Those of you who are frequent visitors of my blog have, undoubtedly, noticed a fairly new “bookmark” featured in its header — one telling about “Geno’s next conference.”
I announced the new show right here three months ago.
Time flies and three short weeks from now, on November 14, 2016, right in the heart of Manhattan, I will be opening up this brand new influencer marketing conference, Influencer Marketing Days.
Due to the show’s amazing speaker lineup and the market’s overall strong demand for a solid vendor-neutral conference on influencer marketing, the ticket sellout is now highly likely to happen.
Here are just a few brands that have already registered:
If (like these) you are also interested in leveraging influencer marketing to grow your business, but haven’t registered yet, do not procrastinate any longer! Register today. Not only are we now in pre-show pricing (which is $200 cheaper than the “onsite” rates), but you can also combine these already-discounted prices with a coupon code GENO which will discount them by further $200.00.
The code will work up until the conference’s full sellout, but for the deepest discounts it is best to combine it with the pre-show rates (which will be valid through November 4).
Hope to be able to shake your hand in New York City on November 14-15, 2016!
Tags: influencer marketing
I’ve got an exciting news to announce. My newest LinkedIn video course is out!
You may remember that my previous course was geared towards aspiring affiliate marketers. Since its release in 2014, it was viewed nearly 200,000 times; and the time has come for us to record a course for brands who wish to leverage the power of affiliate marketing to promote their products (or services) and drive incremental business. Here is my “welcome” video for it:
The course consists of 21 videos and aims at equipping advertisers with everything they need to set up, launch, and build efficient affiliate marketing programs. Here is the course’s full table of contents:
1. Affiliate Marketing Basics
- Intro to affiliate marketing
- Core concepts
- Compensation models
2. Affiliate Program Setup
- Technological solutions
- Affiliate program management
- Program elements
- Locking period
- Marketing collateral
- Affiliate program terms and conditions
- Program description
3. Program Launch
- Program announcement
- Affiliate recruitment email
4. Affiliate Program Management
- Affiliate recruitment: active
- Affiliate recruitment: passive
- Affiliate recruitment: other methods
- Affiliate activation
- Compliance policing
- Communication with affiliates
- Program optimization
- Next steps and additional resources
You may view the course here. Enjoy it, and do not hesitate to chime in below with your suggestions on the next course(s) you’d like me to shoot.
Tags: affiliate management education, affiliate management training, affiliate manager education, affiliate manager training, affiliate marketing education, affiliate marketing training, affiliate marketing videos
Note from Geno Prussakov: Ladies and gentlemen, I am excited to welcome our newest guest blogger, Shane Barker. Below you may find his first AM Navigator post.
Are you leveraging your influencer marketing efforts using the right social media platforms? Your choice of social network may depend largely on the type of audience you’re trying to reach. But it’s important to note that each platform has unique advantages. For instance, an influencer may use Instagram to show off a new product. But to provide fans with tutorials on how to use the product, YouTube may be a better option.
The following analysis of the top social media platforms can help ensure your next influencer marketing campaign is successful.
#1: Facebook for Overall Success
Facebook continues to dominate when it comes to social media and influencer marketing alike, with several studies supporting this statement. In March 2015, Tomoson conducted a survey of 125 marketers. They found that, aside from blogs, Facebook was the top-performing influencer marketing channel. Among social media platforms, it was voted the most effective for influencer marketing.
As you can see in the graph above, Facebook was followed by YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter, but their combined total still pales in comparison with Facebook’s effectiveness.
In August 2016, eMarketer shared a study on influencers conducted by a female-focused engagement network called SheSpeaks. The study involved 347 US-based influencers and asked for their opinion on the best social media platforms for influencer marketing.
Based on the report, Facebook ranked at the top again, with 32% of influencers vouching for it as the best platform for influencer marketing. Instagram came close at 24%, followed by Twitter and Pinterest. So, even influencers themselves find Facebook to be the most effective social network for influencer marketing.
The study highlighted that influencers use Facebook to show followers what they like and encourage them to like it too. This goes to show that the platform is the most effective overall as it helps brands gain visibility and leads, which can result in higher conversions.
#2: Pinterest to Create Desire
Pinterest may not be among the top three most effective social media platforms according to the two studies from Tomoson and SheSpeaks. But the Mavrck study found that people spend about 638 minutes every month on the platform. Additionally, it generates the second highest web referral traffic at 5.72%, which is still far below that of Facebook but way above all other social media channels.
If you look at the chart below, you’ll see that other platforms aren’t generating nearly half as much site referral traffic as Pinterest. Considering these two metrics, this platform is among the top social media channels for influencer marketing.
The study also pointed out that Pinterest helps influencers to show their followers what they want. The fact that an influential individual desires a product can stimulate the same desire in an audience, which can turn into potential conversions.
You can collaborate with Pinterest influencers to co-create content or products, which they can promote to their followers. Take for example how The Land of Nod collaborated with Oh Joy to create an exclusive collection of kids’ bedroom and home décor products. The influencer’s Pinterest board for this collection has more than 800,000 followers, with many of the posts getting 1,000-7,000 pins.
#3: Instagram to Raise Brand Awareness
Despite the fact that Instagram doesn’t allow users to add links to their posts, it is still one of the best influencer marketing channels. Users spend an average of about 760 minutes per month on the platform. And with 400 million active users, it can be a great tool for boosting your brand’s visibility.
Instagram is a platform fueled by visuals. High-quality images of your products shared by Instagram influencers can help you raise awareness about your brand. An influencer posts an image of a product and their followers are intrigued, even if they have never heard about the brand before.
Target wanted to promote a new clothing line for kids called, “Cat & Jack.” They decided to work with Instagram influencers to reach their target audience, mainly comprised of parents. For the campaign, they partnered with high-reach parents, including Judy Travis (@itsjudytime), and Luisa Fernanda Espinosa (@luisafere). The influencers created sponsored posts with stunning images of their kids wearing items from the new collection.
Within the first two weeks of the campaign, they managed to reach more than 2.63 million people. They also generated significant engagement, with more than 180,000 likes and 1,200 comments on just 14 sponsored posts. This campaign is just one example of how effective Instagram can be for raising brand awareness. If you’re looking to boost conversions, you can have influencers mention a special coupon code in their image captions.
#4: YouTube to Engage a Huge Audience
Influencers use YouTube to engage their audience through useful and/or hilarious videos. Some influencers provide valuable content in the form of video tutorials and reviews. Others create sponsored videos with an amusing take on certain topics related to the product. According to Mediakix, entertainment industries benefit the most from YouTube influencer marketing campaigns. This is followed by the how-to and style categories, and then comedy.
Although these are the four most effective social channels for influencer marketing, other platforms may be more effective for specific goals. For instance, Twitter and Snapchat are great for providing live updates.
The key is to customize your campaign for each social media platform, based on what you wish to achieve. Need some help putting together a social media influencer marketing campaign? Let’s work together to develop a campaign that works!
And, of course, don’t miss the upcoming Influencer Marketing Days conference where this and many other influencer marketing topics will be discussed.
The year’s fourth quarter is already here, and online marketers couldn’t be more excited.
eMarketer predicts that this holiday season retail ecommerce with grow 17%, with ecommerce sales representing 10.7% of total holiday retail sales, and nearing $95 billion. Interestingly though, according to Market Track’s research, 27% percent of consumers plan to finish the bulk of their holiday shopping before November, and a total of 49% should be done with their holiday purchases before Thanksgiving (November 24).
If you haven’t done so already, now is a high time to get your affiliate program dressed up for Q4’s holiday marketing!
There are at least 7 ways in which you can prepare for it:
1. Develop Holiday Creatives
Whatever performs best for your affiliates, create holiday versions of these. Here are just a few examples of holiday-themed affiliate creatives of select advertisers:
2. Onboard Holiday-Oriented Affiliates
Seven years ago I wrote about affiliates whose holiday earnings frequent exceed a median annual salary of an American, and the point still holds. Holiday-oriented affiliates can be tremendously effective in promoting any advertiser, provided the latter equips them with relevant marketing tools (i.e. the rest of the points in this post).
3. Create Holiday Promotions
Unlike many advertisers may think, “promotions” don’t have to be coupon- or discount-oriented! Any customer-facing offer (be it “two for one,” “buy two, get one free,” “free shipping on orders of $XX or more,” or anything else) can be a powerful conversion booster. So, do plan these in advance.
4. Share Your Marketing Calendar
Don’t keep the knowledge about your upcoming offers and promotions to yourself! Equip your affiliate with the calendar of your plans for this holiday season. Here’s how Walmart.com did it last year, for example:
I encourage you to be as detailed as possible. For your plans no to “leak out” too early, give your affiliates the concrete dates when to expect the details of the promos (without disclosing the specifics). Affiliates can then synchronize their marketing of you and your product(s) with your marketing calendar, ensuring maximum alignment of everyone’s goals and efforts.
5. Be(come) Mobile-Friendly
According to “The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report” 40% of all shopping ad spend will be on a smartphones. Furthermore, when it comes to affiliates specifically, according to Affiliate Window in Q3 of 2016 as much as 63.4% of affiliate-referred traffic (and 42.1% of sales) originated from mobile devices. Nothing can underscore the importance of landing this traffic on mobile-friendly web pages better than the above-quoted statistics.
6. Create & Share Shipping Calendar
If something cannot be delivered by a specific holiday, an affiliate would much rather focus on marketing something for the other key date, or something entirely different. There is no way for them to know your shipping calendar unless you equip them with it. Whether it is as fancy as what Pure Hockey put together for Christmas deliveries (see below) or something more generic, share it with your affiliates.
7. Plan for Post-Holiday
Finally, it is important to have a solid post-holiday plan. There are multiple things you can do. Here are three to get your creative juices flowing (i) plan on clearing unwanted stock by discounting holiday-related items, (ii) look into opportunities to up-sell your holiday shoppers, and (iii) see what you can learn from the lists of bestsellers registered during your holiday sales.
So there you have it… Seven practical ways to get your affiliate program in shape to perform well during Q4. If I have missed something that you’ve seen work well, please do chime in with your experience via the “Comments” field below.
Did you know that Heath & Beauty is one of the top 3 affiliate marketing categories out there [more here]? Over the years we set up, launched, and managed over a dozen of affiliate programs in this vertical; and today I am happy to announce the newest affiliate program we have set up (and are currently managing) — that of Michael Todd Beauty.
This company is all about offering luxurious skincare products which are made of natural ingredients, free of parabens, sulfates, artificial dyes, and other potentially harmful additives. All of their skincare products are also made in the USA.
Michael Todd’s Soniclear devices deserve a separate mention too. Since skin exfoliation is essential to having skincare products properly absorb and work effectively, Michael Todd developed facial cleansing devices to help with this.
We’ve set up this advertiser’s affiliate program on Rakuten Affiliate Network, and launched it just last month. Here are the program’s details:
- Payouts: 20% on new customers & 10% on returning
- Cookie life: 20 days
- Full product data feed
- Dedicated account manager on AM Navigator’s end
- Possibilities to get products for reviews
- …and much more
We hope to see you join Michael Todd Beauty’s affiliate program.
Should you have any questions about this affiliate program, do not hesitate to contact us. We respond within 24 hours, if not sooner.
Note from Geno Prussakov: This is a guest blog post from Eric Nagel:
Coupons are a necessary component for most e-commerce sites:
- The online coupon market is worth about $4 billion a year
- Majority of US Internet Users Will Redeem Digital Coupons
So now that you’ve seen how important it is to offer your shoppers coupons for your e-commerce site, how do you get them listed on the big coupon sites?
If you have an affiliate program…
… sites will typically list your coupons for free, provided they are an affiliate (or publisher) of yours. This is because when a shopper uses the coupon (typically via “click-to-reveal” in which the shopper clicks a button to reveal the coupon code, at the same time setting the affiliate tracking cookie on their computer), the publisher earns a commission of the sale.
Many of the bigger sites automatically download your coupons from the affiliate networks or coupon feed service providers. Once the coupon is listed in your program and the publisher has joined, there’s nothing more for you to do. But before this happens, you need to add the coupon to your affiliate program.
Submit your coupon to the affiliate network on which your program is hosted. This step varies per network, but here are some tutorials on how to do this on some of the major networks:
If your affiliate program is on another network, search their help or support section for instructions on how to add coupons, deals or offers to your program.
Some coupon sites, such as eBates and DealCrunch, use a coupon aggregator such as FMTC. FMTC takes the deals listed with the affiliate networks, aggregates, cleans and verifies the data and then redistributes it via a single feed.
Affiliate Example: Groupon
Groupon’s coupon section has been gaining steam, now listing 70,054 free coupons at 11,059 stores (as of Oct 5, 2016):
Chief Executive Officer Rich Williams has been transforming the company from a daily deal e-mail provider to an online destination for people looking for bargains. About 1.1 million new active customers from North America used the site last quarter, bringing the total to 27.9 million.
Groupon’s online coupons (once known as Groupon Freebies) is fed from coupons in the affiliate networks. Simply add your coupon to your affiliate program and invite Groupon to join your program and your coupons should be listed in their coupon site.
If you don’t have an affiliate program…
…you may have to pay to have your coupon listed. Coupon sites need to make money, and if you do not have an affiliate program the sites are not being paid a commission so expect to pay a listing fee.
Non-Affiliate Example: RetailMeNot
RetailMeNot has had over 688 million visits in the past 12 months. While I’m listing them as a “non-affiliate example” because they do accept non-affiliate stores and coupons, they also collect coupons from sources like affiliate networks. Combined, RetailMeNot has over 600,000 offers from 70,000 retailers and brands. RetailMeNot facilitated $4.8 billion in global sales last year alone.
If you have an affiliate program, start at help.retailmenot.com to add your program then RetailMeNot will pick up your coupon from the affiliate network.
But if you do not have an affiliate program and want to submit your coupon to RetailMeNot, again start at help.retailmenot.com to add your program then go to www.retailmenot.com/submit to add your coupon.
Other Non-Affiliate Sites
You can find other sites to submit your coupon to by doing some Google searches, such as “submit a coupon” or “submit coupon codes“. This can be labor intensive so it might be best to have a template with the deal specifics:
- coupon code
- start and end date
- terms & restrictions
and outsource this to a contractor.
Adding your deals to the big coupon sites first depends if you (as a merchant or advertiser) have an affiliate program or not. If so, add your deal to your listing with the affiliate network and invite the coupon sites to join your program. If you do not have an affiliate program, keep in mind that coupon sites need to make money so you may be required to pay to have your deals listed. But a quick Google search can reveal thousands of sites to submit your deals.
Having traveled to 25 countries in the past 18 years, I do have quite a number of frequent flyer miles “under my belt.” With these, though, I also have quite some experience of unexpected travel complications (from damaged luggage to medical emergencies to whole trip cancellations). With time life taught me about the importance (and convenience) of insuring my travels. Possible complications are never good, but they are much easier handled when you are insured. Unfortunately, too many a time, I wasn’t.
AM Navigator’s client that I would like to highlight in my today’s post is among the largest travel insurance providers in the United States.
Backed up by one of the world’s most respected travel-related brands, Travelex Insurance Services for more than 55 years they’ve been helping people protect their travel investments; and we are proud to be managing their affiliate marketing program.
The program is run on/through CJ affiliate network, and offers:
- Payouts of up to $17.00 per referred enrollment
- Generous 45-days’ cookies
- Custom creative material
- Dedicated program managers on AM Navigator’s end
- …and much more
We are very much looking forward to helping you make money with the affiliate program of this world-class advertiser.
Earlier this year, AM Navigator turned 10.
We didn’t make noise around it, as our deeds have always spoken louder that any words.
In the course of these years we launched and managed well over 100 affiliate programs across all of the world’s major affiliate networks (CJ, Rakuten, Pepperjam, ShareASale, AvantLink, Affiliate Window, Webgains, Commission Factory, etc). Our clients ranged from major brands (like Forbes.com, MetLife, Hallmark, FreshBooks, Skype, Medifast, and Travelex) to many small(er) companies; with millions in revenue brought to them via the affiliate marketing programs that we’ve managed.
However, there is something else that we’ve been doing throughout all these years — something that contributed to the online success of thousands of businesses. I am referring to the educational activity to which I’ve been true all these years, and something that I’m especially proud of.
It was in 2006 that I completed my very first book on affiliate marketing and won the first “Best Outsourced Affiliate Program Manager” of the year award. In 2007 I started blogging and spoke at my very first conference. In 2009 I made it my New Year’s resolution to blog daily and stuck with this frequency for two years straight (pacing it down to five days a week only in the third year). Today, all of my books, blog posts, articles, video courses, webinars, and conference presentations combined account for well over 1,500 of content pieces produced.
Understanding the challenge of navigating around all of this content, we’ve decided to make you a gift on our 10th birthday — the Affiliate Marketing Knowledge Base.
Of course, these are only select pieces of content that we have produced. Our job was not to overwhelm you, but make things more manageable and more digestible. We will be expanding this section of our website going forward, but keeping it conveniently categorized and easy to use.
Happy 10th Birthday to us!! 🙂
Amazon.com is the planet’s biggest online store (whose 2015 revenue exceeded $100 Billion). Walmart, on the other hand, is the world’s largest company by revenue ($482.1 Billion in 2015) and also the globe’s largest corporate employer (third only to the U.S. Department of Defense and Chinese Army).
Both of these remarkable businesses actively employ affiliate marketing to generate sales.
What can we learn from how they run their affiliate marketing programs? Many things; but covering fifteen specific bases makes these advertisers especially successful with affiliates. Below you may find my list of these key elements, explanation of each, as well as a video, and a slide deck to support these.
Affiliate Marketing Lessons from Amazon & Walmart
2. Performance Incentives: When it comes to motivating affiliate performance, Amazon is famous for their volume-based affiliate payout structure, whereby the more products you sell, the more commissions you get paid.
3. Deep-Linking Capability: Both Amazon and Walmart realize that deep-linked affiliate campaigns yield higher conversion rates. Therefore, they both offer affiliates a way to link to any page within their websites via an affiliate/tracked link.
4. Variety of Creatives: From standard size banners to text links (which lead to the best-performing sections of their websites), and on to widgets and product feeds, both of these advertisers offer affiliates a wide array of creative material to work with.
5. Ease of Integration: Following Walmart’s and Amazon’s example(s), make it wasy for your affiliates to activate with your program by offering them educational resources, motivating incentives, tools that equip, and ongoing support
6. Communication: To keep their affiliates up-to-date on what’s going on in their affiliate programs, these two giants send between 7 and 10 affiliate newsletters on a monthly basis. We recommend bi-weekly newsletters, but if you have enough information to share at this frequency, it may be worth experimenting with it.
7. Empowering Bloggers: Realizing that content-producers (bloggers, specifically) are among the most coveted types of affiliates, Walmart.com put together a WordPress plugin to help automatically convert relevant text to affiliate links.
8. Equipping Developers: Who else is more capable of turning an affiliate program around than a web-developer? Both Amazon and Walmart realize this and equip them with Amazon Product Advertising APIs and Walmart Open API Developer Portal respectively.
9. Attracting Mobile App and Game Developers: We’ve been talking about mobile being “the next big thing” for years, but it’s already here and it’s already big (with as much as half of affiliate-referred transactions originating from mobile devices). However, Amazon is one of very few advertisers that offers something like their Mobile Associates API for game and app developers to sell their products within the mobile apps.
10. Ongoing Conversion Rate Optimization: Both Amazon and Walmart are big on CRO, with the former often running over a hundred of tests simultaneously. No wonder why their affiliates enjoy conversion rates of up to 17.6% [details here].
11. Fairness to “Closers”: When educating affiliates about the types of links to use, Amazon.com encourages them to use “Add-to-Cart” buttons and the reason is more than compelling: once the item is placed in the card the affiliate can then “receive credit for the purchase as long as the customer places their order within 90 days” (as opposed to their standard 24-hour affiliate cookie life).
12. Exclusive Contracts: More than once, when trying to onboard an Amazon affiliate into another affiliate program, we hear this response: “Amazon is the exclusive advertiser on my sites. Moreover, they covert better.” The latter convincingly justifies the former; and I applaud a merchant who can get valuable affiliates to agree to such relationships. Class act, hands down!
14. Policies on TM-Centric URLs: Amazon turns down affiliates that “include any trademark of Amazon or its affiliates, or a variant of misspelling of a trademark… in any domain name” [source]. Walmart similarly warns affiliates against the use of “trademarks, or any variation or misspelling thereof, in metatags, hidden text or source code” or in their “domain name or any other part” of the URL [source].
15. Holiday Marketing: Finally, there is something we can learn from both of these giants in how they treat holidays. Both Amazon.com and Walmart.com efficiently equip their affiliates with everything needed to market them effectively during the key holidays throughout the year.
Here is a detailed (nearly an hour-long) presentation on the topic which I delivered at Affiliate Summit in New York City last summer:
The corresponding slide deck may be found below: