Affiliate Marketing: Panel Dispels Five Myths; Offers Five Tips
During a session at last week’s Internet Retailer Conference in San Jose, Calif., a panel of speakers explained the reasons why the following five attributes are myths of affiliate marketing:
* Affiliate shoppers are undesirable. “Affiliate shoppers are wealthier, tend to have children in the home and skew older than the overall Internet shopping average,” said Stuart Frankel, president of Doubleclick Performics, an online advertising agency. He based his information on a recent Performics-sponsored affiliate insight study commissioned by ComScore Networks (see www.performics.com).
* You can’t control your brand. “Affiliate marketing at its root has absolutely nothing to do with affiliates,” said Gordon Magee, Internet marketing and analysis manager for the Doctors Foster & Smith catalog of pet supplies. “We’re trying to reach people who wouldn’t otherwise have purchased from us or people who we couldn’t have reached otherwise.”
* Affiliates are your sales force. “Affiliate marketing is a wonderful marketing tool, but it’s not a cure for a bad product or a business that’s otherwise having problems,” Frankel said.
* A good offer can sell anything. “Search has a lower contribution, but it’s a better acquisition source with greater lifetime value,” said another panelist, Adam Silverman, director of e-commerce for The Wet Seal.
* Too good to be true? As an example of a key effective means of affiliate marketing, “Web-only specials are attractive to affiliates,” Frankel said. “They get shoppers to not only buy online, but also to come back to check on other orders.”
Silverman of The Wet Seal offered five key takeaway tips on affiliate marketing:
1. Affiliate marketing is resource-intensive. Focus on partnering with key affiliates who are aligned correctly with your brand.
2. Measure your performance often; look at lifetime value, dollars given away in promotions, margin and loyalty.
3. There is minimal scale in affiliate marketing. Use your time wisely. From your online marketing portfolio, expect 5 percent to 20 percent of online marketing revenue to come from these programs.