Running a successful affiliate campaign for a fashion brand isn’t the easiest nor the simplest of nuts to crack. Each brand comes with its own reputation to maintain, and varying aims and objectives, not forgetting that the competition to stand out in a flooded market is becoming increasingly fierce. The focus on generating revenue and new customers is higher than ever, so we caught up with our VS Affiliates Network Director, Luke Atherton, for his top 10 tips…
Focus on setting and attaining your objectives.
Every decision taken should aim to bring you closer to achieving your objectives. You should regularly review your progress and make your objectives open knowledge within the team, create a culture of sticking to your goals and add some pressure to attaining them by making them more public!
Understand your customers and plan around them.
If you don’t know the average age, gender or habits of your customers, how can you effectively target them, or recruit partners that will drive relevant traffic to your website? Tools like Google Analytics will help you delve deeper into your demographic and understand your customers better. When you approach new partners you can then compare your customer demographic to their user demographic, and make greater informed decisions on how the collaborative partnership would benefit you both.
Look at how you reward partners and how your competitors reward.
Ultimately, your partners are working to make sales and earn a reward, but they do have discretion on which advertisers they operate or the focus they place from one advertiser to another. A partner may have limited real estate on their website and have to prioritise which advertisers they promote. The key is to make sure you conduct competitor research before settling on how you are going to reward publishers.
Identify your key seasonal events.
It goes without saying that seasonal trends have a huge impact on fashion retail, ensuring you identify the most relevant events well in advance and allocate the necessary budget is extremely important. Many advertisers in the fashion space will wait to utilise additional budget during seasonal events, creating more competition for valuable spaces. More importantly publishers require additional marketing material to effectively promote advertisers, including banners, video content and more. Ensure this material is readily available for all of your partners.
Don’t focus on a single performance metric.
Explore a plethora of metrics to gauge the performance of a partner, too many advertisers focus exclusively on revenue and commission to the detriment of everything else. For example, a partner who generates the most revenue may only do so because of the actions of another partner, it’s very easy to make assumptions on a publisher’s value before you’ve delved deep into the surrounding factors. While this closely borders on attribution, a simple task could involve identifying those partners that drive the first interaction against those that close the sale.
Reactionary marketing can help to boost sales but in most cases this means that you are reliant on your partners reacting in a very short space of time, which is not always wise! Long term planning still allows for a degree of flexibility, but also focuses your internal team and partners on key events in the future. If a publisher is aware of a major promotion in say three weeks time, they will prepare material and resources in advance, a last-minute promotion may only receive the tiniest resource. The more notice the better!
Build strong, mutually beneficial relationships with partners.
It’s a two-way street and partners are not replaceable, this goes without saying. Opening a consistent dialogue with transparency across goals and agreements will ultimately lead to strong relationships that often last years, rather than a series of fleeting campaigns that come and go. Your partners are innovative and often have a wide repertoire of tools available to them, so work together to ensure they see as much value in the working relationship as you do.
Don’t be afraid of change.
One of the greatest advantages of the channel is the innovation that takes place every day. From advances in cart-abandonment technology, to the development of display, over the past five years the industry as a whole fosters a tremendous amount of innovation by it’s very function. If you’ve exhausted your traditional partners, look towards technology partners with a closer eye or ways to fundamentally alter your current campaigns.
Tackle attribution head-on.
Attribution has been one of the hottest topics in the industry for a while, we’ve already touched on several points that border the question of attribution. Because of the nature afforded by CPA, only one partner can earn commission per order, but in most cases multiple partners are involved in the transaction. While there isn’t a unified answer to the problem, you can take steps to ensure each and every partner receives an adequate reward. Altering your cookie structure will ensure those partners that drive traffic are not cannibalised so heavily and commissions are split proportionately between those partners involved.
Challenge the status quo.
Change is good, so don’t be afraid to mix things up! Challenge existing ideas and innovate alongside your partners. Delve into the options available to you, from tracking through to reporting and commercials. Utilise all of the tools available to differentiate yourself from other advertisers. Some of the most successful campaigns take elements from all parts of the channel and even outside of it, to create truly unique ideas that shake up the industry and set you apart from the rest.
For more information on what our Affiliate experts can do for you, or for any further tips and tricks, get in touch with our team direct on [email protected].