Simon Bird: SMEs – Making it big

Simon Bird, from leading voucher code site Savoo, offers a humourous take on how SMEs can outwit large organisations in the performance marketing industry.

Ever since I joined performance marketing (a long time ago now), I’ve always preached and seen the Pareto principle (80/20 rule) in action where the large brands and publishers drive the majority of volume. For SME retailers competing with 5-6,000 other advertisers, up to 600 of which might be considered affiliate brands, this can present a real challenge.

So how do you get noticed and promoted by publishers?

Many years ago before I was married (and an expectant father), my friends and I would have the same problem on a Friday night in the nightclubs of Melbourne! So let’s take this analogy and run with it. The industry is our dancefloor and if he doesn’t object too much, our advertiser is a 20-something young bloke doing his best to get noticed. He’s not ashamed to admit he’s amongst better looking advertisers with an apparently better ‘product’.

Getting noticed

Let’s face facts, there is going to be an “in crowd”, normally the regulars. As a smaller or lesser known brand, you’re on the fringe… so let’s think about how you are going to get noticed.

What are you offering that’s more compelling than the big guys? If you’re a great dancer, focus on dancing. If you have a lot of money, focus on buying drinks! Either way, you need a strategy.

Buy drinks: offer higher CPAs to offset larger volume driving retailers and spend money on tenancy (a round of shots). Affiliates can be seen as a branding channel as well.

Play drinking games: run competitions through social media/ bloggers/ product reviews. Blogs will help cast your net wider and get more people involved in your brand.

Talk yourself up: Talk about what you have to offer and offer it around! Talk about your current conversion rate/ AOV or provide publishers with good quality content they can use on their site – just make sure it’s SEO friendly. You can even offer publishers free gear.

Sealing the deal

Alright, now you’ve got their attention how do you get the business end done?

Consider taking a wingman. Work with a proactive agency who knows the terrain and the ideally the people in the club. He should be able to tell you who the ‘easy wins’ are.

Do talk to people, but don’t be spammy. Sometimes no means no.

And remember, sometimes relationships are like a marathon (not a sprint). Be open to testing things the publisher wants, even if you’ve never done them before!

The long and short of it is that effort pays off big time. If you can crack a formula then it will help you more than you can imagine. Think of publishers as your outsourced sales team and the best part is they are willing to work for you on commission only basis.

Happy hunting and please drink responsibly.

And remember, an affiliate is for the year and not just for Christmas.