Affiliate Marketing Goes Hyper-Local – By Carolyn Tang Kmet

by Colleen on December 29, 2010

Do you remember the days when an animated banner was all the rage? The affiliate marketing industry has come a long way from that. Affiliates are no longer confined to the online arena.

One way affiliates are blurring the online/offline realms is by partnering with sites that distribute local deals, featuring brick-and-mortar businesses. The inventory on a daily deals site changes daily, making it natural fodder for bloggers who are constantly looking for fresh content to share with their readers.

Affiliates also seek to partner with sites like Groupon and LivingSocial because of the regional relevance local deals can provide to any website. “While a website has a national based audience, readers are still finding content that works for them in their little area of the world. Instantly, it makes that website even more applicable for them,” explains Jenny Martin of

To help affiliates display geo-targeted deal content on their sites, Groupon created a dynamic widget tool that automatically features the deal most relevant to the reader based on their geographic location. Affiliates can customize this tool to either feature deals from a specific locale, or to display deals based on the reader’s location.

With this widget in place, the affiliate extends their relevance offline and becomes a resource for deals in their visitor’s neighborhood. And, if our widget doesn’t meet the affiliate’s requirement, then they’re welcome to grab our API and have their way with it.

But it’s not just all about getting online shoppers into offline stores. Matt McWilliams, an award-winning affiliate manager with Legacy Learning, a company that produces and sells multimedia training courses, pays affiliates commission for each call they refer to the call center. “Our affiliates are thrilled with it and we are reaping the rewards,” says McWilliams.

The concept of pay-per-call is pretty simple. However, the methods by which affiliates are finding their consumers are revolutionary, at least for this particular industry.

Affiliates are taking out ads in local newspapers, securing listings in local business directories, even going after spots in Google Places, so when a consumer completes a local search; the affiliate’s pay-per-call number appears in results.

All these advertising methods existed pre-Internet, but now they’re being leveraged by traditionally online affiliates. Pay-per-call also enables affiliates to tap into the mobile market. These affiliates have run mobile contests, built cell phone apps and created various click-to-call campaigns. “For us, mobile affiliates are becoming a bigger part of the program and we make customers out of people who simply will not buy online,” McWilliams explains.

Mobile is undoubtedly the next step in the evolution of affiliate marketing. It will completely remove the computer from the affiliate marketing equation, and has the potential to secure incremental sales for the affiliate marketing channel.

By harnessing cell phones, the affiliate has near constant access to the potential consumer and can take advantage of all downtime, from commute to commode. Groupon expects to track affiliate-referred mobile transactions by the first quarter of 2011.

Carolyn is the director of affiliate marketing for

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