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affiliate management in house vs agency

Affiliate Management In-House vs. Agency

By | Affiliate Program, Affiliate Tracking Software, Digital Marketing, Network | No Comments

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.

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

Three ideas to jump-start your affiliate marketing program

By | Affiliate Program, Digital Marketing, Marketing Trends, Miscellaneous, Online Marketing Ideas | No Comments

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.

Canadian Personal Finance Conference (CPFC18) in Toronto November 4-5

By | Affiliate Program, Digital Marketing, Marketing Trends | No Comments

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

Three Facts About Credit Cards and Banking Products in Affiliate Marketing

By | Affiliate Program, Digital Marketing, Network, Online Marketing Ideas | No Comments

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

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.

Pillars of Affiliate Marketing Strategy: 4 Key strategies for a successful affiliate marketing program

By | Affiliate Program, Digital Marketing, Miscellaneous, Network, Promotions | No Comments

Have you thought about launching an affiliate marketing program for your financial services company but aren’t sure how to get started? We hear you. Launching an affiliate marketing program can seem daunting— but it doesn’t have to be.

To prove it we’ve put together:

  • Tips on what to do before you pilot your plan
  • 4 key strategies for making it work

Alignment & Focus

According to eMarketer affiliate marketing is forecasted to have a 62% increase in US retail spending between 2015 and 2020. In fact, affiliate marketing’s scalability and measurability are part of what make is so attractive (and effective).

But, before piloting your plan you need to make sure the target end results align with your defined business goals. Start by asking the right questions. Smart Insights’ interview with author Geno Prussokov nicely summarizes the top 5 questions to ask when crafting your affiliate strategy:

  1. What is the primary end consumer action (sale, lead, subscription, etc.) that you want to facilitate through affiliates?
  2. What types of affiliate marketers are you most interested in recruiting?
  3. Who will manage your affiliate program?
  4. What key performance indicators will you use to measure your campaign performance?
  5. How will your affiliate program become (and stay) attractive and competitive through commission arrangements and other incentives?

Now, consider your affiliate channel—instead of viewing it as competition for the same market with your other marketing channels, focus your strategy on increasing the size of a new market using a performance-partnership model. Or, as Robert Glazer describes it in his article on Entrepreneur:

“Rather than compete for bigger slices of the pie, the affiliate marketing model requires both sides to work toward increasing the size of the pie as a whole and allowing many options for customization.”

4 Key Strategies

Once you establish business alignment and areas of focus you’ll have the groundwork for planning your affiliate marketing strategy.

Use these 4 key strategies to optimize your results:

  1. Measure real time performance now where your customers are
  • Know where your customers are coming from. Tracking which sites are generating traffic and customers, and which aren’t proves the ROI of your marketing spend. With ShareResults you can customize the integration of the reporting from an affiliate to you—so you can analyze data the way that makes sense for your business
  • Know which affiliate campaign and tactics are performing to see what affiliates are doing to drive performance
  • Be responsive to affiliates and their marketing needs to ensure results through regular account management
  1. Recruit quality affiliates who align with your target market and target audience
  • Leverage the affiliates’ audience to promote your product. For example, the affiliates’ website could provide value through comparison tools, content insights, and 3rd party reviews to create a following. This following and established trust with the audience can resonate with your product/service enhancing your brand.
  • Try geo-targeting if your product or service is available at specific locations, recruit affiliates with an audience in those areas
  1. Use a commission structure that drives your business objectives

There are plenty of commission options depending on what your business is trying to achieve. Some options ShareResults offers are:

  • Flat or tiered CPA/CPL
  • Revenue share or CPA at a product level
  • And multi-tier referral commission

If you have a high value product, revenue share or higher CPA for that specific product might make sense. If you want to boost all sales, a tiered CPA can have greater incentives.

  1. Launch promotional campaigns to increase the participation of affiliates
  • Spearhead a campaign to attract affiliates to come onboard to promote your product/service.
  • Incentivize new affiliate programs to feature a product/service by offering a special bonus.

Follow these steps and strategies and you’ll be well on your way to a successful affiliate marketing program.

Still have questions or want to learn more about how ShareResults can help you with your affiliate marketing strategy? Contact us; we’d love to hear from you.

Omni channel in digital banking environment

What you need to know about omni-channel in a digital banking environment

By | Digital Marketing, Marketing Trends | No Comments

In today’s world, consumers are constantly browsing, researching, discussing, and purchasing products – and across a range of digital platforms. And each platform or channel serves a different purpose. For example, Facebook is the place to go for user reviews and to give feedback. Emails serve to stay informed without having to go searching for information.

It is important for brands to recognize the purpose that each channel serves for the user and to stay present in a relevant and congruent way. So what makes omni-channel marketing and brand congruency so important? Read on to find out more!

What is omni-channel and how is that different from multi-channel?

Multi-channel refers to the interactions customers have during their buying process using various channels. These can include websites, e-mail, social media, mobile, and retail stores. The channels operate independently from each other and are siloed. The information presented on each channel are not integrated and can vary. Omni-channel marketing is when a customer receives a seamless and consistent brand experience across all channels and devices at every point of interaction. What they see on Twitter feels the same as when they saw an ad on YouTube.

Does omni-channel mean crafting your strategy channel-by-channel?

Not at all. Unlike multi-channel that places the channel at the centre of the strategy, omni-channel places the customer at the centre. Communications on all channels are optimized to deliver an integrated experience based on customers’ preferences. Omni-channel crafts a connected journey that looks something like this:

  1. A customer starts a search on Google and visits the company’s webpage on a desktop.
  2. He/she also receives an email about a special introductory offer for new sign-ups and views it on mobile.
  3. He/she then decides to go to the retail store to find out more from an associate.
  4. Later, search and display ads are shown on social media on a tablet with similar products that the customer has been searching for.

Information flows from one touchpoint to the next, and moves the customer down the path of purchase.

What are some tips to implement an omni-channel strategy?

We’ve put together a few recommendations we’ve gathered from trusted resources in the industry:

  1. Focus on the experience that can connect consumers on each channel, rather than trying to get onto every channel (Martech Today).
  2. Get a single view of the customer across all channels. This helps to micro-segment your customers and find patterns between different types of users that have similar behaviors.
  3. Deliver consistent, user-friendly, and relevant experiences across all channels.
  4. According to eMarketer, a primary barrier to implementing a successful data-driven customer experience is not being able to connect or deliver a unified view of the customer experience across touchpoints. Sophisticated data analysis becomes essential as customers increasingly move into omni-channel, where data of consumer behaviour, traffic, and points of interactions span across digital and offline channels.

The rise of omni-digital banking

With the switch to using digital channels for banking, adapting an omni-channel strategy to integrate the digital and physical channels is no longer adequate to meet the demand in the financial service industry. In fact, according to PwC, there is a new segment of “omni-digital” consumers, comprising of 46% of the respondents. These consumers use digital-only channels when it comes to banking, avoiding the physical channels completely.

Mobile banking is also becoming the norm. 60% of the smartphone users in the survey use mobile banking and 82% of the smartphone users age 18 to 24 use mobile banking. This is not to say that branches can no longer provide value. 62% of the surveyed indicated that local branches are still important. Services for budgeting, saving for retirement, and learning how to save for a house are preferred in-person.

rise_of_omni_digital_banking

The rise of the omni-digital banking consumer
Source: PWC’s 2017 Digital Banking Consumer Survey

How can organizations keep up with the omni-channel and omni-digital consumer expectations?

PwC advises that banks have to sell products where people want them. Every channel should provide its own value as part of the strategy. To connect and engage with customers at every touchpoint, a unique customer digital experience has to be developed according to insights.

If consumers want to access a service in front of their desk, organizations should be ready to have the particular service available and reach customers at that point in time.

Want to know more?

At the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit in Toronto, Nicky Senyard, Share Results CEO, and  and Yuli Shumsky, Director of Digital Marketing and Operations at CIBC,  presented a panel on Developing an Omni-channel Strategy for Your Financial Brand.

 

benefits of affiliate marketing for financial products

5 Benefits of Using Affiliate Marketing for Your Financial Products and Services

By | Affiliate Program, Affiliate Tracking Software, Digital Marketing, Network | No Comments

Performance marketing is one of many channels of digital marketing. If you are an advertiser that is familiar with this approach to advertising, you may appreciate that participating in affiliate networks connects you to a vast pool of expert marketers and publishers that focus on very niche content areas.

What makes this so interesting is that niche marketers become experts in their subject matter, and are seen as trusted sources of information for their audience. They are also active marketers that leverage various tactics like search-engine optimization to ensure their site is as visible as possible to their target audience. According to an article by Entrepreneur, it is affiliate marketing’s targeted and timely content that allows brands to stay relevant and engage target customers.

If you are unsure whether performance marketing is right for your business, here are five more reasons to consider:

Performance marketing is cost-efficient

  • Since affiliate marketing operates on a cost-per-action performance based basis, the advertiser only pays for qualifying actions, such as per sale. It’s a low cost marketing channel with minimal initial capital.
  • We recommend a commission structure that aligns with your business objectives. For example, maximize the number of sales by increasing the amount of incentives once a target number is reached. We don’t advise paying out a large incentive to get started and then lowering it after.

Affiliates offer niche, grassroots marketing

  • Affiliate marketing targets a specific audience. Share Results have affiliates segmented in the Canadian and US markets as their key demographics. Customers visiting affiliates’ sites are also highly engaged because they have their interests aligned. For example, customers going to a credit card comparison site or searching for an interest rate calculator tool are also looking their next credit card. These are your target audience with needs in financial products and services.
  • Key Stats: Share Results 2018 Q1 conversion rate for all financial products reached 27%.

Easily track results

  • Advertisers can benefit from traffic monitoring and reporting. You can track any variables from website visitors, impressions, click-through-ratios, clicks, registrations, conversions, transaction status, approval ratios, commission amount, etc. These are valuable information that give you details of the customer journey, whether they are in the top, middle or bottom of the marketing funnel. They also give insights on how well each campaign is doing and whether a strategy or tactic is performing.

share results Easily track results

Easy to maintain

  • Since sales are generated by affiliates, you don’t have to invest time and resources into building additional campaigns. Affiliate networks are fast ways to scale your marketing efforts. Affiliates’ website, its user experience, and campaign appeal are all important factors to engage customers and affiliates have to be skilled in those areas as well as having the target audience and market fit. The success factors are finding this fit and developing and nurturing these partnerships. You can either manage it yourself or through an agency with all-in-one affiliate management services.

Generate additional conversions from cross selling

  • Many affiliates have tools and information regarding a range of financial products and services. This builds a customer journey that maximizes lifetime value. Having a vast affiliate network also allows for complementary affiliates to cross sell your products and services. For example, placing travel credit cards on travel or airline booking affiliate sites can increase the chances of selling to existing customers, who are much easier to attract than new prospects.

 

Part 1: Top 3 KPIs to Drive Financial Affiliate Program Growth

By | Affiliate Program, Analytics, Digital Marketing, Miscellaneous, Program Optimisation | No Comments

Face it; running an affiliate program can be time-intensive. Whether you’re a marketing manager directly overseeing your campaign, are using an outsourced solution or a combination of both—understanding and focusing on the right key performance indicators (KPIs) from the start can mean the difference between a successful versus a not-so-successful affiliate program.

In this article we share our top three KPIs for driving financial affiliate program growth to help you optimize your performance and spend your efforts in the right areas. We’ll also walk you through what each indicator means, why it matters and how to use it to grow your program. Ready? Let’s get started.

#1. CONVERSION RATE

What it is

The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) provides one of the simplest definitions for conversion rate as “the percentage of users who complete a desired action.” Typically reported on monthly, conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of leads by the number of clicks (number of leads ÷ number of clicks = conversion rate).

Why it Matters

By measuring clicks against desired customer action, conversion rate puts clicks into context thereby making it more valuable (and informative) than click rate data alone.

Tracking conversion rate will help you:

Identify your most lucrative partners, showing which affiliate partnerships and campaigns bring in the best traffic so you know where to invest in expanding.
Identify your most lucrative digital channels, because you can compare a standardized rate across channels against affiliate channels.
Identify high potential affiliates, that may only need small adjustments to their program to yield big payoff

How to use it to help grow your program

You can use conversion rate to help you identify breaks in your customer journey and show you areas for improvement. Very low click rates may signal poor ad placement and/or execution or the need for landing page optimization. Making necessary adjustments can prevent losing valuable clicks that could become leads and ultimately convert to sales.

Other ways you can use conversion rate are to:

Compare high versus low conversion rate affiliate promotions, to see which placement types and techniques best drive leads for your business (ex. placement, ad, information presented, traffic demographic)
Identify high traffic, low conversion rate affiliates as high potential and target your efforts to these affiliates to improve their promotional efforts and customer experience
Gauge promotion and landing page impact on prospect interest level at various points in the customer journey.

But, don’t rely solely on conversion rate alone; use it in tandem with the next KPI—approval rate to gain deeper insights into your affiliate program performance.

#2. APPROVAL RATE

What it Is

Approval rate is defined as the percentage of approvals for a particular product such as credit cards that require a screening process. Typically reported on monthly, approval rate is calculated by dividing the number of approvals by the number of leads (number of approvals ÷ number of leads = approval rate).

Why it Matters

While a high volume of leads can be the sign of a healthy program, approval rate comes into play when the desired outcome is qualified prospects that become customers.

Approval rate compliments conversion rate by:

Showing the quality of leads—adding dimension and value to conversion rate numbers. A high conversion rate without a fair approval rate is not necessarily delivering value.
Helping identify the most lucrative partners and digital channels. Much like conversion rate, approval rate shows you where to best invest your energy.
Telling a more complete story, of where to focus your partnership cultivation and program growth efforts.
Giving a greater degree of targeting. A low conversion rate but high approval rate is an even more targeted way to identify and segment high potential affiliates.

How to use it to help grow your program

A low approval rate may signal a mismatch between the product offering and the affiliate audience it’s being offered to. Use this opportunity to correct course; communicate the target customer profile to your affiliate so that they can adjust their messaging and positioning.

Approval rating can also be used to:

Help affiliate managers work with an affiliate, to better understand their audience demographics and give strategic recommendations on more suitable products.
Evaluate affiliate’s ability to drive targeted and quality traffic. Instead of changing the product side, you can work with the affiliate on its traffic acquisition efforts to generate more targeted leads
Guide positioning changes or improve product information on the site for better alignment with the product. This increases the chances that the affiliate is ready to convert when gets redirected from click.
Identify lack of landing page optimization. A high conversion rate but low approval rate can signal where the origin of the low approvals may lie (i.e. too many steps in the buyer journey which is leading to bouncing).

In contrast to conversion rate, approval rate is a more specific quality metric pointing to the fit of the affiliate’s site and its traffic, with the product. Be sure to assess the brand fit on product-level and partnership-level and look at the affiliate’s method of acquiring and screening traffic.

Look closely at cases where approval rating is really low to avoid a poor fit that could potentially hurt your reputation. Make sure to monitor the messaging of the promotion to ensure it is accurate and not misleading. Depending on the situation, it may be worth re-assessing the partnership as a whole for alignment with the affiliate’s brand and yours.

Or, very low approval rate may signal that it’s time to sever the partnership altogether rather than continuing to invest heavily in an unfruitful partnership. Re-allocate your resources and time into more promising relationships. Looking at approval rate together with our next KPI—program growth – can help you make this decision.

Watch this space to read all about the third very important KPI that is key to driving the growth of your financial affiliate program! Part 2 is coming soon.

Want to know more about how to implement these KPIs using the Share Results platform? Get in touch!

High Impact Visuals for Engaging Banking Campaigns

By | Digital Marketing, Marketing Trends, Miscellaneous, Online Marketing Ideas | No Comments

Use this cheat sheet for creating shareable, value-added content

Looking for ways to make a big impact and increase engagement with customers and prospects? Visual marketing is a powerful tool, especially in the finance industry. With relevant images and videos, a bank can grab consumer attention while telling a compelling narrative. Even better, those appealing visuals are easily shared across social media sites, such as Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook — boosting brand recognition and overall reach.

What is Considered Visual Marketing?

Visual marketing includes infographics that illustrate a quick snippet of data, short and insightful videos, entertaining animated gifs and other engaging visual assets. In fact, adding an attractive image with your Facebook posts will deliver 84% more clicks, 53% more likes, and 104% more comments, according to this Kissmetrics survey.

According to another report by Hubspot, infographics are “liked” and shared on social media three times more often than any other type of content. This means a significant increase in customer reach for your brand.

Visual Marketing in Banking: 10 Dos and Don’ts

There are dozens of tried and true rules when it comes to creating and sharing visual marketing assets. Here are 10 to get you started:

  1. DO keep it simple. The best infographics focus on one idea or concept. Don’t over stuff it.
  2. DON’T sell, engage. Customers will see an ad for what it is, and be less inclined to share it. Instead, entice users with relevant, interesting or unique information they can use.
  3. DO tell a story with images. Keep text to a minimum and let the images do the talking. Especially in a video. Aim for videos to be less than one minute for long format and 15 seconds for short.
  4. DO make an impact. Use creative imagery and graphics to tell a story or communicate a simple idea. Don’t shy away from using bold, playful or attention-grabbing colors, where appropriate.
  5. DO be consistent. Consistency breeds trust. By using consistent branding, content or delivery methods, even timing, your customers can predict your movement and build confidence. Don’t forget to match your marketing with your in-store/retail signage, print materials, displays, out-of-home and point of sale materials.
  6. DO track performance like any other marketing channel. Whether video, image or dynamic creative, be able to compare its impact on growth against your other marketing channels.
  7. DO optimize/customize to the specific platform/medium. Poorly displaying graphics (wrong size, resolution, time to load, etc.) provide a bad customer experience for prospective clients and can reflect negatively on your brand.
  8. DON’T ignore your creative team. Trust your designers when they recommend or suggest changes. Taking their feedback into consideration while respecting brand guidelines can go a long way for optimizing the customer experience.
  9. DON’T mismatch visual formats to the message/audience. Be strategic when creating your content by considering the audience and format. See this Bank of America on Pinterest case study for an example of how they constructed visuals to work within the Pinterest ecosystem.
  10. DO make sure you understand rights and usage of your visual assets. You don’t want to be penalized by an image library or photographer for using copyrighted materials.

As the financial industry continues to evolve the ways it engages and interacts with prospective customers, the use of high-impact visuals in a variety of mediums remains at the forefront. Add vitality to your banking products by incorporating videos, animated gifs and other more engaging assets into your campaigns to give customers a feel for your brand. Behind the scenes, don’t forget to track each and every campaign and visual to understand what’s making the most difference to your growth.

The team at Share Results works with financial institutions on campaign creation, management and measurement. Learn more about how Share Results can help your brand expand its footprint in the financial services industry.  

 

The Power of Connections – Two Examples

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Making connections is the lifeblood of any business, especially in the financial industry. Whether it’s with new customers or loyal clients, a thriving business needs to focus on personalization and putting customers first. Here are two examples.

Connecting With Quality Introductions

Introductions are so important to a growing business. And a personal introduction from a friend or colleague is the most powerful. It adds instant credibility. Review sites, social media and old-fashion word of mouth are just some avenues for these personal connections to be made. According to a recent Nielsen study, 82% of participants seek recommendations from family and friends before making a purchase.

That’s where affiliate marketing comes in. Affiliate programs leverage existing networks with their own successful community leaders — influencers. Endorsement from those influencers, through a link, a review, a podcast, etc., have added credibility and reach in that group resulting in a high-quality prospect who is more likely to convert.

Commissions on Connections

Affiliate marketing is based on a commission, so affiliates get paid based on sales or approved signups instead of just click volume. The positive exposure of your brand in that network is an added bonus of partnering with that affiliate.

Shared Results is only affiliate network dedicated to Canadian financial services space. Get in touch today to see a demo and learn more.

Making Customer Connections

Once a loyal customer is earned, making connections through personalized customer service becomes essential. It’s been proven time and again that customers are more willing to purchase and endorse businesses that they’ve had a positive customer service experience with. Avenues like call centers and social media (Facebook and Twitter, especially) provide a quick response to negative customer experiences and give customers that personalized service they are looking for.

Having well-thought out communications plans in place for various customer issues is key, especially when communicating via social media. It allows your customer service representatives to offer a fast response to issues, positive or negative.

Data and Customer Service

Using data from your website to follow the customer experience and understand what that customer is looking for is another way to deliver better customer service. You can use those flow patterns to remove any roadblocks and offer a simple customer experience on your site.

Connecting to your customers across every channel is essential to your survival. Whether it’s through your potential client funnel, through a quality introduction by a network influencer, or excellent customer service, making the customer experience personal is vital.