launching an affiliate program and waiting six months or more to reach your goals can be [...] frustrating, not to mention career-impacting if you can’t get an ROI sooner
Imagine buying a car and then having to wait six months to drive it. It's the car of your dreams and it is sitting in your driveway but you have to wait to get behind the wheel, roll down the windows and feel the wind blow through your hair as you head down the road. Those six months would be awful, just looking at something you want to enjoy now. Well, launching an affiliate program and waiting six months or more to reach your goals can be just as frustrating, not to mention career-impacting if you can’t get an ROI sooner. Six months can feel like forever.
Recently, JEBCommerce and LinkConnector teamed up to launch and manage a vibrant affiliate program for a new reseller of high-end espresso machines for the prosumer and commercial markets, CafeLast. They offer premium espresso machines right to your door, and offer manufacturers you just can’t get anywhere else in the states. If you are passionate about espresso, then you will want to get familiar with this new brand.
The end result?
The technology and support provided by LinkConnector, combined with the experience, strategy and execution of the JEBCommerce team, led to CafeLast realizing revenue of 285% over their goal for the first four months. Together, we achieved their end of term monthly total goal within the first 65 days. The program continues to keep growing! And, as they say during the late night informercials - “but wait there’s more.” Not only did we surpass the revenue needed, but we did it with 43% of the affiliate revenue coming from content sites!
"The cohesive and engaging partnership between our JEB and LinkConnector teammates was apparent from our first call together and became a constant pillar of our program’s rapid success. JEB’s attention and expertise in addressing our unique needs to create a roadmap for achieving our goals combined with LinkConnector’s technology tools and affiliate relationships helped to make an initially perceived-as-overwhelming program start to be quite rewarding, and fun."
– Graham Cooke, Founder, CafeLast
Shane Tyler, Affiliate Manager on the account, had this to say in regards to the rapid adoption from content affiliates: “Affiliate diversification was important to the brand, and LinkConnector helped us achieve that and then some. Having over 40% of our revenue generated by content sites is unheard of, and largely in part to LinkConnector’s great partnership.”
Let’s dive into how this exactly was achieved.
Ramping up an affiliate program quickly is something that JEBCommerce have been doing for years. It takes a well-crafted strategy and the five step process we have honed over the 17 years we have been in business working with over 300 brands. Getting more than traditional coupon and loyalty sites into your affiliate program takes the right management team and the right technology partner.
We start first with a well-crafted strategy, that is Channel Strategy Development. The JEBCommerce team reviews the competitive landscape, identifies top partners from all appropriate affiliate categories and develops a strategy to hit and surpass client goals based on best practices and a list of tens of thousands of affiliate publishers we have worked with across all our clients.
We have a process that utilizes 100% of agency resources, where every team member recruits affiliates during the first 30 days.
Our second step, Agency Wide Publisher Recruitment, is really where we find impact in driving revenue quickly. Many agencies have one person working on 20 accounts. They are isolated and responsible for the growth of all those programs on their own. At JEBCommerce each program gets a team of three pushing the initiatives. However, in this step, we go beyond that. We have a process that utilizes 100% of agency resources, where every team member recruits affiliates during the first 30 days. The volume of emails, phone calls, and messages that went out inviting top-tier and targeted affiliates into the CafeLast affiliate program was substantial. These tactics are what led to such a high number of content sites taking the baton and running with it.
Catherine Jonak, LinkConnector Merchant Manager for CafeLast immediately noticed this teamwork approach, “It’s refreshingly great to have active involvement from diverse JEBCommerce teammates focused on the program’s goals and results. Having full transparency into what each is working on and an open door to communicate directly with the right teammate has made our collaborative efforts so much more effective, and fun.”
The third step of our client success map is where we optimize each relationship. This entails one-to-one relationship building, leveraging past success (and failures) with other clients to increase the revenue, AOV, conversion rate, and all other key metrics of each publisher partnership.
Recruiting affiliates and getting them into the program is only part of our recipe for success. Setting up the right program and leveraging available tools are key.
Now, here is where the technology provided by LinkConnector came in:
“LinkConnector has one of the most engaged and knowledgeable support teams in the industry. This client chose to invest in the co-managed services and our partnership was truly invaluable when launching a new LinkConnector program.”
– Morgan Hanigan, Sr. Affiliate Manager at JEBCommerce
JEBCommerce leveraged LinkConnector’s nimble technologies and experienced team to push the boundaries and harness the innovation of affiliate marketing to empower profitable growth aligning with CafeLast’s program goals. Here are three technologies that played a pivotal role:
JEBCommerce’s comprehensive strategy for the CafeLast program underscored the importance of having a competitive payout for CafeLast affiliates that also considered product specific margin constraints to ensure long-term sustainability and profitability of the program.
Considering the varying margins CafeLast had with their products, JEBCommerce recommended implementing LinkConnector’s product level commissioning functionality which allows the commission payout to dynamically adjust at the individual product or SKU level. This flexibility allowed CafeLast to compensate affiliates at a higher amount for high-margin products while protecting profitability with lower margin products thereby maximizing ROI.
The CafeLast and LinkConnector teams worked together to implement this solution unique to CafeLast’s custom requirements and provide transparency for affiliates to readily view the product commission amounts. LinkConnector’s Transaction Product Report provides a real-time summary of all products at the individual transaction level. This report is available to both CafeLast and their affiliates providing real-time intelligence for affiliates so they can scale and optimize their performance.
Graham Cooke again, "We have over 500 products on our store, and I was amazed at how JEBCommerce and LinkConnector allowed us to utilize granular data to push specific products."
Taking advantage of LinkConnector’s Naked Coupon technology, CafeLast issued private coupon codes to select content affiliates, arming them with the ability to have orders tracked without the need for a click or cookie to be present.
This technology makes it possible for orders to be tracked entirely based on a private coupon code with credit assigned only to the affiliate for whom the code was created. By eliminating the need for an affiliate to place or use a tracking link, CafeLast was more easily able to capture attention and develop relationships with Content partners that may find affiliate links to be daunting or even intimidating.
With healthy ROI being a cornerstone of JEBCommerce’s growth strategy, LinkConnector and JEBCommerce worked together to coach CafeLast on ways to creatively provide a coupon code as a promotion rather than a discount (protecting margins)—who doesn’t want a free bag of coffee!?
LinkConnector’s integration of Publisher Discovery’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology empowered CafeLast to easily identify potential LinkConnector affiliates for their program based upon relevancy and revenue potential. CafeLast could also filter against affiliate promotional types to efficiently focus recruitment attention on desired types (such as Content affiliates) and affiliate diversity.
Additionally, LinkConnector’s integration of Publisher Discovery afforded CafeLast with the ability to seamlessly recruit from within Publisher Discovery’s database of over three million affiliates. Keeping efficiency and effectiveness at the forefront, LinkConnector’s account manager took the lead to identify potential affiliate relationships based upon vertical and competitors that the affiliates are promoting. Collaboratively sharing this with CafeLast and JEBCommerce, LinkConnector’s account manager extended invitations for selected affiliates to join CafeLast’s program.
"Together, JEB and LinkConnector helped us build transparent and profitable relationships with affiliate partners helping our brand connect with relevant audiences."
– Graham Cooke, Founder, CafeLast
Affiliate Marketing is 100% about relationships and partnership. A successful launch of an affiliate program takes dedicated work between many parties, the right technology, the right strategy and the right teams pushing it through. If you’d like to learn how JEBCommerce and LinkConnector can help you realize this type of growth, you can contact JEBCommerce here, and LinkConnector here.