Capitalize on Driving New To File Customers – By Jonathan Goodwin

by Colleen on June 23, 2014


tl;dr – Incentivize affiliates to drive more new-to-file customers.

Success in the affiliate channel can be determined in several ways, the most common being revenue generated, but more and more, we are seeing merchants value new customer acquisition above simply how much revenue the channel brings. feedfront-issue-26-cover-small

So how do we differentiate between new customers and existing customers?

First of all, what does the client consider to be a new customer, or new-to-file (NTF)? There are many questions that need to be asked in order to effectively gauge and provide actionable items when tracking new customers coming into the affiliate program.

A common definition is that any customer that doesn’t show up previously in their analytics platform is considered new-to-file. So how do we capitalize on the affiliates that are already driving new customers and how do we work with affiliates that are sending low percentages of NTF customers?

If you have the tools at your disposal to accurately identify which affiliate is sending new customers to the affiliate channel, you can incentivize affiliates to increase the number of new customers, thereby aligning your goals.

This will not only give you the opportunity to drive new customers, but convey the effectiveness of the affiliate program by adding new customers each week / month.

Here are a few things to consider:

• First of all, what do you consider a new to file? Someone who has never shopped online before? Someone who has never purchased online, but used to shop in-store locations? Or someone who has not shopped in 3 years with the merchant online?
• Do you have your backend systems: (Core-Metrics, Omniture, Google Analytics) properly set-up to effectively track and gauge NTF coming into the channel?
• Granularity – Are you able to effectively track NTF at the specific affiliate level?

Now that you have your questions answered, your next step is to create an incentive campaign to get affiliates to drive more new-to-file customers. There are many tactics to use, when engaging with affiliates to drive more new customers.

Below are a couple of ideas you can use when creating an incentive campaign for NTF.

• No baseline rate change, but manually adding a dollar bonus per new customer driven by the affiliate after the fact.

    o Very low baseline, with a higher commission on new customers coming through an affiliate. This method is more real-time and requires a higher level of technical ability that many merchants do not possess currently. Example: 3% baseline, 15% on new customers.

Once you have established your incentive for affiliates, meet with them and have a thorough discussion on acquiring new customers and the opportunity it brings for them to earn more on commissions.

This process may take some time, but when executed properly, all parties (merchant, affiliate manager, affiliate) will greatly benefit from this incentive.

Jonathan Goodwin is a Senior Affiliate Manager at JEBCommerce (Rakuten Agency of year 2012).

This article appeared in issue 26 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2014.

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