Affiliate programs are an integral part of success for many top performers in ecommerce. Every day, new partners join affiliate networks to increase traffic volume and promote their brand. However, in order to improve affiliate program performance, it’s important to focus on converting your traffic once they make it to your website.
Improve Affiliate Program Performance with On-Site Optimizations
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 customer journey. Traditional affiliate marketing brings website visitors to your door, but you need to expand your affiliate channel to turn those visitors into customers. Unfortunately, the vast majority of shoppers won’t become customers without strategies in place to move them through the funnel.
In fact, the overall global ecommerce conversion rate is less than 3%, meaning 97% of your traffic abandons and leaves your affiliate ROI at a suboptimal level. In order to get the greatest possible return, you need to utilize affiliate partnerships at every stage of the customer journey.
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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 website. Instead, we need to focus on three key measurements.
1. Conversion Rates
Converting shoppers should always be a main priority. If website visitors aren’t making a purchase, other metrics don’t matter. Without using on-site conversion strategies, your conversion rate will likely remain around 3%.
2. Average Order Value (AOV)
While conversions are important, the amount they purchase matters too. If your shoppers are heading to checkout with just one item in their cart, it’s more difficult to reach your KPIs.
3. Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
Returning customers spend more, convert more often, and help your brand 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 continually build loyalty with existing customers through ongoing personalized engagements.
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 website an edge and improve your customer experience. Let’s take a look at 7 ways you can use on-site optimizations 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 be difficult to promote your products without 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 give shoppers the freedom to explore a bit first.
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 shopper has had a chance to look around, it’s time to start optimizing the experience.
Using technology like UpSellit’s Visitor ID makes it simple to identify new customers. Targeting these new customers is key, as visitors who are unfamiliar with your site are less likely to come back if they abandon.
Consider offering a special incentive on abandonment for first-time visitors. Offering new shoppers a 10% off discount or Free Shipping can be enough to sway them to give your products or service a try. When crafting the copy, let shoppers know it’s a welcome offer. This motivates visitors to move further down the funnel because their experience is personalized, and they know you’re not offering the discount to everyone.
You can even use this opportunity to collect a new-to-file lead in exchange for a coupon code. This way you can follow up with email remarketing strategies to turn first-time shoppers into loyal customers.
2. Collect New-to-File Leads From Abandoning Shoppers
Considering first-time visitors have a lower chance of returning to your website once they abandon, it’s important to gather their contact information as effectively as possible.
If you’d prefer not to use an incentive, you can still collect new contact information by offering to save shoppers’ carts. UpSellit’s Cart Preserver technology saves session data and sends carts via email, allowing shoppers to pick up where they left off from any device.
When considering copy, promoting the value of saving their progress goes a long way. Ensure the shopper knows you’re offering to save their cart as a part of the customer experience, not just to collect a new lead. This will start building the relationship and set you up for future email remarketing strategies.
3. Improve Affiliate Program Performance through Personalization
It’s no secret that personalized experiences lead to higher conversion rates. Fortunately, using the data from a shopper’s session gives you the power to tailor the consumer journey to shopper intent.
For example, if a visitor previously received a coupon code, 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 offer to send price drop alerts. While this strategy is commonly associated with the travel industry, it’s a great option for any retailer. If the item the shopper is watching goes on sale, you can instantly send them a notification. This allows you to convert a shopper without the need for a unique incentive.
Finally, if a shopper is viewing an item that’s out of stock, offer to send them back-in-stock notifications. When stock is replenished, you can automatically send a message to the shopper encouraging them to come back and convert while supplies last.
4. Implement Advanced Product Recommendations
Thanks to the power of artificial intelligence, product recommendations are more valuable than ever. Product recommendations have the power to function as a salesperson in a physical retail store. In addition to increasing awareness about particular products, they can be used to cross-sell, upsell, and down-sell.
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 cross-sell example is helping to complete the look based on an article of clothing in the shopper’s cart. This tactic can generate significant new revenue from a single initial item.
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 product.
Down-selling is a great option for reducing friction associated with price sensitivity. When a shopper 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 visitors to continue shopping.
5. Create Lifecycle Campaigns
Once you’ve converted a website visitor, 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 strengthen your relationship with customers.
Traditionally, lifecycle campaigns were built around the product’s “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 multiple 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.
You can also send AI-driven product recommendations based on their purchase and browsing history. Generated by artificial intelligence, these kinds of emails keep customers engaged and can inspire new purchases they may not have considered initially.
No matter how you decide to utilize lifecycle emails, be sure to include dynamic content. Personalize the message with their name, reference past purchases, and show them you’re grateful for their business. These small touches can make a big difference in driving loyalty and encouraging future conversions.
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%+ and response rates of 40%+.
SMS regulations are different from email, so you’ll first want to get familiar with SMS compliance guidelines. Afterward, focus on using SMS to communicate short, immediately actionable messages. Since mobile messages are opened quickly, they’re the perfect way to notify a user of a flash sale or special limited-time discount.
So why not 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 interchangeably 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. A/B testing is a highly effective way to discover what appeals to your customers and what motivates them to convert.
Improve Affiliate Program Performance with UpSellit
For over 15 years, UpSellit has provided affiliate partners with solutions that convert traffic into customers. Using UpSellit as your technology partner provides a wide array of on-site strategies that increase conversions, collect new-to-file leads, increase AOV, and enhance customer lifetime value.
To get in touch with one of our affiliate growth experts and get a free website analysis, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or download UpSellit’s Advertise Purple Case Study to learn how we can help your affiliate program succeed.