Building a Multi-Brand Niche Affiliate Program presentation from Affiliate Summit East 2006, which took place July 9-11, 2006 in Orlando, FL.
- Stephanie Schwab, Vice President, Converseon
Science Kit, a 50 year old catalog company was running a niche affiliate program for their Edmund Scientifics brand (science and hobby products) on one of the major affiliate networks, but they wanted more.
They have a number of other niche sites in the science, education and hobby arena and in 2005 they predicted that if they could expand their product offering through affiliates to include more of their sites, they could not only grow their original Scientifics affiliate program, but also boost sales for their other sites as well.
The problem: not all of the sites have enough volume to warrant individual affiliate programs, in terms of technology or management.
The solution: Science Kit, who was already partnered with affiliate management agency Converseon, decided to move away from the network and build an in-house program where all of their brands could live together in a “mini-network,” the Science and Education Affiliate Network (SEAN).
Converseon transitioned the Edmund Scientifics program onto a platform that they customized for Science Kit and SEAN, and brought four (soon to be five) niche sites together with one login for affiliates. From SEAN, affiliates can promote a wide variety of products across all of the Science Kit sites from one place, through banners, text links, data feeds and PPC marketing. Costs for managing the SEAN program are now shared across all of the participating Science Kit sites, which enables great flexibility with regards to affiliate commissions, bonuses, and incentives.
The program was fully launched with four sites in November 2005. Sales for November were up 100% from the previous year, and December was up 356%; January continued the trend with 421% growth. Affiliates love the new program: the wide variety of products available, the tools and creative, the exceptional customer service, and the enhanced commissions levels and bonus programs.
This case study will provide solid examples of what to do (and what not to do) when promoting a niche program and building a multi-brand program, including all of the affiliate tools and resources used for SEAN, recruiting tips, communications materials, and stats and conversion rates.
Note: the companies and positions listed above were current as of the time of the conference. Some of this information may have changed since then.