Archive for June, 2009

Communication Part 2

Written by Kirsty Grimes on . Posted in Technology

Methods of Communication

The next step is to select the best way to talk to your affiliates. The key methods are as follows:

News Manager

Our dedicated email tool where you can choose to adopt a simple text format or HTML if you wish to include images and deep links. It’s perfect for communicating anything from general announcements directed at all affiliates to specific one-to-one messages.

Affiliate Newsletter

This grants some exposure to merchants that have recently launched on the network, but also contains sections on the Merchant of the Month, the Offer of the Week and Featured promotions. If you have a particularly strong offer, it’s a good medium to let affiliates know about it, log into your account and click on the Affiliate Newsletter link on the right hand side, fill out the online submission form and Bobs your uncle!  If you need help or advice please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your point of contact at Affiliate Window.

Here is an example of the latest Affiliate Newsletter

A4U Forum

A popular industry forum, the A4U Forum is where merchants, affiliates and networks come together to discuss a range of topical issues in the industry as well as merchant-specific threads. There is a dedicated forum for Affiliate Window, which is the only network forum to have a promotions section, so it is good practice to visit this regularly and get some extra exposure for any promotions you may have. To visit the site, click here and please get in touch with your point of contact if you would like a guide on how to use it.

AWin Offers Blog

This is another great platform for miscellaneous communication, with dedicated categories for new programmes, promotions, policy changes and closures. Subscribing affiliates can even receive automatic live updates on particular sections, including offers emerging from specific sectors, allowing your promotions to reach a much wider audience! For a step-by-step guide on how to use this, you can click on ‘Offers Blog’ under ‘Communication Tools’ in the merchant administration area.

Click here to visit the Offers Blog. (Please bear in mind that you need to be logged into the Affiliate Window interface to view the Offers Blog)

One-to-One Communication (E-mail, telephone and Instant Messaging)

It is good practice to keep in regular one-to-one contact with your top performers to ensure they have all they need to promote you effectively. Ask your point of contact if you need contact details.

If you have any queries, the Account Development Team is always at hand to assist you. Tel: 0844 557 9242 and E-mail: accountdevelopment@affiliatewindow.com

Video Banners: What’s Putting Affiliates Off?

Written by Sam Surry on . Posted in PerformanceIN, Technology

Hi,

Whilst more merchants are offering video within flash banners, the uptake appears to be quite slow, I’m curious to know why this is… please take your time to each pick 2 statements from the poll and add any comments/feedback.

The poll is hosted on the a4uforum here.

Many thanks,

Michelle
Client Strategist
michelle.boxall@affiliatewindow.com

Agenda set for Affiliate Marketing Council’s IAB Meet

Written by Kirsty Grimes on . Posted in Events, IAB

The agenda for the forthcoming merchant Affiliate Marketing Council seminar at the IAB’s offices in central London has been announced.

The session will cover regulation within the industry to date as well as forthcoming plans to offer guidance and best practice guidelines, followed by a couple of case studies outlining how to manage your affiliate programme successfully. This discussion will also include a session by Affiliate Window co-presenting with Red Letter Days.

Next up will be a more general overview covering the current state of the industry and future trends and finally a Q&A panel will open up discussion to attendees:

Chaired by – Dan Redfearn
• 1:00 Standardization and self regulation – what the channel is doing to ensure it remains safe and worthwhile. Matt Bailey, i-level
• 1:20 Success Stories. Case studies showcasing how the correct use of voucher codes, cashback, and loyalty marketing delivers real results.
• 2:00 Tips For merchants to help improve the success of their programmes. Includes:
     ‒ Merchant Charter
     ‒ New technologies
     ‒ Trends
• 2.20 Q&A Panel featuring merchant and network representatives

The session is open to merchants who are either currently running an affiliate programme or who are looking to launch an affiliate marketing programme.

• When Wednesday 24th June, 12.45pm – 2.30pm
• Where: IAB offices, 14 Macklin Street, London, WC2B 5NF
• Email elle@iabuk.net
• Phone: 0207 050 6969

It’s Good to Talk: Merchant/Affiliate Communication

Written by Kirsty Grimes on . Posted in PerformanceIN, Technology

As your ‘virtual sales force’, updating affiliates on key issues is crucial to the success of your programme. You wouldn’t walk with your eyes shut, so why let affiliates promote you blind? As a general rule, we encourage you to communicate at least once monthly and no more than two to three times per week, so we’ve put together some of the reasons for, and means of, communicating to affiliates.

The major reasons for communication include:
• Changes to Terms & Conditions
• Changes to the Commission Structure
• Site-downtime (planned or otherwise)
• Modifications to the site or links/li>
• Affiliate Suspension
• Promotional Opportunities (e.g. new products, sales)
• Updates to promotional tools (e.g. New Creative, datafeeds, Hot Picks)

Whilst all the above are important, there are some points to note particularly for the first two.

Changes to Terms & Conditions

To ensure clarity, we strongly recommend detailing terms and conditions in the Listing Details section from the programme’s launch. Prime examples of significant changes include those made to the PPC Policy or new restrictions to the types of affiliate that can promote the programme such as incentive-based affiliates offering cashback, for example, to which some merchants object.

Where major changes are made, merchants should make every effort to communicate and discuss these with affiliates in advance, particularly when they are likely to affect top performers. Best practice is to give 30 days notice, or more if feasible, but please ensure you inform your point of contact at the network prior to taking any action. Essentially, the longer in advance affiliates know about changes, the more likely they are to adhere to them whilst minimising disruption to themselves and therefore to their activity on your programme.

Changes to Commission Structures

Though increasing commission can be a great incentive, affiliates have to know about this to make any necessary adjustments to their campaigns. As such, it is important to push offers and opportunities as much as possible if they are to drive performance.

At the same time, if commissions are going to be reduced, it is imperative that you contact the network so this can be authorized and it’s essential to give as much notice as possible since this can impact greatly on the affiliate’s return on investment. Indeed, if you attempt to lower the rate in the interface (via Commission Manager), the following message will appear advising you to contact us, so please feel free to do so

Methods of Communication

The next step is to select the best way to talk to your affiliates. The key methods are as follows:

News Manager

Our dedicated email tool where you can choose to adopt a simple text format or HTML if you wish to include images and deep links. It’s perfect for communicating anything from general announcements directed at all affiliates to specific one-to-one messages.

Affiliate Newsletter

This grants some exposure to merchants that have recently launched on the network, but also contains sections on the Merchant of the Month, the Offer of the Week and Featured promotions. If you have a particularly strong offer, it’s a good medium to let affiliates know about it, so visit the Affiliate Newsletter link in the admin area for an online submissions form, alternatively contact our content manager via promotions@affiliatewindow.com or your point of contact if you wish to feature.

A4U Forum

A popular industry forum, the A4U Forum is where merchants, affiliates and networks come together to discuss a range of topical issues in the industry as well as merchant-specific threads. There is a dedicated forum for Affiliate Window, which is the only network forum to have a promotions section, so it is good practice to visit this regularly and get some extra exposure for any promotions you may have. To visit the site, click here and please get in touch with your point of contact if you would like a guide on how to use it.

AWin Offers Blog

This is another great platform for miscellaneous communication, with dedicated categories for new programmes, promotions, policy changes and closures. Subscribing affiliates can even receive automatic live updates on particular sections, including offers emerging from specific sectors, allowing your promotions to reach a much wider audience! For a step-by-step guide on how to use this, you can click on ‘Offers Blog’ under ‘Communication Tools’ in the merchant administration area.

One-to-One Communication (E-mail, telephone and Instant Messaging)

It is good practice to keep in regular one-to-one contact with your top performers to ensure they have all they need to promote you effectively. Ask your point of contact if you need contact details.

Twitter

There has been some skepticism about the effectiveness of Twitter; however we have been using it now for about 6 months and we have seen fantastic results both qualitative and quantitative. There has been positive response from fellow affiliate and merchant users and it has brought a significant amount of extra traffic to our sites. We are able to also keep abreast of trending topics and deal with any queries or issues that arise in real time. For more information and some tips and tricks to using Twitter click here to read our feature in Retail Technology
If you are yet to join Twitter, signing up is easy and once you are there why not drop by and say hello to us @affwin.

If you have any queries, the Account Development Team is always at hand to assist you. Tel: 0844 557 9242 and E-mail: accountdevelopment@affiliatewindow.com

Celebrating with SkimLinks

Written by Sam Surry on . Posted in Interview, PerformanceIN

We’ve been champions of the service SkimLinks offer for some time now; providing in-depth information on their service to both staff and merchants as well as profiling them in a recent AWin Newsletter. So we were delighted for them when they swept the board at last night’s A4U Awards, winning in the Innovative Affiliate of the Year, Best Use of Technology within Affiliate Marketing and Best New Entrant in Affiliate Marketing categories. Following what we are sure was a heavy night for the team, we caught up with Alicia Navarro, Founder & CEO of skimlinks.com.

 

You had an amazing night at the a4u awards, picking up every award you were shortlisted for, how are you feeling today?

We are feeling rather dazed and extremely pleased! We have been working so hard since our launch, so its really amazing to be recognised for the very things we have been striving to achieve.

There was a lot of celebrating at the Awards – what were your highlights from the evening?

The event was incredible, well done to the team at Existem for putting on such a great event! The chocolate dessert was definitely a highlight, but the group hug on stage after our third award was the best part.

Now in their third year it is clear to see that the a4u Awards have grown in popularity and prestige. How do you feel they benefit and shape the industry and will they have an affect on Skimlinks?

There really isn’t another industry group that acts as both a community and self-policing mechanism for affiliate marketing, and its members are passionate and creative. We have thrown ourselves into the community, and its been a rewarding and inspiring experience for us.

You were awarded the Best New Entrant in Affiliate Marketing, how does it feel being the new kids on the block?

A complete honour. There are some incredible players in the space, so to be recognised after such a short time is a shock. It makes us want to work harder to validate the faith everyone has in us.

How have you found the industry…tough nut to crack or a welcoming community?

Welcoming – we’re always learning from those around us.

Once hangovers are out of the way, what are your plans for the remainder of 2009/2010?

We are always coming up with new products that can push us towards our goal of helping publishers monetise in simple, effective user-friendly ways. We’re focused on growing our core services, but we do like to be innovative at any opportunity, so watch this space, we have some game-changers in the pipeline!

What do Skimlinks think the future holds for Affiliate Marketing?

I think its becoming much more mainstream and attracting more quality editorial and user-generated sites. My forecast: affiliate marketing will be like free PR services paid by CPA.

For those of you previously unaware of Skimlinks, here is some information on their service. Their basic premise is to provide technology to publishers that simplifies affiliate marketing; when a publisher writes about or displays a URL to a merchant’s website, Skimlinks turns these URLs into their affiliate link equivalent at the moment it is activated by a user. In a nutshell, Skimlinks can apply affiliate tracking to links on websites, after the merchant link is clicked on. This allows many website owners from bloggers to newspapers to earn affiliate commission without any effort to add affiliate tracking. There is a demonstration video here for those still unsure of how the service works.

The technology Skimlinks have developed is giving many more companies the opportunity to work as affiliates, thus raising the awareness of the affiliate proposition. As more content sites become engaged with affiliate marketing, the more opportunities there will be for merchants to work with them on a performance basis, rather than the traditional CPM model. Skimlinks are champions of the affiliate industry and can only help raise the profile of the CPA model further and last nights success was testament to their hard work over the last 12 months.

If you are interested in working with SkimLinks or have a question about the service they provide then you can contact either the Partnerships Team here at AW partnerships@affiliatewindow.com or contact@skimlinks.com directly.

Success at the 2009 A4U Awards

Written by Sam Surry on . Posted in Achievements, Events, PerformanceIN

There are a few sore heads here at AWin HQ this morning as last night we won both the Innovative Affiliate Network of the Year and the coveted Publishers Choice of Network at the 2009 A4U Awards. We were also Highly Commended in two categories. The first was for Julie Wood in the Publishers Choice of Account Manager category; no mean feat against stiff competition so well done Julie. The second was for AWin Analytics in the Best Use of Technology in Affiliate Marketing; recognition goes to the Design, Product and Software Development teams for their specific contributions to this fantastic addition to our toolset.

Our MD, Mark Walters, had this to say on our achievements. “Everyone in the company plays a part in making Affiliate Window what it is today and the culmination of that comes from awards, both inside and outside of the industry. Without a doubt the awards that matter most to us are the Best Companies and A4U Awards as they both feature dedicated input from our employees and the commitments we make as a business.

3 years is not long in online terms but to maintain being the Innovative Affiliate Network and the Publishers Choice of Network over that same period has been more than a little challenging. The Publisher’s Choice award is particularly significant as it’s voted for by the affiliates, and as any network will tell you, they’re a demanding bunch (and rightly so). So our sincere thanks to all our amazing work colleagues and to each and every affiliate partner who voted for us. We won’t let it go to our heads and we’ll strive to maintain being deserving of the accolades well into 2010.”

We would also like to extend the congratulations to all the 2009 A4U Award winners, it was fantastic to see so many innovative, creative and hardworking people being recognised for their roles within the industry. Hats off to Matt, Claire and the rest of the Existem team who organised another fantastic event, it really highlighted just how far the industry has come and how it continues to grow and improve. We look forward to seeing the photos later today; if anyone managed to capture AWin staff on camera please drop me an e-mail and share your pictures.

A huge thanks and congratulations again to all, we’re already hotly anticipating next year’s event!

Samantha Leigh
Head of Communications