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We recently published an article for publishers on how to manage risk when participating in a merchant affiliate program. Today we are going to look at the flipside and how merchants must manage risks in order to launch and run a successful affiliate program.

From choosing the right partners to having the right processes to ensure your affiliates are complaint, there are numerous risks that when handled properly will ensure your affiliate program is run in a way that protects you as a financial institution.

Read on below for our top seven tips for managing risk.

  1. Find Publishers that complement your product – You want to make sure you get the most relevant publishers to promote your product and that they have the right audience. Investigate their online presence by visiting their website and social media accounts to see if it aligns with your products or brand. You can ask publishers how they plan on marketing your product(s) and discuss marketing strategies to make sure they align with your brands values and objectives. Watch out for publishers who don’t provide the right credibility or tone to match your brand.
  2. Manual Approval of Publishers – With all the brands we work with, we recommend manually reviewing and approving all publisher partners. This gives you an opportunity to get to know each site, show that you are invested in the relationship, and understand what their tactics are for marketing products. Have your questions ready. For example, “what incremental value will this affiliate provide?” and “How would this site reflect on my brand?” By putting questions together you should be able to identify which publishers to work with.
  3. Terms and Conditions – Clear and defined terms and conditions are a critical element in any affiliate program. There are many templates available online, and we recommend consulting an expert specialized in internet marketing to make sure you are fully protected. These terms give you the opportunity to create the rules of engagement for your partners – how you expect the relationship to be, the commercial terms, and consequences should the rules be broken.
  4. Compliancy – As a financial institution, to have a successful affiliate program you must ensure publishers comply and work within your guidelines to avoid a loss in customer trust, missed revenue targets, and worse, costly legal issues. So, it’s important to monitor the publisher’s statistics and try to have regular conversations with your top publishers to keep track of how they are driving traffic. The more in-touch you are, the less likely they will be to try to circumvent your affiliate agreement. You can also go through each piece of content before it’s published or have an affiliate agency sign off for you.
  5. Updating Content – We understand that compliance teams expect content to be up-to-date, as it provides a good customer experience. A great way to help mitigate this risk is to ensure your terms and conditions are clear and we always advise that the affiliate manager conducts an audit regularly. By making the terms and conditions clear and by working with the right publishers, they will be happy to keep the information up-to-date and will be willing to change content in a timely manner.
  6. Right tools and flags to prevent, identify and manage affiliate fraud – When onboarding and vetting new publisher partners, Share Results software offers a built-in Affiliate Verification Index (AVI) used to identify and score each publisher application. Each AVI score measures the accuracy of an affiliate’s account details. Publishers who have a low AVI score (for example: 1 out of 5) should require further screening. On the other hand, publishers who have a high AVI score (for example 4 out of 5) are deemed to be more reliable.
  7. Sale fraud protection and click protection fraud – It’s important that the affiliate software for example recognizes duplicate applications and repeated clicks from the same IP address, so you don’t payout fraudulent commissions.

In conclusion there are many benefits of affiliate marketing for financial products and services. In the case of a financial institution, such as a bank, insurance company or saving and loan associations, it’s important to make sure that not everything is about prohibition, but building long-term relationships with high-performing, trusted partners. Like any marketing channel, although there are some risks, if the financial institution implements the right processes and tools, the risks are much more manageable.

Let us know if you have any questions on how to manage risk for your business by getting in touch.

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Performance marketing is a fast-growing digital marketing channel that is proving to be extremely lucrative for both brands and publishers. As with any partnership, there are risks and considerations on either side that when evaluated effectively will be the hallmark of a successful working relationship. While the industry is unlikely to ever be risk-free, as a merchant and as a publisher it is possible to avoid possible landmines by knowing what to look for.

In part one we will look at risk management for publishers. When it comes to choosing affiliate programs and networks there are endless options, so it’s important to make sure that you choose the ones that make sense for you.

Also, in the financial services industry, compliance teams are often stricter with their affiliate rules and regulations, which means working in this space can be a challenge. Understanding what potential risks are in place is important to help make a partnership even more successful. Here are six tips to help you find the right partnerships to grow your business:

1.            Trusted Merchant/ Affiliate Network

You want to make sure you work with a reputable merchant/ affiliate network provider. Therefore, before joining an affiliate program, it’s best to diligently review your marketing partners by asking around on discussion or question-and-answer websites like Reddit and Quora. On LinkedIn there are also affiliate groups and is one of the best ways to share ideas, learn from others and find connections within your industry.  An example is the Affiliate Marketing Group which is a networking hub for affiliates and affiliate managers.

2.            On-time Payments

Understand the payment terms for each brand program, which can often be found in a merchant’s terms and conditions. Promoting a product takes a lot of effort and resources, so make sure that your merchant/ affiliate network provider is known for its consistency with on-time payouts. Once again asking around will help – LinkedIn is an example of where you can ask and get feedback from other publishers.

Understand the payment terms for each brand program, which can often be found in a merchant’s terms and conditions. Promoting a product takes a lot of effort and resources, so make sure that your merchant/ affiliate network provider is known for its consistency with on-time payouts. Once again asking around will help – LinkedIn is an example of where you can ask and get feedback from other publishers.

3.            Minimum payouts (Payment policies)

It’s always important to determine that the merchant/ affiliate network provider’s payout threshold is right for you, and what payment methods they offer.   Most programs will offer different options and different thresholds depending on the costs associated with each method. For example, to receive a wire transfer, it’s normal to expect a program to require a larger commissionable amount to help save you (and them) costs. Not to worry – most programs will rollover commissions earned to the next month if you didn’t meet your threshold and be sure to check this practice in their terms! FAQ Sections can also be a great place to start and are generally very helpful in clarifying minimum payouts.

4.            Tracking method

Earnings Report

Since your commissions are contingent on the accuracy of the merchant’s tracking method, it’s crucial to know how your performance will be tracked.  Some merchants use postback URL tracking, which uses a server to server approach, and though it’s slightly more complicated than using cookies, it’s a very accurate method of tracking. Many merchants use cookies to track sales or leads, and since cookies could be tracked for a few days or a few weeks, it’s something you want to investigate.

5.            Program Requirements

From trade lines guidelines to how you are getting traffic (i.e. PPC, banners, click exchanges, purchased traffic, etc.) – you must read and understand the terms and conditions to find out precisely what is allowed and what isn’t. You want to make sure you know what you can and cannot do. In most cases, if you’re in violation of the program’s terms and conditions, merchant/ affiliate network provider will use the threat of suspension and the withholding of earnings to ensure your compliance with their policies. There are often program details on each merchant’s profile and a link to their terms like here where you can see under details the cookie duration, whether paid search/ PPC is accepted and so on.

6.            Legal Requirements

When promoting a product or service, there are various laws that come into play, including laws that govern the use of email, SMS, MMS, direct messaging and phone calls for marketing activities. Thus, you must make sure you comply with the laws, which can differ in every country. For those in Canada, here is a link to the latest CASL laws. That said, you should do some research or even talk to a lawyer make so you have all your bases covered. This way you know what is required according to the law. For example, in some cases you may be legally obligated to have a disclaimer on your website.

In conclusion, there are always risks that publishers will face, but when handled appropriately these risks are manageable. As a start, always do your research and let the six tips above guide you.

If you are a financial institution stay tuned for part two with your own set of top tips for managing risks, which we will post on our blog over the next week!

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According to market researcher IBISWorld, conferences and trade shows are a $13.8 billion industry, and growing.

There are so many conferences to choose from, especially for companies or affiliates who are specifically targeting the financial industry. Since conferences are not cheap, you want to make sure to attend the event that is the most aligned with your business and personal goals. When deciding which conference to attend, it’s important to not only keep your budget in mind, but also consider the keynote speakers and other attendees.

Here is a list of the conferences which are the most relevant for both financial institutions and publishers in 2019. We describe each one in detail to help you identify the one(s) most relevant for you:

2019 Technology Conference

Where: Toronto

When: Feb 26th – 27th

Who Should Attend:

This conference is targeted at insurance and if your aim is to better understand the insurance industry and meet different insurance companies then this might be the conference for you.  It’s targeted at the below specific roles:

  • Senior leaders with responsibility for business transformation.
  • Senior line managers responsible for delivering business case benefits from technology implementations.
  • Technology professionals evaluating analytic, business intelligence, or cognitive computing technologies.
  • Anyone in risk management or finance who needs to ensure IT strategies meets = ORSA requirements.
  • Business, technology or actuarial analysts in need of techniques and tools to take a holistic view of technology’s impact on new products and services.

Who will attend:

Keynote speakers are a variety of industry thought leaders, such as:

• Jonathan Spinner – AVP, Claims Transformation & Strategy at Aviva Canada
• Steve Livingstone – President & CEO at Aha insurance
• Peter Primdahl – Emerging Business Models at The Co-operators

Insurance companies such as CAA and  Unica are exhibiting, as are several digital agencies.

The Financial Brand Forum

Where: Las Vegas

When: April 15th – 17th

Who Should Attend:

The Financial Brand Forum is the fastest growing and most prestigious annual conference in banking. This conference is aimed at marketing, advertising and branding leaders and other senior-level retail [executives in the banking industry.

If you are looking to learn from experts from different financial institutions this conference is for you. The three day conference is jam-packed with breakout sessions and has a line-up of world-class speakers. 

Who will attend:

Representatives from banks and credit unions of all sizes, representing over 20 different countries around the world.  The Financial Brand has welcomed many of the biggest, most prestigious and well respected banks in the world to the Forum, including Wells Fargo, BBVA, RBC, Scotiabank, BMO, US Bank, PNC, CIBC, Capital One, TD Bank +.

Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summith

Where: Toronto

When: June 10th – 11th

Who Should Attend:

This is an excellent conference, with a niche focus highly relevant for digitally focused financial services marketers. Share Results has attended this conference over the past few years and most recently CEO Nicky Senyard participated on a panel with CIBC’S Digital Marketing and Operations Director, Yuli Shumsky to discuss “Developing an Omni-channel Strategy for Your Financial Brand”.

Who will attend:

Expect to see thought leaders, experts and professionals from across North America at this unique event, including but not limited to;

  • Financial Institutions (Banking, Credit Union, Insurance, Mutual Fund, Loan, Mortgage )
  • Agencies (Marketing, Media, Advertising, Communications, PR and more)
  • Consultants, Vendors and Solution Providers (Communications, Strategy, SEO, Automation, Social Media & CRM, Analytics, Software and more)

This conference is particularly interesting for both financial institutions and publishers. In fact last year attendees, speakers and exhibitors included publishers such as RateSupermarket.ca, banks such as HSBC and EQBank as well as insurance and investment institutions such as Co-operators.

Affiliate Summit East

Where: New York

When: August 11th – 13th

Who Should Attend:

Affiliate Summit run several conferences every year and Share Results recently attended the Las Vegas summit. One of the many highlights of the conference wasthe Finance Meet-up, which was a dedicated time and place for those in the finance industry to network. Though not many financial institutions were present, it was a good conference to attend for people looking to meet US publishers, from financial bloggers to coupon sites, and comparison sites to lifestyle bloggers.

The conference in New York will have a variety of networking events in a relaxed environment to encourage the exchange of open ideas and experiences as well as access to online tools to arrange meetings with other attendees and speakers before, during and after the event.

Who will attend:

  • Affiliates (bloggers, comparison sites, coupon, content etc)
  • Advertisers (retail to travel, technology to finance)
  • Agencies and solution providers
  • Affiliate networks

When asked how many attendees were present from the financial industry at Affilaite Summit West in Las Vegas, Alex Pratt (Managing Director, Clarion Events, Affiliate Summit) said the following:

“The financial industry is one of our biggest segments at Affiliate Summit with just over 30% of our attendees stating that they are involved in the sector, so literally 1 in 3 people you meet will be relevant.”

FinCon

Where: Washington, DC

When: September 4th – 7th

Who Should Attend:

FinCon is one of the largest financial content conferences. The majority who attend are personal finance digital content creators but over the years the conference has grown with increasingly more financial institutions attending and participating in the sessions.  So if you are are a publisher or a financial institution wanting to meet and learn about financial topics on various topics related to creating better online financial content, promoting that content, and profiting from it, then this conference is worth attending.

Who will attend:

  • Digital content creators/influencers and brands in personal finance and investing.
  • Adiverse group of “money mediapreneurs”.
  • Certified Financial Planners, Chartered Financial Analysts, and Certified Public Accountants who want to build or have an online presence.
  • Published authors with books on personal finance and investing.
  • Freelancers who write for multiple organizations, while maintaining their own online platform.

According to Jessica Bufkin, Event Director from FinCon, the conference is “expecting 2,500 [attendees] this year.”

CardCon

Where: Washington, DC

When: September 8th – 9th

Who Should Attend:

CardCon is produced by Jason Steele, one of the nation’s leading credit card journalists and experts and will be the third annual CardCon @ FinCon. It’s a good conference for publishers looking to forge relationships with financial institutions.  This is also a valuable conference for publishers wanting to attend the panel discussions, presentations and networking events related to credit cards and consumer credit.

According to CardCon Producer, Jason Steele,

“The credit card industry holds many opportunities for publishers to make revenue from their affiliate relationships, and CardCon has become a marketplace for these relationships to develop. The financial institutions also want to connect with their publishing partners and look for valuable new relationships to develop.”

Who will attend:

  • Bloggers
  • Freelance writers
  • Banks
  • Affiliate Networks

In the past, high-level representatives from banks like Barclays and PennFed shared information about upcoming cards and benefits for example.

Though the full speaker line-up for CardCon 2019 hasn’t been released yet, last year’s keynote speaker was Clark Howard, a consumer advocate and personal finance expertWe hope that this list of 2019 conferences is a helpful guide in planning your schedule for this year.

The second half of 2019 will see some more conferences that are also worth considering such as the CPFC (Canadian Personal Finance Conference) in Toronto. Many don’t yet have confirmed dates or speakers for example so watch this space as we will post more conferences that we think are worth considering in 2019.

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Most of us can agree that if you don’t monitor data such as your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), it will be tough to determine how successful your affiliate campaign will be. To effectively optimize your campaigns, you must have the ability to carefully analyze your customer and revenue data. You also need to be capable of measuring affiliates’ performance by tracking sales, conversions and clicks from affiliate websites, so you can identify the right ones for you.


That said, insight gained from data reporting tools can have a significant impact on your campaigns’ profitability. Since you can’t fix or improve what you can’t measure, choosing the right analytical reporting software is of vital importance when you’re striving for peak revenue performance.


Having a tool with the means to provide detailed and thorough reporting to help easily measure key metrics will enhance your decision-making capabilities, allowing for your campaign objectives to be attained in a more efficient way. The key metrics we’ve found to be valuable in monitoring and evaluating the health of an affiliate program are the following:


• Conversion/transaction rates
• Volume of transactions
• Volume of approvals (and pending/declined sales)
• Approval rates
• Number of new affiliates
• Number of active affiliates (clicks)
• Number of active affiliates (that generate sales)


As a result, Share Results has developed a software which offers financial institutions the ability to keep a close eye on these vital KPIs. Our tool offers comprehensive reports, giving each client the ability to effectively track the performance of their affiliate program, and compare them side-by-side.

This includes reporting at a brand-wide level, measuring the performance of specific affiliates or groups of affiliates, campaign-level performance, and payment reporting. By the same token, all reporting can be run for a wide selection of time frames, including set periods or specific date ranges. In addition, with our APIs, it allows data to appear on the client’s dashboard, giving them a holistic view of their digital marketing budget.

Data Points

Having the right reporting and insights will help the overall success of your program. Some products generate much better ROI than others and knowing which ones to focus on is crucial. The same goes with choosing the right type of affiliate. The ability to segment different products and affiliates is of vital importance because it allows you to see what is, and isn’t working, and act accordingly. For instance, one of your products might have limited success on travel-related websites but could be converting very well on home repair websites. Share Results’ software let’s you segment in several ways:


• Publisher comparison
• Product comparison – You can compare your financial products and see how each one is performing.
• Category performance – You can see if certain niche websites work better than others for your product.
• Campaign performance – You can see how well your campaigns are performing and see if they perform better during certain periods. For example, was March a more successful month then June?

Tracking and Commission Structure setup

As a financial institution, logging into your account and keeping an eye on the commissions/ conversions is important because you can easily track your affiliates’ commissions for each product in one place.


Since your commission structure needs to be strategic and you need to ensure a ROI for each product, choosing the right software with tracking and commission features is critical. Share Results offers multiple unique tracking methods and is one of the most accurate affiliate tracking software on the market. You can establish a generic commission structure for each product as well as a specific commission for each affiliate. Our tool allows you to do any of the following:


• Percentage & Flat-Rate Payout
• Hybrid – Allows you to combine percentage and CPA, like a 10% commission combined with a $20 CPA for every approved customer.
• Pay-Per-Click & Pay-Per-Lead
• Coupon Code Commissioning
• Per-Product Commission – You can establish different commissions for each product. For example, you can have a product with a $45CPA per approved customer and another with a $100CPA.
• Campaign specific commissioning – In case you are running a unique promotional campaign and you want to offer a special commission.

ACID Reporting

The ACID Tool is a feature on our software that allows partners to add custom parameters to their links which enables more detailed tracking of each transaction, but also helps track the traffic generated to a merchant’s website. With this tool, you can immediately identify the most valuable campaigns, content, keywords, and audience segmentation.


Before signing up to an affiliate program, affiliates examine existing features and are often inclined to choose the ones that offer advanced tracking capabilities. And, since most affiliates use Google PPC to drive traffic, features like ACID reporting can be quite appealing because it gives them the opportunity to effectively track their keywords conversions and measure their campaign ROI.

Conclusion

These are just a few examples of the different software functionalities that are needed to optimize any affiliate program. Though everyone will have different needs, their affiliate network/tracking platform capabilities are the key to success. At Share Results our clients receive free training on how to take full advantage of our software. So, don’t be afraid to utilize these tools to optimize your affiliate marketing program.

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Financial programs have been strongly embraced in the affiliate marketing sphere. Not only do they pay above average commissions when compared with other program categories, but since money conversations are relevant in most people’s lives, you don’t need to be a financial guru to earn significant profits from these products.

Financial products such as credit cards, savings accounts, insurance, loans or even free credit scores offer high-paying commissions that range from $40 to $150. Plus, when it comes to financial products, you often earn a commission by providing leads (CPL) or getting people to take small actions like filling a form (CPA).

The question remains: how does one actually earn money from these products? This article will give you an overview of the six biggest success factors.

Choosing the Right Niche

To be a successful affiliate you need laser-like focus on a target market and identify a specific niche. Having a niche allows you to focus on an area of expertise and send a message to a particular target with particular needs. Your objective is for your audience to say, “That sounds like what I need (or want).”

To find your niche you want to start by identifying a few topics that you find interesting and write them down on list. When we asked Peter Keung from HighInterestSavings.ca how he creates compelling and engaging content for readers, he said, “My audience is quite engaged, and I am also personally interested in the topics of high-interest savings accounts, credit cards, and personal finance in general. I consider myself part of this online community, and all of the new stories and features on my website have come from community needs and requests.”

It’s too hard to write content on a subject you’re not passionate about. So, you must find topics that interest you and then, in order to better position yourself in your niche market, you will need to do competition research to see how competitive your selected topics are and find a way to differentiate yourself.

Choosing the Right Affiliate Programs / Products

In order to choose the right affiliate programs to promote, make sure it’s desired by your target audience.  You can do this by first shortening your list to a few topics second ask yourself if there are financial products that relate to these topics of interest and thirdly, ascertain if they provide value to your audience. Try to think a little outside the box.

The secret to affiliate marketing success according to Peter Keung from HighInterestSavings.ca is “patience to build authentic connections and community. But most of all, don’t lose sight of providing real value to site visitors.”

Commission Earnings

Once you get a good sense of what products you want to promote, the next step is to identify the ones that provide higher commissions, which will allow you to get a good sense of your most profitable options.

Choosing a Vendor

It’s often preferable to work with long-established vendors with a good reputation and high traffic. New vendors typically will not be able to provide conversion metrics that allow you to see which merchants convert their visitors to sales successfully. So, choosing a reputable affiliate marketing network often yields superior results.

It’s also important to choose a partner that has products that are a good fit for your audience. When selecting a partner and product, Stephen Weyman from CreditCardGenius.ca and HowToSaveMoney.ca says, “we focus on partners with good products that we think are the right fit with our audience.”

Build a Brand That Adds Value to the Consumer 

To convert, keep in mind that content is about what’s valuable to others. Your aim is to capture your readers attention and help them find a product that will bring them value. When asked about how they draw traffic to promote their financial product, HighInterestSavings.ca’s Peter Keung said, “I wouldn’t consider ‘promoting’ to be an accurate term for my website. I feature products that I believe are newsworthy and relevant to my site visitors. If my site visitors cannot derive value from a product, then I shouldn’t be featuring them.”

If you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, they will start to see you as a trusted authority, which makes them much more likely to takeaction on your product recommendations. There is a reason why Stephen Weyman, of CreditCardGenius.ca and HowToSaveMoney.ca, says, “recommending the right products to our readers has always been our focus right from the very start.”

SEO

If you want to find potential customers, you must make sure that they can find your content. You can do this with search engine optimization (SEO), which will improve your website ranking and help drive traffic.

The more content you can produce, the more keywords you can rank for on search engines. Given that keywords help foster good SEO, it’s important to do research to determine which keywords improve the likelihood of your content appearing when people are looking for it. Once you know which keyword you want to rank for, they must be integrated into your published content.

The Google algorithm prefers ‘naturel’ content, which is written to inform people, and not to satisfy the requirements of old search bots. So, even if there is no clear rule on the optimal number of keywords that need to be included on each page of content, it’s important to make sure you don’t over use them. According to best-selling direct marketing author, Joe Pulizzi, in his book ‘Epic Content Marketing,’ traffic to a piece of content doubled when targeting one keyword for every 150 to 200 words in a piece of content.

High Quality Traffic

If you are not seeing conversions and your website’s traffic volume is high, it probably means that visitors you’re attracting aren’t high quality prospects. Often it is a matter of re-thinking the way you have been targeting your prospects by shifting your focus from quantity to quality.

With a bit of testing and analysis, you can get to the bottom of what is preventing your visitors from converting. Once you figure this out, you will be in a position to improve your SEO strategy or your PPC campaigns to not only attract more traffic but also the right traffic.

Another way to generate high quality traffic is through social media. Though a few tweets about your business won’t bring customers pouring in, social media is a great way to attract potential clients, redirect them to your website and to convert. To do that, you must make sure you’re consistently posting information that is relevant and helpful to your audience. You must also be available to answer questions and keep your social media account updated with new content. 

Consistency

It’s important to understand that each post you make could bring new customers to your website. Since Google loves fresh new content, your website’s ranking will benefit from every new article you blog, which is a great way to keep in touch with your customer base.

And if there’s no reason for people to look at your blog—why would they? What would be the point of them coming to see your outdated content? Although keeping up with your content can be difficult, you could make it easier by simply scheduling it in advance.

Take-Away

To start a successful an affiliate journey, you must choose the right niche and affiliate programs/products. Once you’ve done that your success will be dependent on getting high-quality traffic by optimizing your website for search engines (SEO) and constantly producing quality targeted content that will help your target market find products from which they will derive value.

If you’ve enjoyed this read, visit our website for other articles and our affiliate network.

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Affiliate marketing or, as it is being referred to more and more, performance marketing continues to blossom as an online marketing strategy, supporting a wide range of sectors by driving new revenue streams. In 2016, AMNavigator reported that developed affiliate programs generate 15% to 30% of all advertiser’s online sales. Yet, 78% of CMOs admit affiliate marketing to be their least mastered area of digital marketing.

This means, if you are a financial institution looking to increase the sale of your products and services or a marketer looking for new ways to get quality leads, it is vital to consider an affiliate management program.

Affiliate management consists of the following:

  • Proper tracking and report technology to monitor campaign performance
  • Recruiting and screening new affiliates to diversify exposure
  • Activating existing affiliates on new offers and promotions
  • Providing fresh creatives and content to create engagement
  • Monitoring and reporting on program growth and delivery
  • Optimizing affiliate performance to drive results
Choosing Between In-House and a Specialized Agency

When it comes to planning your affiliate management approach, you have two main options, and each has its pros and cons. The first option is to keep the management in-house. The second option is to leverage the expertise of an outsourced organization and partner with a company that specializes in affiliate marketing.

Read on to find out which solution is right for your business:

In-House

For an affiliate program to be successful it requires someone to manage it.  Managing an affiliate program is dependent on building quality relationships and taking a partnership approach with your affiliates. Therefore, it is important when establishing an in-house affiliate manager or team to dedicate resources to manage both the strategy and day-to-day operational activities.

Here are some of the pros of in-house affiliate management:

  • The team has direct access to key decision-makers and planning to provide affiliates with timely content.
  • Affiliate marketing can be fully integrated into the marketing team.
  • The team can learn from the affiliate strategy and apply these lessons to other channels.

And the cons:

  • It often detracts from being able to focus on other areas of the business, as managing an affiliate program takes time and resources, especially in the growth phase.
  • Building relationships with affiliates and creating a diversified, scalable approach can be challenging without an established network and understanding of the market.
  • It can take longer to achieve desired results, as affiliates require attention and need to establish trust in your tracking and reporting capabilities.
  • Affiliate networks normally have a finance team that oversees invoicing and commission payments. When running an in-house program, you will be ultimately responsible for affiliates being paid.
Affiliate Marketing Agency

Working with an external party means leveraging a team with expertise in a niche channel. You’ll have a dedicated affiliate manager working with you to ensure they are meeting expectations and growth targets. They handle the day-to-day work and provide regular reports to optimize performance.

Here are some of the pros:

  • Outsourcing can be resource efficient, as the key team members are already trained in affiliate marketing and have established relationships with affiliates.
  • They have bespoke affiliate technology and an established affiliate network, which ensures that you have the tools needed to quickly grow and scale across partners, payments, commission calculations and campaigns.
  • You have a partner who focuses on your industry and has relationships with affiliates in your niche, industry context and an understanding of key metrics that drive business growth.

Cons

  • When affiliate management agencies are not included in the overall business strategy, they can be less integrated in your overall marketing approach, which may be detrimental to program growth.
  • Outsourced partners require support from an internal resource to provide creatives, direction, and approvals when needed.
  • Depending on the business approach, resource costing internally, and prioritization logic, outsourcing can be seen as an unnecessary expense.
What about cost?

As it pertains to cost, since affiliate marketing is based on a performance model, the bulk of the cost will correlate directly with the results delivered by affiliates. These acquisitions ultimately contribute directly to the business’s revenue.

Managing a program in-house means an additional salary and overhead expenses, as well as a longer training and time to get up to speed. A salary can range from around $40k to $80k per year, which for some companies makes sense. With an outsourced agency, you’ll likely spend less than a full-time employee.

Ultimately, when considering what approach is most suitable to your business, key considerations should include your goal and future plans for the affiliate channel.

Still have questions on what approach to take? Please don’t hesitate to reach out! We’ll be happy to help.

If you’ve enjoyed this read, visit our website for other articles and our management services.

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As an affiliate, finding ideas that work isn’t always easy. You can often spend a lot time considering different strategies to boost sales.

Being in the business of affiliate marketing for many years, Share Results has experienced firsthand the effectiveness of different strategies, particularly for banking products such as credit cards. So, if ever you’re not sure where to start, here are three ideas that have worked wonders for many of our affiliates.

Read on to find out how these tactics can drive traffic to your website, retain visitors and ultimately convert.

1. Blog Content Target and acquire organic traffic

Having a blog allows you to rank for long tail keywords, which are not only less competitive, but also better for acquiring targeted traffic.

Build Interest That Resonates and Adds Value

Once you have traffic coming to your website through your blog, you can start converting that traffic into leads. If you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, they will see you as a trusted authority, making them more likely to start the sales process. So, it’s important to understand the key segments of your audience to deliver content that will be relevant and useful.

Increase Shares and Readership Through Social Media

Every blog post you create is an opportunity for people to share that content on social media networks, which exposes your business to a new audience.

Blog content can also be repurposed and distributed through different channels. Just this month, one of our affiliates repurposed their content about personal finance and banking products through their social media channels and e-newsletter. The result: acquisitions tripled from the previous month and traffic increased by 1267%.

Read more about creating shareable, value-added content.

2. Distribute Newsletters (Email Marketing)

Email isn’t going anywhere. Even in 2018, when it comes to digital marketing, after a website, email is the second most effective channel not to be missed according to a recent survey.  This year, one of our affiliates had 72.5% of their total monthly acquisitions come from a series of e-newsletters. One of their e-newsletter campaigns boosted their traffic by 46.3% from the previous month.

Email marketing is still 40x more effective than Facebook and Twitter when it comes to generating a sale, according to a McKinsey & Company study. This means if you don’t have an e-newsletter, you could be leaving money on the table.

That said, an e-newsletter adds significant value in several ways:

  • Reach readers

It allows you to take the conversation to your visitor’s inbox which is their most personal online space.

  • Build Engagement and Retention

Most of your website visitors are new visitors who will never come back, so getting them to sign up to your e-newsletter allows you to engage them, which can keep them coming back and help you retain the traffic you worked so hard to earn.

  • Offer Perks and Information of Value

E-newsletters also let you directly communicate offers to your audience and provide them with incentives to return such as discounts, valuable content or new products.

3. Display Banners

Display banners are often used and are a popular marketing tool. They are easy to launch and quickly test and when logging into any affiliate program, there is almost always a section where there are a selection of banners to choose from. Sometimes they are generic banners and other times they are promoting a specific campaign.

We’ve seen a new affiliate start driving traffic as soon as their banner went live on their homepage. Recently one of our affiliates who published content about a reward credit card saw their conversion increased to 25% as soon as they added a banner with a good CTA (call-to-action).

So, if you are thinking of using display banners, here are some pros and cons:

Pros:

Draw visitor’s attention and improve conversion rate

Banners are great way to draw your visitors’ attention and can help you convert.

Brand Awareness

More visibility means better recall rate for your brand and top-of-mind awareness. This is important because sixty-six percent of online consumers prefer to buy new products from brands that they are familiar with, according to a Nielsen study.

Cons:

Banner Blindness

As people are getting used to seeing display banners, they start developing banner blindness and often simply ignore them.

Ad Blockers

The use of online ad blockers is growing, and this results in a loss of banner impressions, conversions and sales.

If you decide to use display banners there are two things to consider.

First, do you have the right audience for banners? Some people don’t like to visit a website with advertising banners, which makes them more likely to use ad blockers.

Second, where do you place your banner? Since its location on your website will impact your conversion rate, you must try to ensure your banners are in an area that will draw attention. Don’t forget about banner blindness. Fortunately, it’s easy to change the location of the banner if it’s not getting the results you want.

Pro-tip:

We’ve noticed at Share Results that most affiliates get better results by using text links as they  allow them to generate focused CTAs. They seem to convert better than plain banners.

The Take-Away

Over the years we’ve seen blog content, e-newsletters and display banners be highly effective for our affiliates. So, trying these ideas can be a great way to boost your website traffic, customer engagement and conversions.

If you’ve enjoyed this read, visit our website for other articles and our affiliate network.

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We’re thrilled to announce that Share Results will be attending the Canadian Personal Finance Conference (CPFC18) this year.

The CPFC18 which is held in the heart of downtown Toronto, Canada on November 4-5, is a two-day conference aimed at personal finance bloggers, journalists, and anyone with a passion for learning more about finance. This year’s conference is themed around pushing personal finance boundaries and rethinking your approach to money.

If you want to hear great speakers, gain valuable insight on personal finance, talk to industry leaders or maybe even meet one of your favorite personal finance personalities, the CPFC18 is an event you don’t want to miss. Get in quickly and buy your tickets here.

This year, the conference has one of the most innovative banks in Canada, EQ Bank, as key partner. We’re delighted to support their involvement in the event as a platinum partner. Bryan Dinh, Head of Marketing and Acquisition at EQ Bank, recently stated their enthusiasm for the event saying, “EQ Bank is proud to host this year’s Canadian Personal Finance Conference and excited to participate in the ever-growing personal finance movement. We’ll be joined by industry leaders, innovators, and partners like the team at Share Results, to help push the personal finance boundaries and apply learnings and insights from the conference to our efforts in the broader market.”

With the robust line up they have this year, there is no doubt that there will be a lot to learn and some great discussions. Our team is ready to be inspired by speakers like Bonnie Brooks, former Vice-Chairman and CEO of Hudson’s Bay and Devon Brooks, co-founder of Blo. With networking sessions and engaging Q & A from leaders in the finance sphere, the CPFC18 will be a great opportunity to connect with key influencers in the industry including keynote speakers. We’ll be using this opportunity to meet and chat with all the speakers as well as others in the industry.

If you’re planning to attend the event, perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to see you there. Let us know if you’d like to catch-up for a meet-and-greet via your Share Results contact. We’d love to chat and hear from those in the industry and individual plans for the year ahead. And if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you can buy them here: https://bit.ly/2yGYSbX

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We are happy to announce that Share Results has been shortlisted in the International Performance Marketing Awards 2018. Our team is honored to be recognized by other leaders in our industry for the work we do for financial institutions.

If you are unfamiliar with the International Performance Marketing Awards, it’s an annual award ceremony which showcases outstanding works achieved around the globe. Awards are open to advertisers, publishers, media owners, agencies, networks, startups, technology providers or individuals in the performance marketing sector. Now, in its 12th year, the leading international award ceremony is a gathering of industry professionals held in London.

The awards show holds different categories such as Best Full-Service Affiliate Network, Best SaaS Platform, Best CPA Network, Best Performance Marketing Technology, Best Performance Marketing Agency, Industry Choice of Network, Industry Choice of Technology, Industry Choice of Agency, and more. Entries are collected and shortlisted earlier in the year by an independent international judging panel of carefully selected individuals who score and vote based on criteria from each category.

Due to our highly successful campaign with ScotiaBank, in December 2017, Share Results has been shortlisted as a finalist in the USA (and Canada): Best Performance Marketing Campaign or Strategy category. To qualify as a top performer, campaigns must demonstrate the use of data, creativity and innovation, feasibility, smart execution, effectiveness and ROI.

Our nomination was the result of our partnership with ScotiaBank, who we ran an exclusive campaign with to drive the digital sales growth of their credit card products. Utilising comprehensive data and historical trends from the Share Results’ platform and the expertise of the affiliate team, this campaign was designed to engage both the customer and publisher and yield a lucrative ROI.  The campaign offered customers an improved sign-up experience, while motivating affiliates to capitalize on improved performance. A major part of the success of the campaign is attributed to the creative combination of channels, offers and applications Share Results implemented.

Developing a strong affiliate marketing strategy with set goals allowed us to execute a successful campaign. The campaign results exceeded expectations and surpassed the acquisition target set for the products by 111.08%. It was a major success and December’s total approval volumes were 95.01% greater than the year-to-date program average. Traffic and conversion rates also increased significantly, meeting the set objectives.

This campaign really demonstrated that having a marketing strategy for your affiliate program can really enable you to be competitive among other brands, know where your customers are, and align you with the overall marketing goals. Read more about the pillars of affiliate marketing strategy to optimize your results.

We are excited to be selected as one of the finalists and we look forward to the unveiling of the winner. In the rapidly evolving world of affiliate marketing, Share Results consistently looks for ways to push affiliate marketing to new levels.

“With over 400 industry professionals attending the award ceremony, celebrating innovation, creativity, and success, Share Results is honoured to showcase our year of efforts and support the industry of affiliate and performance marketing.”

  • Alana Levine, COO, Share Results

The winners were recently announced and included for example winner Shoptimised as Best SaaS Platform,  in what judges called “a genius idea”. “Shoptimised SaaS platform enabled retailers, brands and agencies to fully optimise Google’s Product Feeds, cutting out the assistance of clients or developers”.  We were honored to be judged against such high calibre affiliate networks and programs.

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In the digital age, affiliate marketing has become a great way to earn money online. Yet, finding products that convert and pay a good commission isn’t always easy. As an affiliate, if you want to maximize your income potential it’s important to choose a topic or niche you know is going to be in demand and can be monetized.

That said, one niche market that is flush with business opportunities and high commission earnings is personal finance. This is particularly true when it comes to credit cards, which is a growing niche. The combination in the rise of online stores and savvy shoppers has led to people becoming comfortable with making purchases online. At the same time there has been an increase in demand for credit cards and so it is hardly surprising that credit card affiliate programs are becoming increasingly more popular. At Share Results we’ve seen the number of credit card applications increase by 44.4% compared to last year.  New affiliates promoting credit cards has also grown but it is becoming increasingly evident when looking at the results for specific affiliates and comparing the number of applications to last year that the number of people applying for credit cards is growing.

To be a profitable and successful affiliate, it is important to understand whether a product is relevant to your content and to choose an affiliate program that provides the most relevant ads for your website. Read on to find out why promoting credit cards is worth considering and whether signing up to a credit card affiliate program is right for you.

The Increase in Demand for Credit Cards

When it comes to credit cards, it appears to be a market that won’t stop growing, as increasingly more people are applying for credit cards. In 2017, there were 3 million MasterCard and VISA credit cards in circulation, according to the Canadian Bankers Association. This is equivalent to an average of 2.6 cards per adult.

Everyday, countless people are searching online for the best credit card rewards programs, or even where they can apply for their first credit card. This is a great opportunity to create a niche site providing content to help people choose the right credit card, but also make money from those referrals.

Thus, if you’re interested in earning money from your website or you’ve already put effort into building a personal finance website with substantial traffic, then promoting credit cards could be an amazing opportunity.

It is a competitive niche with lucrative payouts, and although comparison sites or affiliates who blog specifically about credit cards have good conversion rates, lifestyle and travel related affiliates also successfully promote credit cards to make a good income.  It’s a matter of looking at your audience and choosing to promote the right credit card. Let’s say you have a travel-related website, a good option would be to promote credit cards such as Scotiabank’s Passport Visa Infinite Card, that offer reward points for the purchase of flight or hotel bookings.

Likewise, if you have a food, car or furniture blog, you can monetize your website traffic by promoting credit cards, like Tangerine’s Money-Back Credit Card that offers rewards for the purchase of groceries, gas or furniture.

Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card

Nowadays, there are credit cards for every need and Share Results sees a growth of around 30% year on year for our credit card products. Thus, whether your website is about student life, movie reviews, or fashion, good chances are that you’ll be able to promote various credit cards that fit your audiences needs or wants.

Credit Cards Affiliate Programs Offer Higher Commissions

There are many affiliate programs and networks out there, so choosing the right one with the right product(s) is key.  For instance, Amazon’s affiliate program offers anywhere from 1% to 10%, with most of the other categories under 5%. Therefore, to maximize your earning potential, you need to send a high volume of traffic to these products or hopefully find a product from which you can make a higher commission.

Financial products such as credit cards have higher than average affiliate commission rates. Banks usually offer a flat CPA rate for every approved customer you send.  It can range from $50 to $100+. Plus, from time to time, affiliates are eligible for special incentive campaigns with bonus payouts in addition to the flat rates. Some financial institutions also run special promotions to attract more customers via the affiliate channel. It might be a $50 gift card that is offered to the customer once they are approved. As a result, affiliates see an increase in applications for credit cards and often see an increase in commission revenue when these types of promotions take place.

With higher than average commissions, credit cards are worthwhile products to explore as an affiliate. It’s simple to advertise, plus it’s free to try. Just think a little outside the box, to find unique angles to promote and test them out.

There Are Many Financial Affiliate Products/Services to Choose From

There are all different kinds of financial products to choose from and it might be that you decide to test out different credit cards to see which ones work the best with your audience. Or it might be you find that credit cards aren’t the right match. There are so many products to choose from.

Share Results offer credit cards, chequing and saving accounts as well as pre-paid cards and credit reports. Choose products/services that align with your content and thus are likely to convert. Build quality traffic with an audience who are interested in your topics and who will revisit your website. From there you can expand your website to include more subtopics and add more products.

If you’ve enjoyed this read, visit our website for other articles and our affiliate network.

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