Affiliate marketing is all about relationships and partnerships. At a simple level, an affiliate is someone who drives relevant traffic to your site, being compensated for driving a desired action ranging from a click, right through to a sale.
At Genie Goals, we believe affiliate marketing deserves more time in the sun as a marketing channel because, yes, it can deliver a positive ROI for marketing teams willing to put in the effort and spend to make it a legitimate part of their mix.
Yet too often affiliate marketing isn’t given the respect it deserves because of a lack of understanding of the channel, despite the relative simplicity of the concept. With this in mind, at a recent event our Head of Affiliates, Rachel Jones, stripped the affiliate channel back to basics – examining the fundamentals of how the channel works – but more importantly: where the channel can provide value for a company looking to grow revenue and boost brand image.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy these 22 minutes and 31 seconds of marketing based common sense, leaving you with a sense of where affiliate marketing can work best for your business.
If you would like to read along, Rachel’s slides can be found here. Transcript below.
I was “inaudible” nervous right now about holding the microphone so if I read too much and I kinda like keep it a bit away from my mouth do you signal and start waving at me that the bit of participation you can basically do. So as a Joe really nice sudden “inaudible”. I’m here to talk to you about Affiliate Marketing, my work with Joe at Genie Goals so this is pretty heavy branding going on for Genie Goals right now, hope to go too distracted him, so before I start off to give you guys a little bit of the background into I guess my life in affiliate and I guess I was trying to think about a slightly more interesting way to present this but ended up being just words and numbers so not sure if that’s interesting or not but here we go.
So I’m Head of the Affiliate first, so I join the A to Z “inaudible” of affiliates, I have 10 years in digital so I’ve worked a lot previously in my kinda fashion and various marketing roles I’ve worked in, “inaudible” type of e-commerce experience, “inaudible” was in the world of affiliates which I guess is why I’m standing now hopefully talking to you today and seven countries visited in the proceed of Affiliate Marketing, I use to manage some global accounts and I was quite lucky and fortunate to be able to travel around and visit some different offices, different affiliates and twenty brands managed during my time and so I worked mainly kinda on the affiliate network side, so I did a quite a bit of crowd management for anything from the like of “inaudible” to Skype to Expedia for example cause I’m that kinda of “inaudible” I work with Affiliate Marketing and I was trying put a number in the amount of wine I’ve drunk in the time just because Affiliate Marketing tends to heavily based around pubs and drink in pubs, “inaudible”
Question: So just to kick it off, what is Affiliate Marketing?
Response: So very basic and essential that affiliates is partnerships. So partnerships this to most different ways but when you work in Affiliate Marketing everyone you work with and thought awareness essentially a partner of respective partner or somebody you could potentially work me to drive “inaudible” to go business. I have done a very basic example here, so you’ve got the example of the affiliate on this side, and here is the next example, a mobile phone “inaudible” for a catchy and they decide that they rate mobile phones, so they basically talk and give their recommendation on mobile phones and new handsets and stuff they thinks really great. They have this fight anyways, cause they found interesting but what they decided they could do you is actually they had retailers and people they work with that they recommend and they like the handset and they got big deals, so essentially all of this is described as affiliate marketing to the brand or advertiser to so say hey! I read this review about this mobile phone and actually you could buy it here, they’re a great retailer, this is a good deal
Question: So how does Affiliate Marketing work?
Response: So I haven’t laboured at the point around tracking so much because we can probably talk about cookies and all the intricacies of affiliate traffic but that would be quite a boring presentation in the end. Essentially affiliate marketing works by rewarding a set of actions. So generally they are rewarded for sales being driven, but it can sometimes be a lead or sometimes it can be a sign up to a website but the classic model I guess it that it is a sale and a sale in the end. So in the life cycle of Affiliate Marketing, you’ve got a link on the site to run so it doesn’t have to be just a brand, it can also speak to multiple brands, multiple sectors really dependent on their site . A customer needs to “inaudible” with that site and still choose that site anyways maybe they really like their content, they really like what they got to say about `products and clicks on that link. They then go in to buy product and as a result the fact that direct click link, the affiliate is to be rewarded commission.
So it’s kinda, when I say partnerships cause its beneficial to everyone in this scenario, the brands getting this great traffic from a potential customer, a new customer just got a new got “inaudible” and the affiliates get rewarded for the effort they put into potentially creating contact or putting relevant content on their website..
Question: Who are Affiliates?
Response: So this quite a broad subject, cause when I say partnerships and affiliates it can mean multiple affiliates, multiple partnerships, multiple business models so essentially, can be anyone with like a website or an ad or blog or social channel or social feeds and you just got an idea and a passion for something or as haven’t really good money makings schemes, it doesn’t always have to be passions and blogs and so for me the kind of Affiliate models that we kind come across when you’re working in Affiliate Marketing and the kinda big players in the sector really are cashback that essentially why your customer gets paid to shop, so a customer sees what they gonna get, sees that they gonna get rewarded and don’t know if anyone uses cashback sites regular. If not maybe using them cause “inaudible” “inaudible” sites so that basically plates deals and offers all into one place, so if you are or may you have known yourself if you have to go to “inaudible” restaurant it’s like pizza express you probably pretty much “inaudible” before hand and say is there is a batch available. That kinda what those guys do, they collate this vouchers and it real easy to find them.
Comparison shopping, so these you put “inaudible” on different products together and specialist products together in one place so this “inaudible” in a way that the cashback sites is set to regain points so shopping and “inaudible” someone like Necture for example is classified as an affiliate cause the gain points and so “inaudible” content and can be like large sites so, independent needs, paper for example has an affiliate program where they drive traffic. Everyone set in parts of their website, where they drive shopping links and things like the new buzz words in the kinda of industry influences and bloggers so these are the people that gets the people who are more have their kinda passion and the idea in the classical the big fashion bloggers, to keep with the live Instagram channels, who really promote and have a more person approach I guess is what they talking about.
So just to quickly give a couple of example of like how this looks and how this plays out so everything and its “inaudible” from individual bloggers so just taking the example of this fashion bloggers “inaudible” who how he has huge amount of followers create so like her own content works of “inaudible” and gifting and post and creating her own fashion shoots right up to the likes of someone like top cashback which is a really massive cashback site we see of eight million members and feature pretty heavily most brands marketing structure because of the influences and the reach that they have as brands.
So doesn’t really work, yes, I’m hoping that wouldn’t be standing probably if it didn’t work cause that would be a bit of unfortunate that and yes it really it really does but it works in certain ways for certain sectors better and there’s definitely ways to get the most out of it. So Affiliate Marketing spans many sectors it mainly “inaudible” I would say is where the “inaudible” is although there are some “inaudible” that do some good stuff and I would say they tend to be people that are working the “inaudible” face that have things like repeat purchases quite a lot so you often find that people who sells stationery to business work quite well in affiliates cause its often probably “inaudible” in the business on cashback we “inaudible” the offering get good deals but the main fact of it is thou it tends to be insurance and finance, utilities weed out, travel, “inaudible” and entertainment leisure and by that it means to more like kinda “inaudible” things like descriptive stuff and subscriptions “inaudible” and T,V, channels and we’ll say telecoms as well and
It can make up a good amount of the brands online marketing channel so it can be from anywhere from like ten to fifteen “inaudible” but this can go up wildly like some brands have all these type of them dedicated to Affiliate Marketing who are just dedicated purely to those partnerships and that channels so that it could be up to as much as like thirty “inaudible” brands, so it pretty big when a brand hits “inaudible” and it becomes quite a mature program to then. So it is a growing industry and I’ve just kinda picked up some key stats from the last online phones marketing survey so it was kinda see “inaudible” year and year and tends to be in the amount spend the advertisers spend into space that they measure and that’s predicted to be the same again this year so that pretty strong, healthy and there’s a lot of affiliate in this space, a lot of advertisers in this space as well, you can see that it’s a pretty healthy stuff there and I think one of the most significant things with Affiliate Marketing thou I always like to read “inaudible” is the different time of investment because it is one of those channels that when you’re working partners and you’re working with upsides, you basically pretty much getting back what you put in and most cases cause you’re paying a commission when a sales happen, it’s going pretty healthy return on investment in a pretty healthy life cycle there when you’re doing you’re marketing mix and it also a very global business as well, those definitely markets of within Affiliate Marketing which are much more mature than other markets so the U,K, must be a mature market and the US also huge market and Germany and Europe is another one but there are some really good emerging market as well, so Australia is been a really key one for a lot of brands marketing strategy, it’s really come out in the last couple of years I would say, seeing a lot of growth and you a lot of emerging markets coming through like China is becoming like a really big one in Affiliate Marketing too and challenge amongst the tapping into, cause its not quite mature and set up in the same way as soon of the more mature markets out there. It just shows for a big label brand or a brand breaking into upper market its quite a good channel to be engage “inaudible” to work in.
Question: So how do I get started?
Response: I would say, to get started if you’re thinking, do I wanna open affiliate program, if an Affiliate Marketing program right for my brand, I think you kind have to ask a few questions to start with and kinda really know your customer and your market because its not, I’m gonna be honest, it’s not gonna be right for every single brand and its not gonna be the strategy for every single sectors, so I would face huge questions to kinda get you started if you’re thinking about, if this is the channel that’s like right for you, would be, how would people purchase or signup for my product online and sounds like a really basic thing but Affiliate Marketing tends to “inaudible: in action, so you need to have so kinda way to of someone completing an action online cause that’s how you kinda track and reward your affiliates and do you have some kinda checker or form confirmation cause you need to be able to add some kinda tracking and to be able to track that back again to the affiliate cause although it’s about partnerships, it’s also very “inaudible” tracking and be able to fairly reward back to that partner and are your “inaudible” doing them, so a really a good indication is if there’s a market there and a step to their for you to get involved in if you can see people within your sector within your industry that doing what you know doing Affiliate Marketing, so this can be to find out but a really good check is to go on these kinda cashback site because they pretty much will have any brand on their who’s work in the affiliate space, so if you wanna see if your sector is represented, or if you wanna see if your “inaudible” brand is represented, that’s a really good key place to start.
Kinda what are your “inaudible” eyes as well, like Affiliate Marketing is a very, you know a very direct kinda performance like channel, like it reward him for an action, so you wanna be able to reward someone of that action and be sure that’s gonna be delivered but some brands going into it wanting to engage with like contents like influences then in that case you just see, how the slightly different “inaudible” that not always gonna feedback into a direct sale, it might just feedback into loads of traffic and potentially increase brand for each for example so have a really clear objective in mind before you get started.
Question: So how do I check and pay Affiliates?
Response: So I would say there are ways of doing this, there’s different tracking methods there if your “inaudible”, I would say use an affiliate network and this is a bit of a busy slide so and just to give you an idea of what working with an affiliate network would provide you. Hate to say, there’s lots of them here, so I’m not just promoting one, “inaudible” but I’ve been very fair and put loads of people in there and they help you with tracking so if tracking and your confirmation age and that tracking the place you need to go to run affiliate activity and they handle payments so, they would literally handle all the payment process and everything through the interface and don’t have to deal with paying affiliates individually and invoicing and they offer connections I think to some “inaudible” now it’s been affiliate marketed, it opens you up to ready network of thousands of affiliates that it just kinda “inaudible”, so that’s a really good way because of a “inaudible” can be hard, so its a really good way of tapping into some really good affiliates to start with.
There are fees that obviously, they don’t do it for free. they always say “inaudible” so if you’re someone who wants to startup an affiliate program, I would say thinking about how you gonna track it on the network side of things, to really keen place to start cause basically, the foundations of the program, if you can’t track and you can’t pay affiliates, you have that kind of faces to get started, and so its launched, you’ve launched your affiliate program so what, so optimize is that really generic word that “inaudible” digital and digital marketing campaigns. But really for Affiliate Marketing, I would say this statement is really really true and with affiliates, you get out what you put in, it’s not one of those channels very rarely that just you set it up once and you just run it and its fine and you can do that, there’s certain partners in sectors that kindly “inaudible” along, but if you really want to have a really good channel and get the most out of it, you really need to kinda put a little bit of effort in because if you got and affiliate program, you could be working hundreds of affiliates for example and they’re all different, they’ve got different needs and how is there for one of those affiliates gonna know what to talk about your brand and what not to promote, so that’s what’s communicating regularly is a really big thing like, you need to tell your affiliate what’s going on, what offers you got, what they can promote, what they can’t promote maybe and test and learn, there’s a lot of grams that goes into space and don’t realize that sometimes not every piece of exposure you put live is gonna perform straight away. But there is often a reason for that, well you can’t just assume it’s failed. You need to think about your activity, think about what you did, did you reach the right costumer, did you have the right offer, did you have the right language kind of thing.
Statement: Meet and understand your partners.
Response: So when I started, on first slide when I said about the wine, that’s because it is an industry based on partnerships and meeting people and building relationships and getting to know people and actually that goes massively long way in affiliates. Like the amount of times that I think of calling a favor, I’ve got a last perfect minute of exposure because I got those relationship with people has been key and pay and reward fairly so if someone has driven “inaudible” to sign, don’t take ages to validate that sale, like trying validate and by validate I mean, you basically just because they’ve driven the sale doesn’t mean you have to pay them, for example, if a customer “inaudible” cancels, you can then decline that sale as long as its in your terms but just do that fairly and on time don’t leave affiliates wasted money because a lot of people could “inaudible” businesses waiting for that and planning in advance, you get the most out of your partners if they know what your doing and what you’ve got coming up and what you wanna premiere and what your objectives are cause if you don’t tell them that, you can’t communicate with them, they don’t know, they don’t know what to promote.
So, just to couple of example because one of the biggest things is to me is that you need to understand what a different affiliate type need so in this scenario, you’ve got Philly and Brown so scenario one is you got a “inaudible” that looks like a price “inaudible”, so they offering some kind of reward during seventy to a customer so for them offering them a image of a new dress isn’t gonna be effective, what they need is an increase commission made essentials cause that’s what they’ll promote to pass back on to their user cause that’s that what they use to most interesting. So understanding that means that you can go to them with the best possible reward and the best possible wait to my “inaudible” maybe different, you’ve got a blogger, what does a blogger want? A blogger more than anything wants original content and how you give them original content “inaudible” by gifting them something so you’re gifting them you know a draft of something which will then leads to a photo shoot which then creates content for their blog which then keeps the user engage which then means that the users grow and it’s like a cycle “inaudible” you benefit to that affiliate as well and so an example of a campaign is that you’ve got the multiple partners, the multiple ways of working with them, so you’ve got a new collection say you’re a fashion retailer, and you work with all these affiliates at times so your cashback partner and you get an increase cashback rate to celebrate the launch. You’re a bunch of partners, he might just “inaudible” at new customers are a really big “inaudible: for years that makes you wanna to “inaudible” new customer foreign apps. At the same time was launch your new collection, you selected the “inaudible” to give tonight into for a review, cause it’s really important for you as the brand that get “inaudible” around that collection and that you are encouraging you to engage with that collection and shop in comparison you might, you know, you’re in the listings but maybe you pay for a little bit increase exposure, the example is to show how Affiliate Marketing kinda touches across multiple different type of sites and different ways of working, it’s not a one size fits all but there’s a lot grounds and ways of working with affiliates in this phase to really maximize you activity and just test and learn a bit like where your key “inaudible” that’s really important because that should mean that the direction the next time.
Question: Did the activity drive the valid customer?
Response: This is always a very hot topic in Affiliate Marketing, there’s a lot of talk its a new custom but if it was, wouldn’t we say new customer, do you mean a customer has never shop with you before or a customer has not shop with you for two years and you re-engage with them, there’s a lot you can get from understanding the customer you’ve driven there for years. Did it increase prompt awareness, so this comes along into that influences refer to its a slightly different “inaudible” that might be “inaudible” to reap and reach the new audience fully and how could you prevail, like you should never get static in Affiliate Marketing it should be something you look at, you optimize and you look at it again and what next in affiliates. So I think , I didn’t go into everything in next affiliates but I think there’s gonna be a continued investment and I believe “inaudible” so there’s always a lot of talk in Affiliate Marketing and anyone who works with it would know this about the values in the channels and about the reward and partners “inaudible”, I think that’s gonna continue this year and quite fairly I mean reward are known with the right kind of rewards so a blogger can’t necessary always drive sales because they often drive awareness, that kinda of upper fun old stuff that you can reward them with different payment methods and giving them cravings for review to make their followers will engage in their contempt for example. I think champion in a potential way will reach the channel “inaudible” I think there’s another people here even “inaudible” affiliates for years haven’t gone beyond the U.K. or the US there’s a lot that can be done in other markets and it’s a real opportunity to pursuing “inaudible” and just say I just been continuing to ensure the value of Affiliate Marketing is recognized and understood by brands like I think there’s a lot of big brands in space that really recognize that but there’s still a lot brands that don’t invest in there as much as they pretend to could which is hopefully might come in to make me spend more money and that’s everything for me.