How Strategic Recruitment Generated Over 6,600 New Content Affiliates for Retailer
One of Acceleration Partners’ top clients challenged us with recruiting 6,600 new high quality content affiliates for their program in a very short time-frame. Not only did the AP team accomplish this goal, they beat it and helped the retailer increase their affiliate join rate by 127 percent over a five month period.
A longtime client of Acceleration Partners wanted their affiliate recruitment to focus more on content sites. In August, 2016, the client presented our team with an attractive but formidable incentivized challenge: recruit 6,600+ new content affiliates by the end of their fiscal year (Jan 28th) and receive a substantial bonus.
“When this recruitment incentive was first presented to us, our team was simultaneously excited and daunted by it. Targeting and recruiting 6,600 new content affiliates in such a short window of time is a very tall order. We were cautiously optimistic, but up for the challenge,” said Shandi Michno, Associate Account Director at Acceleration Partners.
PINPOINTING THE PROBLEMS
The first obstacle AP’s team needed to address was finding a scalable approach to recruiting 6,600 new content affiliates into the program. The second was finding ways around the unpredictable situations that emerged along the way.
“With this kind of massive recruitment effort, obstacles were to be expected. However, some of the roadblocks that our team encountered couldn’t have been anticipated and slowed progress on multiple occasions,” said Kelly Ground, Senior Account Manager at Acceleration Partners.
To solve for this issue, the team strategized on various scalable tactics and brainstormed about what one-on-one outreach and out-of-the-box tactics could be leveraged to drive conversions across a variety of content sites.
“It was critical for us to execute a combination of mass outreach and one-on-one personalized communications to support the recruitment of long-tail publishers. While incredibly time-consuming, we knew it would be essential for reaching them,” said Michno.
TESTING & OPTIMIZATION
Throughout the process, testing was imperative. The team continuously refined their approach based on what the incoming data showed, including A/B testing content and subject lines and optimizing landing pages. They also leveraged existing industry relationships and introduced multiple incentives to drive conversions.
While the team found that their mass outreach initiatives were successful, they wanted to make sure they were reaching the right audience – content bloggers.
In addition, our AP account team sought support from everyone at AP, not just those on our affiliate team. “Team members from almost every department within our company shared our client’s recruitment opportunity on their social channels and brought in new ideas,” said Michno. “It truly was an AP team effort, further demonstrating the ‘embrace relationships’ core value we all hold in high regard as a company.”
HITTING OUR TARGET
A combination of scalable mass outreach with individual one-to-one outreach and creative trial-and-error tactics resulted in a 50 percent increase in monthly recruitment joins for the client with over 1,000 new content affiliates joining their affiliate program in January alone.
“In general, we found that taking a strategic approach, continuously refining our messaging, teamwork, and having a “We can do it!” attitude led to our team recruiting 6,600 new content affiliates for our client and us reaching our goal,” said Ground. “Not only that, we saw a very high conversion rate and a higher-than-average activation rate of the new content affiliates.”
Overall, new affiliate joins were up 45 percent Y/Y with a 127 percent increase in join rate between August 2016 and January 2017 (when we started to ramp up our mass recruitment tactics). The mass outreach and customized communication balanced with support and encouragement activated the retailer’s new publishers to become valuable long-term partners.
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