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Sandrine Thompson, Strategic Insights Director, Commision Junction
Cindy Ballard, Affiliate Director, Greg Hoffman Consulting @cingroomer
Todd Farmer, CEO, Performstreet Media @toddfarmer
Tricia Meyer, Owner, Sunshine Rewards @sunshinetricia
Got in a little late to this one, so here we go…
Contests – ask your affiliate manager for a product to giveaway – this will strengthen your relationship with your affiliate manager and your audience
They use rafflecopter
This helps everyone win
How to build a relationship with your network
Todd prefers workding directly with an OPM or affiliate manager
Tricia recommends coming to a conference, party, open house to make a contact. You will learn so much more.
Cindy the networks do offer classes for the managers, affiliates, etc. Take them up on them because they make changes and you want to take the class.
When you are alone as an affiliate, you don’t know if there is a low conversion rate issue. If you have someone else to bounce this off of, you can identify the problem and you can understand there is something wrong with the situation.
Efficiency and Scalability
Technology, Tools, Outsourcing
Cindy tells affiliates to try to have a niche site, don’t make it too broad and try to have 10-15 merchants. Concentrate. Use datafeeds, popshops, goldencan.
Todd only has a set number of hours with kids. He has to work as smartly as he can and uses the tools and technology to his advantage. He uses Asana.com for collaboration. It is free. Fiver.com, Elance and 99designs to save time.
Tricia will reuse content, a transcript of a video, reworking a post for guest content.
Todd says Tricia has a step by step for how she is going to use her content. He likes automation. She has a checklist so that it is more personalized. There is a higher conversion rate. Use automation wisely and not to your detriment.
Tricia does a daily deal email. She has a custom programmer, but she wasn’t sure if the ROI was going to be there. She wanted to do it quickly and on her own. She uses her vbulletin forum that is private to her and an employee. This creates an RSS feed that sends out a daily email from Aweber. This also creates users generating content that are commenting on the deals. This took her 2 hours to setup total. And now she has a great system with thousands of users that have opted in.
Is there any efficiency that you can recommend to advertisers to use?
RSS feeds are incredibly helpful to affliates. It is all automated.
What is at stake for an affiliate if they can not scale their business?
Todd they can’t respond to Google slaps and Penguin updates. Everything needs to be focused on super high quality. It wins every single time.
Focus on Customers
SEO and Social Signals
What are successful affiliates doing that others should emulate?
Unique value proposition and knowing who your customer is.
Think of that one target person. All their traits and create the perfect ideal target customer. Name and face. Todd’s is Sally. He knows exactly who he is writing his blog posts for. If you focus on one person. A lot of us don’t know who that is. Life stage, kids they have, their challenges. Are they brand conscience, are they looking for deals. We want to be persuasive to that one person.
Talk to your merchant and find out who the customers are. Get as much detailed information as you can. Compete.com is a tool but there is only so much they can give you. Good for intial research.
Cindy. You also need to know who your competitors are. Want to know what they are doing and stay a step ahead of them. Think outside the box and do things a different direction.
Develop a Social Strategy.
Tricia – what has helped her is to build a core group of people, some are just consumers they don’t have anything to do with affiliate markering, some are her peers, some are affiliate managers, some are relatives. She can go to them first to help seed a site with Facebook likes, tweets, to test out a site. They can tell her if a site is crap or if it is great. Then she goes to where her customers are. She knows that none of her SunshineRewards members go to Google+ but she knows they are on Facebook interacting there. Her Hunger Games fans are on Instagram and Twitter. Focus on where your particular customers are.
Todd has learned with the tribe concept that having them look at a blog post and add a comment to get the comments rolling. When you spend 30 seconds to do your own facebook posts they are more shared and visible. If they are automated not as many people do them. When you add a picture from the post they are viewed and shared even more.
Cindy when an affiliate can come to her with stats on so many people viewed a post and there are no clicks or sales, it is a time to look into if something is wrong.
Unique Sales Proposition – your target customer can go to your competitor, what sets you apart. What can you do to tweak it or blow up your website to make it awesome. He has found a lot of success in using videos, transcribing videos. Provide details, quality videos.
Cindy has an merchant called DirectGardening – the affiliate had a nice looking site, promoting heavily, but not too many sales. They told him to focus on one thing that he loved, citrus trees and now he is one of their top 5 affiliates.
The Big Picture. Forward Thinking.
Applies to Affiliates, Merchants and Agencies.
Tricia you have to think about your future of your customer and the industry. Will your customers be shopping more on their phones and tablets. What kind of changes will we see in affiliate marketing.
Todd they have used heat maps extensively to see where their customers are clicking on their website. They had a button on their website that had Order Now but with the heat map they saw that no one was clicking on it. How can you optimize your money pages and you can test them with heat maps.
Cindy don’t let your products get stagnate. Change things up a bit. Use the social media, that is extremely important. Public relations. Diversify the affiliates in your programs. Don’t just focus on Mom Bloggers, etc.
Todd. Diversification of income. He has severe shiny object syndrome. He doesn’t need to diversify sites, he has plenty. Many of us are dealing with Google slaps and conversion rates. He has friend that was able to secure two 1,000 a month banner ads on her site. If you are delivering to a particular demographic, then you can probably charge a merchant for advertising.
Tricia – we need to think a lot about attribution. Merchants can now see every click. They can see that they clicked on a blog and then a coupon site and the time between. They can decide how to weight that sale.
As an affiliate, if we have a content site, can we also offer the coupons. If we are a coupon/cash back site can we give extra information, comments from customers. That way we can be everything in the stream.
Cindy if I send you out coupons, then put them on your site. Don’t lose the sale to someone that is googling for a coupon.