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Brook Schaaf, the mastermind behind FNTC, joins the Affiliate Nerd Out Podcast for an insightful discussion on affiliate marketing. He shares his vast knowledge and deep insights about the impact of product feeds on e-commerce. As an industry veteran since the late 90s, Brook has significantly improved customer experiences and conversion rates using product feeds. He discusses how FNTC offers a simplified process with a single API access point for product feeds, streamlining the overall e-commerce experience.
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In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, understanding and effectively leveraging affiliate marketing can be a game-changer. In a recent podcast episode, we had the pleasure of hosting Brook Schaff, an industry veteran and the mastermind behind FMTC, who shared his vast knowledge on the subject, focusing on the impact of product feeds and coupons in affiliate marketing.
What is product feeds?
According to our guest Brook Schaaf, product feeds refer to a set of data that includes information about the products offered by merchants in the affiliate marketing space. Product feeds typically contain details such as product names, descriptions, prices, images, and other relevant information. Merchants provide these feeds to affiliates through tools like FMTC to enable affiliates to showcase the products on their websites or platforms.
How Do Product Feeds Drive Success in Affiliate Marketing?
Brook Schaaf highlights the significance of product feeds in affiliate marketing. Product feeds play a crucial role in facilitating the collaboration between merchants and affiliates.
Here are some key points regarding the relevance of product feeds in affiliate marketing:
1. Content creation.
Affiliates rely on product feeds to obtain detailed and accurate information about the products offered by merchants. This data includes product names, descriptions, images, prices, and other essential details. Affiliates use this information to create compelling and informative content for their audience.
2. Promotion strategies.
Product feeds enable affiliates to develop effective promotion strategies. By having access to the latest information on available products, affiliates can create targeted promotions, such as highlighting specific deals, discounts, or new arrivals. This helps in attracting potential customers to the merchant's site through the affiliate's marketing efforts.
3. Timely updates.
Merchants regularly update product feeds to ensure that affiliates have the most current information. Timely updates are crucial for affiliates to provide accurate details to their audience, preventing misinformation and ensuring a positive user experience.
4. API Integration.
Brook mentions API calls as a means for affiliates to access product feeds. API integration allows affiliates to programmatically retrieve and update product information, streamlining the process and ensuring real-time accuracy in the data presented on their platforms.
5. Increased visibility.
Affiliates can effectively showcase a wide range of products from different merchants using product feeds. This diversity enhances the affiliate's content and increases the likelihood of attracting a broader audience with varied interests.
6. Monetization opportunities.
By incorporating accurate product information from feeds into their content, affiliates can monetize their efforts through affiliate marketing programs. They earn commissions for driving traffic and sales to the merchant's site through their referral links.
In summary, product feeds serve as a foundational element in affiliate marketing, empowering affiliates with the information needed to create engaging content, promote products effectively, and drive valuable traffic and sales for merchants.
What is FMTC?
FMTC, which stands for “For Me to Compete,” is a company that provides core products such as deal feeds and product feeds to enterprise affiliates in the affiliate marketing space. The company aims to facilitate affiliate marketing by offering API calls that enable affiliates to access the latest deals and products multiple times a day. Additionally, FMTC offers a Publisher Toolkit, including a freemium version, which allows affiliates to access a directory with comprehensive data on merchant programs, aiding them in their affiliate marketing efforts. FMTC is integrated with about 20,000 merchants across all major networks and tracking platforms in the English-speaking markets worldwide, making it a critical hub for delivering link content, including deal and product feeds.
The role of coupons in affiliate programs.
Moving on to the role of coupons in affiliate programs, Brook explained that coupons are an effective strategy for attracting affiliates and customers. He acknowledged the controversy surrounding coupon sites' potential to “steal” the last click from content sites. However, he emphasized that with the right strategies in place, such as rules-based commissions and data transmission back to affiliates, the concerns can be mitigated.
He also emphasizes the importance of coupons as a strategic tool in affiliate marketing, particularly for luxury brands.
“Without a coupon strategy, you're leaving money on the table. Coupons in affiliate programs are essential for enticing new customers and competing with rivals“
He acknowledges that while luxury brands often avoid using coupons as part of their strategy, having coupon offerings can be advantageous.
Here are key points from the discussion:
- Luxury brands and coupons: Luxury brands are often reluctant to include coupons in their marketing strategy. However, Brook suggests that having coupons available, even if not heavily utilized, can be a positive approach.
- Flexibility in coupon types: Brook recommends a diverse range of coupon types, including free shipping offers, discounts on individual products, new customer discounts, and high basket coupons. This diversity allows for flexibility and caters to different customer preferences.
- Adapting to consumer behavior: The discussion highlights the evolving consumer behavior, where potential customers actively seek deals and discounts. Having coupons provides an opportunity for merchants, including luxury brands, to capture this audience and drive conversions.
- Strategic approach: Brook encourages luxury brands to consider a strategic approach to coupons. For instance, offering exclusive discounts for specific customer segments, such as first responders or teachers, can be a way to stand out and attract a loyal customer base.
- Affiliate marketing boost: Coupons can be a powerful tool in the affiliate marketing ecosystem. They not only attract potential customers but also motivate affiliates to actively promote a merchant's products, leading to increased visibility and sales.
- Ongoing optimization: Merchants, including luxury brands, should regularly update their coupon offerings. This ensures that customers are consistently engaged, and it provides affiliates with fresh and appealing content to promote.
- Challenges with coupon sites: Brook acknowledges challenges with some coupon sites that may post inaccurate or fake information. However, he distinguishes between problematic sites and reliable partners, suggesting that working with reputable coupon affiliates can be beneficial for both merchants and consumers.
Brook Schaaf advocates for a nuanced and strategic approach to coupons in affiliate marketing, even for luxury brands. The key is to recognize the evolving landscape of consumer behavior and leverage coupons as a dynamic tool to drive engagement, conversions, and overall success in the affiliate marketing space.
Strategic conquesting and coupon utilization in affiliate marketing.
“Conquesting” emerges as a pivotal affiliate marketing strategy for acquiring new customers. Brook Schaaf delineates conquesting as an approach where affiliates strategically target users seeking a particular product or brand (X) by redirecting them to alternative options from competing merchants (Y). Affiliates play a crucial role in this strategy by showcasing competitive advantages, such as exclusive deals or discounts, to entice users away from their original intent. Merchants, in turn, have the opportunity to win over potential customers actively searching for products, leveraging conquesting as a means of increasing visibility and market share.
The strategic use of coupons is integral to conquesting, with merchants offering enticing deals to divert users' attention. Brook emphasizes the importance of customized offers, such as first-time user coupons, to enhance the appeal of conquesting.
While this approach presents challenges, the integration of conquesting with strategic coupon utilization can be a dynamic tool for merchants aiming to acquire new customers in a competitive affiliate marketing landscape.
The rest of the episode.
Drawing a parallel between Detroit's revitalization and the potential of affiliate marketing, Brook highlighted the need for more “boosters” in the affiliate industry to inspire growth. He argued that the affiliate marketing industry needs dedicated resources and flexible strategies, just like Detroit required concerted efforts to bounce back.
Brook's insights were not only enlightening but also actionable. His deep understanding of the industry and the unique challenges it faces underscore the need for continuous learning and adaptation in the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape. As affiliate marketing continues to evolve, so too must the strategies that marketers employ to ensure they stay ahead of the curve.
Wrap it up, Dustin.
The importance of product feeds and the potential of coupons in affiliate marketing cannot be overstated. Coupled with innovative recruitment strategies and a clear understanding of customer behavior, these tools can help any business succeed in the challenging world of e-commerce.
To truly amplify your affiliate marketing efforts, don't just watch from the sidelines. Be a part of the e-commerce revolution by implementing these insights and strategies. Join hands with FMTC, a platform designed to make your journey easier. With their industry-leading solutions, you can navigate the challenging world of e-commerce with confidence.
Start your FMTC journey today and experience the difference!
AFFILIATE MARKETING CONSULTANT
Dustin Howes is a passionate advocate for partnerships and is dedicated to sharing the benefits of performance marketing. As the leading mentor at performancemarketingmanager.com, he specializes in assisting enterprises in expanding and enhancing their affiliate programs through comprehensive online video tutorials, collaborative coaching sessions, and a supportive community of affiliate managers committed to mutual success.
|Brook Schaaf joins the podcast, expressing gratitude for being a mentor to Dustin throughout his career.
|Brook provides a brief overview of his extensive career in affiliate marketing since 2000.
|Brook talks about his current role at FMTC, specializing in affiliate marketing with a focus on coupon rewards.
|Brook discusses the importance of product feeds in affiliate marketing, emphasizing their underutilization.
|Brook explains what product feeds are, their components, and their role in improving user experience and conversion rates.
|Brook discusses the frequency of updating product feeds, suggesting daily updates for optimal results.
|The conversation shifts to using product feeds for SaaS products and the potential benefits.
|Dustin and Brook engage in a discussion about the polarization of coupon strategies in affiliate marketing.
|Brook addresses concerns about coupon strategies, emphasizing the need for careful analytics and control.
|Dustin shares his perspective on coupon sites potentially taking away commission from content affiliates.
|The discussion covers various aspects, including luxury brands' reluctance to use coupons and the broader picture of affiliate marketing strategies.
|Brook discusses segmenting coupon sites, addressing challenges of fake content, and potential user impact.
|FMTC's origin, core products (deal feeds, product feeds), Publisher Toolkit, and introduction to FreshReach.
|FMTC's role in helping affiliates and merchants succeed, expanding exposure, and additional promotional programs.
|Costs for affiliates, free services for merchants, and the value of gaining exposure to affiliates.
|Merchant coupon strategy advice, including variety, regular updates, and a basket approach.
|Brook's analogy relating Detroit's revitalization to the need for boosterism in affiliate marketing.
|Future trends: domain object model, turning links into affiliate links, and global affiliate expansion.
|Connect with Brook on LinkedIn, and concluding remarks about the positive impact of affiliate marketing.