January 14, 2019

EMAIL

510,435 emails with 42.16% average open rate. Here’s what we’ve learned!

Oh look, we’ve sent over 500k emails. Huh, we didn’t notice but we’ve learned a few things that are relevant for anyone who sends out emails with the purpose of getting them opened.

This is something Manu, our WTAFF Crew member wrote about on his blog so if you want to see his original post, you can check it out here.

But here are the cliffs on tips that apply universally, whether you’re an affiliate, e-com store or just doing something else with email.

1. Ask your subscribers to add you to their inbox/contacts/VIP list.

Totally unplanned reminder: If this email didn’t go to your inbox, can you drag it there, please? And if we’re not part of your contact list, can you do that? Thanks!

Why do we ask this all the time? Because most inboxes rely on what you do with this email to decide what they do with it for other new readers. We don’t mind if this newsletter is not for you. But most of you said you really like it… And this makes sure you get it from Monday to Friday as expected and as promised.

We hate not keeping a promise…

2. Authenticate your domain.

3. Get people to reply to your email.

It’s the best kind of engagement. Conversations are a very positive signal, not just for filters but also for the community you’re building. That’s why we are always grateful when you take the time to give us feedback, whether positive or negative.

4. Don’t get your message clipped in Gmail.

Gmail clips messages over 102KB, so you need to be efficient with your HTML to have a smaller email size. Otherwise, your email is way less likely to hit one of those nice main tabs.

Of course, creating emails people are actually interested in helps the most. We hope we’ve managed to do that. Check the Poolside Chat section for more on that!

Here’s to the next 500k emails!


E-COMMERCE

Best POD platforms?

If you use POD platforms to create and ship your products, we have something interesting for you.

Why? Cause this Monday, we are bringing the best Print On Demand sites to take advantage of, for your business. Or at least, we hope they are.

So what are the factors that one should consider when choosing a POD site?

Complete integration, a wide range of products, low base costs, flexible payment and shipping methods.

Well, let’s have a look at the best ones:

  • Printful: This is one of the oldest in this business. They have good quality, a wide range of products and they allow complete integration with your site. That’s very helpful when you’re buying ads.
  • Zazzle: This one has unique customization capabilities. It has more than 1300 items ready to be customized. Enough products to find the good ones!
  • GearBubble: What’s good about GearBubble? Most of their orders are fulfilled in 24-48 hours, which makes for great customer satisfaction.
  • Sunfrog: Sunfrog shirts are popular due to their low prices. T-shirts are printed within the USA and shipped internationally. And you get a 45% commission for each item sold (fixed margin).
  • CafePress: CafePress has tons of items to sell and offer good margins and lower base costs, thanks to being one of the oldest in the market.
  • CustomInk: One of the unique points of CustomInk is that they allow you to create your own fundraiser. Your contributors become like your VC (venture capital) backers so you can start your own company and they can get some of your branded shirts. An alternative way to test!
  • TeePublic: TeePublic has a community of designers which is all about supporting artists and helping you with creativity.

There are tons of options to choose from! If you want to know more, you can have a look here.

Our opinion? POD is a good alternative to dropshipping cause it allows you to sell unique items. It gives you the chance to offer value to your customers rather than just flipping things!

And if you find the working niche, it’s even possible to build a brand around it that helps you in the long term!


ADVERTISING

Facebook is the loser, Amazon is the big winner…

Amazon’s rise as an advertising platform is growing thick and fast. It’s expected to double its US revenue in next 2 years. Reaching an estimated 12% hold of the ad market share in the US by 2020.

That’s according to a recent survey conducted among 50 senior ad buyers from the US who collectively spent around $14B in digital ad budgets in 2018.

This growing ad spend on Amazon is coming from nowhere else but marketers plugging out of Facebook, due to two primary reasons:

  • Privacy concerns (You guessed it.)
  • Stagnating daily active user growth in the US and Canada.

No doubt Mark is trying his best to aggressively promote Stories and Watch Party to increase the ad spaces. Though, he’s already been warning investors that it has maxed out the number of ads it can put into its core Facebook app.

Messenger and WhatsApp don’t yet generate any meaningful revenue. Though Instagram Ads are doing great, helping to balance out its parent company’s overall loss.

Been hearing about those 7X, 13X, 27X ROAS case studies on Facebook? Well, here’s how these Ad buyers ranked digital platforms based on best ROAS:

  1. Google
  2. Bing
  3. Face….. No, Amazon.

Two major factors helping Amazon growth: It’s the only one of the top advertising platforms that can directly connect ads to purchases on the same page. Increased search ads on its e-commerce platform to beef up its ad business.

Final Thoughts: Facebook is still huge in the digital ad business — No. 2 in the US after Google — but its recent privacy upsets and slowing user growth could hurt its ad revenue prospects.

Also, the ad buyers surveyed above contribute to more than half of Facebook’s annual US ad revenue. Hence, their spending habits will have a huge effect on defining which platform succeeds. For now, we will just keep a closer eye on which way they are leaning.


AFFILIATE MARKETING

Is affiliate marketing as we know it going to die?

This year’s Affiliate Summit West featured a keynote speech by Neil Patel.

Neil is not your typical affiliate but knows a lot about the industry. He’s been an online marketer for many years and has built himself a great network that includes affiliates and also companies relevant to affiliates, like Facebook and Google.

His speech at ASW 2019 revolves around the future of affiliate marketing. We found the speech to give a good overview of the current state of affiliate marketing and some good tips for improving conversion rates. So let’s get into it!

The way affiliate marketing was before won’t exist for long and will get tougher. Why?

The way affiliates see digital advertising is very different to how corporations see it. And it’s also very different to how FB and Google see it.

  • We see it as “spend $1 to make $2”.
  • FB and Google see it as “how can we monetize our user base more?”
  • Corporations see it as an extension and transition from TV and not very performance focused.

How affiliates currently make money:

  • Churn and burn model with FB accounts
  • Fake news landing pages, using celebrities.

What’s wrong with this?

  • It’s getting harder.
  • CPCs are rising.
  • FTC crackdown on companies, less forced continuity.
  • Income isn’t stable.

Why have things gotten harder?

1. July 2017 – FB had more advertisers than inventory in the US. It was a tipping point. The trend continued in other places like UK and DE.

Compliance is a bit cyclical because FB and Google wanna hit quarterly earnings so when brands are not on, compliance turns a blind eye more often.

2. Gov’t pressure on FB and Google. They don’t just stop the companies who sell those products. They go after companies that help promote them.

3. Ads will get more expensive. Traffic isn’t increasing for FB and Google so they have to figure out how to squeeze every penny out of each visitor. That means more ad formats or higher prices.

4. SEO is becoming harder too. And the harder it is to rank in search, the easier it is to justify media buys instead of organic, which pushes prices even higher.

What does the future hold?

1. You need to build a brand. Here’s why…

Facebook is looking at pages to determine if they are a brand. If you are, FB doesn’t have to worry so much about fake news. If you build a brand, you will be better off.

Also easier to rank on Google because they look at how often people type in your brand and if you have more “brand queries” than your competitors, you get ahead in the ranking battle.

2. Omnichannel approach.

“You cannot build a company from leveraging just one channel.”

Powerful example: Expedia learned that as soon as they ran TV and radio ads their CPC went down 20%+ from creating brand awareness. They had a wheelbarrow of cash to test this but it shows branding is powerful.

Channels that show very good potential compared to the classics:

+ Instagram: good with influencers, especially handpicked micro-influencers.
+ YouTube:

  • Great ROI with high CPC but way higher ROI.
  • Search on YouTube is also way less competitive.
  • If your video gets many views early, it gets a big boost for search/discovery so email blasts early on are very helpful.

+ Podcasting
+ Conferences
+ Voice search
+ Native ads

A few ways to get creative in the harder times and boost CVR.

Flip the script: Let people use your product and make the sign up to get the results. Think of calculators, SEO tips, etc.

Quiz your readers: Make them answer a few questions, then collect their details.

  • 5 questions.
  • 4 answer options.
  • Use images when possible.

Make sign-ups easier by adding FB, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

  • Increases sign up rate by 59.4%
  • Changing wording from “sign up” to “log in” gets another 22% increase.
  • An overall 90% increase.
  • Make sure you have this as an option, not the only way.

Always use 2-step checkout:

  • It has a 10% increase compared to 1-step checkout.
  • Helps that you gather the email to follow up with people who abandoned it.
  • “The Hoop theory”: The customer jumped through one easy hoop first so it makes it easier when you ask for the CC info on step 2.

Retargeting those who abandon checkout:

  • On YouTube and FB, showing “how life is like when using the product”.
  • Use the opposite angle of the lander – use logic instead of emotion or vice-versa.

Checkout bumps:

  • Related to the product like an eBook.
  • 4-5% increase in total revenue.
  • Offer speed and/or automation. Checkout bumps to get results faster or on autopilot.
  • 3 upsells and downsells that leverage speed and automation get a 29% increase in revenue.

The Crew’s Take: We felt the speech was a bit long compared to what it could have been. Instead of “The future of affiliate marketing”, it could have been renamed to “11 tips for crushing in 2019” or whatever sounds more appealing.

That said, we definitely found these tips useful for any online business!


SPONSORED

80,000+ offers and 400+ affiliate and advertising networks, in one place!

There’s no denying it. Staying on top of the latest offers can give you a big edge in your affiliate campaigns.

If you’re the first on a hot offer, your campaign can become the closest thing to a money printer you’ve ever seen.

That’s how Affbank helps affiliates. They are like your personal assistant in the world of affiliate marketing. With over 98 affiliate networks posting their offers in their database, you can get a clear image of how the landscape for affiliate offers looks like at the moment.

Affbank has a traffic source directory for you to discover new places to buy traffic from. Additionally, they offer discounts and a free ads spy tool for FB and native ads.

So if you’re an affiliate you get:

  • Offers and affiliate networks listings
  • Advertising Networks listing
  • Affiliate services listing
  • Events listing
  • Free spy tool for FB and native
  • Affiliate blog

And if you’re a company, Affbank is waiting for you to list your service in their database! Check out what they do for companies right here.

You get 15% OFF your first purchase if you use the secret phrase “WHAT THE AFF”. Contact them before your purchase and get it done!


POOLSIDE CHAT

Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things affiliates like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.

WHAT THE AFF needs your help!

Hey, ladies and gents! We need your help… But don’t worry, it takes you only 45 seconds.

We’re asking our readers a couple of questions to get a better idea of what you’d like to see in the next few months from us, aside from this lovely Monday to Friday briefing.

Could you please do us this favour? It’s an anonymous survey unless you want to leave your email details in the form too. Thanks, you’re awesome!

 

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