Affiliate marketing can be a very effective tool for selling your products online, if you know how to use it right. Here I am going to talk about the affiliate marketing in the Netherlands, as this is where we are located and this is the market I know.
Which is the best affiliate network to use, if you are selling your products on the dutch market? How to get the most value for your money? How to make your affiliate marketing irresistible for publishers? I will also point some examples of affiliate marketing, done wrong and I will share with you, how it can be done better. Before I start, I would like to say, that affiliate marketing is a very powerful tool for growing or destroying your business.
Make sure your website and marketing materials are ready for it. Your website’s design and structure are very important. If your website is not looking good or it is difficult to navigate through, publishers will not be interested to recommend it to their readers. So, make sure it is attractive and easy to navigate through. Make a plan what you will promote and how your potential publishers can benefit from promoting your products. Otherwise you won’t get the maximum value for your money.
Don’t treat your affiliate publishers same way as your customers. You have to make separate offers and discounts , which will serve best their needs. To your newsletter subscribers you can send a voucher code, which is valid for a day, or for the weekend, but communicating the same voucher code with your affiliates makes no sense. They would appreciate more unique information which they can share with their readers. So a good option is providing them with another voucher code or promotion valid for at least 1 month. This will motivate them to publish it.
Your incentives should serve their customers. Sending them offers and discounts, that they find valuable for their readers you will ensure, that they post your voucher codes and special offers regularly.
Instead of generalities, like: “We are the biggest and the greatest in the world!“, think about a little more specific what are you offering to the customers of your publishers. Nobody actually cares how big you are, but what benefit you can provide to them.
Your task is to find what information your affiliates need and to provide them with the information which will make it easiest for them to sell your product and to reach their goals first, then you will be able to reach your goals in the most effective way.
There are a number of affiliate networks available for promotion of your products on the dutch market, but I will recommend you to use only 1 of them, which I find best structured and organised. This is TradeTracker. In my opinion publishers prefer it, because it has many options. Your affiliates can generate links to your website and also they don’t need to download your product feeds and upload them to their server, but instead they can pull out all the information from tradetracker – from feeds which are being daily updated on their servers. Having an average 400 active campaigns it is quite an ambiguous task to download the product feed of each one and to follow which one is actual and working and which not. Another advantage is, that TradeTracker provides the publishers automatically with information about broken links. They also have an overview on all available voucher codes and offers from all merchants, which can be just copied and pasted. This is saving time for the publishers.
Zanox, for instance – another popular affiliate network don’t provide its affiliates with information about broken links immediately and there they also have to download all product feeds, voucher codes are provided in one page, but their deep link generator is impossible to find from their dashboard. And if your publishers don’t know that such exists, they won’t use it. For you it would be very difficult to predict what category or products they would find interesting to promote and when you have 10 – 20 links which don’t fit their needs, they will just go on and chose to skip you.
When you publish your text links, make sure they are not out of date – landing the user at your 404 page. If you publish a promotional offer on the page with your text links and it has expired – remove it on time.
Watch out, that they don’t make marketing to their company, instead of yours. We, for instance never correspond with the affiliates of our clients through our e-mail address, but through the e-mail of the client. Your affiliates should always receive your e-mails through an e-mail, coming from your own domain.
A very striking I found a case with the previous company, doing the affiliate marketing of Crocs – Optimus Performance Marketing, who sent to their affiliate publishers e-mail, full of product promotions and voucher code, but when a publisher clicked on the page with Crocs promotions, they were landed on a page with promotions of all the clients of Optimus.
At the end of the e-mail, there was also 4 paragraph presentation of Optimus – not very professional and not very adequate way of advertising their company, I think. Crocs have probably discovered, that they can get more out of their affiliate marketing, and have decided to try their luck with another company.
Now their affiliate marketing is done by Fresh Fruit, which in my opinion won’t bring them better results. E-mails, they send are also being send from the e-mail of Fresh Fruit, instead of Crocs and they contain banners which are linked to nowhere.
So even if a publisher find a promotion of Crocs interesting, they have to go through and search where this promotion is, and how to link to it. If this publisher has only one merchant it will probably not be such an issue, but they have in avarage 400 merchants, whose products they are promoting. So, this e-mail is just going to be skipped and this means only costs for Crocs, spammy e-mails sent to their publishers and no value for their money.
Sending different banners every week to your affiliates is another popular nonsense among merchants. It only rises your costs and they mostly don’t get published. Instead, it is more effective to communicate your special offers in plain text and best to provide your affiliates with links, that they can copy/paste.
If you say, that you have daily deal, make sure it is such one – which changes every day, not every week and not every month!
Affiliate marketing is a very powerful tool, that can improve your sales results and bring you new loyal customers, if you know how to use it. With it you can also lose many loyal customers. Supertrash, for instance have stopped working with all their affiliates, instead they have decided to work only with 40. Omoda, Bijenkorf and Mango also have refused working with many publishers.
Yes, logical you might think, but what if these publishers were their loyal clients? Only TradeTracker has around 80.000 publishers, according to Zanox, they are #1 affiliate network in the Netherlands, which should mean they have higher number of publishers.
Now, if you make a simple calculation 80 000 of which there is big chance that 50% are fashion blogs – this means we have 40 000 – 40 ( the case of Supertrash) = they have rejected roughly 39960 publishers, if even 1% of them have been their loyal clients – the chance is high, that they are not such anymore! This means they have possibly lost around 400 of their loyal clients, trying to reach new clients. Ironical, right? With Mango, I suspect the numbers are much higher.
What they are doing is a quite often seen mistake – to serve their short term needs at the expense of their long term goals, which can in some cases lead to change in brand preference. That’s why, my advice is – think well before you decide to cut 99% of your affiliate publishers, because you can’t handle them all, or whatever the reason is. Have in mind, that your profit comes from repeating orders and a happy customer shares his experience on average with 7-8 persons and an unhappy one – with 10-12 persons.
Price-off deals and giving away products for free are in favour of sales managers and they cannot produce more than a temporary uplift of the sales curve. They can be also habit-forming. Affiliate marketing can be your most powerful tool, if you know how to use it correct – and this is not mainly for promotions.
If you are using or planning to use affiliate marketing for advertising your brand and products and you want to benefit most of it, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit the Online Request button at the top menu, for more information on how we can help you do this the most profitable for you way. We will also help you determine where your existing customers are, and where your potential customers are.