Showdown! Affiliate Marketing vs. Traditional Online Advertising

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Let’s face it, most consumers know when they’re being advertised to and they generally don’t like it. There’s a weariness when a customer clicks a display ad or paid search result and is taken to a website, knowing they are being sold something. Affiliate Marketing programs strive to replace this uncertainty with brand trust.

Traditional Website Marketing

Generally, a traditional Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign is quick to setup and easy to track. And, depending on your overall marketing goals, it’s uncomplicated. But many advertisers find it time-consuming to monitor performance reports and performance is dependent on trial and error. Moreover, according to a recent Lumen report, only 35% of those ads get seen at all, the rest languish on low-trafficked pages.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing), which includes SEO (Search Engine Optimization), offers desirable conversion rates but often the price tags on high-trafficked keywords can rise as they become hot with competitors. And similar to PPC, data reports need to be monitored and new keyword strategies tested to stay ahead of the competition.

Advantages of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing offers elements of traditional advertising programs, but with some additional desirable advantages. First, affiliate networks are targeted communities with established leaders or brand influencers who can endorse your brand, create content and reviews about your products. That personal, word-of-mouth introduction is powerful in brand recognition and building of initial trust. According to a Nielsen report, people are 4 times more likely to buy a product when referred by a friend.

Also, an affiliate program is usually set up on a “pay for performance” model or CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), offering a commission to an affiliate only when a desired result is generated, rather than just a click on a website. Regardless of traffic, the added brand exposure in these communities is just another advantage of these programs. (Read more about Commission Models in our post).

Lastly, affiliate marketers can offer a wealth of knowledge in this type of online marketing, providing deeper engagement with ideal networks and partnering with your team and strategy.

Traditional online advertising will always have its place in a marketing plan, with its combination of display ads and SEO buys, but a shrewd marketer will look for new avenues of quality leads that can come from an affiliate program.

Share Results is a leader in Affiliate Marketing. Reach out for a demo and to learn more

social

Social Media and the Finance Industry – A Quick Take

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Social media offers the Financial Industry another outlet to build customer trust, credibility and quick customer service. Even opening up some global opportunities. But the industry is lagging behind others, and though some delay is due to heavy regulations, there are plenty of reports that suggest opportunities are out there.

A study performed by LinkedIn found that 63% of the consumers surveyed were motivated to take action after learning about financial products and services on social media.

What are we talking about when we say Social Media?

Social platforms can be sorted into five  usage classifications: Publishing, Messaging, Collaboration, Networking and Sharing. A comprehensive list can be found in this Social Media landscape study for 2017. Examples include blog post, Facebook posts, email newsletters, YouTube videos, Infographics passed around in Tweets and posts, Podcasts, Pinterest … the list grows at a fast pace.

How do Finance Industry marketers get started using Social Media?

First, decide which outlet is the best fit for your brand and message. Facebook is the largest community, passing 1 billion monthly active users worldwide. Twitter is a good fit for learning about consumers’ likes and providing rapid customer service. Pinterest is perfect for attention-grabbing content around targeted services. For example, home equity loan products fit well with the remodeling/redecorating content often shared on Pinterest. Linkedin attracts more of a professional crowd. In fact, this study found 62% of financial advisors have reported getting new clients through LinkedIn messaging. Not to mention all the other quickly growing apps (such as Instagram).

There’s no shortcut around solid content

Customers will respond or forward your messaging on to their friends, but only if they like it. Strive to deliver share-able information that is relevant, factual and true to your brand message. Familiarize yourself with the 4-1-1 rule of content marketing on social media so your approach maintains its conversational tone and doesn’t come across as pushy or sales focused.

Social media is an investment

Communities don’t just spring up overnight, they need to be nurtured with quality content, relevant information, and engaging conversation over time. Be patient as your social media content grows and accumulates a following. And it will come … 60% of the population in North America has a social media account, according to this report and that stat is expected to grow.

The Finance Industry has been slow to adopt Social Media into marketing plans. But the potential to develop your brand messaging, connect with loyal customers and build trust is there. How much are you doing on Social Media?

Affiliate marketing uses Social Media as just one avenue to direct high-quality leads to your business. Contact Share Results, a leader in Affiliate Marketing in the Financial Industry, to learn more.

web design

5 Signs It’s Time for a Website Redesign

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If your website isn’t working for you, it’s working against you. It’s as simple as that. Your website is the cornerstone of your banking business, a critical marketing channel where customers can learn about your financial services and become loyal customers, all on their own time.

So how will you know when it’s time to reinvest in your website? Here’s a checklist of five common mistakes you might be making today.

1) Your website is loading too slowly. Customers don’t have time to wait for your website to load. According to a recent study, 40% of users abandon a website after a three second load delay. Use a website speed test such as Google’s PageSpeed to check your page speeds. If they are underperforming, you’ll want to talk to your website administrator to find out what’s holding it up.

2) The design is unappealing or outdated. Your first impression says a lot, so invest in the time to get it right. If your website is over three years old, uses poor graphics or mismatched fonts, was built using Flash or is not mobile-friendly, it’s time to update. These are all signs that tell potential customers that you are not paying attention to detail or not a professional, credible financial business.

3) No clear message or call to action. Your potential customers are looking for a clear-cut message about what your business has to offer to them and how to sign up. If the copy is too sparse or overwritten, users will be confused and move on. Aim to be thorough yet succinct and create a clear “conversion funnel” to turn potential customers into clients. Consider adding a CMS that makes quick copy updates to your site that allows you to use timely content, stay in step with your marketing campaigns and directly leverage performance insights.

4) Underutilizing your website. Are you “leaving money on the table” by underplaying your most valuable marketing tool — your website? With the various traffic sources coming in from search, Affiliate Networks and advertising, a robust site can help educate a potential customer and convert them to a loyal client. Review your new user flow and available content that you offer. Is a visitor gaining valuable insight into your business? Is it better than what your competitor offers?

5) Not seeing your website analytics. Setting up analytics and tracking tags, enables you to review your website traffic and navigation patterns. These reports are valuable to see how well clients and potential customers are moving around on your site, how they are using the navigation, what pages they are going to the most and, most importantly, where they are dropping off. If you’re not getting tracking data from your website, you’re working blind.

Shared Results offers a digital onboarding tracking solution that can be highly-customized to your website and marketing goals.

Offering a clean and clear online experience will give you a competitive edge, so investing in your site should always be top priority. And, a credible-looking website establishes a strong message to your clients and all those seeking out your financial services. You can never make a second first impression.

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Affiliate Marketing Commissions – A Quick Take

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New to Affiliate Marketing? The performance-based commission structure may seem a bit daunting, as well as desirable. What are the different models available, what are the most popular and how do they get tracked?

The Shared Results management team will work with you to decide which commission model works best for your goals and industry.

Let’s quickly go over some of the common affiliate marketing commission terms.

First, there’s Cost Per Action (CPA) which pays commission for a defined action, such as email signup, website registration or an opt-in to a specific program. This is similar to Pay Per Sale (PPS) which is the most common affiliate commission structure and Revenue Sharing, a percentage of the total amount of sales.

There’s also Cost Per Lead (CPL) which differs slightly from CPA as it is a commission earned for the referral of contact information of an interested, prospective customer.

Commission rates can be either tiered, flat or percentage rates calculated from the number of sales or revenue generated. In addition, special rewards or bonus incentives can be created for affiliates who perform well.

CPC or Cost Per Click was once common, but with the increased sophistication of tracking tools that can follow a user from an Affiliate Network onto your website and through your conversion funnel, this model is best left for paid search and display ads.

Here’s a simple example: Ace Bank wants to attract more clients to their Savings Account (acquisitions), and works with Shared Results to support this marketing effort. They choose the most common model, a flat Cost Per Action (CPA) commission structure, with the “action” defined as a “new client account”.

The Shared Results team partners Ace Bank with its financial industry affiliate network and helps put together the campaigns and tracking. The software is then able to track a lead through the network, to the Ace Bank website and their New Savings Account sign-up funnel. Once a new account has been approved, Ace Bank pays the affiliate the agreed upon CPA commission.

Ace Bank is able to see all data on their Shared Result’s dashboard, can control commission amounts, and time periods offered. Special bonus incentives and exclusive CPA amounts can also be created for affiliates who perform well.

In this very simple example, you can see how Ace Bank is only paying a commission for real results — new accounts. This performance-based commission structure is what gives Affiliate Marketing its unique edge and clear return on investment.

Contact the Shared Results team if you’d like to learn more or request a demo.

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Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card Wins Multiple Product Awards

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It’s been a great year for the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card and, most importantly, for the Canadians who use this lucrative card for their personal finances. Gaining well-deserved recognition for the value it brings to customers, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card won three product excellence awards this year:

The Money-Back credit card wins consumers over by simply being a smart way to spend money. Customers receive 2% money-back rewards in selected purchase categories, and 1% back on all other purchases. By selecting categories that they use most frequently for their 2% rewards, Tangerine customers can make the most of these monthly rewards (and skip the annual fee, to boot!).

For a limited time, Tangerine is offering new Money-Back Card users 4% on their selected purchase categories for the first three months.

Want to find out more about the Tangerine affiliate program or the Money-Back Credit Card? Get in touch with us at tangerine@shareresults.com.

Someone Marketing on a Laptop

Affiliate Marketing and Video | Part 2: Crafting Your Content

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The marketing industry buzz about video content is well-earned and growing. Part 1 of our affiliate marketing and video series outlined why video is vital publishers and merchants alike; this week, we’ll walk through some of the different types of video content that you can produce to optimize your affiliate marketing activities.

What can publishers do?

Thought leadership

Video content that is not expressly related to products or brand partners can still help your bottom line. For example, videos about affiliate marketing, ecommerce, or other subjects related to your site’s industry niche can help establish your site as a quality information source, bringing consumers back for more. If customers trust your industry knowledge, they’ll be more inclined to trust your brand partnerships.

This video from successful internet marketer and blogger John Chow is a great example of simple and effective thought leadership content. Produced with a camera in his car, the video contributes to Chow’s reputation as an industry expert and brings a personal touch to his brand – two vital components of customer trust.

Product recommendations

96% of consumers find videos helpful when making purchase decisions. If you’re a publisher, especially a blogger who does product recommendations, self-produced video content can be a great way to build customer trust and increase familiarity with you and your site. Alternatively, publishing merchant-produced video content, such as product demonstrations, can also boost conversion rates.

Product recommendation videos are most effective when published regularly – consistent content gives your audience a reason to trust your recommendations, and ultimately follow your links.

What can merchants do?

Product demonstrations

In addition to standard advertising content, product demonstration videos can help push customers through the sales funnel. Providing this kind of content to your affiliates (and making it available on your own sites and landing pages) can build consumer familiarity with your brand and confidence in your products, helping you boost sales.

iFetch’s product demonstration video for their automatic ball launcher shows how simple it can be to produce a high-impact product video. With no script, one audio track and natural footage of their product in use, iFetch conveyed the purpose and effectiveness of their product – with nearly 700,000 views to boot!

Video creatives

Produce video content for your affiliates! Particularly if you have affiliates who are getting high amounts of traffic to their sites but failing to convert, video creatives can be the finishing touch that pushes customers to click through and actually make a purchase. According to Vouchercloud, 92% of online shoppers say visuals are the most influential factor of their purchasing decisions.

This GoPro ad showcases how minimal production value can still result in far reach, garnering more than 226,000 views. Your ad can be demonstration-based or have an informative script; either way, the video format will help your customers stay engaged.

Whether you’re an affiliate or a merchant, online video content should be on your radar to ensure that your marketing efforts are meeting their full potential.

 

 

Affiliate Marketing and Video | Part 1: A Profitable Pair

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If you’re a digital marketer, video needs to be in your content repertoire. No longer an alternative content medium reserved for the creatively inclined, video has proven itself to be a high-converting, vital component of a successful digital marketing strategy. According to Hubspot, 87% of online marketers use video content and 96% of B2B organizations use video in their campaigns.

How can performance marketers take advantage of this great creative resource? Whether you’re a publisher looking to drive traffic or a merchant trying to improve sales, a smart approach to video content could be the boost you need to take your marketing strategy to the next level.

Untapped Benefits

Why should you invest your valuable time and resources into video content? It can be tempting to stick with tried-and-true content mediums, but neglecting video is leaving money on the table.

Conversions

Video content converts. Landing pages with video content have been shown to yield up to 80% more conversions than landing pages without video. If you are struggling to get customers to stick to your landing page long enough to convert, enticing video content could be the solution you need.

SEO

Video content is great for your SEO ranking. As mentioned above, it’s a great tool to get visitors to stay on your pages for longer periods of time. This lowers bounce rates and increases click rates, both of which boost your site’s SEO. Video content is also very shareable, making it a strong potential source of high-quality backlinks to your site.

Brand engagement

Well-produced video content puts your brand at the top of your audience’s mind. According to Hubspot, a customer who views and enjoys a video ad will see an increase in brand association of up to 139%. And it’s not just customers – business executives prefer video content to text.

Mobile boost

Mobile video consumption has skyrocketed in the last few years. With cross-platform optimization becoming increasingly important – more than 60% of digital media consumption happens on mobile devices, after all – video  content can help you engage the valuable mobile traffic segment.

Watch for Roadblocks

Of course, the vast benefits of video content do require resources in order to be obtained. While the video production process may seem daunting, scoping out challenges is the best way to meet them head on and budget your time and manpower accordingly.

The learning curve

Video and multimedia content takes time and expertise to produce. However, don’t despair just yet if your content team doesn’t have an audiovisual whiz! There are a number of cost-effective video production and learning tools available, such as the free Vimeo 101 series or online courses from Udemy. If you don’t have a video expert on your team, a small time investment in learning basic techniques and best practices will be well worth the return: high quality content.

Equipment costs

Video production requires equipment; however, don’t assume that you will need to blow your budget on a full deck of professional production equipment! There are a number of cost-effective ways to get basic video equipment – a DSLR and a standard microphone should be more than enough for simple productions. If you’re still not convinced and want to prove the viability of video content before purchasing your own equipment, video equipment rental services are an excellent option for testing the waters.

Check back next week for part 2 of our affiliate marketing and video series: Crafting Your Content.

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Tangerine Launches Affiliate Program with Share Results

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New program offers affiliate bonuses, lucrative commissions

Share Results is excited to announce that Tangerine, the leading direct bank in Canada, has launched an affiliate program for their online banking products and the Money-Back credit card! By cutting out the cost of operating a network of traditional bank branches, Tangerine is able to offer a number of great products that have helped nearly two million Canadians more effectively build their savings.

Why Tangerine?

So, why exactly to Canadians choose Tangerine? Whether a customer wants to save, build credit, or just keep day-to-day finances flowing, there is a Tangerine product ready to make that process easy (with a great bonus, to boot).

New Chequing Account Offer – New customers who open a Tangerine chequing account from June 1st to August 31st, 2016 will earn a $25 bonus if they use the Orange Key “chequing25”. On top of that, if customers switch their payroll direct deposit to their new account before August 31st, 2016, they will earn an additional $75 bonus.

Tangerine Savings Account – By becoming a Tangerine client, new customers can earn triple interest of 2.40% for the first 6 months after opening their first savings account, and can earn up to $50 in bonuses in the process.

Money-Back Credit Card – Customers looking for a credit card with real rewards will be happy to find the Tangerine Money-Back credit card. Customers will earn 2% money-back rewards in two categories of their choice, and 1% on all other purchases. For a limited time, customers can earn 4% rewards in their two chosen categories for the first 3 months.

With these innovative, customer-oriented takes on personal finance staples, it’s no wonder that Tangerine is known as the home of forward banking.

Affiliate Program Details

The Tangerine affiliate program offers accepted affiliates a $35 CPA on every referred Chequing or Savings account and a $50 CPA for approved credit card applications, making it a lucrative opportunity for affiliates to make the most of these products’ popularity.

To celebrate the launch of this new program, Tangerine is offering affiliates a new tier-based bonus structure from June 1st to July 31st, 2016 for online banking applications. The volume bonus ranges from $20 for 5 new referrals to $1,000 for 100 new referrals – the more customers you refer, the more money you earn!

Want more information on how the Tangerine affiliate program can work for you? Drop us a line at tangerine@shareresults.com or in the comments below.

4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016 (Part 4)

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Hello and welcome to the final installment of our blog series 4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016. To date, we’ve tackled three critical areas of online marketing that are bound to receive a lot of attention in the coming year. Namely, the marketing potential of wearable tech and virtual-reality simulators, two simple attributes that will dramatically improve content-driven campaigns, and most recently, why Ad-Blocker should exhilarate – not terrify – us.

In this ever-changing industry where today’s certainties aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, the simple act of being aware is the best strategy for ensuring a brighter future. So read on to learn about another dimension of marketing through digital channels that should be seriously considered at the start of 2016.

4. The Importance of Niche Social Media

Businesses are no longer apprehensive towards social media. Heavyweight hitters like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are now regarded as the most essential components of the online promotional mix – either get social or consider your business irrelevant. But there are plenty of other, less crowded social platforms out there just begging to be employed for marketing purposes.

While the networks mentioned above are, indisputably, the premier channels for social media marketing, they’re decently polluted with other brands trying to accomplish the same goals. The unique selling point of any social media is its ability to facilitate community engagement, and often it’s a cost-free endeavor – particularly if you’ve got a young unpaid intern at the helm. But in all seriousness, making an impact on Facebook or Twitter is significantly more difficult in today’s media climate. That is, unless you’re willing to bust open the piggy bank and shed some decent coin.

This is why in 2016, brands should begin exploring less popular networks for a more targeted reach and access to an untapped community of potential customers.

Quora for Sharing Insight

One of the Internet’s fastest growing and baby-face social networks is Quora – an online Q&A-based community that’s kind of like the unofficial yet sophisticated sequel to Yahoo Answers. Quora has emerged as the ultimate resource for dependable answers on a variety of topics. Every day, experts with varying backgrounds weigh in on a multitude of queries, to share insight and provide users with unprecedented wisdom. In my opinion, Quora is a fantastic tool for building brand awareness, evidenced by the many politicians who’ve used the platform to demonstrate their prowess in a publically viewable space. For instance, Hillary Clinton has recently taken to Quora to answer a series of questions related to her bid for presidency. Heck, even Barrack Obama will get involved every once in a while and chime in on a pressing issue.

Entrepreneurs, too, have often tackled questions via Quora that are pertinent to their business offering, casually slipping in a reference at the tail-end of their answer to drive awareness and stimulate curiosity. And that’s an important notion to be mindful of when producing marketing content for Quora and other alternative media, to ensure that it’s native to the platform. On Quora, for instance, your answer will not receive much traction if it side-steps the question to blatantly promote something.

Medium for Social Blogging

Another rising platform is Medium – the Internet’s equivalent to a macro-blogging network. Conceived and launched by one of Twitter’s co-founders, Medium is the quintessential publishing platform for aspiring, established and novice writers alike. The idea is affably simple – all content that’s shared via Medium is not only available to readers of a particular blog, but the entire community of users who are active in the network. As Medium builds strength and more people, brands and businesses adopt the platform for any and all discourse, like Quora, even politicians are beginning to appreciate its capacity for user engagement. Consequently, Medium is beginning to replace the “blog” section of any given website for an organization. Indeed, the content is much the same, but the depth of reach has been amplified by Medium’s community-orientation. When a user stumbles upon a great article, it happens organically. Because great content is great content – it speaks for itself regardless of who are what’s behind it.

While nothing will ever replace Facebook and Twitter, it’s always wise to establish a presence on other social media platforms. However, when you determine which network to adopt, just make sure that it’s congruent with the message you’re trying to communicate. I mean, you would never post text-based content on Instagram, right?

So there you have it – four essential considerations for marketers to make in 2016. It’s an exciting time to be alive – we’re living through a digital revolution, and the Internet has produced so much opportunity for marketers to be creative and discover new ways to connect with people.

2016 has finally arrived. How will you tell your story and where will it take place?

 

 

 

 

4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016 (Part 3)

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Welcome to the penultimate edition of 4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016. The most recent entry dealt with the importance of creating content that’s not only valuable, but useful or entertaining. If you’re not caught up, don’t be afraid to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

So how will you connect and grow an audience in 2016? There’s so much innovation going on, that putting together a digital strategy can feel a lot like organizing a wedding – in other words, overwhelming. But before you find yourself amidst the chaos of Times Square waiting for that big ball to drop, take some time to become aware of what trends, insights and recent developments are bound to impact next year’s marketing mix.

3. Ad-Blocker and Intrusive Advertising

This is a widely discussed topic that everyone from college students to industry experts  have weighed in on – whether or not Ad-Blocker (and other content filters) are good, bad or great for digital marketing. Personally, I’m a huge advocate for this kind of technology, but perhaps you think otherwise and that’s OK – it’s from this chatter and debate which an ultimate solution will be born.

However, to be brutally honest, marketers who are opposed to the proliferation of Ad-Blocker, uBlock and other content filters should probably consider an attitude adjustment. These browser extensions are wonderful examples of good, strong innovation, and I find it so weird when people cower in response to what is perceived to be “disruptive.” Having the capacity to adapt is the touchstone of any business venture, and naysayers will almost certainly perish in the long-run.

Blemishes on the UX

For instance, nowadays, if you’ve got Ad-Blocker installed, it’s nearly impossible to stream a live sports match online. Granted, these platforms operate in a rather grey area of the law and are technically classified as illegal, but come on – instead of identifying other possible sources of revenue or creating an entirely new value stream, these site operators have elected to restrict access to all streaming services unless, of course, Ad-Blocker is disabled. This panic-stricken behavior is ridiculously common; especially in the digital era – it’s no different than taxi drivers protesting Uber (who have experienced nothing but turmoil, mind you).  The first rule of commerce is to evolve with the business climate. Denying or refusing to accept the future is the least productive strategy, because innovation will always triumph.

Ad-Blocker is designed to eliminate the spammiest of digital adverts – those desperate, intrusive, least-effective and antiquated banner ads that can totally spoil the user experience. So we should stop bashing the creators of such technology and buy them a pint of cold lager – they’ve done the world a good deed. And save for most industry execs, I’m not alone in my views. One commenter on the Financial Times shared his opinion on the matter, representing what I believe to be the general consensus among Internet-browsing consumers. Referring to pop-up ads on the New York Times website, FT user avidreader says: “They’re a serious deterrent to reading the paper online, which is to say a serious deterrent to reading the Times at all.”

Ad-blockers are just like those “no-flyers” signs many people print out and display on their mailbox – a simple yet effective measure that prevents exposure to unwanted promotional material. If people of the real world can do it, why can’t Internet users?

Thanks to ad-blockers and content filters, the Internet is a significantly cleaner place. But like most innovation, it’s not without disruption; marketers are now forced to be more creative than ever.

Out with the old, in with the new – everybody wins.

This concludes Part 3 of 4 Considerations for Digital Marketers in 2016. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for Part 4, the final entry, where we champion niche platforms by demonstrating how alternative social media can amplify a brand’s overall reach.