eCommerce Insiders

Multi-Channel Affiliate Strategies for the Savvy Retailer

How is the average e-retailer marketing their affiliate links, and more to the point, what strategies are you using?

If you’re at a loss for an answer to both of these questions, then chances are good that you’re missing out on maximizing a marketing platform that works almost on auto-pilot once your affiliate manager has everything set up properly.

Affiliate marketing allows brands to spread their reach without over-taxing their marketing teams. Individuals who work independently to market the brand’s products and services for a bounty also produce a revenue bounty for the brand, while investing in tools such as software and online platforms that allows them to market successfully.

If your company has already implemented an affiliate program, then you’re probably already familiar with how lucrative such a program can be for your bottom line.

But, if you’re like too many companies, then you’re probably using the same, tired approach of assigning an affiliate link to an independent marketer, encouraging them to place their link within the body of their marketing blogs.

Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with affiliate marketers using blogs to promote their links. This is a time-honored, highly effective tradition.

Yet, there are other ways that your affiliate managers should be encouraging your independent marketers to think outside of the box so that they can create a vast breadth of shopper engagement, and hopefully, shopping cart selections that turn into sales.

Below are a few strategies your company should adopt in order to make your affiliate program become more profitable, while deepening brand engagement and promoting shopper convenience, too:

Email

One of the things that discourages many new affiliate marketers is the fact that they feel pressured to pay for blog hosting, learn how to maintain their blog, etc. Therefore, they often abandon your affiliate marketing program altogether. The problem with this is twofold:

Your affiliate manager can easily resolve this issue by specifically reaching out to inactive or deadbeat affiliate marketers who might like the alternative of marketing their affiliate link via email.

There are plenty of email marketing platforms available at negligible subscription prices, and one popular platform is free up to a certain numerical amount of email addresses. This will allow the independent marketers the ability to promote coupon codes for your brand without the need to take overwhelming steps that will stymie their progress.

Website

Of course, your independent marketers will ultimately lead interested subscribers to your e-commerce website via their email platforms (and others). But, when they receive their initial marketing link from your affiliate manager, then the link will create a cold, direct lead to your site.

Why not “warm up” new shoppers by immediately greeting them with coupon codes that they can redeem during their checkout process?

If you want to score bonus points with new shoppers, then offer them a choice between multiple coupon codes. They’ll feel as if they’ve hit the jackpot, and this will create immediate brand engagement, and loyalty.

Snail-Mail

Despite its disparaging name, snail-mail or postal mail is still relevant and necessary. After all, how would your online customers receive their purchases if it weren’t for postal?

So, since you’ve got to use it as a delivery platform for products, why not use it as an online marketing platform as well?

You can do this by sending affiliate marketers a dedicated coupon/shopping code that they should disperse to new shoppers via postcards, catalogs, flyers, etc. You can even provide some basic design collateral they can use.

This way, affiliate marketers¬†can be credited for each new shopper they direct to your website, and possibly receive a bounty based upon a percentage of the revenue they generate (if that’s how your program works).

Pay Per Call

According to Feed Front Magazine (Issue 28, October 2014), some affiliate programs award their independent marketers by paying them a bounty for phone call leads and inquiries. Depending upon the product or service that your company sells, it might make sense for you to implement a marketing campaign using inbound call center platforms.

There are plenty of retailers such as Dell, HSN, QVC, and others that have expanded their reach by taking advantage of call center platforms-this allows operators to guide online shoppers through challenging shopping processes. This also allows the shopper to redeem their shopping code with a live human being, which is something that they love!

By giving your branded affiliate marketers the freedom and the creativity to market via multiple platforms, you might find that you’ll breathe new life into your company’s affiliate program.

*Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Terri Scott

Terri is a content marketing storyteller and strategist. She teaches marketing and entrepreneurship through stories for marketers of all stripes. Her specialty is creating narrative and she writes essays and memoir in her spare time.

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