Affiliate/Referral Marketing campaign for Indian Retailers

No one has written about affiliate/referral campaigns targeting Indian retailers. So, I am adding my two cents here.

Affiliate vs Referral

Note- I’ll be using a/r as a short-cut for Affiliate/Referral in this article.

Do you need an Affiliate or Referral marketing campaign?

You might be wondering if your business needs such campaigns. You’re already spending a good amount of money into different channels. You’re doing SEO, PPC, Re-marketing and Social marketing etc. Why invest time and resources in another marketing channel?

The answer is Yes. You do need a/r marketing campaign. If managed correctly, these campaigns might become an important asset.

Some facts:

  • Total Number of Affiliates have increased by 42% in 2012.
  • ‘Online Affiliate’ was voted #1 job of 2012 by a recent article from MSNBC.
  • A referred customer has a 16% higher life-time value (LTV) according to The Wharton School Business.
  • 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer.

Advantages:

  • Pay for performance model helps for controlling costs.
  • More exposure and buzz helps brand to gain more recognition

Difference between an affiliate and referral marketing campaign

An affiliate has financial motivation. He doesn’t know about the referred customers personally and uses a broadcasting medium to promote.

Referral marketing is based on the relationship between referrer and potential customers rather than financial motivation. A referrer recommends to his friends or family members using direct communication.

Businesses using a/r campaigns in India

I’m not really sure about the exact number but these popular stores are benefiting from such campaigns.

  1. Flipkart
  2. Jabong
  3. Myntra
  4. MakeMyTrip
  5. Yatra
  6. FreeCultr
  7. Via

And the list goes on.

Tools/Services which help for setting up a/r campaigns

There are a numbers of platforms/tools which can be used. Some of the businesses listed above use their custom software.

If you want to launch your own a/r campaign easily and quickly, you can use the services listed below.

ReferralCandy

ReferralCandy is a service which lets you create a referral marketing campaign. Plans starts from Rs 700/month and it integrates with almost every single ecommerce platform.

ReferralCandy Indian customers- Yatra & FersnPetals

iDevAffiliate

iDevAffiliate is hosted software for Affiliate Marketing and it integrates with most of the carts/platforms. It also supports Indian currency and its licences are available from $99.

iDevAffiliate Indian Customer – Hostgator India

OMGPM

OMGPM is an affiliate network used by popular merchants. It seems to be most popular affiliate network solution present now.

OMGPM Indian Customers – BabyOYE

Getting more from a/r campaign

  • Fix your Conversion Rate if you’re willing to use Affiliate campaign. Affiliates hate low converting websites.
  • Test incentives and promotional materials to find out which drives more conversion
  • Connect with affiliates/referrers at regular basis. Teaching them a bit about marketing will benefit both parties.

I hope the article helps. If you have any questions or something to add, please use the twitter link below or contact page.

An ‘Exact Match Domain’ case

You have read all about Exact Match Domain (EMD) algorithm effect and how it is supposed to remove the low quality websites tricking to get the higher ranks. Here is what Matt Cutts tweeted:

https://twitter.com/mattcutts/statuses/251784203597910016

Well, I have a case to share. I was going through my SpyFu account and searching for keywords with highest CPC. A link to those keywords.

mesothelioma firm is listed on 57th place with CPC of $207.83. I validated this CPC data using Google Adwords tool and it was confirmed. $214.64 for a click. Can you believe that?

Now, I did a quick search for mesothelioma firm and the site http://www.mesotheliomafirm.com/ was on top. I opened the website and WTF! This is just a WordPress website with almost no content.

I was strong believer that EMD update with demote this site. So, there might be some other cases.

  1. A real site in past before the current site to earn the position
  2. Backlink spamming to trick the ranking
  3. Exact match domain effect still exist

I checked Archive.org Wayback machine and looked for any ‘real website’ in past. Found some stored copies but they had the same content as current site. Link to Archive.org result also the post date on current website is 27 Oct 2010, so it doesn’t make any sense.

I also did a backlink analysis on Open Site Explorer and there was nothing in there. No backlinks, Domain authority only 1 and even after that site ranks at top. I never seen any website with only 1 Domain authority to get the top place.

openSiteexplorer-emd

So, the only theory which makes sense that ‘Exact match Domain’ was working for this domain. I have not much results to contradict the EMD algo update but this is some hope for spammers. Got anything to share?

Google Ecommerce tracking in 3DCart

Jenny asked me for a small project – To set up Ecommerce tracking in her 3DCart store. I thought it as a small task but it took more than 15 days. A really long story with so many problems.

What was the major problem?

The major problem was use of Shared SSL or Lack of Dedicated SSL. She was using shared provided (Free one) by 3DCart.

Why shared SSL for 3Dcart is a problem for Ecommerce tracking?

Because if you use shared SSL, all your secure pages will be hosted on subdomain.3dcartstores.com.

And as it is not your primary domain, you need cross-domain tracking to keep up the original traffic source between your domain and subdomain of 3dcartstores. Otherwise you will have self-referral issues and Google Analytics will report that all the sales are coming from yourdomain.com/referral.

Self-Referral-for-BigCommerce1

You won’t be able to track the performance of your Adwords or Facebook Ad campaigns, Email Marketing and ultimately ROI calculation will be really tough.

Also, I couldn’t find any simple cross-domain method for 3DCart. It’s really bad because you’ve to pay for an SSL certificate.

How to setup Ecommerce Tracking?

  1. First of all, Get a dedicated SSL certificate. Buying it from 3DCart makes more sense because they will offer installation and support.
  2. Don’t use default Google Analytics plugin in 3DCart! It seems that it doesn’t report ecommerce sales correctly.
  3. Insert Google Analytics inside your theme manually. Just remember to put it before section.
  4. Go to Settings >Design >Titles and Content and insert the following code in footer section under Checkout#4 file. Capture

And it should work. Now, you can use Google Analytics to track ROI on all your marketing campaigns and channels.

Do you need any help with Analytics for your 3DCart store? Do you want to increase the revenue of your store? Contact me and let’s get started.

5 Key success factors for E-Commerce Business

Ask yourself! Why do you buy a product from a particular website? What are the factors which motivate you to choose that site and not others?

That answer is what you’re looking for your own e-store success. They are the key factors which will help your e-store to stands higher in crowd and sell more.

1. Branding

Do you have a ‘thing’ for brands? Do you like Prada or Gucci? Do you like Starbucks?

A brand is a belief and the most powerful thing. The reason why you decide to pay higher price without any problem.

So think, how do you brand your business? What are the current methods for brand building? Are they really helpful? Are they costing much? Can you measure the ROI (return-on-investment)? Is it scalable process?

If you’re answers have more ‘No’ than ‘yes’, then it’s time to tune your Brand-Building method.

Now, How can you build a strong brand if you’re totally new?

These are the effective ways to build a stronger brand using Internet for a new business.

  1. Unique Design:  Good enough to hold them! If you’re able to amaze them, you can sell even more. Get a Logo and designed website. It doesn’t cost you much if you use service like Elance.
  2. Utilize Social Networks: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn presence are very helpful here. They got some very innovative products (Twitter Promoted, Facebook Ads etc) to promote a brand. Spend some time to discover the ‘best practices’.
  3. Run multiple Display Advertising Campaigns: Let them remember your name and what you do.
  4. Participate in conversation and Q&A sites and answer every questions about your brand
  5. Showcase your Testimonials, Reviews and feedback across the site and networks

2. USP

USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition.  How do you differentiate your business from others? What are the product differentiators?

A buyer usually spends a good time on research. He searches for

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Deals
  • Reviews etc

So How do you differentiate your products? Is it price, quality, customer support, any guaranty (Money Back, warranty etc.) or payment flexibilities?

When you find your USPs, showcase them everywhere. It’ll help buyers to make decisions.

For example, I’m willing to pay higher price for fast shipping. It’s strange but justifies my impatient behavior.

3. Store Experience

A good store experience is a must have for Ecommerce success. If your cart or design sucks, nothing is going to help to convert better.

Make your store as much as user-friendly you can. Get a good design, speed-up the store (1 second delay in site speed may decrease conversion rate by 7%), smooth the Cart and get higher conversion rate. A good Ecommerce platform or software is a necessity.

Offer number of features but don’t confuse them with lot of options. Simplicity is also necessary.

4. Customer Retention

A business is never going to be a success without the army of Loyal Customers. Customer retention is helpful to get more sales and to build your brand. A loyal customer not only buys from you but he also spreads the good words in his network.

Also you’ve to apply less effort to sell something to existing customers again. They’ve already used the product and they won’t be affected by FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubts).

Simple advice, always be connected with your existing customers. Let them feel special.

Ask for regular advice (design or feature) using newsletters, blogs or surveys. Thus they’ll be connected and feel like a part of the business and not only a proposition/asset.

5. Multi-Channel Marketing

There are opportunities lying everywhere in Internet. Some businesses are making millions from Facebook. Some businesses are killing their competition with Search Engine Marketing.

The mantra is to spread your reach everywhere. It’s not that hard with Internet.

Let me ask you something. How do you promote your business? What are the current quality traffic sources? If you can only list 2 or 3 traffic sources, be ready for sudden loss. 🙂

distributed-traffic-channel

If you’re totally depended on search engines, a negative change in ranking algorithm can affect your whole business. If you rely on Ads for traffic, their policy change can bring you to a danger situation.

An ideal marketing strategy should focus on no. of marketing channels. You can use Email Marketing, SEM, Affiliate Marketing, Referral Marketing, Social Media and offline campaigns to diversify your reach.

Thus you’re not dependent on a single source and they’ll also bring you regular amount of buyers. All it needs good and specified targeting and regular data-driven optimization.

Now, it’s time for your participation. What are the success factors behind your business? How to do you sell more? Please share!

Do you need some help for your store? Contact me and let’s work together.

Bigcommerce and Interspire Conversion tracking

BigCommerce (hosted version of Interspire) is a feature rich Ecommerce platform. It’s one of the most complete eCommerce platform out there.

Most people don’t understand the difference between eCommerce and Conversion tracking. Each of them requires different tracking code.

Ecommerce tracking helps you to see various transactional data inside the Google Analytics (or any other similar services) and Conversion tracking helps you for calculating ROI (Return on Investment) of your Google Adwords campaigns.

Google Analytics eCommerce Tracking Interspire/Bigcommerce

BigCommerce now supports eCommerce tracking by default. You don’t have to add any codes anywhere.

Notes:

  • Use Google Analytics traditional code instead of new Async code for proper tracking.
  • if you are not using dedicated SSL, you will have self-referral issues (See image) . In that case, you’ll have to enable Cross-domain tracking.Self-Referral-for-BigCommerce1

Adwords Conversion Tracking

Steps:

  1. Go to Affiliate Setting. affiliate-tracking0011
  2. Just paste this code in the Conversion Tracking Code box. Don’t forget to replace ‘Your-merchant-ID’  with your own Adwords Merchant ID in the following file.affiliate-tracking0021
    1. Now do a test order and check for the ‘Amount‘  in thank-you page source. It should match your transaction value.

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