By taking a strategic approach, working with deal sites can provide scale and efficiency to your affiliate program
Working with coupon or deal sites presents quite a few benefits. Most notably, coupon sites can help push a prospective customer across the finish line. By presenting a discount, coupon sites help stimulate purchasing, especially for those folks looking for savings.
Before we share some best practices on how to work with coupon partners, let’s discuss how they operate. Coupon sites promote deals to their visitors. Often you’re able to search for deals by brand or category. For example - "Keurig promo code" or “coffee maker promo code”. They're typically using SEO to rank for certain keywords or delivering deals directly to customers via newsletters.
Let's talk about the key components of any affiliate partnership and how those might differ with deal sites -
Generally, commission rates for deal sites can and should be lower than what you're offering partners further up the funnel (e.g. blogs or influencers). This lower rate is better aligned with their place within the conversion funnel. Remember, they're pushing buyers across the finish line. Given the customer has already considered your product/brand, you may see a higher existing customer rate. You can combat this by offering a higher rate for new customers. This hopefully better aligns incentives.
Promotions are the backbone of the deal site value proposition so your strategy must be well thought out. For starters, make sure that your promotions are accurately reflected in your tracking platform (Impact, ShareASale, etc.). Deal sites are using this as the source of truth, pulling deals either manually or automatically. Make sure the codes you want active are active and expired codes are expired. If you don't want partners to have access to certain exclusive promotions, make sure those are not listed as public or even added to a blacklist. A promotion blacklist ensures that partners do not receive a commission on codes specific to other channels (e.g. a referral code).
Something that has mixed success is asking the deal site to limit "user-generated content" or UGCs. UGCs are codes uploaded by a user NOT the deal site directly. This could easily lead to rogue or expired codes being promoted on-site, which obviously leads to a poor user experience. It's not guaranteed that deal sites will abide by the request as it is a core component of their business.
Other potential strategies include setting up promotions aligned with your brand goals. For example, you might consider the following promotional tactics -
Brands need to manage the elements under their control. This includes ensuring all promo codes work before adding them to the network or sharing with partners. Additionally, advertisers must decide if they're willing to let publishers bid on their trademark terms. With search being deal sites' main acquisition strategy, they will often ask for permission to TM+ bid. Prohibiting this tactic is often advisable if you have a fully developed PPC campaign you're managing internally. This ensures your bids aren't artificially being driven up. Check out tools like BrandVerity to help manage TM+ compliance.
The affiliate channel is built on a foundation of partnership. Advertisers and publishers need to have a clear understanding of each other's goals and objectives. Deal sites, just like any other channel, should be provided a similar level of attention and development. Reach out to each partner individually, develop a personal relationship, and get on even footing. Communication will enable a long, successful partnership.