for the first time and what excites me most about working in this industry now.

Affiliate Firsts Donika Todorova

on My Affiliate Journey by Donika Todorova

A

t the end of this month it will be one year since I

I think affiliate marketing is one of the fastest changing,

moved to New York from Bulgaria. I’d done journal-

interesting and diverse fields of advertising out there. Adver-

ism and PR for a few years, but was convinced I

tising is now done through information. Promoting some-

would not get a similar job in New York. The only follow up

thing is done by following the customers’ demands closely,

I’d get after posting my resume online was solicitation from

not by artificially creating them. Consumers are now readers

insurance agencies asking me to invest my money in their

first. “So go ahead, ask the Internet”, says a TV commercial for

companies. So, I became a life and health insurance agent. It did not

HTC that was released in March. We even have TV spots ad-

work out for me. Luckily, a recruitment agency hooked me up

vertising affiliate marketing! Seeing the advertising power that

with an interview at Adorama. The agent had told me, “They

information has was a pleasant first for me. As a journalist I

have an opening in the Affiliate Marketing department. They

used to think information and advertising were pure enemies.

need help managing their affiliates, such as Amazon”.

Performance marketing proves they are not.

Later on I realized how amusing that description was. At

And we are a full-fledged industry. I really realized this

the job interview I was asked if I knew anything about online

when I attended Affiliate Summit West 2014 in Vegas this past

advertising, and I said “Content is king… you know, text is im-

January. It was exhilarating. I guess I also learned how lucra-

portant… for Google…”

tive affiliate marketing can be. But that is not what thrills me

At the time I had no idea what a great new world was about to unfold for me. Fast forward seven months later and even my

the most about it. Working with content publishers who never tried affiliate marketing before does.

husband speaks in affiliate terminology. The other day he said:

There’s one thing I tell myself each day: be excited about

“My credit card company has this offer to book a hotel by click-

every affiliate first along the way, especially a first conversion.

ing through their affiliates, and you get cash back.”

When someone who heard about affiliate marketing from me

I now speak with performance marketing terms too: feed,

for the first time actually gets an organic conversion – that’s

API, widget, sub-network, tracking link, pixel, cookie, Nexus,

a real first! Aim big, but never forget to get excited about that

referral, conversions... I’d never worked with so many different

unique first conversion, whether you are a program manager

terms before. So what? Does that mean I know anything? The

or a publisher. Missing out on such excitement is like missing

more I learned, the less I knew. Or so it seemed.

out on your child’s first words.

22

Donika is an Affiliate Account Manager at Adorama, an electronics retailer headquartered in New York.


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - Be sure to regularly keep an eye on your payouts, cookies, creative, datafeeds, and network.

Affiliate Program

Needs a Check-up!

Kim Salvino

Your

by Kim Salvino

A

that expired creative is not on display in the affiliate interface. s humans, it is smart practice to schedule regular

Missing new product banners or links? Lock and load new im-

medical and dental check-ups. We tend to skip them,

ages, offers and sales information. I have found that affiliates

when in fact many of us know someone that discov-

love text links that deep link to product pages.

ered a serious medical condition as a result of a routine visit. The same theory applies to your affiliate program. Scheduling a regular assessment might seem grueling or unneces-

You’ll want to add best sellers, new products and any sales or outlet links to make promoting your brand as easy as possible.

sary, or both – but that is how issues often go undetected until your affiliate partners lodge a complaint.

Datafeed Usability

Being a proactive vs. reactive affiliate manager is a gen-

Regular testing of your datafeed is essential. Download it

eral best practice and there is no time like the present to per-

from the affiliate perspective and ensure links, images and all

form your first program check-up.

other product information is accurate. Verify that the download

Here is a brief list of items vital to your program’s suc-

includes items that are in-stock and that pricing is on point.

cess:

Network Assessment Commission Payout

Don’t be afraid to regularly assess your network’s perfor-

When did you last eye up your competition’s offering?

mance. While a network’s main responsibilities are to track

Ensure that your payout is competitive and aligned with your

and pay affiliates, if you have other needs, be sure they are

return on advertising spend (ROAS) goals.

being met to your satisfaction.

Do you offer a tiered commission payout or bonus incen-

Ask your contact if they have fresh ideas for the program

tive? Confirm that your affiliates are receiving the correct pay-

or if they know of new potential affiliates that would comple-

out by auditing a few months’ worth of transaction data.

ment your products.

COOKIE DURATION Examine the last 6 months of all online transactions as well as those for your affiliate program. Are there sales that would have been attributed to the affiliate channel if the cookie duration were extended? Has the overall click to purchase time for your online consumers increased?

Remember… Proactive issue identification saves you stress and helps to create a positive relationship with your partners. Just because the process is automated, doesn’t mean it is functioning as expected. Use data to verify the need for program changes.

Creative Clean Up It’s the perfect time to clean your creative suite. Verify

Check-ups should be ongoing, so set a reminder to perform them on a regular basis.

Kim Salvino is Client Services Director for Performance Horizon and has been managing and optimizing affiliate programs since 2005.

23


· Issue 26 · May 2014

Calista Ikeme

tl;dr - Five specific ways that affiliates can befriend their affiliate manager and better utilize the affiliate program.

I

How to Befriend Your Affiliate Manager by Calista Ikeme

once heard that affiliate managers have no idea who an affiliate is unless they are either making the program loads

It also may not be enough to assume that you are allowed

of money, or causing the program to lose loads of money.

to use practices that you see others using. Read the Terms

Although this is funny in a cynical kind of way, I like to think

and Conditions. If something isn’t clear, because it’s new to

that it’s actually not that difficult to create a lasting business

you, or because of the way it’s worded, talk about it with your

relationship in the affiliate world.

affiliate manager and ask for clarification.

Below are five ways I’ve found to be effective in befriending an Affiliate Manager.

Keep it Clean

Meet-up

feel very friendly towards you if you are stealing from other

Your affiliate manager will probably not be inclined to Whether it’s on the phone, over email, through online

affiliates or the company. The advertiser-affiliate relationship

seminars or at affiliate-related events, find a way to get to

should remain mutually beneficial, so use marketing practices

know your affiliate manager. Introduce yourself. Your affiliate

that optimize the advertiser’s brand image and allow for or-

manager probably works with dozens of affiliates a day, so

ganic growth.

one way to make yourself stand out is to simply say hello and to get a conversation started.

Solicit Advice

Double Check Availability

services and talk about any goals you may have for yourself

Explain how and where you are promoting the company’s Know when and how your affiliate manager is best

within the affiliate program. Offer a detailed outline of your

reached. Peruse the affiliate program website page for busi-

current promotional methods and ask what can be improved.

ness hours or a “Contact Us” page. What hours during the day

Be willing to test the changes that your affiliate account man-

will you be able to contact the affiliate team? Are they available

ager suggests.

on weekends? Find out if they communicate primarily through email or by phone. Ask if they use Skype or if they are on any social networking sites.

Follow up with him or her about how these changes have affected your conversion rates after a few weeks. After reviewing my own article, I realize that there may be some truth to the idea that the advertiser-affiliate relationship

Understand the Program

revolves around money. Following the rules, working hard to

You may feel frustrated, angry, or even bamboozled if you

discover the best promotional methods, understanding the af-

don’t get the payout you were expecting or your account is

filiate program, and most of all, building a relationship with the

deactivated for no apparent reason; however, sometimes the

affiliate manager, will greatly increase chances of success.

reason becomes apparent when you review the terms you agreed to when you joined the affiliate program.

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Let’s just admit that we are all in the business of money making, and make the most of it!. Calista Ikeme is an Affiliate Specialist at Bluehost.com.


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - A successful affiliate program must keep 3 groups happy ― management, your affiliates, and your customers.

Three Groups

Must Keep Happy by Christopher Park

A

Christopher Park

Affiliate Managers

s an Affiliate Manager, who should be on top of my

back affiliates typically do better than say, an affiliate who

list of people to keep happy? Management? Cus-

donates a portion of the sale to the shopper’s favorite cause.

tomers? Affiliates? It can be a difficult balancing act

When evaluating new affiliates for the Blair program, I

when the answer is “all three”, but becomes easier when you

know that the target Blair customer is a more mature woman,

know their wants and needs.

less affluent, an empty-nester with grown children, and her

I’ve been employed by Blair for over 25 years, so I know

wardrobe is typically conservative. She’s more apt to visit a

the company extremely well. I know which months are busier

site dealing with retirement ideas or camping than college life

than others, what the short-term and long-term goals are, the

or European travel. Finally, I need to keep my affiliates happy. Generous com-

average cost of goods, the average number of items per purchase, etc.

missions are an obvious start, and I’m able to offer a good

Obviously a company will give an affiliate manager guide-

percentage. I realize I need to offer a bit more, because Blair

lines on what it expects from the affiliate program, but the

doesn’t have the name recognition of certain other apparel re-

more a manager knows about the company, the more effec-

tailers. I also need to “close the deal” when an affiliate sends

tive his affiliate program will be at meeting the company’s

one of his visitors to my site. I am able to do that with the knowledge and promotions

goals for the program. To have a successful program, an affiliate manager also

listed previously. My affiliate programs are never on “Auto

needs to keep the company’s customers happy, and know

Approve”. I review and evaluate each and every application

who that customer is when adapting the affiliate program to

personally. I also make certain that I’m accessible to my af-

target “new to file” customers. I know the “Blair Customer”,

filiates. I try to answer emails and return phone calls within

and what she’s looking for. Our customers are very value-

a few hours, my contact information is always included in my

conscious, and my promotions need to reflect that!

emails, and I typically provide a cell phone number with my

She is likely to make a purchase if she feels she’s getting

out of office email replies.

a good product at a good price, and she’s much more likely to

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t keep everyone happy

make a purchase if she also feels she’s getting a deal. I also

all the time, but with a bit of knowledge and effort, my affili-

need to remember that our customers are less affluent, so my

ate programs are proof that I’m successful the majority of the

expectations of certain affiliates need to be adjusted. Cash-

time.

Chris Park manages affiliate programs for Blair, Old Pueblo Traders and Bedford Fair.

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· Issue 26 · May 2014

Affiliate Summit

West 2014 Recap by Shawn Collins

S

unday, January 12, 2014 was the first day of Affiliate Summit West 2014 at Paris Las Vegas. Registration check-in and set-up for the Meet

Market kicked off the day at 8:00 AM.

The day wrapped up with a welcome talk from Emcee Marty Fahncke, followed by a series of elevator pitches where attendees were able to step up on stage to let the crowd know what they’re looking for at the conference.

I gave my First Timers Orientation for Affiliate Sum-

The agenda finished up with a Lady Blogger meetup, as

mit West 2014 session at 10:00 AM, and I was glad to see

well as a get together of participants in the Newcomer Pro-

a packed crowd of folks eager to learn how to optimize their

gram.

time at the conference. This was followed by sixteen breakout sessions throughout the day that covered SEO, compliance, blogging, Facebook, coupons, international, video, and more topics. The Meet Market opened at noon and ran through 6:00 PM with a steady stream of attendees meeting with the table exhibitors. During the day, exhibitors built out their booths in the exhibit hall for Monday and Tuesday.

There were lots of networking options in the evening for Affiliate Summit West 2014 attendees. I checked out the ShareASale Under The Stars Super Heroes vs Super Villains Party at the Chateau Rooftop at Paris Las Vegas. There were lots of entertaining costumes, on both the hero and villain sides. I was on the side of good as Beer Man. Monday, January 13, 2014 was the second day of Affiliate Summit West 2014 at Paris Las Vegas.

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路 Issue 26 路 May 2014

After the keynote, the action returned to the exhibit hall, where thousands of affiliate marketers descended on the booths. One of the very popular attractions was the Hostamania booth, where Hulk Hogan posed for pictures with conference attendees.

The day started with a tasty breakfast for VIP and All Access pass holders, followed by a series of educational sessions and the opening of the exhibit hall. Later in the morning, we had brief announcements from Affiliate Summit West 2014 Emcee, Marty Fahncke, followed by a funny and data rich keynote address from Steve Denton, Vice President of Marketing Solutions at eBay Enterprise.

28


路 Issue 26 路 May 2014

In addition to all of the business talk in the exhibit hall, there were also educational sessions throughout the day at Affiliate Summit West 2014 on topics that included mobile, conversion rate optimization, affiliate management, WordPress, affiliate recruitment, coupons, and Google+.

After the education sessions, there were a series of Ask the Experts roundtables, where a number of interactive discussions were led by industry veterans. Day two of Affiliate Summit West 2014 wound up with the Affiliate Ball, which featured Flavor Flav, B Real from Cypress Hill, Too $hort, and more. They also gave out AFFY Awards, and Amy Rodriguez and Colleen Makel of Affiliate Summit were recipients. Thanks to Darren Blatt for pulling together another epic Affiliate Ball.

29


· Issue 26 · May 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 was the third and final day of Affiliate Summit West 2014 at Paris Las Vegas.

After the awards, we got to hear a powerful keynote from Derek Flanzraich, Founder & CEO of Greatist.

The day started with a series of educational sessions.

The final day of Affiliate Summit West 2014 also featured

This was followed by the 8th annual Affiliate Summit Pinnacle

a series of breakout sessions and lots of networking in the

Awards, which recognize exemplary affiliate marketers.

exhibit hall. The exhibit hall closed out with a pub crawl, which was a fun way for the crowd to get in one last networking party. Thank you to everybody who came out to network, learn and have fun with us – Affiliate Summit West 2014 was the biggest Affiliate Summit ever with over 5,400 attendees! Register now for the early bird prices for Affiliate Summit East 2014, taking place August 10-12, 2014 in NYC.

The following were the winners and runners-up for the 2014 Pinnacle Awards: »» Affiliate of the Year: RetailMeNot (runners-up: Rae Hoffman, Eric Nagel) »» Affiliate Manager of the Year: Khushbaht Abdulloev (runners-up: Greg Hoffman, Joe Sousa) »» Exceptional Merchant: Fanatics.com (runners-up: Target.com, VMInnovations) »» Affiliate Marketing Advocate: Brian Littleton (runners-up: Rae Hoffman, Tricia Meyer) »» OPM/Agency of the Year: Greg Hoffman Consulting (runners-up: Acceleration Partners, All Inclusive Marketing) »» Tool/Service of the Year: BrandVerity (runners-up: For Me To Coupon, Shareist)

30

Shawn is Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and blogs at affiliatetip.com.


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - Plan out your travel, lodging, reason for going, and events, parties, and local attractions before attending a conference.

Travis Glenn

Pre-Planning for Maximum Conference Success by Travis Glenn

I

f you are a successful affiliate, or work for a company in the performance marketing industry, chances are you attend a few conferences each year. I have personally established some great business rela-

As simple as it sounds, know why you are attending and

tionships from attending Affiliate Summit and other confer-

come up with a list of a few main things you want to accom-

ences. One thing that I’ve found over six years and dozens of

plish. Setup meetings, if possible, or at least know the main

conferences is that planning ahead goes a long way.

people you would like to talk with. Many conferences will list

Here is my short list of things to consider long before the conference begins:

exhibitors and attendees in advance of the conference, so you can do your homework and come up with your hit list weeks before the show.

Travel and Lodging

I’ve heard over and over that 5 solid contacts are better

Aside from standard stuff to consider, like making sure

than 1,000 shaky prospects. In most cases, you should be fo-

you take advantage of any deals on rooms for conference at-

cused on the several most valuable, in-depth meetings you

tendees, give some thought to when you will be arriving and

can secure, as opposed to 30-second rounds of handshakes

departing. I recommend getting in the day before the confer-

and business card exchanges with everyone you see.

ence, and scheduling your departure for the day after the conference concludes.

Events, Parties, and Local Attractions

This is ESPECIALLY true if you are going to be exhibiting.

The events and after parties, that occur in conjunction

There’s nothing worse than having travel delays, or having to

with the conference, are great places for networking. One

stress and hustle because you’re late for the conference. Get-

thing that is often overlooked is checking into other non-con-

ting in the day before allows you to scout out the area, and get

ference related activities in the area.

a good nights rest so that you start out the conference fresh.

Check out Ticketmaster or one of the other online event

Think of obstacles and inconveniences you’ve experi-

searches ahead of time for the area and dates of the confer-

enced in the past while traveling, and make accommodations

ence. Finding a sporting event, concert, or getting tickets to a

to prevent those. There are a lot of amenities your room might

local attraction could be a great chance to treat customers,

be missing that hotels can provide if you simply ask, such as

clients, employees, or industry friends to something besides

refrigerators, humidifiers, hygiene items, and more.

the typical after parties.

Business Strategy

I encourage you to make an effort to thoroughly plan

What is your purpose for attending the conference? Are

ahead for the next conference you’re attending. With a little

you looking for clients? Customers? New employees? Tech-

bit of research and strategy, you could turn a good conference

nology providers?

into an unbelievably enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Travis is PeerFly’s Director of Business Development, you can follow him @TravisPeerFly on Twitter.

31


· Issue 26 · May 2014

tl;dr - Bloggers can use these tips to integrate affiliate offers into their sites.

Incorporating

Affiliate Offers Into Your Blog

Julie Ávila

by Julie Ávila audience. Free shipping is compelling to any audience, and most people want to feel they’re getting a deal. Think about why many people come to blogs in the first place: for detailed product information. It’s nice to include details (color and size options for clothing, as an example) and reviews or testimonials.

A

Once you’ve identified affiliate offers that are a great fit s a blogger you have enormous potential to mon-

for your blog content, reach out to the affiliate manager or

etize your content through affiliate marketing.

merchants involved. Ask about best-selling products and sea-

As a 2014 study by Skimlinks and ShopDirect

(skimlinks.com/smartattribution) found, content sites, such as blogs, that participate in affiliate marketing can provide online retailers with high volumes of new customers. You also help to raise brand and product awareness. Here are some tips to help you as a blogger make the best

sonal considerations, so that you can feature the right offers (and the right products) at the right times. Find the right products and brands and tailor your content to highlight them within the context of your blog content. Content and context matter, but you must also make sure you’re using affiliate links correctly. The way to effectively use affiliate offers is to find a way to embed text links into the body

use of affiliate offers on your blog. The majority of affiliate programs are handled by third

of your content.

party affiliate networks, such as CJ Affiliate by Conversant,

Go beyond adding affiliate offers to your existing content.

LinkShare or ShareASale. These affiliate networks are the

Write original content, including product reviews or make a

best way to find good affiliate programs for your blog.

recommendation and link to the products involved. Remem-

Take a look at your existing content and search for affiliate offers from the merchants or products that you have written about already. Find merchants you trust. Are you writing about do-it-yourself projects to spruce up the home? Look for merchants who sell tools, hardware, furni-

ber when writing that your audience comes to your blog because they identify with you and your point of view. If you want your readers to click on your affiliate links, they have to trust you. The more they trust you, the more likely they will click on the offer and buy it.

ture and décor for the home. What about the article you wrote

Speaking of trust, as a blogger you also need to be aware

last year about holiday gift-giving? Look for merchants who

that the Federal Trade Commission has established guidelines

sell a wide range of products at discounted prices.

(feedfront.com/ftc) that require you, as a blogger, to disclose

When you’re looking for affiliate offers to build more content for your site, think about what matters most to your

32

affiliate links. You should do your homework to make sure you are in compliance with these disclosure guidelines.

Julie Ávila is Director of Affiliate Management at Schaaf-PartnerCentric, an affiliate program management agency.



Feedfront Magazine, Issue 26