Lessons from the Islands for a Better 2015

Last week I was privileged to be be invited to the Isles of Scilly to spend 2 days helping the businesses on the Islands the eCommerce side of their businesses. As well as sharing my knowledge there are several key lessons I’m bringing back to the mainland that we could all find useful in 2015.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Isles of Scilly they are a small group of islands off the South West tip of Cornwall (Great Britain) with a permanent populate under 5,000. It’s a beautiful spot, that attracts a lot of tourists (it is well worth a visit!), but also has a thriving eCommerce sector selling everything from fresh flowers to soaps. [Read more…]

Affiliate Marketing Explained [eCommerce Infographic]

“How does affiliate marketing work?” is a question I get asked with surprising frequency. And this is a great infographic to explain it. [Read more…]

Unboxing – suprising marketing benefits from your parcels…

If you’ve not come across the world of ‘unboxing’ it’s a youtube trend that started with High Tec products and has now moved into more mainstream product areas.

They are videos of people unboxing a product. And talking the viewer through the packaging and what’s in the box.

Here’s a typical one from the high tec world:

This is now sneaking into eCommerce – and bringing lots of Content Marketing and Social Media marketing benefits to those brands who are able to harness it. Let’s run through some examples…

[Read more…]

Unbound – Crowdfunding for Books a different sort of eCommerce

As we saw last month with JustFab an eCommerce site doesn’t have to be like a normal shop with lots of products at different prices. This blog is about Unbound, a different sort of bookshop. [Read more…]

eCommerce Trends for 2013 (picked up at ECMOD)

I spent most of this week at the ECMOD conference in London. Most of the time I spent catching up with eCommerce business owners and marketers discussing the latest concerns and results in the industry. Plus, on day 2 I was privileged to be speaking on Social media.

It’s always a privilege to speak at ECMOD because the other speakers are of such high calibre! This year’s line-up included 3 stella acts from the US – the ever fascinating Amy Africa, data king John Miglautsch, and systems guru Ernie Schnell. Plus from the UK there were contributions from Boots, Charles Tyrwhitt, Naked Wines, Royal Mail, Lovehoney, Ironmongery Direct, Boden, Land’s End – the list goes on!

[Read more…]

Salt Tea Anyone? Great Partnership Example

This morning I found a great example of Partnership Marketing in my inbox.

It’s an email from Clipper Teas (if you like interesting teas, and haven’t yet tried the Clipper range you really should!), and it has a competition in it to win a gift pack of Cornish Sea Salt. Like Clipper the Cornish Sea Salt brand appeals to the upmarket, artisan, foodie – you’re highly likely to see both products in the same kitchen!

[Read more…]

Wine and Stationery go together like…

Yes, I can’t think of a good end to that sentence either.

But, for UK Office Direct and Naked Wines it’s clearly a partnership that’s working. [Read more…]

Affiliate Marketing – Beyond Voucher Codes

What’s the easiest way to quickly get affiliates on board or boost affiliate sales?

Easy, promote some strong voucher codes. Exclusive ones for big voucher code affiliates and generic ones available to all. Then watch your signups and sales quickly increase – along with increasing commission payouts and decreasing margins.

OK, so how about if I don’t want to rely heavily on voucher code sites, product discounting and high commissions?

Easy again, you need to build a clever affiliate strategy that both suits your budget and attracts affiliates that don’t just rely on big discounts. Here are some suggestions to help you on your way…
[Read more…]

Affiliates and the Power of Product Feeds

Over the past few months we’ve posted several times on how affiliates are adapting to the current times and are becoming more and more powerful as an online marketing channel.

We all know that voucher code affiliate sites are used by many consumers across all markets and that cashback sites are becoming more and more popular as consumers are putting more effort into ensuring they get the most out of every pound they spend. Therefore ensuring you spend time focusing on having strong offers and good relationships with the big players in these areas is vital. However, there are other places you should make sure you’re not missing – like your product feed.

Why should I offer a product feed?

A growing number of affiliates focus their USP on the fact they offer the consumer the ability to see everything that’s on offer in their marketplace all from one site. They can be as big as the price comparison sites or more market specific content/blog affiliates. Good examples of this type are:

These product feed affiliates will pick up all your relevant products and integrate them with other retailers they’re promoting.

Other product feed affiliates just pick and choose individual products from your feed to suit there needs. The feed gives them an ideal way to pick the products relevant to them – by category, product type, price etc. They may then use them to create, for example, an “Our Favourites” list. A good example is Mother of the Bride Outfits.

These product feed affiliates are becoming brands in their own right with their own email newsletters, Twitter followers, Facebook fans. They are a destination site for many consumers so if you don’t ensure you’re present, you’re missing a strong promotional opportunity.

If you’re able to provide a strong feed, in addition to offering good incentives, product feed affiliates can provide a new stream of affiliate revenue for you.

How do I go about producing a good feed?

So you want to work with these affiliates, how do you get a feed?

The first port of call is your web development team. The likelihood is that your website is driven by a database that has all the information you need to create an affiliate product feed. Your web development team should be able to pull that information into a feed to plug into your affiliate network.

What can I do if my web development team can’t help?

If for any reason your web development team can’t produce a feed there are some good solutions out there to do the job for you. They can essentially “scrape” your site, taking all the information needed for the feed without your web development team needing to be involved. 2 good examples:

Next steps…

Unfortunately, making product feed affiliates work for you isn’t as easy as making the decision you want to work with them. You need to put together a plan to get these affiliates on board.

We would suggest the first step is to have a conversation with your affiliate network:

  • Determine what product feed affiliates there are in your market and what sales they might be able to generate for you
  • Establish the likelihood of those affiliates taking your brand on board – what incentives might you need to offer?
  • Do you need your network or your feed provider to add their influence into the dialogue with the affiliates
  • Determine the exact feed requirements for the product feed affiliates in your industry before you start to develop your feed, there’s no point creating a feed to the network’s base requirements if the affiliates need more information before they’ll pick it up and use it

Once you know all the above, you’re ready to produce your feed and start making the most of this growing affiliate group.

How to harness the power of affiliate bloggers

Affiliate bloggers are on the rise, mainly due to the fact that bloggers now realise that they can monetise the content that they are already producing. Blogs are very different to any other form of website because they are updated regularly and their readers are very loyal, so the amount of repeat visits to blogs is huge. The reason people come back to blogs time and time again is because they are interested in and believe in what the blogger has to offer them. This is where the power of affiliate blogging comes from – the trust readers have in the blogger.

So how can you harness the power of affiliate bloggers? [Read more…]