The Versa Blog

Managing relationships with outdoor affiliate companies

July 22, 2013

Last week, we discussed working with an affiliate management company on launching a program. Today, we’ll talk about recruiting and engaging outdoor affiliates.

    Outdoor Affiliates

When it comes to identifying and engaging outdoor affiliates, there are several steps an affiliate management company follows. From referencing network lists to consistent follow-up, several factors can help make or break an outdoor affiliate program. Although some programs will require special attention depending on their vertical and business model, all of the strategies listed below will help build a successful program.
When it comes to growing your outdoor affiliate list, it is important to use all resources available. One of these resources is the affiliate network list provided within each network. There are different ways of finding the right affiliates but one simple way to accomplish this is by searching self-identified category verticals. By narrowing down relevant categories, recruiting becomes much easier. For example, in CommissionJunction, it is easy to search for affiliates in the “Camping and Hiking” sub-category which can be found under the “Recreation and Leisure” category. Once a list is populated, some networks will even provide you with their performance statistics. This is a great way to discover top performing affiliates in the outdoor category.
Another important aspect of identifying and engaging outdoor affiliates is leveraging existing affiliate relationships. It will be much less difficult to recruit these affiliates into your outdoor affiliate program if a relationship already exists. By browsing through its database of affiliates, an affiliate management company may find that some quality affiliates may have websites in different verticals. For example, a shoe affiliate may fall under the “Fashion” category but have several different websites including one that talks about the best hiking boots. Overall, browsing through a database of affiliates that have previously been engaged can prove to be a very successful strategy.
Versa Affiliate Management CompanyOnce affiliates have been contacted via email, consistent follow up is necessary. Whether they accepted the program offer sent through the network or signed up through the sign-up link in the recruitment email, it is essential to stay in contact. If the affiliate is a top performer, it would be wise to call and schedule a time to discuss different opportunities. If the affiliate is highly desirable but did not respond to the initial offer or recruitment email, a phone call may grab their attention. Once the affiliate is in the program, keeping in touch and consistently notifying them of new promotions and offers is highly advised.
Sometimes, a little creative work is required to receive better placement from affiliates. By creating custom media upon request from the affiliates, they may be encouraged to give priority placement to your unique banners. The same goes for unique text offers. The affiliate management company should also offer quality affiliates unique coupon codes as well as banners even if the requests were not made. Unique codes may take precedence over non-unique codes and be featured in a blog post.

    Outdoor Bloggers

As an advertiser, identifying high-quality blogs is akin to finding the goose who lays golden egg. Popular blogs have a lot going for them – they have a built-in audience of loyal followers, they have established a voice of authority among their audience, and they receive a lot of click traffic from both new and repeated visitors. In the eyes of advertisers, these are all attractive attributes. But while most bloggers have mastered ‘the art of blogging’, many still struggle with how to earn money from their blog. This is where affiliate advertising comes into play. If managed correctly, an affiliate advertising program can be an extremely lucrative way for bloggers to make money and an effective way for advertisers in the to gain more visibility for their product or service. In the outdoor industry especially, there are a wealth of different blogs pertaining to all aspects of life in the outdoors – from general gear and clothing review sites, to personal blogs about individual camping or hiking experiences, the outdoor industry is positioned well to leverage these blogs to promote their specified brand or service. Below are a few key strategies that an affiliate management company can implement to make their affiliate program more appealing to outdoor related bloggers.
Affiliate management companies can reach out to bloggers using a variety of different incentives such as giveaway deals, coupon codes, or discount deals. Other incentives for bloggers include being able to test a product or service before it is available to the public or guest write a blog post on the brand’s website. Whenever any of these initiatives are implemented it is crucial for the affiliate management company to send products in a timely manner and follow up with the blogger, thanking for writing a review. An important thing to remember, is that if you are requesting a blogger to review your product, be sure that they have the appropriate information and content they might need to write the review. Whether that be a press release or links to your product’s website – act as a resource for the blogger so they can write the more accurate an engaging post. If a blogger agrees to host banner ads or text links on their site, it is important to ensure that these links direct whoever clicks on them to the appropriate place. Follow up with bloggers who host links to ensure they still work and direct people to the correct site.
Most blogger understand that if they want their articles read, it has to match their audience’s interests – the same is true of their affiliate promotions. The products or company a blog chooses to advertise on their site must be relevant to their audience. It is key therefore, for affiliate management companies to identify blogs that target the appropriate audience for the product or service they are promoting. This type of blogger outreach can result in valuable SEO since bloggers often write keyword rich content, use links to your website and mentions of it on their social media platforms. This content will help improve a product’s web search result.
Ultimately it is important to remember that blogger outreach can result in powerful partnerships between the outdoor industry and the audiences they’re trying to reach. Therefore it should not be overlooked as a key advertising strategy.

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