What are The Advantages of Sending a Data Feed to Affiliate Channels?
Online merchants looking to find new and innovative ways to increase their sales and promotional efforts often find success among affiliates. Affiliate programs require merchants to pay affiliates for each sale or customer gained as a result of the affiliate’s marketing efforts. You, the online retailer, need to help affiliates get these sales started by providing things such as banners, buttons or product feeds.
Is it worth your time and investment to sending a data feed to affiliates? More often than not you’ll discover that there are far more advantages to sending a data feed to affiliates than there are disadvantages. Here are some reasons why this may be a great way to increase promotions and sales:
Support your affiliates
One of the biggest mistakes merchants make when they launch an affiliate program (either through their own efforts or through a third-party company) is not providing enough marketing support to these affiliates.
What we often see is that merchants will provide banner ads and assume that this is enough. But banners ads aren’t enough for you to drive sales, are they? Certainly not, which is why they’re not enough for your affiliates either.
Providing your affiliates with a data feed will give them the information necessary to work with contextual links and product-focused sites. If you already work with shopping comparison sites, then you have a data feed created already, which can easily be adapted to meet the needs of your affiliate network. If you don’t have an existing feed, your product feed can look like a spreadsheet of all of your products. Each row is assigned to one product. Each column represents one characteristic of that product (characteristics could include product name, landing page, image and source URL and price).
Make the most out of merchandising
Affiliate networks love to use the automation and detail of data feeds to fuel their merchandising tools. Merchandising tools like Datafeedr, PopShops and WebMerge create and embed storefronts on websites using the information sent from data feeds. This means if you’re a part of an affiliate network and have a complete and organized feed, your products can enjoy far more exposure than products without a feed attached.
Stand out from other merchants
Firstly, not every merchant is providing data feeds to their affiliates. As this is a game of data and numbers, the more data you can provide, the bigger numbers you’ll likely see. But it’s not just about sending a feed. The biggest complaint that affiliates have is the lack of quality with merchant-provided data feeds. By providing high-quality feeds, you’re setting yourself for better exposure and more rewarding long-term relationships with your affiliates. But how can you create a high-quality feed? Here are some pointers:
- Check ALL of your URL links. This means checking your affiliate links, image links, and thumbnail links. Don’t just make sure the links are live, but be sure they lead to the landing page you want (rather than a generic homepage).
- Keep information up-to-date. All too often prices are outdated, or don’t reflect a current sale. Affiliates don’t want to provide inaccurate data. Build the trust of your customers and affiliates by providing proper and current data.
- Provide two product images. Provided one larger and one small (for thumbnails), if applicable. Some affiliates allow two images – take advantage of this so that the best image is used.
- Create powerful product descriptions. Make sure you write copy that sells, and format it properly so it’ll work within the parameters of your affiliate’s environment.
- Remove duplicate products. Merchants often provide a record for every size and color of product they have (so a shirt may have dozens of records, based on sizes and colors). What this does is increase the size of the data feed, making it hard to manipulate.
- Out of stock means out of feed. Don’t overlook this one. If you have a product out of stock, then leave it out of your data feed.
Sending data feeds to your affiliates can be a rewarding use of your time and energy. Providing detailed and up-to-date information is appreciated by your affiliates (and consumers) and is sure to win you strong, long-term business relationships that will help you better promote your products. OperationROI can help you set up accurate data feeds that your affiliates will be able to use without hassle or struggle. Call us at 1-888-277-5329 or fill out our contact form to find out how we can help you with your data feed for affiliates.