“I go to a fast food chain if I want a quick meal, but I go to a restaurant if I want fine dining.”
The Dining Experience
Fast Food Chain
- Uniformity of menu with predictable taste
- Efficiencies of scale = inexpensive (food and atmosphere)
- Minimal, low skilled labor
Fine Dining Restaurant
- Complex menu with exotic taste
- Unique, difficult to mass-produce = more expensive (food and atmosphere)
- Centered around a creative chef with experienced staff (Host/hostess, Servers, Sommelier)
The Affiliate Experience
“Fast Food” Affiliate
- Limited value-add (links, presentation, content, etc.)
- Efficiencies of scale = maximize automation (site and user-experience)
- Minimal effort exerted (outreach, branding, voice)
“Fine Dining” Affiliate
- Extensive customization and value-add integrations
- Unique user experience = high value proposition (site and user-benefits)
- Centered around a creative niche and focus
- Person (blogger, celebrity, expert)
- Idea (loyalty, cause, entity)
- Need (“scratches an itch”)
17 tips to enrich your “menu” and rating as a master chef.
Take your savory experience from “greasy spoon” to five-stars. Food = Content!
Tip #1. Your Publisher Profile
- Keep it updated and interesting. Include a call to action!
- Concise, current network profile
- Why do I want to join your program?
- How can I help you, the advertiser?
- What is my value-add (to you)?
Tip #2. Affiliate Links
- Optimize banners and images as “web-friendly”
- Compare .jpg and .png quality and size
- Imagify (https://imagify.io) can do this for you!
- Why optimize?
- Fast sites = higher conversion rates (check @ https://tools.pingdom.com)
- Many users are on mobile devices
- Don’t overdo banner ads and links
- Ask affiliate manager for more!
- Custom banners
- Deep links
Tip #3. Commission
- Reward Generously
- Default commissions need to be efficient, competitive, easy to understand, yet tantalizing.
- Sell the sizzle to get the attention of publishers.
- Keep it simple – no one likes a confusing menu.
- Dynamic Commissioning
- Larger or niche publishers and advertisers require a more detailed and complex commission.
- Different verticals need different commission structures.
- Some larger publishers will be paid a much higher commission rate. Advertisers and Publishers need to cater to the needs of each other.
- Attribution Settings
- Attribution separates who gets what and why. Know how you get paid and what works best!
Tip #4. Incentives
- Boost Campaigns & Bonuses
- Menu Specials
- In Fast Food, across the board commission boosts encourage recruitment, activation or re-engage a dormant publisher.
- Fine Dining publishers may be encouraged to promote a specific product with a boost or are offered more per sale in a bonus based on volume tiers.
- Set up a program to encourage sales activity, make the rules simple and measurable, then let everyone know how it works.
- Used to promote new products or encourage more sales activity.
- Top Partner Events
- The Ultimate Fine Dining Event. Sometime Fine Dining is actually part of the event.
- Solicitation of high volume players or Top Revenue producers.
- 1×1 opportunity for relationship building.
Tip #5. Coupons
- Coupon Tracking, Suppression & Attribution
- Ensures proper attribution for the Publisher.
- Advertisers prefer automation to determine attribution.
- Process needs to be standard, efficient and built for scalability.
- Promo Codes / Custom Codes
- Most Promo Codes designed for the masses like $1.00 off on Hamburgers.
- Advertisers can use Vanity Codes or Custom Promo Codes for top-tier Publishers.
- Publishers can use this tool as a co-branding tool or exclusive offer.
- Coupon commissioning
- Advertisers need to refrain from making discounts so deep that they impact commission amounts.
- Publishers need to understand the commission terms and if coupon affects commission.
- Data Feeds
- Great tool for Publishers to receive current coupons from multiple advertisers.
- Advertisers use data feeds to distribute their offers to many publishers.
Tip #6. Communications
- Email exchanges are 1×1 (Fine Dining) experiences.
- Consistent communication between top Advertisers and Publishers are essential for optimization.
- Newsletters are mass communication to a large audience.
- Newsletter communications are vital to developing relationships with a large number of affiliates.
- Press Releases
- Great way to communicate a message or announcement to a large population.
- Like Fine Dining, message is well crafted and the process more formal.
Tip #7. Be Mobile-Friendly
- Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
- Many users are not on computers
- Nearly 3 Billion smartphones in use now worldwide but only 2 Billion personal computers!
- MediaPost: 53% of smartphone users purchase with them
- Ad blockers more common on desktops
- Don’t forget about tablet users also.
- Cross-device tracking
Tip #8. Cross-Device Tracking
- 50% of all transactions begin on mobile
- Tracks a transaction across multiple devices, such as first click on mobile device, final purchase from desktop
- Average sales increase 3-24%
- Greatest percentage gain from CDT – Content Publishers
- Nothing required from affiliate – implementation occurs on advertiser’s site
Tip #9. Affiliate Tools
- Product Feeds
- Enables advertisers to send detailed product information to a large group of publishers.
- Gives publishers all the info they need to promote specific products and deep link into carts.
- Reduces clicks and increases conversions.
- Allows publishers to put a little piece of the advertiser’s site on their landing page.
- Product choices made with a widget are then deep linked into an advertiser’s cart.
- Allows for a seamless sale in a franchise-like experience.
- Custom Landing Pages
- Custom / co-branded landing page – ultimate fine dining experience
- Pages are optimized to maximize conversions with custom promotions or offers.
- The special meal not on the menu!
Tip #10. WordPress
- It’s free and used by ~27% of all websites!
- Huge selection of templates
- Massive plugin options that add features (over 40K)
- Other WordPress advantages
- Translated into more than 50 languages
- Highly consistent and flexible design elements
- Frequent upgrades and security enhancements
- Highly customizable (blog, how-to, journal, forum, membership site, etc.)
- Mobile-ready (responsive) “out of the box”
- Social media friendly
- Search engine optimized
- Scalable (grows with you)
- Easy to use!
Tip #11. Technical Integration
- Most networks offer advanced APIs
- Affiliate service provider APIs
- WordPress affiliate plugins
- Service providers
- Shopping cart extensions
- WooCommerce integration with product catalogs
- Use “sub-networks”
- Skimlinks & VigLink
Tip #12. Attribution
- Dividing commission based on role in sales process
- Last click doesn’t take it all
- Advertiser’s choice
- Methodologies vary by network
- Fixed portions based on location in sales process
- Bonus based on involvement
- Soft click – won’t overwrite existing cookies
Tip #13. Site Monetization
- Paid Placements
- How-to articles (with product suggestions)
- Blog posts
- Paid content
- Social media
Tip #14. Expand the Affiliate Channel
- Look at affiliate marketing through a bigger lens
- Search Promotion
- Social Media Tracking
- Instagram – Snapppt.com
- App tracking (Oplytic)
Tip #15. Reporting
- Many reports available through network interface. Learn all of them.
- Fast food – Conversion statistics, timing
- Fine Dining – EPC, AOV
- Best sellers
- Custom Parameters – best performing pages
- Commission status
- I wonder if…
- Google Analytics – not designed for affiliate marketing
Tip #16. Partnerships
- Strategic Alliances
- Well thought-out partnerships between advertisers and publishers.
- Agreements can be from multiple groups of both.
- Fine Dining experience for the Advertiser, Publisher and Shopper, taking advantage of synergies and maximizing traffic revenue for both parties.
- Can be exclusive or semi-exclusive
- Both parties rely on each other's brand to maximize sales.
- Reciprocal Agreements
- Great way to promote synergies between partners
- Each advertiser can become a publisher for the other, provide links to purchase on their site / cart.
- Burger company teaming up with a bun company and selling their products in a way that offers both.
Tip #17. Account Management
- Service levels
- Varies by management agreement
- Could be managed by in-house Affiliate Manager, OPM or network team
- Get to know the management team
- Best sellers
- Seasonal specials
- New Products
- Special site promotional opportunities
- Read the Newsletters!