Affiliate marketing is a powerful way to promote your products and services. By partnering with affiliate publishers, content creators, influencers and other external publishers, you can reach a wider customer base, generate new leads, and drive revenue. But these benefits come with great risks.
If eCommerce businesses aren’t strategic about the way they implement affiliate promotions and campaigns, they can potentially do more harm than good. Generic or exclusive promo codes are great for volume and so very well suited to low discount, high margin promotions such as free delivery or 5-10% discounts. But for promotions carrying higher rewards, where the discount is higher and the margin much lower, if these are run with generic or exclusive codes, they can be leaked and end up in the wrong hands. Not only can this erode profit margins and cause losses, you could also be required to pay commissions to affiliates or influencers for sales they didn’t directly drive.
The effects to your business could be catastrophic, including:
Damaged credibility in the eyes of your customers, stakeholders, and partners
Potential job losses
A skewed picture on where the sales actually came from with no way of being able to make informed decisions on future promotions
In an already saturated market where margins are incredibly fine, how can you stand out and offer promotions that are truly valuable to both your customers and your business without suffering from challenges around leakage?
In this article, we’ll shine a light on some of the ways your promotions could be at risk – and offer some examples of how Uniqodo can help you build smarter, safer, more impactful campaigns that boost your affiliate income.
The right customers aren’t being targeted with highly-personalised promotions
When businesses take a scattergun approach to promotions, they target anyone and everyone but appeal to only a few. This is a highly ineffective and inefficient way to run campaigns.
Instead, businesses should aim to find their target audience and appeal to their specific needs. This approach leads to personalised promotions that are more likely to drive lead generation and conversions.
You can target the right customers by:
Using demographic-specific affiliate networks
Using single-use codes to avoid them being leaked
Tying promotions to other memberships or IDs
Using webpage overlays that only appear when someone visits a site for the first time
Example: Moonpig targets its student base
Moonpig, an e-shop that sells personalised cards and gifts, wanted to target students and drive engagement among a younger audience, but they were concerned about leaked codes.
Through unique single-use codes and an API integration with Student Beans — an affiliate network exclusively for students — they were able to seamlessly distribute Uniqodo codes to a target group of people, driving an 82% conversion rate through affiliate sales.
Your affiliate promotions aren’t supported by unique, intelligent codes
One issue businesses run up against when attempting targeted affiliate promotions is the use of generic discount codes that are available to anyone. Despite their best efforts to reach the right people, the codes leak and land up all over the place, resulting in:
Insufficient stock to meet demand
By using single-use codes that cannot be leaked, you can ensure that only the right people have access to your promotions. These codes can be delivered via Instagram affiliate links, email campaigns sent to subscribers’ inboxes, and webpage overlays.
Example: Beauty Bay’s new-customer overlay
Cosmetics e-shop Beauty Bay needed to be sure that a first-order code could only be used by new customers. Teaming up with Uniqodo, they built and deployed a website overlay that is only displayed when a new customer lands on the page, presenting a call to action to sign up using their email. Upon signing up, new customers received a unique, single-use code.
This campaign contributed to a 90% increase in sales compared with the previous year, plus a 718% increase in promotional revenue within a single month of going live.
You aren’t creating a seamless customer journey
In today’s busy, fast-paced world, people expect frictionless customer journeys with minimum hassle. They simply don’t have the patience to battle their way through complicated, time-consuming sign-up processes – and rightly so.
Online shops that make them jump through unnecessary hoops will suffer from customer drop-off and fewer conversions, while those that build smart, intuitive customer flows will succeed.
Creating a seamless customer journey is even more difficult when promotions are run on an affiliate network’s site, as the customer journey is lengthened and more complex. A bespoke journey that leads from the affiliate’s site to yours will increase conversions substantially.
For example, eCommerce businesses can provide customers with single-use codes that eliminate the need to enter personal details, thus speeding up the sign-up process. These codes can be delivered by contacting existing customers through email marketing or providing a link via social media that inserts the discount code when the page loads.
Example: Sky enhance their customer journey
Renowned broadcaster Sky’s promotional campaigns with external publishers had extremely low conversion rates. They wanted to find a better way to tap into and drive conversions from affiliate partner campaigns. This is where Uniqodo stepped in.
Together with Sky, Uniqodo created a bespoke onsite journey designed to drive traffic from specific sources, resulting in conversion rates increasing by up to 5x. The strategy is now being rolled out to more affiliate programs with other partners.
Your promotions haven’t been tested in controlled parameters
Another mistake businesses make is implementing promotional campaigns without testing how effective they are, or how they could be optimised to drive more conversions. A/B testing is a powerful way to test one promotional method against another, allowing you to see how your current approach stacks up against a new one.
Once you’ve decided on an overall approach, you can use A/B testing to fine-tune the details. Whether it’s enhanced messaging, the use of banners, or experimenting with different colour combinations, seemingly small alterations can make a huge difference to your results.
That said, understanding the benefits of A/B testing and knowing how to run effective A/B tests are two entirely different things. By partnering with an external expert like Uniqodo, you’ll have the tools, know-how, and data to unlock powerful insights about the impact of your affiliate promotion campaigns.
Example: EE boosts conversion rates through A/B testing
EE, a British mobile and internet service provider, was experiencing constraints on internal resources due to the heavy admin associated with managing promotions and code distribution. They needed a slick solution that would save them time, distribute single-use codes, and enhance the customer journey to drive conversions. Uniqodo managed it all.
By A/B testing conversion-rate uplift between an enhanced promotional journey and their original journey – focussing on their target student group – they enjoyed a 23% uplift in orders and a 19% uplift in conversion rates.
There isn’t enough focus on preserving customer loyalty
New-customer or first-purchase promotions are an excellent way to expand your customer base and drive revenue. However, if you don’t provide incentives for customers to keep coming back, they might move on to a competitor in search of similar promotions the next time they need to buy something.
This is especially true in the case of affiliate marketing, as many customers who redeem a code through an affiliate network might not have had exposure to your brand before. If you don’t prioritise customer loyalty, they have no reason to buy from your brand next time.
By offering promotions for returning customers — such as cross selling or offering a discount on a repeat purchase — you will cultivate brand loyalty, grow a stronger customer base, and ultimately drive sustainable growth and revenue.
Example: TUI’s second purchase incentive
Travel and tourism company TUI was looking for an effective way to drive customer loyalty in what is an incredibly price-driven industry. They teamed up with Uniqodo to offer customers a discount on their next holiday.
This promotion was delivered via a code received on the booking confirmation page, which was tethered to their email address, ensuring that the promotion could only be used by the original recipient.
The campaign helped to increase conversion rates and drive customer loyalty, with an over 60% uplift in redemptions. It is now a ‘business as usual’ strategy for TUI to encourage customers to book for future holiday seasons.
Affiliate marketing can be an extremely effective revenue driver when done in a smart, strategic way. But as we have pointed out in this article, there are some common mistakes that marketing teams make that can cause extensive damage to businesses selling products online.
Ultimately, these risks can be removed by using unique, single-use codes, targeting the right customer groups, and creating a seamless customer journey that drives loyalty and boosts revenue.
At Uniqodo, we’re at the forefront of a move to help eCommerce businesses revolutionise the way they approach affiliate marketing and digital marketing strategy, allowing them access to all the benefits that promotions bring while mitigating the risks.
If you would like to learn how Uniqodo could help you transform your affiliate promotions and drive measurable results, why not get in touch with us today and talk to one of our experts?