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Making The Long Tail Wag

19 October 2011 BY

“Making The Long Tail Wag” at this years A4U Expo was a solo session by Owen Hewitson, Client Strategist at Affiliate Window.

Owen’s presentation was aimed at those merchants who may not realise the benefits of having affiliates who, even though they may not drive the most traffic to the merchant’s site, are still able to contribute to revenue via long tail searches and conversions.  Taking Amazon as an example, Owen argues that if you sell thousands of products, demand for any one of them is never zero so even those affiliates that make you one or two sales per year have their worth. Affiliates who pick up long tail traffic also help the merchant:

- Find an audience for all types of product

- Extend their reach across search space and the web

- Offer free advertising

However, there is certainly a very real problem regarding sales conversions from affiliate sites outside of the Top 10 performers so why isn’t affiliate marketing more scalable? Owen asserts that it could be if merchants understand how the long tail works.

Long Tail Engagement

Long tail engagement is, like SEO, a slow burner and smaller affiliate sites often do not have the leverage with social media, email marketing and newsletters that the Top 10 sites have. Despite this, the smaller affiliates are enormously important to the merchant and so it makes good business sense to find ways to help them with their conversions such as:

- Having flexibility with copy and creative (which shows a more personal touch)
– Offering products to review (builds a personal connection between merchant and affiliate)
– Cash incentives or prizes and rewards (doesn’t have to be a large value but again adds to the incentive)
– Offer a wider range of links and banners

For example, fashion sites often attract a huge range of long tail searches particularly blogs, which are often well written, up to date, relevant and have a great relationship with their readers. However, many of these sites are overlooked by the merchant as they fall well outside the Top 10. By offering exclusives, cashback incentives or products to review, the merchant can build a real relationship with these kind of sites that should lead to more conversions and more brand love.

Takeaways:

The long tail affiliates can be a brand force as well as a sales force, do not underestimate the power of this

Engage with your longer tail affiliates to find ways of helping them drive more sales

The coverage of A4U Expo on State of Search in part made possible by a sponsoring from Majestic SEO who have the largest Link Intelligence database in Search. To get your free trial, give a card to this blogger or Bas van den Beld in person at the conference or drop us an e-mail.

AUTHORED BY:
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Carla Marshall is Director of SEO at ReelSEO.com.

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