Brennan Bennett, a Marketing Specialist and impassioned e-commerce / affiliate marketing guru at LEAP, lent some of his industry expertise during a recent interview.
What are some tips and tricks on how to use affiliate marketing?
BENNETT: Own your space and know your market. If you are an affiliate marketer, try to be a niche, and as specific as possible. If you have multiple interests and/or skills that you can write quality content on, consider setting up a few different sites that focus on different topics.
From a brand management perspective, you have to have a strong sense of networking, and (lots of) patience. Brand muscle may get you in the door, but if you are not active, engaging and responsive, affiliates move on. Remember that even if your brand has muscle, it's not the only brand with muscle. Affiliates have thousands of brands to work with. Some big, some small. Be creative and try incentives that don't just involve commissions like free swag or gift cards.
What is affiliate marketing?
BENNETT: Simply put, it's a business referral system. Affiliates get traffic to their site, they click on a link to your store, and if the consumer buys a product, the affiliate gets a cut. However, the marketplace is evolving quickly. Content is still king when it comes to earning money the old fashioned way online, but affiliates are very clever entrepreneurs. I've done business with affiliate companies that don't even need to bring traffic to their site but instead have found ways to utilize a merchant's email list. It's about making the tools merchants have to communicate with customers more efficient and profitable. Remember, affiliates only get a cut, so any affiliate sale is a win. I have also seen a steady rise in cash back sites where affiliates share their commissions with consumers. I even saw an affiliate site modeled after Priceline.com. With the advent of mobile, affiliate marketing can literally be everywhere (i.e. QR codes or embedded in promotional graphics).
What is your favorite part about your job?
BENNETT: Networking with innovative entrepreneurs. It’s contagious. Some of the top earners I work with are among the most highly motivated people I have ever encountered. As such, they are savvy, sharp and hungry for more.
Can you give examples of successful e-commerce programs LEAP runs for clients?
BENNETT: One of the largest retailers in the world, Fruit of the Loom. Due to our success with this parent brand, other FOL brands like Russell Athletic and Spalding have enabled us to simultaneously enter multiple verticals at once. LEAP has taken this client from inception to execution over the last year and a half. Since then, affiliate growth has averaged around 60% across all managed brands/ Additionally, several brands are grossing well into the triple digits while operating in a half dozen industry leading networks. As always, there is plenty of room to grow, but the program has grown extensively in 18 months.
If you could give any company out there participating in e-commerce some advice, what would it be?
BENNETT: E-commerce, and even to a level affiliate marketing, is a compartmentalized full time job. If you have an e-com shop and want to expand, it is really beneficial to have someone managing the program that is as invested as you are.
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