Forrester forecasts U.S. affiliate marketing spending will increase by a compounded annual growth rate of nearly 17 percent between 2011 and 2016, growing to $4.5 billion.
A 2012 study showed that the promotional offers found on coupon deal sites, blog sites, loyalty, and cash back sites improve a company’s brand image.
The affiliate channel caters to today’s multi-site, multi-brand shopper. Ninety percent of affiliate shoppers visit more than one site before making a purchase. In addition, they are more likely to buy a product they find on multiple sites and prefer to shop on sites that carry multiple brands.
Promotions encourage online buyers to purchase. Online buyers often participate in what Forrester calls pause-and-resume commerce: Once they have begun the checkout process, online buyers will pause to search for deals before purchasing. Forty-three percent of respondents agreed that online promotions often close the deal for them when they are undecided on a purchase.
Merchant affiliate marketing tip:
- Create a vanity code for your shopping site partners, these are essentially a clone of your promo code that will appear on the affiliate partner web site. For example, if I want to create a 20% off sale code for Ebates, I can call it EBATES20. This gives the consumer a sense of value from using the code on your affiliate’s web site, but in actuality it is simply the standard sale offer that you may be using in search, direct traffic, and e-mail.
Here are 3 sites I highly recommend for your affiliate program, especially if you are an e-commerce retailer and want to move products around key holidays.
Ebates: This powerhouse has been around since 1998. They boast 12 million members who earn cash back from making purchases from the “stores” listed on the site. The customer gets a check with their cash back every quarter, and it’s notable that Ebates has paid more than 70 million dollars out to customers!
RetailMeNot: The leading consumer destination for collaborative online coupon, deal and promotional code hunting and sharing. According to comScore, they are the largest coupon site in the US. Look up any brand and you will most likely find them listed on the first page of Google with a coupon code. Not kidding.
ShopAtHome: is another monster publisher in the affiliate marketing world. If you sell products, you need to be seen on here. Similar to Ebates, consumers can earn cash back on purchases made on the site; additionally they have a popular browser app that pushes coupon codes to the shopper as they are searching for products. The toolbar is controversial because many consider this to be “cookie stuffing” since ShopAtHome is essentially getting “credit” for sales that your web site may receive anyway. For more on cookie stuffing, please see visit Convertro for an in depth report.