October 26, 2016

Know your publishers: how fashion & beauty brands can get the most out of the affiliate channel

Every year brands are facing the same questions – how to outperform last year’s results and how to invest their budget?

With Q4 rapidly approaching, brands are finalising their marketing calendars, promotions and their exposure bookings to be prepared for this year’s peak season.In order to get the most out of the season, brands need to understand that not every affiliate is suitable for the same kind of offer. Understanding your publisher base and knowing who to reach out to with sales offers or content is the first step to success.Every publisher model has its pros and cons. Whilst cashback sites care about offers such as discounts, mid-season sales or a free delivery promotion, the highest potential for optimising with them is through offering an increased cashback rate. Most customers already know about existing offers, or products they want to purchase, prior to visiting a cashback site to see if they can get additional savings.Increasing cashback rates can be very attractive around Christmas, where a high volume of gifts and products are purchased and customers are keen to save every penny possible. Keep in mind cashback partners such as Quidco and TopCashback require a market leading cashback rate for exposure; so you can only optimise with them at separate times.Voucher sites are your go-to partners when it comes to discounts and offers on your site; make sure any “% off all” message, or similar is communicated to your voucher partners. Whilst most sites are happy to promote generic codes on site, if you want additional and special exposure, brands are often asked to provide exclusives.When it comes to new products or when the most wanted product is back in stock – blogger and content sites should be the first to know. Offers and discounts might still be relevant, but bloggers will share personal opinion, a product review, or a vlog on how to use the product – like how to best work with contouring kits.While the product is still in the focus, influencers will also function as your brand ambassador advising prospect customers on why to choose your brand and your products over others. Don’t make the rookie mistake of only telling them product A is back in stock – make sure you support this news with updated banners, imagery and some copy about the product.

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Another aspect to consider is timing. Although putting a voucher code on display only takes a few minutes, writing a blog post does involve a lot more time and effort. Allow your blogger and content publishers some time to prepare. Brands should aim to let their content partners be the first to know about upcoming product launches and brand updates. If you are able to provide samples (especially relevant for beauty brands) even better. Keep in mind that a successful affiliate program will benefit from affiliate managers and PR teams working together.Make sure your PR Team is in touch with your influencers. Ask your PR team to invite influencers to press releases and offer them sneak-peaks to new collections. An influencer will not just attend your event, he or she will post, blog, Snapchat, Instagram and more to keep their community informed about your brands updates. Samples can be used as a 'thank you' give-away or as a sneak peak opportunities. If a blogger is interested in your brand, they will be able to provide honest and high value reviews, reaching existing and new customers for your brand. Snapchat and Instagram provide opportunities for your products to appear more than just once. In addition, the posts will drive increased views from consumers who may in turn share posts with their friends - thus increasing potential reach.Both discounting/sales offers and content are important for building brand awareness and provide your publisher base with necessary ‘work-material’. The key is knowing which information is relevant for which publisher and how you, as a brand, can best support the work of a publisher. As in most cases, communication is vital for success.For a simplified way to reach out to publishers with suitable offers, focus on the points above and create a campaign hit list which includes the most relevant details for each of your publisher model groups. This will allow you to effectively reach out to all you voucher sites, loyalty platforms and bloggers.Catherine West, Affiliate Account Manager

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