Affiliate Marketing Is Broken But Ecommerce Companies Can Adapt
November 17, 2015
I recommend directly calling the unique site or publisher you want for your partner. (I do it for domain names.) Youre happy, because you saved money you otherwise would have spent.. Instead of depending on brokers, how about showing affiliate publishers sales by giving them limited access or even screenshots to your Analytics campaigns? In the past you would get access to amazing sites that could increase your incremental sales and get your name out there by paying broker fees.
While that may have rang true five years ago, affiliate marketing has changed dramatically for the worse. Ugh! It bums me out when I explain this to clients and see the dismay on their faces.
How affiliate marketing should work.
In a world where everything in affiliate marketing worked, a customer would be going on Coupon Craze to use it as a discovery platform. Reallocate the money you were spending for affiliate marketing to proven customer acquisition channels wherever your sales are good, and some of it exploring new acquisition channels.
The goal for all ecommerce marketers should be incremental sales growth, but that is hard to do when youre paying twice for an incremental sale with these coupon affiliate sites.
For the uninitiated: You know how when youre checking out online, theres always a field for a coupon code? Naturally, youve now learned to go online and search for coupons from the store. Now you have to pay the affiliate site for something that they didnt even refer, a commission to the broker, and offer a discount on the purchase. You can create a robust sales funnel that isnt reliant on third parties while everyone else continues following the leader, chasing smaller and smaller ROIs.
Weve all heard digital marketers say, You dont need to sell advertising on your site, you can just take a percentage of a sale through affiliate marketing!”
Times have changed. You wont see any incremental sales today from paying brokers fees. Make your own deal without going through a broker.
Reallocate your affiliate budget for your best marketing efforts.
By cutting out the affiliate, you get to play with more resources. There was a user who was about to purchase something at full price, and somehow they input a coupon code and cut in to your margin. Much of the action has now morphed into coupon affiliate sites like Coupon Craze and eBates. Consumers and merchants are also starting to feel daily deal fatigue” as well.
Time to cut out the middle man.
Marketers have become dependant on affiliate brokers like Commission Junction (now CJ Affiliate), LinkShare (now the Rakuten Marketing Network), and eBay to handle their affiliate sales. You might do it for shoes, electronics, or health products. For example, Felt Noir has begun using coupon codes that have good SEO results without utilizing any affiliate networks (Disclosure: I’m a partner with Felt Noir on this initiative).
Affiliate marketing is more dismal by the day, but you can still develop incremental sales by working to become independent of the current system. It boggles the mind why some of the biggest merchants in the world support these sites so wholeheartedly, because actually theyre paying them for sales they’ve already made.
In the meantime, build your own coupon page and optimize those pages to drive search traffic. It might cut a bit into your margins, but at least you wont unnecessarily pay an affiliate marketer. If youre the store owner, you see the predicament right away. Today, its the opposite!
Sites like RetailMeNot say that they curate the best deals for their visitors, but they dont. Affiliate sites should theoretically work like Groupon and drive incremental sales, but Groupon and Teambuys deals dont scale into actual customer acquisition
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