Affiliate programs are an integral part of the success for many top performers in ecommerce. Every day, new partners join affiliate networks to increase traffic volume and push their brand forward. However, in order to improve affiliate program performance, it’s often necessary shift focus from gaining traffic to converting traffic.
Improve Affiliate Program Performance with On-Site Optimization
While affiliate marketing is a highly effective way to direct traffic to your site, entering a site is the beginning, not the end of the journey. Affiliate marketing brings users to your door, but the ball is still in your court to turn those visitors into customers. Unfortunately, the vast majority of users won’t become customers without strategies in place to push them in the right direction.
In fact, the overall ecommerce abandonment rate sits at over 97%.
That means that for every 100 users referred to your site, just 3 of them will convert. Allowing 97% of your potential customers to slip away means that your Affiliate ROI will remain at a suboptimal level. In order to get the greatest possible return, we have to focus on the customer journey.
The 3 Most Important Metrics Needed to Improve Affiliate Program Performance
In ecommerce, we love to talk about metrics. Visits. Clicks. Views. Time on Site. While these metrics are important, they only offer us surface level details about the success of a site. Instead, we need to focus on three key measurements.
1. Conversion Rates
Converting users should always be your main priority. If users aren’t buying, no other metric matters. Without using on-site strategies, your conversion rate will likely hover around 3%.
2. Average Order Value (AOV)
While conversions are important, the amount they buy matters too. If your users are heading to checkout with just one item in their cart, it’s more difficult to hit your goals.
3. Customer Lifetime Value
Returning customers spend more, convert more often, and help your site build positive relationships. It costs up to 25x more to convert a new customer than a returning one. That’s why it’s so important to build loyalty through continued communications.
The Key is On-Site Optimization
Enhancing these 3 metrics may seem like a tall order. However, with the right strategies, it’s simple to give your site an edge and improve your customer experience. Let’s take a look at 7 ways you can use on-site optimization to improve your KPIs.
7 On-Site Strategies to Improve Affiliate Program Performance
1. Target New Traffic Segments
When a visitor first enters your site, it can seem tricky to find the right balance between aggressively promoting your products and scaring them away. At UpSellit, we generally advise sites to stay away from true “on-entry” strategies – i.e., engagements that launch as soon as the customer enters. Instead, you will want to let a user explore a little bit.
Immediately bombarding them with an engagement can increase your bounce rate, which puts an end to a conversion opportunity before it even starts. However, once a user has had a chance to look around, it’s time to start optimizing the experience.
Using a technology like UpSellit’s Visitor ID can make it simple to identify new customers. Targeting these new customers is key, as users who are unfamiliar with your site aren’t likely to come back if they abandon.
To engage them early, consider a welcome offer (10% off their order) or “Free shipping on your first purchase)”. When crafting the copy, feel free to frame it specifically as a “welcome offer.” This not only motivates shoppers to move further down the funnel, it personalizes the experience, as the user will know that you’re not simply offering this to everyone.
You can use this opportunity to gather a new-to-file lead in exchange for a coupon code. However, while this strategy can work flawlessly, some users won’t be comfortable giving out their information right away – especially if you’re asking for an SMS opt-in. For that reason, we generally recommend that welcome offers stick to email first.
2. Collect New-to-File Leads From Abandoning Shoppers
No matter what strategies we use, it’s always possible that a user may abandon. New visitors have a lower chance of returning than users who have previously been to your site, so it’s important to gather their contact information as effectively as possible.
There are several strategies you can use to capture the lead. The first, as we talked about previously, is to offer an inboxed incentive – a coupon code that you can email or text to them.
However, if you’d prefer not to use an incentive, you can still gather their information using a “Save Your Cart” engagement. Technology like UpSellit’s Cart Preserver allows you to save their session data and send them their cart via email, allowing them to continue shopping from any device.
While many users appreciate a cart-saver, the copy for this engagement matters. The idea of saving a cart for later, while not new, isn’t always something a customer is familiar with. Positioning cart preservers as a convenience to shoppers goes a long way.
Instead of using a question, use a statement like “Don’t Forget to Save Your Cart.”
This makes it feel more normal to the shopper, and increases the likelihood you’ll be able to recover them with remarketing.
3. Improve Affiliate Program Performance thorough Personalization
It’s no secret that personalized experiences lead to higher conversion rates. Fortunately, using the data from a user’s session, you have the power to tailor the consumer journey to shopper intent.
For example, if a user previously received a coupon code from your site, you can remind them by dynamically displaying it for them. You can also use Targeted Tactics to let customers know when they have to act on a special offer, and when stock is running low on a product they’re viewing.
If a shopper displays signs of price sensitivity, you can allow them to sign up for a price drop alert. While this strategy is commonly associated with the travel industry, it’s a great option for any retailer. If the item the user is watching goes on sale, you can instantly send the user a notification. This allows you to convert a shopper without the need for a unique incentive.
Finally, if a user is viewing an item that’s out of stock, you can always let the user sign up for back-in-stock notifications. When stock is replenished, you can automatically send a message to the user encouraging them to come back and convert while supplies last.
You can also serve them a reminder the next time they return to your site. These simple personalization strategies can help you overcome common barriers to conversion improve Affiliate traffic performance.
4. Implement Advanced Product Recommendations
Thanks to the increasing power of artificial intelligence, product recommendations are more powerful than ever. While product recommendations are used on just 7% of site visits, they account for nearly ¼ of total revenue for sites that use them.
Product recommendations have the power to function like a salesperson in a physical store. In addition to increasing awareness about particular products, they can be used to cross-sell, upsell, and downsell.
Cross-selling is the sale of a related product to increase AOV. Some of the most common cross-sells are accessories, extended warranties, and add-ons that enhance a purchase. One classic example of a cross-sell is the recommendation of a complete outfit based on the purchase of an article of clothing. This tactic can generate significant new revenue from a single initial purchase.
Upselling is the sale of a higher priced version of a particular item, and can be applied to a wide range of industries. You can recommend a newer model, one with more optional features, or a special edition of product.
Down-selling is a great option for reducing friction associated with price sensitivity. When a user appears ready to abandon a high-priced item, you can simply recommend a less expensive alternative. From there, you can use cross-sells to rebuild the order value, and encourage the users to continue shopping.
5. Create Lifecycle Campaigns
Once you’ve converted a user, what’s next? Now is the time to build loyalty. One of the simplest ways to do that is to create a Lifecycle campaign. This form of remarketing builds on a past purchase to build your relationship with customers.
Traditionally, Lifecycle campaigns were built around the product life cycle. For instance, new blades after a razor purchase, more batteries after buying a flashlight, new filters for a coffee maker, etc. However, lifecycle campaigns now encompass a far larger role and can accomplish a huge number of goals.
For instance, a few weeks after a shopper makes their purchase, you can send out a lifecycle email to encourage them to leave a review. This builds social proof and increases the likelihood that others will follow in their footsteps.
Another classic use of lifecycle emails is to send product recommendations based on their purchase and browsing history. While these recommendations will be generated by artificial intelligence, these kinds of emails keep users engaged and can inspire new purchases the user may not have initially thought of.
No matter how you decide to utilize lifecycle emails, be sure to include dynamic content. Personalize the message to include their name, reference past purchases, and generally show them that you care about your business. These small touches can make a big difference for driving loyalty and continuing the conversation.
6. Integrate SMS Remarketing Campaigns
SMS marketing is a popular and extremely effective method of remarketing, especially when used in conjunction with email remarketing. SMS marketing offers a number of benefits, including open rates of 90%+, response rates of 40%+, and an average open-time of less than 10 minutes.
The key to a great SMS campaign is to play to the strengths of the medium without getting tripped up by potential pitfalls. Regulations surrounding SMS are very different, so you’ll first want to get familiar with SMS best practices and compliance guidelines.
Afterwards, focus on using SMS to communicate short, immediately actionable messages. For instance, since mobile messages are opened quickly, they’re the perfect way to notify a user of a flash sale or special limited time discount.
“Wait?” you might wonder. “Why not just use SMS for everything?” The simple answer: burnout. SMS is viewed as a more personal medium than email, especially since the recipient is alerted every time a message is sent. Unsubscribe rates are significantly higher for SMS contact lists than in email, so the best advice is to use SMS and email strategically to best improve program performance. Used correctly, SMS can generate significant revenue and create an excellent way to deepen your relationship with customers.
7. A/B Test Dynamic Engagement Designs
If there’s one thing Affiliate marketers know, it’s the importance of data and testing. Testing gives us data that we can use to make more informed decisions and maximize performance. Just as you test in your affiliate strategy, you should be doing the same thing with your on-site engagements.
While you can test any factor in an on-site engagement, many of UpSellit’s clients ask about the effectiveness of unique incentives. Which performs better, a 10% off coupon or a free shipping offer? Would offering 15% off create a statically significant difference as compared to a 10% discount? Can a well-written non-incentive engagement perform similarly to one that offers an incentive?
The answer to all of these questions is: it depends. While we always design modal engagements to perform as well as possible, the performance of a particular incentive or piece of copy can only be found by testing it.
The good news is that over the years, we’ve found some really surprising results. For instance, one case study found that a non-incentive messaging campaign really can outperform an incentivized one. Another found that a small coupon is actually more effective than free shipping. We love to be surprised by the results of campaigns. The only way to find out what works is to A/B test it with another solution.
Improve Affiliate Program Performance with Upsellit
Since 2005, UpSellit has provided affiliate partners with solutions that help convert traffic into customers. Using UpSellit’s wide array of on-site strategies, our optimization experts can tailor solutions that increase conversion, gather new-to-file leads, raise AOV, and enhance customer lifetime value.
Like other affiliate providers, we work on a performance model, meaning we succeed when you succeed. Plus. we never lock our clients into contacts or charge any kind of hidden fees.
It’s time to optimize every part of the customer journey. To get in touch with an on-site optimization specialist and request your free Shopper Behavioral Analysis, you can contact UpSellit at firstname.lastname@example.org.