- August 14th, 2017
It’s important to get out and see the world, embrace different cultures, and learn new things along the way, all while making new friends. Geckos Adventures has created amazing trips for young adults, ages 18-29, that are affordable and inspiring. Travelers can book a trip to over 80 world destinations. Travel affiliates can participate in the Geckos Affiliate Program found in the CJ network.
For every booking, Geckos donates a portion to their social enterprise partner, Friends International. This leading social enterprise saves lives and builds futures for marginalized kids and young people across the world by empowering them with skills that will set them up for employment. Giving back to the regions they visit is an integral part of Geckos Adventures’ mission. They instill the importance of reducing their carbon footprint while designing an unforgettable grassroots adventure.
Experience local life, use local transportation & accommodations, with an occasional homestay, treehouse, or houseboat. Making life-long connections with a small group of like-minded and same aged travelers is encouraged and learning about the destination from a local group leader who lives in that region gets the visitor immersed in the cultre. Leaders speak the language, are full of connections, and can share all the secret wonders of a destination.
Geckos Adventures has made it easy and safe for young people to get out and explore, make new friends, and bring home a new look on life. Being educated about different walks of life around the world on one of these uniquely designed trips is second to none.
Geckos Adventures also has a great affiliate program in Commission Junction. Professional travel publishers or recent travelers can share their experiences with friends and followers online after joining the program and start earning commissions. Commission Junction makes it easy to sign up as an affiliate and start advertising travel. 4% of total trip cost is paid out in commission to the affiliate marketing companies or travel bloggers promoting Geckos. The Versa affiliate management team is available to assist in any way possible! If you are reading this and have passed the age cut-off there is still an opportunity to check out trips with Geckos Adventures sister company, Intrepid Travel. Cheers and happy trails!
- July 29th, 2017
Every industry needs diversity. Diversity can be interpreted in several different ways: an age/race/gender-diversified workforce can certainly encourage innovation and several different viewpoints on the same challenges, for example. And just as importantly, expanding your brand’s menu of services or products offered can increase revenue, reach and brand awareness all at once.
Diversity in digital marketing is especially crucial as the ever-changing landscape of multiple channels, methods and verticals can quickly leave old fashioned marketing styles in the dust. The rise of two powerful digital methods: affiliate marketing companies and influencer marketing highlight this point perfectly.
So in this post let’s dive into some important differences between the two and more importantly, how they can work together towards the same goals!
First, The Affiliates…
Affiliate marketing has come a long way in the last decade. Once considered a “black hat” style, it has become one of the most dominant and successful ways to sell. According to this eMarketer, affiliate spending will top $5.3 billion by the end of 2017. Seems it’s become quite trustworthy…but why?
In one word, it’s measurable. Using performance-based marketing enables brands to assign a precise amount per click. Whether the end result is increased website traffic, a newsletter sign up, a sale, a conversion,etc. This gives peace of mind to both the CMO who approves the budget and the publisher who puts in the work to earn that click.
Confidence in the process and proven ROI should lead to growth and innovation and everyone who is embracing this process is thriving. Perfect, right? Well, not always… Some brands have issues with the quality of the affiliate sites, or the tone that the publisher uses. A socially conscious brand that bases its identity on beneficial human interaction, for example, might find some affiliates lacking warmth or empathy, despite their brisk conversion rate or impressive reach.
This is where third party affiliate program management could possibly assist, as vetting and quality control processes can be overwhelming for a brand to do on its own. A qualified program manager has the connections and filters to ensure quality in affiliate marketing.
Next, The Influencers…
Influencer marketing has had a similar rise, but for a few different reasons. One estimate had Instagram influencer revenues at over half a billion dollars last year…and that’s not including other giants like YouTube, Facebook and the thousands of influencer blogs on every topic imaginable. And, according to this Linqia’s survey, 71% of marketers plan to keep or increase their 2017 influencer budget.
Why is it growing so fast? As above, in one word, it’s authentic. Building trust and loyalty is an influencer’s stock in trade, and having several thousand viewers following your every word is powerful indeed. Many studies have shown that faith in traditional brand-produced advertising is declining, and in this age of ad blockers, trusted content and reviews have reduced the reliance on banner ada. Honest and organic endorsements (even when payment for the review has been disclosed) are incredibly valuable for brand awareness. Increased traffic and eventual conversions, and retaining influencers throughout the sales and customer experience cycle has been shown to have massive potential.
All good news…but what’s the downside? It can be notoriously tricky to measure ROI with influencers, at least in traditional marketing terms, and this can possibly make justifying budgets for influencer campaigns far more difficult. Fortunately, there are rapidly developing methods, like pixel trackers and coupon codes, that can deliver various measurables to the marketing department. Also, it would be remiss to not mention the other benefits of an influencer campaign, such as evergreen content, social amplification and heightened brand recognition are valuable assets that may not be visible on a spread sheet, but are nevertheless beneficial to the brand.
And Introducing The Hybrid…
If you haven’t noticed, both of the perceived downsides to these marketing strategies match up nicely to the other’s strength. Affiliates are measurable and performance-based but brands worry about authenticity in their posts while influencers base their work on being authentic and trustworthy but often need advanced metrics to justify the investment to the brand. It seems natural to want to combine the two somehow, so let’s explore how that might work.
The first logical step would be to employ both: influencers create awareness, trust and buzz for the brand, and the affiliates operate by convincing and reassuring the buyer while making the sale easy. This sounds ideal, but care must be taken to assure consistent messaging and tone with both. Maybe, then, the better solution would involve training and enabling one affiliate/influencer to do both incrementally.
A talented blogger or social media star should, with tact and talent, be able to navigate through both phases by creating quality content while organically including links to buy or shop for the product. Many Instagram and YouTube stars already have hybridized their roles with “shop now” links popping up throughout their posts. Keeping authenticity and commerce that close can certainly be a challenge, but considering the value of a performer like that, there’s a potential for an efficient and powerful role that most marketing teams would love to have in their pocket.
Many influencers are so transparent and loved by their audiences that they even explain that yes they are including an affiliate link and go on to explain that their affiliate partnerships allow them to keep their blog afloat. Audiences seem to understand and respect this sort of authenticity and when kept in the loop, are happy to make sure the influencers they love are compensated for their amazing work.
To introduce this hybrid relationship into your marketing plan, again, a trusted agency like us has the relationships, vetting processes and managers to power your brand to the top of your industry.
Let us know if you have questions or comments below. We are a friendly group and love to have a good conversation about affiliate and influencer marketing!
- July 25th, 2017
It’s been such a pleasure to be a part of the affiliate management of Peregrine travel’s affiliate program in CJ. They have been exploring the world and taking you along ever since the 1970’s. Their adventures are built for an older generation – keeping in mind the importance of taking your time to enjoy your journey and fully experience each destination. Peregrine Adventure’s makes it a priority to immerse the traveler into the culture and soak up the atmosphere. Tour guides really want you to have a personal experience and pax are paired with a small group of like-minded travelers and local specialists that are expertly trained with a deep expanse of knowledge you won’t find anywhere else. There is no better way to see a destination then through the eyes of the people who live there.
Travel with Peregrine is comfortable and easy – using private vehicles that reduce travel time and reach places that big buses just can’t. It’s a convenient way to avoid the crowds. All of Peregrine tours include sightseeing and entrance costs, transportation, quality accommodation, an expert tour guide, all gratuities necessary for services, airport arrival travel, 24-hour emergency support, and even some meals.
Peregrine really does create spectacular journeys that combine exploration, culture, and adventure without forgetting about relaxation. They always make time for you to unwind and reflect upon your days activities.
Versa has been the affiliate marketing company in North America for over a year and the program continues to grow. We work diligently as a liaison to the biggest travel influencers in the industry to recruit content affiliate publishers. Commission Junction affiliates enjoy a 4% commission on all sales.
- July 7th, 2017
If you’re reading this, you probably have at least a working idea of how affiliate marketing works. You, the merchant, have this groundbreaking new tech widget that is ready to hit the market. And I, the publisher, have an established and well-trafficked tech blog where I test and review all the latest gadgets out there. Seems like we should get together, no?
And so we do. We get connected through an experienced affiliate program manager, I get that widget to test and review (with all of your facts and messaging), and I naturally feature a link to your website so readers can buy it. Our manager does all the legwork, and I publish the post. Your sales and web traffic climb, and I get paid every time that link gets a click. Seems like a win/win situation, and, typically, it is. Question is, who is happier with this arrangement: you, the merchant, or me, the publisher? Let’s take a look at some numbers and find out.
A survey recently published by VigLink asked 500 publishers and 100 merchants about their feelings on these relationships and their personal goals, which gives us the chance to get some answers. Let’s start with revenue. For the publishers, affiliate marketing has finally replaced display ads as revenue generators. This is big news, especially considering the higher conversion rates affiliate marketing brings. Additionally, over three-quarters of publishers, big and small, say that revenue from affiliate marketing stayed the same or increased from 2015 to 2016. These are good signs that well-established larger publishers will continue the good work, and smaller or newer bloggers will stick with the process with confidence. Publishers are feeling good about what they’re doing.
On the flip side, merchants are quite pleased with their affiliate marketing results from that same time period. An amazing 73% reported that the revenue generated from their affiliate marketing met or exceeded their expectations. Not their bottom line…their expectations, which can be quite lofty. Over three-quarters of merchants also showed confidence that their current affiliate marketing programs are increasing sales and web traffic simultaneously. Apparently, merchants are feeling quite happy with their results, as well.
So far, it seems like a pretty even race. Keep in mind, this is a good thing. Mutually beneficial situations like this makes affiliate marketing an especially appealing option. Knowing that, we should examine the future; plans to continue to invest time and money in these type of campaigns for both publishers and merchants will determine how this industry grows. So what does everyone see in the cards for the future?
Again, the prospects seem very bright. 86% of publishers expect their revenue to stay the same or increase in the next year. That would imply that these publishers will not only continue to use affiliate marketing to monetize their sites, but will reinvest some of that capital into technical and logistical improvements to make their sites more affiliate-friendly for merchants and readers alike. Investment in this infrastructure tends to spur growth and opportunity, especially in what is, in reality, still a fairly new industry. Consider this: only half of publishers with more than 100,000 unique monthly visitors have been taking advantage of affiliate marketing for five years or more, while 65% of smaller-scale publishers (less than 5,000 unique monthly visitors) have only been using it for two years or less. As with any industry, time and experience breed innovation and efficiency, especially with the help of a savvy affiliate marketing manager in your corner. With money staying steady and lots of room to grow, the publisher’s future looks bright indeed.
As in all marketing, the merchant takes its cues from the market. Accordingly, the merchants surveyed report similar optimism. Staying in step with the publishers, an amazing 91% of merchants plan to keep or increase their affiliate marketing budget in the future. This is big news, providing confidence and security for current publishers and hope and incentive for up-and-coming ones. Over half of the merchants also report 5%-20% of their total sales coming from content-driven affiliate sales; a number that, in this age of ad blockers and general indifference to banner ads, is significant and expected to increase. Keeping in mind that many of these merchants are as new at this as the publishers above, it stands to reason that marketing departments will continue to invest in and nurture publishers as performances and revenues increase. It’s just good business.
Are there problems and uncertainties that both publishers and merchants face in this rapidly growing field? Of course, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t discuss them. Some publishers report that there aren’t enough interesting or relevant products available to engage their readers, and this can be problematic for bloggers who rely on authenticity for their audience. However, as mentioned above, this exponentially growing field should naturally expand to include all sorts of diverse and niche-relevant products…so, if there’s nothing to write about right now, it’s a safe bet that there will be soon. The merchant’s main concern was the relative quality of the networks representing them. Bad writers, unreliable technical hiccups, or pushy sales techniques can all unfairly represent a brand. Thankfully, as the field evolves, there are many solutions appearing to aid the merchant in vetting networks, analyzing data and conversion rates, and quickly shutting down shady or unreliable sites.
So, after all these facts, who is more likely to be pleased with their affiliate marketing situation? Well, a case could be made for both, especially considering who’s reading this. We’ll give the slight edge to the merchant, who has increased sales, web traffic, and an almost guaranteed ROI on their investment. There will undoubtedly be more to discuss in the future as the industry grows and evolves. What are your thoughts on this survey and our conclusions? Team Merchant or Team Publisher? Let us know!
- June 8th, 2017
One of my favorite past times is sitting on the front porch of my childhood home enjoying a cup of Earl Grey alongside my mother. We would share stories and reminisce the old days. It was the tea that brought us together to share those moments. Every time I sip a hot cup of tea to this day I recall those times and it brings a smile to my face.
There is something about Earl Grey that feels comforting and really tea in general. One of my personal favorites is Kusmi Tea. Kusmi Tea is luxury tea now based out of Paris. They have an exceptional range of teas that they have developed throughout their rich history of over 150 years. The family owned company was deeply rooted in Russia and so many of the flavors are inspired by old traditions. Kusmi Tea blends continue to stay true to these old traditions but are complimented with contemporary essence. Their Earl Grey Polish blend no. 18 is one of Kusmi’s very first teas. It is considered a tangier version of Earl Grey with lemon and lime added to the traditional bergamot flavor. The Kusmi Tea collection offers exclusive blends of the highest quality. They have a wide range of teas including Green Tea blends like Green Bouquet, green tea with Nana mint or Detox, black tea like Prince Vladimir, and they are known for their red teas or Roobios, as well as, their delicate herbal teas. They offer 70 varieties of whole-leaf teas. These teas arrive in style in beautifully decorated and reusable tins.
Kusmi Tea has taken many measures to expand their market and have created an affiliate channel in the US. They have an active program in the Rakuten LinkShare network and offer a competitive 10% commission on all sales. They provide exceptionally designed banners and regular promotions for affiliates to benefit. All the tools to create a successful campaign are located in the LinkShare program. To join this great LinkShare program and start promoting these fine teas today please sign up at, https://signup.linkshare.com/publishers/registration/landing?mid=41984.
- May 3rd, 2017
Lately there has been a big trend in beards! It is not just a fad for the coffee brewing hipster at your local café you stop into to grab your cup of joe every morning. Beards are no longer just for the beefy lumberjack, Santa Claus, or Gandalf! They are making their way onto the faces of uber famous celebrities, politicians, and even those once super clean-cut, jocks! These beards are not like the beards I grew up with that were a catch all for the crumbs and shrapnel from lunch that you could save for dinner, only worn by hippies and hobos! They are manicured, shaped, and well kept! These beards are looking good and like any other part of your body, especially your hair, there are products to keep them fly! So how do you choose the right product? Well like any product you use on your body you want good ingredients! That is where Lovely Beards is doing it differently.
Lovely Beards offers a line of quality products for beards. Their products are 100% organic and made right here in the U.S using ingredients you can actually pronounce! Lovely Beards is the perfect ally for your beard’s long-term health. Their line of beard oils and balms help fight off all the problems that can plague a beard.Bald patches, itchy skin, uneven trim lines, are just some of the issues that can arise when growing and sustaining a beard, but these are manageable if you know how to take care of your beard. Fortunately, it’s not a difficult process if you avail yourself of the right resources.Lovely Beards takes a different approach to men’s health offering products that are affordable without sacrificing quality. A combination of the right facial cleanser, beard balm or oil, and with help from the Lovely Beards blog and monthly newsletter you can have the beard you always wanted whether you desire the ?Hollywoodian? or the coveted ?Classic Full Beard?!
They really do offer the best products for beards, no matter how you want to rock your beard! Lovely Beards’ products help you create the perfect look for your personal preference.Managing a beard can be a pain, but these products make it easy and they have a great variety of scents so not only will your beard look great, but it will smell great too!
They have a ShareASale affiliate program that offers an aggressive 12% commission! They also offer regular promotions and affiliate bonuses. Lovely Beards’ is more than happy to partner with influencers on product reviews and giveaways.They are also always looking for guest bloggers and cross promoting opportunities. I think this trend will be around for a while and will continue to be a hot topic. So, if you want to jump on board with this growing beard movement (no pun intended) then you’ll want to sign-up for Lovely Beards’ affiliate program today! https://www.shareasale.com/join/70086
- April 20th, 2017
Teatulia is more than just a tea. Their award-winning teas are responsibly sourced from their own USDA-certified organic tea garden in Northern Bangladesh. They’re company is not just sustainable, but regenerative. They really are changing the way tea is thought of and consumed, one cup at a time!
With a wide variety of delicious teas from soothing herbals to their robust energy teas, Teatulia offers something for everyone. Teatulia offers some great recipes on their site (https://www.teatulia.com/cooking-with-tea.htm) for additional ways to incorporate Tea into your meals. The Honey Tea Thyme Cocktail is delicious and a great addition for any event, takes the edge right off with the infusion of whiskey!
They also offer a competitive 10% commission and regular promotions in their ShareASale affiliate program https://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=28849 . Teatulia is a company that truly cares, for the quality of their product, for the environment, for their employees and partners, and for their customers.
Food and beverage influencers interested in doing product reviews are encouraged to apply to the program.
- April 18th, 2017
One affiliate program we couldn’t be more excited about is in our own backyard! My Trail Company, out of Boulder, Colorado, brings you extraordinarily light, high performance backpacks, tents, jackets, and accessories to not just get you on the trail, but keep you out there.
My Trail Co. took years of industry and design experience to build a brand that focuses solely on technical apparel and equipment. The two-in-one 50L pack, and the unique, 4-season Pyramid tents are their staples, while accessories like the Chrome Umbrella and Poncho UL Tarp add unique ultralight hiking footprint within the outdoor industry.
My favorite part of the My Trail affiliate program is they literally want their publishers to get outside and adventure! They’re always looking for qualified, content publishers and brand influencers to test their gear, and capture their experience through a product review or story. Outdoor gear bloggers are encouraged to join the program. The My Trail team is a group of expert level outdoorsmen, who stick to their roots and truly stand behind each one of their products.
AvantLink (https://www.avantlink.com/programs/14931) is the trusted affiliate network for tracking, offering a competitive 5% commission on every item sold. The average order value is over $100, and they keep a consistent rotation of updated banner creative and sales items within the dashboard. These products are year-round, which provides publishers plenty of seasonal content and holiday promotional opportunities.
- April 17th, 2017
One of my personal favorite affiliate programs is the one for Bulletproof. Started by famed bio-hacker, Dave Asprey, the company is leading a healthy fat industry and changing the way people eat across the globe. Dave put the idea of “butter in your coffee” on the map and created a guide for healthy eating with the New York Times best seller, The Bulletproof Diet.
The original coffee is still my go to weekend brew with a mix of grass fed butter and Brain Octane Oil (coconut oil extract). I now use Ghee in most of my cooking and the Collagen Protein Bites are my afternoon snack at the office or on the trail. “FatWater” might not sound like a refreshing beverage, but it is delicious with 0 grams of sugar and none of the weird fake sugar substitute taste. The Grass Fed Collagen Protein Powder is still the best on the market and mixes well with post workout smoothies.
The Bulletproof affiliate program is one of the few really good global programs. They have multiple distribution centers to keep shipping costs down and regularly have free shipping promotions in the US. The site automatically IP adjusts and accepts currency in USD, CAD, EUR and GBP. The website is in English, however, they have created a few language specific landing pages.
The program can be picked up in either CJ Affiliate by Conversant or in PepperJam Network with varying commission levels. Content Publishers are eligible for 10% commission and product review budget. They also offer one of the longest tracking periods available with up to a 120 day cookie.
Affiliate influencers are the first to know about special consumer promotions, new product launches and conference details.
Get more details on the program at https://go.bulletproof.com/affiliates
- January 2nd, 2017
The arrival of a new baby is one of life’s greatest joys…full of wonder, excitement and love you didn’t think was possible. Oh and becoming a parent means that you constantly need to buy stuff. Lots and lots of stuff…
New parents are joyful and emotional, eager to capture every moment and savor every milestone. They are also confused, overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, and willing to reach out for any new piece of advice or gadget that makes life a little easier. Making them the most desired and easiest to target consumers for brands that align with the parenting industry. This also explains the rise of valuable mom, dad and parenting blogs in the digital realm and why brands are so eager to partner with them.
This report from 2014 claims the average family will spend more than $12,000 on child-related expenses the first year, and the number tends to move up. Wow! Brands love partnering with parent bloggers because they tend to be extremely active on all channels, share advice in online forums and meticulously scour reviews of each and every piece of gear from pacifiers and strollers to the best smoke detectors and the safest cars.
What Can Parenting Bloggers do for Your Brand?
What does this all mean? If your brand can somehow align with the parenting vertical, it means that there is an immense opportunity for your brand to tap into a massive and steady market using all things digital.
Strategic plans are best understood and brainstormed via examples so let’s say you own a business that makes baby monitors. Gone are the days of the open-channel scratchy audio monitor that would occasionally pick up police bands or other random chatter on the same frequency. Today’s monitors are on the cutting edge of technology and safety with crystal clear audio, video and even night vision lenses streams that allow you to check on your baby on your smartphone from anywhere. This is the monitor you are selling, and you were able to offer it at a very competitive price point.
Sounds like a great product right? But, how do you jump into a very crowded and saturated market and make an impact? Way back when (read: 10 years ago!), you would take out an expensive print ad in Parenting magazine and pay the local big-box chain store to put your product on an eye-level shelf and hope Consumer Report reviews your product in the next few years.
How Brands Are Making Giant Digital Impacts with Parenting Affiliate Partners
Now, you tap into the powerful world of influencer and affiliate marketing, get the buzz out and equip hundreds of parent bloggers (with thousands of followers) with the ability to spread and recommend your brand, review your product, and sell it directly from their website. That’s guaranteed return on your marketing investment and organic, natural brand promotion. Let’s see how this works:
- understand how parents shop. According to this post, 81% of women buy items they see on social media or blogs, and 72% use reviews and recommendations found in the same spot to inform which item they’ll buy. Whether that advice is used online at home or with a mobile device at the store, the results are the same.
- A savvy, content-based affiliate marketing strategy puts your product front and center on dozens of established and trusted blogs and websites, possibly in review form, engages those thousands of readers, and gives them a one-click option to buy it right then and there.
- Got a deal or promotion to offer with that great price point you have? The same study says that 92% of those same shoppers will consistently pass along great deals to all their friends, and will undoubtedly take to social media to talk to other parents about their purchase. This now amplifies that original message and ever widens the circle of who puts eyes on that baby monitor, as well as offering social proof and reassurance about your purchase…very valuable assets, indeed.
- allow your carefully curated content to work its magic. Gift guides, mom must-have lists, even scary stories about hacked monitors can all point those readers toward your product. Mom bloggers in particular, actively seek out advice from each other and trade stories, meaning your original content can stay evergreen and be republished and linked back to for a long time.
- With an affiliate program in place, you can constantly update and tweak your content, promotions and compensation packages, as well as steer your brand towards effective channels and away from underperforming ones based on easy to access and impactful data.
Sold on Affiliate Marketing? What Should Your Brand do Next?
This can be a fair amount of work for a business owner, but it’s definitely necessary. Many marketing professionals wisely turn to an affiliate marketing agency to handle these challenges, tap into a network of influencers already in place and have an expert that knows how to comply with FTC guidelines. Expertise and experience in any aspect of a business count for a lot, and an established agency with extensive and trusted relationships and insight can put you miles ahead of the competition from the get-go.
At the end of the day, it’s most important for brands to understand that both the writers and their readers are loyal, engaged and constantly trading information and advice regarding their most important asset: their children. If your baby monitor, or any other related product, falls into this market space, investigate the possibilities that this sort of marketing can offer. You should feel good about your product, and how it can help parents and kids be safer, smarter and happier. Let everyone else spread the word for you.
Have you tried affiliate marketing strategies for your brand? If so share your experience or let us know if you have any questions or comments below!