Pandemic Challenges are Opportunities for Affiliate Marketers

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While the majority of people and businesses in the US are struggling to negotiate a very different way of life due to the pandemic, most online marketers have turned those challenges into opportunities. 

Affiliate and performance marketers are savvy about coping with ever-evolving purchasing behaviors, new technologies, and innovative marketing methods. That ability to move quickly has worked in their favor during these uncertain times.

Many online marketers have made modifications to how they do business over the last eight months, These aren’t temporary changes to make it through the pandemic. These adjustments have brought about success over the last few months, and most online marketers plan to continue their new ways of operating.

Embracing Distance

A huge number of companies have been forced to navigate having remote workforces. Although a large percentage of online marketers have been doing this for years (or even decades), most claim they have embraced remote working with fervor and tried to take it to next level.

We nearly always used to do phone calls for calls with prospects and customers. We previously used Zoom for screen shares, but usually defaulted to camera off,” Dave Naffziger, CEO of brand compliance company BrandVerity, said. “Video really improves the quality of the interaction. Most folks are far more comfortable using video for their calls that the default has shifted from cameras off to cameras on.”

He also said that despite having an office-centric culture (with a liberal work-from-home policy), the company’s Seattle office lease is up in May 2021 and they will be rethinking “ how we plan for a space with a much smaller footprint going forward.”

Sarah Bundy, CEO of All Inclusive Marketing, a performance marketing agency, said now that in-person meetings are no longer required or expected, it’s opened the doors to redistribution of time and resources otherwise used for travel and commuting. 

“It’s surprising how much time and money we spent coming and going to meetings and conferences, which has now been re-allocated to other areas of growth, like strategy, team development, publisher development, system integrations, and more,” Bundy explained. 

Adapting to New Shopping Behaviors

As consumers flock online to make more purchases, affiliates are shifting to accommodate a variety of new shopping behaviors – including curbside and in-store pickup.

Tricia Meyer, Owner of Sunshine Rewards, said one of the biggest things her site has done is ramp up its in-store pickup shopping category.

“Although it is something that has been a part of our categories for a decade, we’ve never put much time into updating it or promoting it,” Meyer said. “Since the pandemic, more retailers have added it and more customers have started looking for it. So, why not continue to focus on this? Once people are used to using it, they will likely find it convenient and continue using it well past the pandemic”

For Meyer and Sunshine Rewards, the next step will be figuring out other times –  post-pandemic – that people will want to do local pickup- such as last-minute gifts. 

“We want to maximize the work we have put into the category,” she said.

Be sure to also check out FMTC’s curbside pickup directory.

Additionally, brands and affiliates are moving quickly to accommodate the needs of online experiences and shopping expectations. 

As a result, Bundy noted that both brands and publishers seem to be open to trying new things much more quickly. 

“This is allowing us to be far more creative, strategic, and quick to execute on opportunities with clients and partners who see the need, which is giving us more data and results faster, helping us to scale further and more efficiently than before,” she said.

New Opportunities

Meanwhile, other publishers said that the pandemic was a boon for their sites. With that success came offers from multiple businesses looking to acquire a portfolio of affiliate sites. 

Kim Rowley, Founder of Key Internet Marketing, took the opportunity to sell a dozen of her sites after more than 20 years as a successful affiliate in a variety of niches. Selling her sites at the peak of their profitability gives her the freedom to focus on her burgeoning Amazon marketplace business, which still enables her to leverage the skills learned from affiliate marketing over the last two decades.

The bottom line is that whether pivoting or implementing modifications to their business, affiliate marketers have been able to navigate the on-going pandemic by leveraging their ability to move quickly and willingness to innovate.

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