Affiliate Summit West 2015 in Las Vegas: January 18-20
affiliate marketers can’t afford to miss affiliate summit!
Issue 28 ― October 2014
Have You Registered for Affiliate Summit West 2015? Thanks, Captain obvious
3 Business Benefits for Mediocre Athletes By Shawn Collins - Page 2
I Received an FTC CID – Now What? By Rachel Hirsch - Page 13
Multi-Channel Affiliate Marketing Strategies You Shouldn’t Overlook By Missy Ward - Page 12
Issue 28 · October 2014
Table of Contents
Staff Co-Editors in Chief Missy Ward, Shawn Collins Co-Publishers Missy Ward, Shawn Collins
Editor’s Note: 3 Business Benefits for Mediocre Athletes
4 Keys to Becoming an Irresistible Affiliate
FTC Compliance: Are You Doing Enough?
Get More Out of Your Meetings
Cutting Ties With Affiliates
Three Ways Affiliates Can Help Their Visitors
By Shawn Collins By Liliana Chan Ventura By Mason Smith By Travis Glenn By Steven Shnayder By Katie Forsgren
Four Reasons to Consider SAAS Over Networks
Exclusive Deals Drive Successful Campaigns
Is Performance Marketing For Everyone?
I Received an FTC CID – Now What?
Multi-Channel Affiliate Marketing Strategies You Shouldn’t Overlook
Six Common Challenges With Affiliate Marketing
New Domain Extensions Ripe For The Picking
Should You Work with Toolbar Affiliates?
No Ad Budget for Merchants? No Problem!
Stop Splitting Hairs, Start Split Testing Strategically
Why Affiliate Managers Should Embrace Multi-click Attribution
The Power of Podcasting
Leveraging Cart Abandonment Solutions and Email Remarketing
5 Advanced Techniques to Optimize AdWords Campaigns
Affiliate Summit East 2014 Recap
By Shawn Collins
The Expanding B2B Affiliate Opportunity
By Martin Marion
WordPress Plugins: Affiliate Empire Building Blocks
Surviving in an Ever Changing Industry
Debbie Bookstaber, Shawn Collins, Marcus Counch, Ian Fernando, Katie Forsgren, Travis Glenn, Chuck Hamrick, Rachel Hirsch, Zac Johnson, Martin Marion, Karen McMahon, Tim Mueller, Kellie Peterson, Kim Salvino, Steven Shnayder, Simon Slade, Mason Smith, Ernie St. Gelais, Joe Swint, Nadia Tatlow, Donika Todorova, Liliana Chan Ventura, Missy Ward
Graphic Design Logan Gattis Designs www.logangattis.com Magazine Coordinator Amy Rodriguez
By Kim Salvino By Donika Todorova By Ernie St. Gelais By Rachel Hirsch By Missy Ward By Joe Swint By Kellie Peterson By Tim Mueller By Karen McMahon By Nadia Tatlow By Debbie Bookstaber By Zac Johnson By Chuck Hamrick By Simon Slade
By Marcus Counch By Ian Fernando
Affiliate Summit 9532 Liberia Avenue, #127 Manassas, VA 20110 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: firstname.lastname@example.org © 2014 Affiliate Summit, Inc. and Individual Authors.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
3 Business Benefits for Mediocre Athletes by Shawn Collins
played all sorts of sports from first grade through the end of high school. There was a single season flameout with t-ball, and a bunch of lost winters with a basketball, but I
mostly played soccer.
No Such Thing as a Level Playing Field We like to talk about competing on a level playing field, but that does not exist. There are all sorts of advantages and
Spring and fall, year after year, and I spent time at just about every position, except goalie. A lot of this was with my local boys and girls club, where I did well, and I spent a couple years with a select team, where I managed to stay on.
disadvantages that come into play in sports. I was never the fastest, and I didn’t have the most stamina on the team. I tried my best, but other guys were more naturally gifted. They are the ones who made the first team. The same thing goes for business. Your competition has
I was on the team in high school, but I didn’t get a lot of
different connections and relationships than you, as well as
time on the field. The experience was humbling and frustrat-
varying strengths, amounts of funding, or lack of it. You do
ing, but it also prepared me in some ways for my future as an
what you can to compensate for deficiencies and leverage
your assets. But don’t fool yourself, it was never even.
Here are three ways my time as a benchwarmer in soccer helped me in business.
Persistence is Available to Anyone
Not Everybody Can Be the Chief
run. Lots of players would dog it, but I would always run the full
We would kick off our soccer practice with a three mile I wanted to be the captain of my team. Everybody did. But
thing, while starters would walk half of it. I would go as hard
there was one captain and he was a starter. I accepted my
as I could, and sometimes I would run until I puked. I may not
role – I’d get out there and play when there was an injury or
have been good enough to be the worst starter, so I wanted to
a blowout. It wasn’t a glamour job, but it was something that
do my damnedest to be the reserve with the most heart, and
needed to get done for the team.
that elevated me with the coaches.
In the case of a company, there are some high profile op-
I’ve never puked from my work, but over exhaustion was
portunities, but there are many more times when you have to
my lifestyle in the early years. I’d always strive to do things
get your hands dirty building things up. Those tasks that are
better than the competition, and sometimes that would mean
done with no acknowledgement or appreciation will test your
working more, sleeping less, and sacrificing in a variety of
mettle, and they will also make for a well-rounded team, even
ways. You’ve got to do what they won’t do if you want to beat
if it’s a team of one.
Shawn is Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and blogs at affiliatetip.com.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
tl;dr Use these four keys to unlock your irresistible affiliate potential.
4 Keys to Becoming
an Irresistible Affiliate
Liliana Chan Ventura
by Liliana Chan Ventura
counterpart’s likes, dislikes, families, pets, hobbies, vacations, hen dozens of affiliates are competing for a popular advertiser’s attention, how do you stand out from the crowd and become an irresistible affiliate?
1. Play detective by thoroughly investigating the advertiser Look beyond the surface to uncover underlying goals and
and more. Show interest while remaining respectfully curious. Patient and friendly communication lays a solid foundation for lasting collaboration. People prefer to work with someone likeable and responsive rather than someone efficient but cold. Some of the most profitable opportunities and lifelong friendships come from making authentic, personal connections in a business setting.
needs. Explore their website, read related news, and review customer reviews. Research their bestsellers, core competen-
4. Stay irresistible by consistently
cies, and branding strategies. Evaluate how they compare to
making them a top priority.
similar merchants in your portfolio. Identify three concrete and measurable ways your services align with their overall direction, maximize current sales, drive new traffic, or enhance brand recognition.
Although you may have a portfolio of advertisers, each merchant wants to feel that they can count on your full attention and support. Set up appointments to chat with them over the phone or meet in person at least once a month. Be fully present during
2. Dress to impress by strategically
these conversations. Avoid looking at your phone, scrolling
streamlining your website
through your inbox, or giving in to other distractions.
Ensure the merchant can quickly and easily understand
Focus on the nonverbal cues such as tone of voice, pace
your company or services when they skim your homepage.
of the conversation, posture, and gestures. Be aware of birth-
Verify that your layout is clean, easy to read, and free of typos.
days, life events, or company milestones, and congratulate
Display recognizable brands and relevant categories in promi-
nent areas above the fold.
Offer convenience, save time, and keep clear communi-
If possible, feature the advertiser on their own page or
cations by recapping conversations, listing action items, and
in an article. Update their offers. Demonstrate initiative by
defining deadlines. Routinely share brief performance reports
customizing the advertiser’s first experience of your website,
and recommendations. Emphasize their most popular offers,
even before you receive a financial benefit.
new industry trends, and suitable advertising opportunities. Aim to meet their needs before they even have to ask,
3. Be a true partner by genuinely caring about
and when they do ask, make it a point to implement solutions
the relationship beyond the business transaction
promptly. Let the advertiser have no doubt in their minds that
Whether you are communicating by phone or email, keep in mind that there is an actual person at the other end, not just a means to meet revenue goals. Take the time to learn about your
they matter and you have chosen to make them a priority. Investigate, streamline, care, and prioritize to become an irresistible affiliate.
Liliana Chan Ventura (@LilianaCVentura) is the Affiliate Marketing and Business Development Manager at Tours4Fun.
tl;dr – Is your affiliate program compliant with FTC regulations? It can be, by knowing the facts and establishing a process.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
Are You Doing Enough? by Mason Smith
Checking in on publisher websites is a great starting point for the compliance process. All affiliate managers should al-
he Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made it
ready be monitoring how their publishers drive sales. Identify-
clear that Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits
ing the proper disclosures on their websites is a simple addi-
‘‘unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting
tion to the review process.
commerce,” governs not only a company’s own marketing,
In a settlement with the company Legacy Learning Systems, the FTC required monthly disclosure monitoring of their
but also its affiliate marketing practices. Many affiliate marketing programs do not, however, meet
top 50 affiliates, along with randomized monitoring of 50 ad-
the advertising compliance standards laid out by the FTC.
ditional affiliates. Employing a similar process is in all compa-
This oversight places companies at risk, even though a simple
nies’ best interest. If the affiliate program is too large to track
understanding of FTC requirements can result in the estab-
manually, automated software to monitor publisher content
lishment of an effective compliance process.
might be necessary.
Consumer protection is at the core of the FTC regulations
A written compliance process should also be in place. If
surrounding affiliate disclosures. If a publisher receives commis-
an FTC investigation is initiated, they may ask for established
sion payments via traditional affiliate links, or is provided free or
procedures to identify violations. A memo that outlines the
discounted merchandise in exchange for a review, then a “mate-
company’s disclosure requirements, the process for identify-
rial connection” exists between the publisher and the company.
ing violations, and a framework for resolving known violations,
A disclosure statement needs to be prominently displayed on
will satisfy this requirement. All current and future employees
the publisher page where affiliate links or reviews appear.
that work on the affiliate team should have the memo avail-
How publishers disclose “material connections” to the
able to them and be familiar with its contents.
consumer is entirely at the discretion of the affiliate market-
A hurdle to widely adopting disclosures is a fear that early
ing team. There is no rule stating what the paid-relationship
adopters will miss out on sales. Any company or publisher
disclosure must articulate.
concerned about FTC compliance should reach out to its af-
The FTC simply wants the average consumer to under-
filiate network and make it aware of their concerns. Request-
stand that a publisher is benefiting by the promotion of a prod-
ing that networks establish disclosure requirements may be
uct or brand on their site. Indeed, the average consumer is
the only way to create a level playing field for all parties.
likely unaware that affiliate marketing exists in the first place,
With that said, every company is legally responsible for
so it is important to make disclosure statements clear, con-
ensuring the compliance of their program. It is crucial that
cise, and comprehensible. The disclosure is required to be vis-
companies understand the FTC Act and the requirements it
ible across all devices.
imposes upon them.
Mason Smith is a Sales Manager with BrandVerity who specializes in performance marketing compliance.
tl;dr Boring meetings suck! Here are a few tips to make sure your meetings are effective, interactive, and enjoyable.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
Out of Your Meetings by Travis Glenn
o you like meetings? Many people say they don’t. Some consider meetings a waste of time. There is even a poster in our office that says “Less Meetings
distractions that you could occur. Being prepared will make
More Doing!” Although companies can sometimes spend an
the meeting run smoothly, and help you appear more confi-
excessive amount of time on meetings, that doesn’t mean
dent and collected.
there is no value to them. Have you ever actually enjoyed a meeting? Of course you
have. We don’t really hate all meetings. People dislike bad, in-
Keep the mood lively and interactive. If you are droning
effective meetings. It’s a great experience when we attend a
on in a monotone voice, or using an overabundance of tech-
meeting and walk away feeling like we’ve learned something,
nical jargon and meaningless platitudes, you will lose your
or accomplished an objective.
audience. You don’t have to be a stand up comedian, but be
Think about some of the meetings you have attended. Cli-
conversational and engaging.
ent meetings, staff meetings, vendor meetings, job interviews,
One strategy to keep your audiences attention is to in-
conference exhibitor meetings, whatever the topic or setting.
volve them in the meeting. Get input from everyone on a new
If the meeting feels boring, pointless, and lacks a clearly de-
strategy you are implementing, and present your proposal in
fined purpose, it can seem to drag on forever.
correlation to the suggestions others mentioned. If you are
Effective meetings are short, concise, interactive, and
interested, passionate, or excited about what you are talking
convey the primary focus of the meeting to all of the attend-
about, this will transfer to the others present. If the best you
ees. A good meeting will accomplish goals and objectives,
can give is a dull, robotic delivery, you probably should avoid
and elicit action from those who participate.
having the meeting altogether.
Here are some tips to make sure your meetings are effective, interactive and enjoyable:
No matter if your next meeting is a one-on-one situation or an address to a huge group of people, you can make it a great experience. We’ve all sat through plenty of bad meet-
ings. Use these as examples of what not to do. Do some pre-
For the most part, successful meetings are not just
planning, and know what your objectives for the meeting are.
thrown together. A little bit of planning goes far when prepar-
During the meeting, keep it upbeat, engaging, and relevant. Be
ing. What is the purpose of the meeting? Are you trying to
respectful of everyone’s time. Follow up with a recap if nec-
close a deal with a potential client? Are you getting your em-
essary, and make sure to measure progress made after the
ployees on board with a new project or policy directive?
Whatever your purpose, know it, write it down, research it. Work to anticipate any questions, comments, objections, or
We’ve all got plenty of meetings ahead of us; let’s make the best of them!
Travis is PeerFly’s Director of Business Development, you can follow him @TravisPeerFly on Twitter.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
tl;dr How and when to cut ties with affiliates who underperform.
With Affiliates by Steven Shnayder
ffiliate marketing is a performance-based industry.
Reach out to these affiliates and see if you can work to-
If an affiliate doesn’t perform, they don’t get paid.
gether to figure out a way for them to send you more relevant
So what’s the harm in accepting many affiliates into
traffic. If they don’t respond or show some improvement in
your program and hoping that eventually some of them send
a reasonable time, then you should strongly consider letting
a couple sales your way?
As more and more affiliates sign up, your program can become cumbersome and difficult to manage. Moreover, the
Offer Help First
quality and performance of your affiliate program can begin
Next, you have to consider the affiliates who are driving
to suffer from disengaged, underperforming affiliates—those
some traffic to your website, but have little to no sales—the
that send you lots of irrelevant traffic and lower your Earnings
non-performers. Again, don’t just remove these affiliates. At
Per Click (EPC). What ends up happening is that you have to
the very least, they have taken the time to put up links and
dump a portion of your affiliates in order to get your program
promote your offer. Maybe they are new to affiliate marketing
back on track.
and just need a little help. Reach out and offer it before making any hasty decisions.
Deciding Who Makes the Cut At first, you might be hesitant to let some of your affiliates
Remove Dead Weight
go. Let’s say an affiliate has sent you two sales in the last 12
Perhaps the easiest affiliates to remove are the ones who
months. That’s certainly better than no sales, and assuming
are inactive. These guys never even bother to put up links.
you make a net profit on each sale, that affiliate has added to
Some might say that there is no harm in leaving them in your
your bottom line.
program, just in case they wake up one day and decide to send a bunch of sales or leads your way.
Don’t Sacrifice EPC
However, I would argue that having too many inactive
But what if that affiliate had to send you 10,000 or more
affiliates makes your program unwieldy and difficult to man-
clicks in order to generate those two sales? In that case, you
age. If an affiliate hasn’t sent you any clicks within the last six
might be better off without them, because they could be do-
months to a year, it might be time to cut them loose.
ing more harm than good by hurting your EPC. Having a low
The bottom line is that you should be constantly monitor-
EPC negatively affects your rankings on affiliate program net-
ing your affiliates and be ready to take the necessary steps
works, which discourages quality affiliates from applying to
if you find that some of them have fallen by the wayside, or
your program, and makes recruiting much more challenging.
worse, are damaging your program’s performance.
Steven Shnayder is an Affiliate Manager and Digital Marketing Analyst at GovernmentAuctions.org.
tl;dr: In order to remain the expert on products and services you promote, tl;dr have - Pay-per-call campaign success is determined by offer vertical, you to continue your education. required call duration, geos, traffic sources, and KPIs.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
Three Ways Affiliates
Can Help Their Visitors by Katie Forsgren
nce an expert, always an expert” is not possible in this fast-evolving industry, so it’s your responsibility to continue your education about
review should help others to quickly see why that product or
the products and services you promote and pass those pearls
service is a great choice. Provide easy access to information
of wisdom on to your referrals.
needed to make an educated decision in that purchase (both
Your audience will be happier and your chances of continuing as a successful affiliate (or becoming one if you aren’t yet) will be much higher.
pros and cons) so your audience doesn’t feel the need to continue their research elsewhere in order to have that clarity. Passing this pearl on to affiliates I work with has shown excellent improvement on clicks and conversions. It’s a three-
Speak from first-hand experience
Try the products and services you promote. Speaking from first-hand experience builds credence for your endorse-
Provide an FTC Disclosure
ments. Read the terms and familiarize your audience with
Stay up to date on the FTC requirements concerning the
them. Help referred customers to better navigate the systems
use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. Be up-
and know more what to expect from the products or services
front with your audience that you earn commission from your
you promote by walking in their shoes first.
referrals, and back that disclosure with why you promote that
I recently received a thought from a fortune cookie, and
product or service- because it’s not just the money. Right?!
despite the playful platform it’s a powerful concept, “Your
Learn the ropes for your referrals to help them avoid frus-
hindsight can become someone’s foresight”. Live vicariously
tration, disappointment, and wasted time and money. Stay
through your referrals by helping them to avoid any products
current. If your referrals end up unhappy with a product or
or services you’ve had bad experiences with, and get them
service, it could harm your reputation, so make sure you know
straight to the good stuff.
what you’re endorsing. Provide an educational review. It will greatly improve your
Educate your audience
chances of the signup processing from your recommenda-
Provide an educational review on your site stating what the product or service you are promoting has to offer. Your
tion- with fewer referrals seeking out information elsewhere and you losing the credit to another affiliate.
Katie Forsgren has worked for Bluehost since 2007; Affiliate Department Manager.
tl;dr Four reasons to consider SAAS: agility and ability to innovate, true partnership, cost savings, and data personalization.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
Four Reasons to
Consider SAAS Over Networks by Kim Salvino
ffiliate marketing depended largely upon traditional
affiliate networks in its infancy. Advertisers would
SAAS providers are vested in their partnerships. They cel-
join one of the “Big 3” networks and install a snippet
ebrate a client’s success and treat each client as a partner,
of code. Affiliates would join a network, apply to programs and
and not a number. Often, you will hear traditional networks
place links. Networks would act as a gatekeeper, shielding af-
tout the number of advertisers or affiliates using their service.
filiate contact details, traffic sources, and physical locations,
They wish to be the most popular solution, but that doesn’t
while facilitating commission payments and tracking clicks
necessarily make them the best one. SAAS providers want
their technology to be the right fit for your needs.
Two decades later, much has evolved within the industry, including improved communications, shared contact informa-
tion, traffic and promotion visibility, call tracking, and more.
When transitioning from a traditional network to a SAAS
The need for more direct relationships, changing affiliate re-
solution, a cost savings should ensue. All of the ancillary
quirements, and advertisers clamoring for data has revealed
items that a traditional network promises may not be of value.
that a traditional network is no longer the default choice.
Costs for program management, network promotion, and re-
Many advertisers are opting to partner with SAAS (Soft-
cruitment may no longer apply. The program, affiliates, and
ware As A Service) technology providers that facilitate track-
data are yours. If you are performing many of the promotion,
ing for internet marketing programs, while allowing the adver-
reporting and recruiting tasks, why pay for those services?
tiser full access to their data and their partners.
Data Why Should An Advertiser Consider SAAS?
The number one reason to consider a SAAS can be summed up as ‘Your Data, Your Way.’ Tracking and reporting
are completely customizable, with endless options for data col-
SAAS providers are far more agile. They pride themselves
lection. Your pixel or batch report can contain as many param-
on being able to adapt quickly to the needs of advertisers,
eters as you deem necessary, can be altered as needs change
whether it be to build a program with a multi-layered tracking
over time, and can appear in your reporting suite as you choose.
requirement, or developing one-off reporting features.
Data points, that you pass through, can be inserted into
Traditional networks tend to offer what they offer and
any existing report, or can be included in a new report alto-
that’s it – or may be willing to make limited changes at a cost.
gether. In the end, the data you deem necessary should be
Using SAAS technology allows for tweaks and refinements
accessible within your interface exactly as you wish to see it,
easier than traditional networks are typically capable of act-
with the added component of flexibility, should you need to
make changes or additions.
Kim Salvino is Client Services Director for Performance Horizon.
tl;dr – The importance of advertisers offering exclusive coupons, deals, and specials for their content publishers.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
Drive Successful Campaigns by Donika Todorova
hen managing an affiliate program there are
of real quality. Don’t go for the cheap stuff you want to get rid
two main goals to achieve. You need to assure
of. Ask them what their readers need, and give it to them.
growth, and build strong business partnerships.
An excellent way to offer an exclusive deal is to utilize a
Exclusive deals are one way to achieve both. They are espe-
vanity code or any type of exclusive coupon. Most shopping
cially useful for building relationships with content partners.
carts will recognize when a purchase is about to be made
Having a strategy, that includes exclusivity for select partners with valuable content, will help you engage their specific audiences.
through a specific tracking link, and the dedicated coupon will only work in accordance with the appropriate referral ID. On the flipside, some readers will have a non-working cou-
Some of your content partners will have a dedicated page
pon if they didn’t click on the special tracking link just before
for deal alerts and others won’t. If your partner isn’t posting
applying the coupon. However, this will result in a discussion
deals, it’s even more important to offer them an exclusive
on the given website, and you can jump in and help everybody
campaign. There is a lot of value in store for them. In essence,
out. It gives you the chance for direct interaction with a target
exclusive campaigns in our industry are truly mutually benefi-
audience in a very appropriate context.
cial. And if you do them right, those will be memorable campaigns.
Keep track of your exclusive campaigns and prepare a strategy that touches different markets at varying times.
A good exclusive deal will lead to more loyal readers for
Make use of the slow summer, when holiday sales are on hold
your partners’ websites, and therefore spawn more loyal part-
and offer a good deal then. Put an exclusive coupon in the mix
ners for you.
whenever nothing better is going on.
Don’t reward everyone equally. Those that are niche need
Consider developing your brand marketing by launching
special attention. They have a loyal audience, even if it’s not
a new product through an exclusive deal. Send the product
too big, and you need to cater to it. These readers will be grate-
you’re promoting to your partner for free so they see its value.
ful to the website’s owner or the blogger in question for bring-
Working interactively with your content partners using ex-
ing such a special deal on board. Offer your partner something
clusive deals can be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Donika is an Affiliate Account Manager at Adorama, an electronics retailer headquartered in New York.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
tl;dr Performance marketing can complement other areas of online marketing for any company.
Is Performance Marketing
For Everyone? by Ernie St. Gelais
Ernie St. Gelais
ell, the short answer is, of course, Yes. The lon-
days. This is a huge advantage over traditional online market-
ger answer, however, isn’t quite so simple. Many
ing where a merchant generally prepays for its advertising.
new merchants tend to think performance mar-
Most forms of online marketing can be promoted via
keting is the only marketing they need, while established mer-
performance marketing. If a merchant manages its program
chants think of it as a red-headed stepchild (my apologies to
correctly, it can find affiliates to promote its products using
Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Social Media, Email, Content,
Performance marketing should complement other marketing efforts. There are three primary reasons for this: »» It shifts the promotional cost risks from the merchant to the affiliate (promoter) with the merchant only paying once an appropriate action (typically a purchase) is taken by a user. »» It improves cash flow as payment for promotion can be delayed until after revenue is received.
Display, Mobile, and Coupons. A well-run performance marketing program can also assist with branding and product awareness on non-traditional advertising sites like coupon sites, product comparison sites, and blogs. I’ve seen many merchants begin performance marketing campaigns with unrealistic expectations on how much and how quickly they will achieve results. While those of us in the industry believe strongly in this form of marketing, we
»» It helps achieve many of the same goals as other forms
have learned that it requires all parties working hard and pull-
of online marketing—revenue, branding, lead generation,
ing the wagon in the same direction to generate a successful
and customer acquisition.
program. When properly set up and managed, it can be quite
Shifting cost risk is a big deal for smaller merchants with
lucrative for all involved.
limited marketing budgets (sometimes with no marketing budget all). Larger merchants with big budgets should also appreciate shifting risk, because in terms of the bottom line, it isn’t always easy to justify marketing spend if you can’t explain to the boss what his money bought. Branding is great, but branding alone doesn’t put bread on the table. Revenue for a sale is collected very close to the actual
So, what is my advice to merchants considering performance marketing? »» Don’t think performance marketing is all you need, it is complementary to other forms of online marketing. »» If you Do performance marketing, Do invest the time, energy, and resources to manage your campaigns to ensure you meet your marketing goals.
purchase, while payment to affiliates can occur as much as
»» Don’t dismiss performance marketing no matter your
50 days later. As long as a merchant is maintaining appropri-
company’s size, because Performance Marketing Is For
ate margins, it can improve cash flow by an average of 30
Ernie is a Co-Founder and CTO for LinkConnector Corporation.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
tl;dr Practical steps to take when confronted with a CID from the FTC.
I Received an
FTC CID – Now What? by Rachel Hirsch
enerally, when a company is contacted by the FTC,
do not be afraid to open a line of communication between the
the first instinct is to panic. It is natural in these situ-
company and FTC staff counsel to explore alternatives. These
ations to think “What did we do wrong?” and “How do
may include extending the deadline for completion of produc-
we get out of this?”
tion of documents or narrowing the scope of the inquiry. A
When the FTC serves a Civil Investigation Demand (“CID”),
simple conversation with the FTC may yield insights that can
it does not necessarily mean that the business is automati-
help a company understand the Commission’s concerns and
cally doomed. Formal FTC investigations are typically con-
focus the company’s response to the inquiry.
ducted through CIDs, which are, simply, judicially enforceable demands for documents and written answers to questions.
4. Produce cautiously
Knowing how to respond effectively and efficiently to a CID
This does not mean simply withholding documents be-
can mean the difference between an early, pre-litigation resolu-
cause they are “bad” for the company. Rather, reduce the
tion of the investigation versus a protracted legal court battle.
potential for a misreading of the documents to be produced
Here are the top five suggestions for helping to bring the FTC’s investigation to an early resolution:
by explaining their context in writing, perhaps through the submission of a white paper. What might, at first glance, look like a “smoking gun” to the FTC Staff may in fact be easily
1. Read thoroughly
explained through substantive written responses.
This seems obvious enough, but many people hastily skim through a CID, and, in doing so, miss important items, such as deadlines for productions and key definitional sections.
5. Choose wisely In actuality, this should be a company’s first step – hiring experienced counsel at the outset, who may have interacted
2. Preserve immediately
with the FTC Staff in prior cases and are familiar with the pro-
Once a company becomes aware of a formal investiga-
cedures of the investigation. Experienced counsel can reduce
tion, it must institute a litigation hold, preserving all evidence
a company’s overall anxiety and help guide the business in re-
necessary to the investigation. Sometimes, preserving evi-
sponding quickly and efficiently to the information demands.
dence also means suspending any scheduled systems main-
Even if you take all of these steps and do everything that
tenance that may affect relevant information. In addition, a
is asked of you, it still may take months, or even a year, for the
company under investigation should take measures to pre-
FTC to make a decision regarding its investigation. Be patient.
serve the confidentiality of all submissions to the FTC.
Time can often work in your favor. If you know how to react and tailor your response to an
3. Negotiate carefully If the CID in its current form proves to be too burdensome, Rachel Hirsch is a Senior Associate at Ifrah PLLC, a law firm in Washington, D.C.
FTC CID, your patience ultimately may be rewarded with a call from the FTC indicating that it has closed its investigation.
tl;dr Three multi-channel affiliate marketing techniques to leverage consumer purchasing behaviors and increase sales.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
Multi-Channel Affiliate Marketing Strategies
You Shouldn’t Overlook
2. Pay Per Call programs
by Missy Ward
What is Pay Per Call? Just what it sounds like: merchants pay
affiliates for sending them qualified leads/sales via phone calls. Merchants that sell high-ticket products or services; have
customers who don’t like putting their credit card online, or hen was the last time you updated your affili-
dislike the maddening process of filling out long forms and
ate marketing strategy? If you’re not integrating
consultative companies needing to generate new leads, are
multi-channel marketing trends that leverage
likely to use pay per call programs.
consumer purchasing behaviors, you’re missing out – and so is your bottom line. Let’s take a look at three affiliate marketing strategies that are gaining popularity and the techniques that affiliates and affiliate managers are using to increase sales by taking their marketing efforts multi-channel.
Many merchants have recognized this opportunity to expand their distribution into more online and offline channels, and are supplying authorized affiliates with unique phone numbers to use in their marketing efforts. These affiliates promote their assigned phone number in print, mobile, TV, radio, on blogs, or newsletters. When a customer calls in on the designated number, it is logged by the
1. Affiliate link embedded coupon codes Let’s face it, having to recite or type an affiliate link is not only inconvenient and messy, the usage of affiliate links
merchant’s tracking platform before connected to the merchant. The affiliate receives a commission when the transaction (lead, sale, or hybrid structure) is finalized.
may be conditionally allowed, frowned upon, or prohibited in certain mediums. Link shorteners and cloakers offer ways to clean up cumbersome affiliate links, but at the end of the day, they still redirect to affiliate links. However, most merchants use shopping carts that allow
3. In-store redemption printable coupons Many retailers have the ability to credit an affiliate for their in-store sales using printable coupons, depending on the tracking platform(s) they are utilizing.
for custom coupon codes to be created, that can be tied directly
Affiliate managers are implementing this strategy by cre-
to individual affiliates. These coupon codes can be passed to
ating printable coupons containing QR codes and barcodes
the affiliate tracking platform enabling the merchant to credit
for some of their affiliates – enabling them to bridge the gap
the usage of a unique code to the specific affiliate.
between online marketing and offline purchasing.
In a nutshell, this enables an affiliate to simply use their
By using and understanding these strategies, affiliates are
exclusive coupon code wherever they would normally use an
implementing an assortment of marketing techniques into new
affiliate link. Affiliates need only say “Use Discount Code XXXX
channels, allowing them to increase their site’s brand aware-
when you shop at AnySite.com and you’ll get a 10% discount
ness, stickiness, readership engagement and affiliate sales.
on me”, opening up the doors to previously obstructed marketing channels. (Don’t forget to include proper disclosures.)
Give these techniques a try and let me know how it works out for you.
Missy Ward is Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine and blogs on MissyWard.com.
tl:dr - Six common challenges advertisers face with their affiliate programs and tips for overcoming them.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
Six Common Challenges
With Affiliate Marketing by Joe Swint
Coupon affiliates orking for an Outsourced Program Management
The main challenge is not being able to determine if you’re
Agency (OPM), I speak with companies every
paying a commission on a sale you would’ve gotten anyway.
day about the obstacles they face with their affil-
The concern is the buyer backs out at the last minute, finds a
iate program. Here are some of the most common challenges
coupon from an affiliate site, and then makes the purchase.
I hear and some tips for overcoming them:
If that’s how you feel, you can offer a lower commission to coupon affiliates. Another solution is to choose a tracking
Affiliate recruitment When it comes to recruitment, keep the 80/20 rule in mind (20% of your affiliates will yield 80% of your results, while
platform that allows you to see the customer journey from beginning to end through all marketing channels and attribute commissions accordingly.
the remaining 80% will yield 20% of the results.) Nurture all relationships, but put your focus where it does the most good: on the top 20% but also on the types of publishers who work best for you: Mobile? Email? Coupon? Content?
Brand control What if an affiliate publishes poor quality content that leaves buyers feeling unsure about your product? What if they forget to remove expired coupons or discounts, making the
buyer frustrated because they can’t get the offer? If you’re
Many of the merchants I speak with don’t realize compli-
concerned about your brand reputation, you can use software
ance is a challenge, which is in and of itself a challenge. The
to monitor content quality and other similar issues. Keep in
good news is that catching violators is fairly simple with the
mind even brand-sensitive companies such as Apple have an
right software. When this issue is resolved, it’s common for an
affiliate program to see a sudden drop in revenue. Don’t worry. That revenue isn’t disappearing; it’s being attributed to the correct channel and not costing you an affiliate commission.
Cutting costs Adjusting affiliate commissions, choosing the right network(s), fixing multiple payouts on a single order, and revers-
Tracking technology When it comes to tracking, the options are many. Some merchants need a low cost solution and others need robust
ing commissions on affiliates who are trademark bidding or pushing through fraudulent orders are all safe ways to cut costs without losing top line revenue. Research each of these areas.
technology. If you’re trying to find the best of both worlds,
Merchants large and small can be affected by any of
you might want to go with a SaaS network. Look into a few of
these challenges. Since they are not always obvious, I suggest
these options if you want to cut costs and improve tracking
digging in to each one. A simple adjustment can be a game
changer for your affiliate program.
Joe Swint is on the Business Development team at Schaaf-PartnerCentric.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
tl;dr – Leveraging new TLD’s in your affiliate marketing efforts.
New Domain Extensions
Ripe For The Picking by Kellie Peterson
ffiliate marketers and SEO experts have cursed do-
There are already more than 130 of these new domain
main name investors for years, due to their penchant
name extensions available for purchase today with more be-
for registering premium one and two word domains
ing released each week. Many of these domain options seem
as well as product specific domains in a variety of top level
tailor made for affiliate marketers to get behind: .education,
.flights, .rentals, .tips, .report, .services, and more.
Domain investors were perfectly happy to sell these do-
And there are plenty of options to make SEO experts hap-
mains for a profit, but often marketers and SEO folks couldn’t
py when either building out directory or lead generation sites
reach a deal.
or working with clients: .directory, .club, .contractors, .menu,
Now, a supply of TLDs is loosening up if you’re willing to
.shoes, and .NYC, just for starters.
step outside the comfort zone of the old guard of .com, .net,
Some of the most anticipated domain extensions like
.org, and recent hits like .me and .co, to build your empire on
.shop, .app, .search, and others won’t be available for many
new gTLD land.
months, as they work their way through a byzantine process
These new gTLDs are coming to market right now, and it’s a perfect opportunity to snag some great domain names without, in most cases, having to pay ultra-premium prices.
to determine which company will be awarded the rights to control them. Prices vary from registrar to registrar and not every regis-
The era of exact-match-domains giving you a huge leg up
trar carries every new TLD. You’ll want to look around for both
on your SEO efforts may be over, but there’s still visitor con-
price and availability. You’ll often find better prices at some of
fidence to consider. As a consumer looking for web hosting
the smaller registrars, as they fight for market share over the
reviews, wouldn’t you rather go to webhost.reviews versus
thewebhostingopinionsite.com? A wine buyer might find the
Each registry (the company behind either the individual or
offerings at wine.bargains or wine.boutique more trustworthy
group of TLDs) has it’s own availability schedule and pricing
and authoritative than thecheapowinedeals.com.
rules, including whether any domain names will be held for
These new extensions are so perfectly targeted, as well
premium sales. The registry also determines whether domain
as being short, they come across as much less “spammy”
names are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, or if do-
than something four or five words long. Want another benefit
mains with multiple bids goes to auction.
of being so targeted and short? Memorability. That memora-
This has made for quite the confusing landscape, but
bility can deliver the holy grail of web traffic: word-of-mouth
those who do their homework can wind up with some prime
referrals and type-in traffic.
domain name real estate in the months and years to come.
Kellie Peterson is Chief Strategy Officer at Directnic.com, an independent web host and domain registrar.
tl;dr Best practices and guidelines for evaluating whether your company should work with toolbar affiliates
· Issue 28 · October 2014
Should You Work
with Toolbar Affiliates? by Tim Mueller
oolbars and Downloadable Software Applications (DSAs) are a common yet often misunderstood technology used by some publishers for affiliate market-
»» Download and use the software – Does the software do
ing. With some explanation and guidelines, marketers can
what the publisher says it does? Check that all functions
draw their own conclusions on how they want to partner with
are straightforward. »» Make the user aware – It should be clear to the end user
these publishers. To begin, let’s define a toolbar or DSA. A toolbar/DSA is
that they have downloaded the software to their machine
a software application (for affiliate marketing, it is most often
and that it is actively running. If the toolbar is bundled
in the form of a browser add-on) created by a publisher to be
with other software, require notification for the end user
downloaded from the web, designed to provide the end user
that their software is being downloaded, i.e. the software
with some benefit.
cannot be downloaded to a user’s machine without their
For example, a toolbar could notify a shopper that loyalty
points, cash back, or coupons are available, and if the user
»» Do not allow DSAs to override traffic – publishers are
clicks and buys, the publisher earns commission. Some ex-
required to “stand down” from dropping their cookie (ac-
amples include Hawaiian Airlines Mile Finder and Coupon
tivating their toolbar) if another publisher has already re-
ferred an end user and dropped a cookie.
Publishers that use DSAs in the Rakuten Marketing affili-
»» Require an end user action to drop a cookie – the pub-
ate network are required to have them tested by our Compli-
lisher should not receive commission if the user does not
know that the toolbar is working. Some action or benefit
Keyur Shah, Manager of Compliance at Rakuten Market-
on the part of the end user needs to be taken.
ing, says “Compliance is a top priority at Rakuten Marketing and we require all publishers that use DSAs to have their soft-
Overall, when working with toolbars (or with any partner-
ware tested by our team. We do not approve DSAs whose in-
ship in affiliate marketing for that matter), it is crucial to be as
tentions are to make a quick buck by cookie stuffing or other
transparent as possible.
nefarious actions that are not allowed in our network.”
Marketers need to closely evaluate where all of their traf-
Below are the guidelines that Rakuten Marketing uses for
fic is coming from when working in affiliate marketing. Tool-
testing toolbars/DSAs. However, they are not specific to the
bars and DSAs are no different; a transparent purchase path
company. Marketers can follow these guidelines when con-
for the end user will allow marketers to make informed deci-
sidering publishers that use toolbars:
sions on where to allocate their affiliate marketing budget.
Tim Mueller is based in Chicago and is Director of Network Development at Rakuten Marketing.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
tl;dr How to maximize affiliate site exposure and conversions no matter the size of your company.
No Ad Budget for Merchants?
No Problem! by Karen McMahon
rustrated because you don’t have an ad budget? Feel like it’s getting harder to compete against bigger brands in the affiliate space, especially on super af-
filiate sites? No worries. Here are five ways to maximize affiliate site exposure and conversions no matter the size of your company:
4. Now make those calls Still want the exposure on super affiliate sites? Contact these affiliates individually and schedule a time to meet.
1. Assess your strengths
Ask about their newest projects and features. Take a look at
Start by making a list of your company’s strengths: What is
where the affiliate has you listed on their site and ask them
your company’s unique selling point? Does your company have
how to optimize your listings. Be ready to suggest additional
an interesting story? What product lines would you like affiliates
categories, plus provide them with additional offers, updated
to market most? What extra information can you provide to af-
copy and keywords for internal site search. Ask them how to
filiates to make them want to promote your company?
be listed on their “Newest Offers” and “Free Shipping” pages. Sometimes by pushing out quality offers or vanity coupons
2. Assess what your competitors have
regularly, you can get listed on these pages.
You can use other’s affiliate program information to your
Never be afraid to be direct with the affiliate. Tell them up
advantage. How can you differentiate what you offer affiliates
front that you don’t have an ad budget, but would still like to
from your immediate competitors? Can you provide better of-
find ways to build a relationship. Ask them for advice on how
fers and creative? Can you supply a better baseline commis-
else you can work together and to consider you for remnant
sion? Can you communicate with affiliates more effectively?
space on their site or in their email promotions.
3. Assess what else you can
5. Build solid relationships with other affiliates
provide your affiliates
Remember, there are thousands of other affiliates out
Think about how you can incentivize your affiliates. Can
there. Take the time to reach out to up-and-coming affiliates,
you reward higher commissions on a short-term promotion
new affiliates, and affiliates who can somehow relate your
or bonus affiliates who drive increased sales? Can you provide
brand or products to their audiences. Think creatively. Find
vanity coupon codes? Can you give products to affiliates in ex-
influencers such as bloggers or content creators and develop
change for product reviews? Can you provide merchandise for
a long-term relationship. Some of these affiliates can be re-
affiliate giveaways? Are you willing to do a guest post or Q&A on
markably loyal to your company if you take the time to edu-
an affiliate blog? Can you easily create and share lists of top sell-
cate them, you make it easy for them to promote your prod-
ing products, seasonal trends, sale items and/or what’s new?
ucts, and you reward them well for their efforts.
Karen McMahon is “The Affiliate Whisperer” and works as an Affiliate Marketing Strategist.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
tl;dr How affiliates can approach split testing strategically.
Stop Splitting Hairs,
Start Split Testing Strategically by Nadia Tatlow
With display traffic, remember that one of the controlled variables will be the website/portal you’re actually testing on, so
f you’re a publisher, you’re also likely a full-time stats junkie,
make sure you take that into account when rotating banners.
and split testing is something you could do in your sleep.
Then, start by split testing same-size banners only; a banner that
But is all that work worthwhile? Once you find something
is 728×90 and one that is 300×250 have different placements
that works, will all that extra time reap the rewards? Simple answer? Yes, but only if you’re consistent and stra-
tegic about your approach.
on the page. Once you find something that works on display, dial in and split test that with a few more tweaks. Keep the ones that work well on hand so you always have something to sub in.
The thing about split testing is that it is never ”over” for successful affiliates. There’s always something you could
tweak, refresh, or take a small risk on. Staying ahead of the
Start with research. What’s working for other people? What
curve means keeping things fresh (even when things are
do you like and think users will respond to? What will your traf-
working), because if you don’t, someone else will.
fic source like? Narrow these items down, do some fine tuning,
Here are a few things to think about:
and split test at least 2 variations to give you a rough idea of what will do well. If one landing page proves to be a dud right
Split testing technology
away, weed it out completely. Don’t waste your time trying to
There are a few different ways of split testing; either
reinvent it. Variables to consider: text, images, layout, call to ac-
through your tracking program (URL rotator), your own rotator
tion, specs, recommendations, button position/color, product
script, or through the traffic source (with different ad groups
images/logo, system requirements, 5 star ratings etc.
and SubIDs, if the source allows it).
Backend variables Ad copy
The key here is picking your account manager’s brain
Your ad copy will depend on the type of traffic your traffic
to see what variables or product alternatives they have that
source is sending. With search traffic, once you have selected
could improve performance on the backend. They are your
your keywords, you’ll want to create a few variations of text
day to day resource, and are there to help ensure that you’re
ads for split testing. Start with a simple query for similar prod-
getting the best offers available.
ucts, pick 2-3 text ads that you think would perform well, and
Remember, split testing is a simple concept, but it takes
then customize them. If you see the same text ads showing
time. To get the most out of it, it should be planned and inten-
up in the top positions, they’re likely making money for an ad-
tional; a strategy and framework to prioritize your variables is key.
vertiser somewhere. Nadia is an Account Manager at Air Installer, the leading download platform
tl;dr - Affiliate managers should embrace multi-click attribution models, which will improve the customer experience by rewarding affiliates who create high-quality content.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
Why Affiliate Managers
Should Embrace Multi-click Attribution
ne of the traits I admire most about affiliate market-
ers is their resilience. When confronted with changes in the marketplace, affiliate marketers adapt to main-
by Debbie Bookstaber
tain their competitive edge. Survival in this industry demands ongoing evolution in response to changes. Success requires
With any such change, there will be winners and losers.
the ability to anticipate changes, which is why so many of the
Sites which depend solely on last-click attribution will see re-
most successful affiliates have been early adaptors of new
duced commissions if an advertiser moves towards a multi-
click attribution model, but is that a bad thing?
Google and Facebook continue to make well-publicized
As affiliate managers, our priority should be the long-term
changes to reduce the visibility of poor-quality content within
health and growth of the brand. As a consumer, I frequently
search engine listings and the newsfeed respectively. Face-
use coupon and loyalty sites as well as blogs when making
book changes, which reduced the visibility of certain types
my purchasing decisions. Will the implementation of a multi-
of posts, or which prohibited “Like-Gated” contests and cou-
click attribution model result in an improved consumer experi-
pons, were widely discussed in social media.
ence? I believe it will.
Similarly, Google’s algorithm updates are a prominent topic
Affiliate program managers should embrace multi-click
in affiliate forums as well as mainstream websites for investors.
attribution, because it will encourage affiliate sites to evolve
Changes to attribution models are less widely-understood and
in a way that improves the consumer experience. Rather than
publicized, but they are no less critical to affiliate earnings.
first click or last click attribution, consider implementing lin-
In July 2013, Shawn Collins observed that “The Last Click
ear, time-decay or position-based attribution models.
Attribution Model in Affiliate Marketing is Broken” (feedfront.
Brands shouldn’t discount the value of coupon and loy-
com/last-click), while sharing results from research by Skim-
alty affiliates in an attempt to improve relationships with blog-
links about the impact of last-click attribution on content sites.
gers and content sites. I would encourage affiliate managers
As the lines between earned media and paid media con-
to include their most valued affiliate partners in the discus-
tinue to blur, attribution issues have become more important.
sion about attribution before making a change which would
Brands want to work with bloggers and high-quality content
impact their earnings.
sites, but last-click attribution frequently discourages blog-
A discussion about attribution is a chance to communi-
gers (outside of the successful coupon/deal niche) from try-
cate with top affiliates and to provide resources which would
ing affiliate marketing.
help these affiliates improve the customer experience.
Some advertisers have blocked coupon and loyalty sites
For example, coupon and loyalty sites might adapt to
from their programs. Other advertisers, such as Tiny Prints,
multi-click attribution by improving content and social media
adopted multi-click attribution models, which were met with
outreach in order to reach customers, as both the beginning
enthusiasm within the blogging community.
as well as the end of their shopping experience.
Debbie Bookstaber is the President of ElementAssociates.com, a digital marketing agency based in Philadelphia.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
tl;dr How podcasting is changing online marketing and user engagement.
The Power of
Podcasting by Zac Johnson
ntrepreneurs, bloggers, and brands... do you hear that sound? It’s the sound of millions of podcast listeners anxiously waiting for their favorite show to release a
new episode for them to devour! Apple knows the power of podcasting and soon enough you will, too. Podcasts are free and easy to listen to, while also growing at a massive rate. I’m sure you’ve already heard all the hype around pod-
casting, and you may even be getting ready to launch your own show. Whether you are a podcaster or a podcast listener, the important thing to know is that podcasting is huge, and it’s the future for getting your message and brand to a whole new audience. Imagine the benefits of having a show of your own listed within Apple’s iTunes? Podcasting is so effective that guys like Joe Rogan can have a 2-3 hour podcast, and people will actually listen to the
whole thing. Podcasting has also paved way for new entrepreneurs to build power brands with very loyal followings, while
I’m not telling you this to promote the show, but instead
also earning millions of dollars through show advertisements
to impress upon you the importance of podcasting and why it
works. From starting out in the industry nearly 20 years ago
And yes, word is spreading quickly. If you are already us-
and moving away from being an affiliate marketer to growing
ing iTunes for podcast listening, you will notice a lot more ce-
my own brand, and helping others make money online, start-
lebrities and comedians are making their way into this space.
ing my own podcast was that next big step in solidifying my
With all the attention on podcasting and always being an
brand and reaching a whole new audience.
ambassador for telling others to always be on the look out for
This all goes back to looking at your competition and do-
what’s next, I had to jump into the world of podcasting as well.
ing what it takes to “do it better”. If your competition is doing
I just recently launched my own podcast titled “Rise of the
text blog posts, you need to do video. If they are creating blog
Entrepreneur”, where I talk with a very successful entrepreneur
posts and video, you need to do podcasting.
in each episode and discuss the story of how they got to where
As much as I praise podcasting and how bright the future
they are today. You will likely recognize many of the guests who
is, don’t think it’s a walk in the park. Podcasting is very serious
have appeared on the show so far, such as Shawn Collins, Neil
and takes a lot of work. The audio quality must be amazing and
Patel, Kris Jones, Declan Dunn and Jeremy Schoemaker, as
your content has to keep your audience engaged at all times.
they are all quite prominent in the affiliate marketing space. Zac Johnson blogs at ZacJohnson.com and is the founder of Blogging.org.
What can a podcast do for your brand and business?
tl;dr – Using cart abandonment solutions and email remarketing can help increase your site conversions.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
Leveraging Cart Abandonment
Solutions and Email Remarketing by Chuck Hamrick
recent study by Baymard Institutes indicates a 67.91% average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate, implying that your sales num-
bers may only be one third of what they could potentially be.
counts, and frequencies to see what works for your audience. While there are many cart abandonment solutions, I work
Optimizing your shopping cart can add a one to two percent
with one that operates as an affiliate. Thus, they are compen-
conversion increase to your merchant site’s overall e-commerce
sated by the effectiveness of the process, and its increase in
conversion. With a typical conversion rate of one to three per-
sales. To keep from trumping other affiliates, we have em-
cent, you can double conversions on your current traffic.
ployed an attribution model which pays up to three affiliates,
Some reasons for poor cart performance include a flawed cart layout with too many steps to a sale completion or pur-
instead of the traditional last click model. Keep in mind that cart abandonment affects all e-commerce traffic.
posefully hiding taxes and shipping fees until the final screen before payment. Overloading a cart with too many pricing/discount scripts can create a painful checkout experience, and cause duplicate orders.
Cart Abandonment Solution Integration How much preparation and integration does this require? Your cart abandonment vendor will handle the brunt of the
Cart abandonment solutions can help you identify the
design, tracking, and integration. Some site and possibly net-
reasons why your customers are leaving your shopping cart,
work integration may be required. Also, you want to insure that
and help increase revenue by converting those abandoned or-
all tracking goes through the affiliate program to insure the
ders using automated email remarketing campaigns.
affiliate gets credit. Payment to the abandonment agency/affiliate goes the same route as other affiliates.
Understanding the Email Remarketing Process
Once you get the remarketing emails optimized, you can
After the consumer leaves the cart/site, your cart aban-
look into further enhancements, like a pop window, that offer
donment solution can trigger an automated remarketing
a discount if the consumer makes the purchase then. These
email campaign. The first email is typically sent 60 minutes
can be designed to be unobtrusive to the consumer. There are
post-abandonment, and then again after 24 hours, should
also options to have retargeting funded through the affiliate
the sale not be completed. To encourage the consumer to re-
program, which is attractive as it’s a pure rev share model.
turn and close the sale, a promotion is offered; typically free
Cart abandonment as an affiliate model has less risk,
shipping or discount. If the consumer hasn’t completed their
better visibility, and can form a true partnership. Make sure
transaction after 48 hours, a third email is sent usually with a
you understand how your data is stored and expunged. Imple-
much bigger discount.
menting and optimizing these campaigns can significantly
While this email remarketing schedule has shown to increase site conversions, you should A/B test creative, dis-
improve conversion to help you generate more sales from traffic you have today.
Chuck Hamrick is an outsourced program manager (OPM) in Park City, UT at Hamrick.Biz.
tl;dr - Apply these five advanced settings to your Google AdWords campaigns to maximize profits and optimize advertising dollars.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
5 Advanced Techniques
to Optimize AdWords Campaigns by Simon Slade
3. Activate the social annotations Social annotations allow you to display the number of Google+ followers and +1s. To participate, your Google+ page must meet a few requirements, such as having a significant number of followers. According to Adwords, this means about 100 followers for most businesses.). With the +1 button on your ad, users can essentially rate
f you’re not taking advantage of all AdWords’ advanced
it. Clicking that button will help improve your ad position, as it
settings, you may be missing out on increased profits, or
is another way for Google to measure your ads success.
worse yet, wasting valuable ad dollars.
4. Schedule your ads to optimize conversions
1. Set ad rotation to optimize for conversions Ad rotation refers to how often your ads appear in relation to one another with four settings available: »» Optimize for Clicks (in this default option, ads with more impressions appear the most) »» Rotate Evenly (gives equal preference regardless of ad performance) »» Rotate Indefinitely (similar to the evenly option but with-
Once you have a fair amount of data (I recommend at least three weeks), go to the Dimensions tab to see which days of the week and times of the day produce the most conversions. Then go to the scheduling option to find a calendar showing each hour of the week with checkmarks to indicate when your ads are scheduled. Based on your campaign’s specific analytics, adjust the days and times your ads run to optimize conversions.
out optimizing) »» Optimize for Conversions (ads expected to attract more conversions appear more often than your other ads) I recommend choosing Optimize for Conversions, which should yield a better return on investment than the others.
5. Compare stats with Campaign Experiments The best data to base your ad campaign settings on is your own, because no one else’s situation is exactly like yours. Campaign Experiments allow you to test changes to your keywords, bids, ad groups, and ad placements to only a portion of your ads.
2. Set a frequency cap
First, decide which factor you want to test, and then
A frequency cap refers to the number of times your ads
choose what percentage of your ads to apply the change
appear to each unique user. With this option, you can select
(meaning you could test the change on only 10 percent of your
how many times each ad, each ad group, or each campaign
ads, or 20 percent, or more).Setting the percentage decreases
appears to a unique user in a day, week, or month.
your risk, which is especially advantageous if you’re experi-
If your ad wasn’t successful the first 10 times, it probably
menting with a big change.
won’t be on the 11th, so set the frequency cap to improve your
By capitalizing on all the features that AdWords has to
click-through rate, while saving your valuable impressions for
offer, you’ll be maximizing your conversions and profits in no
CEO Simon Slade co-founded Affilorama, affiliate marketing training with 200,000 members and 100 free lessons.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
East 2014 Recap by Shawn Collins
unday, August 10-12, 2014 was the first day of Affiliate Summit East 2014. Registration check-in and set-up for the Meet
Market kicked off the day at 8:00 AM. I gave my First Timers Orientation for Affiliate Summit East 2014 session at 10:00 AM, and I was glad to see a packed crowd of folks eager to learn how to optimize their time at the conference.
hibit hall for Monday and Tuesday. The day wrapped up with a welcome talk from Emcee Rachel Honoway, 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. There were lots of networking options in the evening for Affiliate Summit East 2014 attendees. I checked out the ShareASale Under The Stars Party at
This was followed by sixteen breakout sessions through-
the Broadway Lounge in the New York Marriott Marquis. Mis-
out the day that covered blogging, content, Facebook, gami-
sy Ward and I were humbled and honored by a philanthropy
fication, links, monetization, SEO, WordPress, YouTube, and
award during the party.
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 ex-
Monday, August 11, 2014 was the second day of the conference. The day started with a tasty breakfast for VIP and All Access pass holders. Then there was an inspiring keynote interview between
Shawn is Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, and blogs at affiliatetip.com.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
Emcee Rachel Honoway and Rich “Big Daddy” Salgado. The exhibit hall opened on day 2 and thousands of affiliate marketers came together for a full day of networking. In addition to all of the business talk in the exhibit hall, there were also educational sessions throughout the day at Affiliate Summit East 2014.
lasagna, rosemary marinated chicken breast, red quinoa with pickled onion, and sauteed broccolini with cherry tomatoes. 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 East 2014 wound up with
And we had a nice spread for lunch that included broken
the Affiliate Ball, which featured Juicy J and Bone Thugs-NHarmony. Tuesday, August 12, 2014 was the third and final day of Affiliate Summit East 2014. The day started with a tasty attendee breakfast, and I got nice and fueled up on bacon and juice. Shortly after, there was a fun and informative keynote
· Issue 28 · October 2014
from Julie Gurner, which was illustrated live by The Draw Shop. The final day of Affiliate Summit East 2014 also featured a series of breakout sessions and lots of networking and good times in the exhibit hall.
The exhibit hall wrapped up with a Pub Crawl for some cocktails and last visits to the exhibiting companies. After Affiliate Summit East 2014 wrapped up, we brought speakers from the conference to enjoy a wine tasting cruise around Manhattan. Thank you to everybody who came out to network, learn and have fun with us – Affiliate Summit East 2014 was the biggest Affiliate Summit East ever with over 4,400 attendees! Register now for the early bird prices for Affiliate Summit West 2015, taking place January 18-20, 2015 in Las Vegas.
tl;dr - Continued growth in millennial and boomer start-ups can lead to lucrative B2B affiliate opportunities.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
B2B Affiliate Opportunity by Martin Marion
key indicator for economic recovery is growth in
Boomers have the experience of working at larger com-
small business, specifically new startups. The CEB
panies with extensive resources, which means their small
(Corporate Executive Board -The Enterprise Council
businesses are likely to spend more for best in class products
on Small Business) reports Millennials account for one third of
and services. While they have years of knowledge from Wall
new start-ups in the US and the largest growing group impact-
Street to Main Street, the older they are the more concerned
ing start-ups is Boomers (age 55-64) looking for retirement
they become about making the right decisions when it comes
While these two groups present some interesting chal-
Boomers are financing their businesses through their
lenges for marketers, knowing the buying differences of these
own savings or retirement funds, and living with the fear they
unique entrepreneurial groups will allow affiliates to leverage
may never be able to recoup lost money. That presents dili-
the B2B (business to business) affiliate opportunity.
gence and smart purchasing decisions.
Millennials operate more freely, are more trust worthy of
However, don’t underestimate the boomers. Once they
national brands, and are comfortable trying new products and
make a decision, they are likely to spend more on various
services associated with their lifestyle. They find solutions for
products or services than the typical business owner. Affili-
problems and see the world different than their parents, be-
ates can build their strategy around the cautious purchaser to
cause they know most anything is possible. Tech savvy mil-
nurture this type of buying decision process.
lennials can quickly figure out if they need certain products or services by leveraging social resources.
The bottom line is that boomers will be more methodical when it comes to making purchase decisions but ultimately
A closer look reveals that they may operate their busi-
spend more on high quality products and services to grow their
nesses more loosely and leave a lot of things by the wayside
business. At the same time, millennials will take greater risks to
when it comes to making purchase decisions. Once a millen-
grow their business, even if that means taking on more debt.
nial locks into a brand, they are willing to stick with that brand,
Either way, this current and continued growth in millen-
even if it means higher prices. Because millennials have time
nial and boomer start-ups will lead to lucrative revenue op-
on their side, their willingness to make impulse purchases can
portunities for affiliates who understand how to reach these
leave a revenue contrail for affiliates to capitalize on.
Marty Marion is the Deluxe Corp Affiliate Program Manager.
tl;dr – WordPress plugins that turn limited functionality WordPress sites into profit-generating online affiliate web properties.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
No Problem! by Marcus Counch
or affiliate marketers, WordPress is generally the online tool of choice. However, few administrators use the platform to the fullest in order to grow their portfo-
lio to its maximum revenue potential. These plugins provide a powerful combination to manage your site, add product content, and provide site security.
If you would like to remove passwords altogether, try a plugin called Clef. Imagine the concept of using your smartphone as a key to unlock your WordPress login screen. Clef
Product feed management
allows you to login securely by simply scanning an on-screen
The most under-utilized feature of the many affiliate net-
QR code with the Clef app on your smart phone. This can be
works is the product feed. It allows an affiliate to dynamically
especially helpful when working with outsourced site workers
add products and update prices nearly real-time, or at least as
often as the merchant makes modifications to their catalog. The biggest challenge around a data feed is that it often requires a programmer to properly implement. However, there are several plugins that make this task much easier. Among the easiest plugins for importing product feeds, XML files, or CSV files is WP All Import. This tool provides a
Site management Any serious affiliate marketer has at least 10 or more websites. CMS Commander is a great management solution, allowing you one central place to manage all of your WordPress installations in a single dashboard.
simple step by step interface to import complex feeds and
Comprising as half plugin, half online management ser-
spreadsheets into WordPress posts. The magic in WP All Im-
vice, CMS Commander gives you the power of automated
port is that it self-updates your posts when the feed or import
backups, site to site plugin, theme copying, one click site clon-
file is modified. If the merchant’s product prices change, your
ing, and the ability to add site content right from a single man-
site is updated accordingly.
agement dashboard. I use this to manage over 100 sites, and couldn’t be more pleased with the results.
Security plugins Often, affiliates overlook security as a major part of their site component structure. Because of the dynamic nature of
Using these plugins and tools will provide quick and easy functions to add affiliate product feeds, manage all of your sites at once, and keep things secure from outside attacks.
WordPress as a CMS, it is often a target of hacking. To circum-
While they only cover a few of the building blocks of a
vent these attacks, use a plugin like WordFence to set up an
basic affiliate site, these tools provide a solid foundation to
admin “firewall” on your WordPress site. With WordFence, you
help you grow your limited functionality WordPress sites into
get automated site scans.
profit-generating online affiliate web properties.
Marcus is a WordPress Plugin critic and co-hosts “WordPress Plugins A-Z” and “WordPress Weekly” podcasts.
· Issue 28 · October 2014
tl;dr How to overcome daily changes in an ever changing industry.
Surviving in an
Ever Changing Industry by Ian Fernando
ver since I attended my first Affiliate Summit back
every single day or else you’ll see your business disappear.
in 2007, I’ve seen this industry and the event change
Another great example of understanding the basics is
each year. With the internet still being so young, how
traffic acquisition. You might obtain your visitors from differ-
do you stay up to date on the latest promotional strategies
ent networks, but the traffic is basically the same because it’s
and your own marketing tactics?
all in the numbers. If you know your data, then you can run
I strongly believe in the basics of structure. If you have a
traffic on almost any platform.
basic understanding of the industry, then you can easily thrive.
Being able to analyze traffic and identify key trends; you
Too many people get started in affiliate marketing think-
can pinpoint your efforts towards what’s working, instead of
ing they must know every trick in the book in order to make
wasting money on what’s not. It takes some time to learn how
money online. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Studying
to spot these golden nuggets of traffic, but when you do, it will
the basics of marketing and traffic acquisition will produce
open the floodgates for your business.
better results than skipping them altogether.
With the continued development of the internet comes
When someone asks me how I got started in this indus-
the maturity of the affiliate marketing industry. Rules and
try, my response to them is learned the basics and kept experi-
regulations have already become a major part of it. We need
menting to build on them. Structuring your business in a way
to learn how to adapt to them in order to survive and thrive.
that always starts with the building blocks will always produce positive results. For example, I’ve seen affiliates, networks, and advertisers come and go at a wicked pace. Some affiliates only know
The best part about all of this is the basic structure doesn’t change much over time. You need to always go back to the basics and build off of them in order to continue growing your business.
how to promote one type of offer or niche. When the offer or
Most beginners to the affiliate marketing arena think they
niche dies, they have no clue on how to adapt to the change or
need to know the most advance tactics to survive, when you
expand their tactics into other offers.
really do not need to at all. Keeping things simple essentially
Knowing one marketing method won’t get you very far in
leads to success and increases the ability to survive while
this industry. As with any business, diversification is the key
your competitors drop off and look for other ways to make
to affiliate marketing. You need to broaden your knowledge
Ian Fernando is an affluent affiliate in the performance marketing space.