Meet Lunchbox

By on 8-09-2012 in Career, Conferences & Networking

Lunchbox SidewaysYou can read the back story of how I acquired both of my cats, Muse and Lunchbox, where I invited you to Meet Muse.  To further explain why my cat is named Lunchbox and not Silent Bob, you can watch Dogma.  When Jay & Silent Bob first meet Bethany, Jay calls Silent Bob “Lunchbox”.  I thought it fit well and was more unique than just naming my cat Silent Bob.  So Lunchbox is his name, and he’s lived up to it.  He rarely makes any sounds, unless he’s hissing or trying to get my attention to feed him.  He’s not super fat, but compared to little Muse he’s pretty robust.  He’s definitely the yin to her yang being the opposite combination of white & black with white being his primary color.

This should give you some idea of the scale between the two of them.  Of course, she’s curled up into a ball and he’s stretched out, but if you focus on the size of their paws and heads you should see the difference.  Since they’ve been together their whole lives, they usually get along very well.  Being the dominant male, he’s a little aggressive (I think the vet who fixed him botched it slightly) from time to time with her, but generally he’s a snuggle bunny who’s very loving.

Muse & Lunchbox on the CouchBefore moving to this house, I’d definitely have called Lunchbox more of a snuggler than Muse, but they share the title now.  We were moving around every couple of years for the first 4 years of their lives, so maybe that affected them.  Now that we’ve been here for 6 years, they know where they’re at and know that it’s home.

One of the reasons I’m posting about my cats this week is because this week is their birthday week.  We adopted them when they were about six weeks old and backtracked it to about July 15th.  So my kitties are 10 this week!  I love my cats, despite the typical pet owner issues I have with them, and I hope for another10 snuggly years with my kitties!

Meet Muse

By on 8-09-2012 in Career, Conferences & Networking

Meet one of my kitties, Muse.

It was 2004 and we’d just moved into a new apartment the month or so prior.  I had a cat before the two kittens, Kahlua, but unfortunately she was hit by a car before we moved.  It was never my idea to let her be an indoor/outdoor cat, but I got her my junior year of college and my roommate at the time had an indoor/outdoor cat and didn’t really heed my wishes to keep my cat inside only.  It was a safer area with a big open field behind our apartment, so it wasn’t that bad.  But once I moved home and into a city, she had gotten more aggressive, harder to get inside at night, and that’s how it happened.  So I knew that these next kittens would stay inside only, so Dominic suggested we get two at once so they’d have company.

MuseI got Muse and he brother from the same litter – sort of.  The woman giving the kittens away had two cats that were both black and white and both happened to get out of the house the same day and come home pregnant.  So they both had very similar litters and it was hard to tell, but she was pretty sure mine came from the same cat.

Muse was the runt of the litter and the only girl left, so we ended up with a chunky little boy who was very stoic and quiet on the ride home and a noisy tiny little girl who mewed nonstop. I am a big fan of writer/director Kevin Smith and wanted to name them with homages to one of my favorite movies of his, Dogma, but didn’t want to be super “on the nose”. Based on their behavior on that first car ride home, Jay & Silent Bob seemed like the best fit.  But she was a girl, and I didn’t want to be super literal, so I instead named her Muse after Salma Hayek’s character and a play on the name of the actor who plays Jay, Jason Mewes.  I’ll introduce you to the other cat in another post.

To this day, Muse lives up to her name.  She is more vocal than the other cat, and also more hyperactive.  Being the runt, she’s also a lot smaller than he is, so they are still very true to their names.  Muse was not always a cuddler, but since moving into our current house in 2008, she has softened up a lot and is my constant companion on the couch.  Hence how I grabbed this shot of her on the arm of the couch beside me.  Unimpressed.  You know, like all cats are!

 

 

 

Reflecting on an Origin Story: Affiliate Summit East 2007

By on 8-09-2012 in Career, Conferences & Networking

Yes, you read that right.  After a whirlwind trip to Oregon this week for a wedding, I’m making off into the night on a red-eye flight to New York for Affiliate Summit East 2012.

ase07-20This marks a milestone for me.  Affiliate Summit East 2007 in Miami was my first Summit, so this will be (counting last May’s Affiliate Summit Central) my 10th Summit and the 5 year anniversary of this blog and my participation in Affiliate Marketing.  I was just a baby in affiliate marketing back then.

Wow… how things  have changed!  Back then I didn’t know what I was doing at ALL, somehow teaching my co-worker everything I knew about affiliate marketing on our red-eye flight from Oakland to Miami.  And by everything I knew – that means everything I’d learned since about November of 2006, so not much.  How naive we were – we totally blew off the Meet Market thinking it would be lame (maybe back then it was, I wouldn’t have known) and didn’t participate in hardly ANY networking.  We were more interested in South Beach every night to eat dinner on the strip.

The trip was not all fun, and I did take it seriously and so glad I did.  I still use the same college-ruled composition book for notes.  The sessions I went to at that Summit might make you chuckle:

I remember some of the speakers, but not all… Jeremy Palmer, Scott Jangro, Rosalind Gardner, Stephanie Agresta, most notable in my mind at the time was Jay Berkowitz and his 10 golden rules session.  I remember offering up the merchant I worked for at the time for analysis in the Conversion Rate Clinic and going back to my manager at our booth saying, “We have a LOT to fix when we get back!  Josh Sloan made a magical impression on me with his magic tricks as we exhibited beside 1&1,.  We went to ONE networking event and only because we were told we could win some sweet prizes.  It was there that I met Karen & Joel Garcia, who I count as friends now.  I remember returning from that show and deciding that I should start a blog.  I started it on Blogger (I know, I’m ashamed too…) and later got with it and ported it over to self-hosted WordPress.  Want to read my first post?  It’s a doozy… but it was 5 years ago on 8/2 (also my wedding anniversary & Kevin Smith’s birthday).

Get Noticed FAST SpeakersSo in a few days I’m off to Summit again, and I’m so glad I went to summit back in ’07.  It set me on this career path when I just had a job, so I’ll be forever grateful to the speakers in the sessions I attended and the people I met back then that ignited this spark.  I’m proud to say that 5 years later, I’m still loving it!

Want to sit down with me and chat about any of the affiliate programs I manage?  Check out my schedule at Tungle.me/trishalyn and let’s set something up!

Another laugh… my random photos from Miami in 07!

Affiliate Marketing Fanatics 20: Fly, Fat A**, Fly (But not on Southwest)

By on 8-09-2012 in Career, Conferences & Networking

Affiliate Marketing Fanatics – A couple of hyper-caffeinated affiliate marketers (Mike Buechele) and (Trisha Lyn Fawver) talk about all things Affiliate Marketing. From blogging to branding, social media to search, video and more!

We’re a little late this week but got going relatively quick.  We chat a bit about social media and taxes in this episode, and have a good time doing it.  I think we were keeping Mike warm with our banter!  The episode comes in at a chunky, too-fat-to-fly 32:30. In in this episode we discuss:

Want to catch up with us & ask questions for the next show?  Find us on Twitter: @MikeBuechele & @TrishaLyn.  Or leave us a comment!

Affsum Session: Reaching Aggressive Goals without Monetary Incentives

By on 8-09-2012 in Career, Conferences & Networking

Date: Monday, January 12th, 2009.  Session 4c, 11:30am.
Session Description:  This session outlines how to best manage affiliate relationships to reach major revenue goals without additional budget. Tactics focus on non-monetary incentives to increase affiliate performance. The panel consisted of:

OK, this session wasn’t what I expected it to be.  It seemed more like a session on how to treat or work well with super affiliates, which I’ve attended before and got kind of the same tips from.  Maybe I perceived this wrong, but I expected some tactics on how to creatively promote affiliate programs without money, but it turned out to be how to fire up your top affiliates, and still mentioned money.

Bullet Point Review!

  • The majority of affiliates say they make most their money from less than 5% of the merchants they promote.
  • David says: compensation does matter.  We’re willing to promote products and brands with zero compensation up front.
  • David says: if you know our business, we’ll talk to you.  Without knowing that basic fact, all of the other things you can say don’t matter.
  • Darren says, to managers: relationships matter.  Keep in mind that everyone does things differently.  They do expect a better relationship than any other affiliate.
  • Darren says, to fellow affiliates: You can’t expect a merchant to call you back unless they have an incentive to.  So the affiliate has to sell you on themselves.  Pitch you.
  • David says: the compensation has to sometimes be different for loyalty sites.  Get datafeeds cleaned up.  Better sales will come from that and the creativity affiliates use with datafeeds.
  • Darren acknowledges: we know that it’s sometimes an uphill battle for merchants to get the datafeeds fixed by their IT departments, but if the affiliate doesn’t get the datafeed that’s clean, they have to go with someone else.
  • David notes that he’s personally working hard to create a standard taxonomy that everyone uses for datafeeds to make that portion of the industry more uniform.
  • The key is keeping it updated.
  • Chris noted that the number 1 thing affiliates wanted from them are custom landing pages.  The second was product feeds, third promotions and incentives, and fourth was coupon code offers.
  • Kevin wants affiliates to know that they can get help when they need it.  The more information we as merchants can give the affiliate, the more money they make, more sales for us.
  • David warns that the conversions really have to be solid.  It’s better for the merchant and the affiliate.
  • Kevin includes information about the products and company in their newsletter.  He tosses out as much information as he can that will help the affiliates.
  • It’s hit & miss in terms of the merchant giving information to the affiliate in terms of what they’ll use.
  • A lot of the money they make is reinvested.
  • David uses an analogy of a bobsled team for the merchant.  They’re the head of the team and just need the push from the merchant to get rolling down the track.
  • Darren advises that you take your top affiliates and let them help you test landing pages.  He’s usually willing to work with merchants that ask for that kind of help since he’ll ultimately receive the benefit.
  • Chris warns though that a lot of affiliates don’t want to be guinea pigs and how often are you willing to take the risk?  Darren responded that it depended on how long he’s worked with and trusts the merchant.  He doesn’t mind being a guinea pig if it means he can make more money.
  • David warned against merchants making knee-jerk reactions.  Use the data and make decisions based on that.
  • Darren says if you know them and spend the time to get to know their business and form a partnership, merchants are usually more willing to give them inside data to help them out.
  • Are there three different teams compensated separately?  Many merchants have the SEO team, SEM team, and Affiliate team.  If the program is run correctly the affiliates help all three teams.  it’s all of our sales, not my sales or your sales.
  • Kevin says more affiliates looking at CPM than CPA – with the economy there’s not as much money out there for CPA offers anymore since they don’t return like sales do.
  • David relayed something he read that said 73,000 stores will close in the US this year (estimate).  If someone comes to them and says they’re cutting their commissions, it’s a mistake but OK, they’ll look at your competitors more.  Someone has something similar and will boldly raise their commissions to stand out.
  • Darren warns that before you lower commissions across the board, take a look at your top affiliates.  Weed them out and tier your structure.  Maybe increase compensation for the top affiliates and lower it for the others.
  • David says to reward those meeting your goals.
  • Kevin notes that they did that and it worked great.
  • Kevin adds not to be knee-jerk reactionary.  Try to look at a monthly picture.  For them the 2nd Saturday of every month is their big Saturday Sale, and affiliates know that.  Being transparent helps them stand out.  Allow them to lean on the merchant.  Brand equity is very important.
  • Kevin has seen more volume with coupons and loyalty sites.
  • Chris shares more poll results amongst affiliates: What matters most before joining?  1. Commissions 2. Product being sold 3. Brand 4. Tracking platform 5. Terms and conditions 6. EPC 7. Affiliate manager/outsourced program managers 8. Return days 9. Action occurrences
  • Darren says to look at your affiliate manager very closely to analyze the relationship.  When the AM gets to know what the affiliate does, they can customize incentives specifically for them.
  • Darren also says to give your top affiliates your true top performing keywords.
  • Chris asks if a big brand can get away with paying less commissions.  Darren says they can if their conversion rates are higher.
  • Chris asks how much competitive research do you do?  Darren says they know what the published commission rate is.  They also look at the EPC but that doesn’t really tell them too much.
  • David notes that they’re big and kind of already have the big brands, so they ask different questions before they join a new program.  Are you making our life easy?  Do you have an 88×31 non-animated gif?  Do you link to the homepage or deep link?  Is it something we think our members will see as quality?  Does it look like it’ll convert?
  • Darren says he’ll try to get a hold of the affiliate manager to work with them to improve their site, but there’s only so much they can do so sometimes it’s hard to do that.
  • Kevin creates banners on a daily basis.  They’ll accommodate different sizes if asked.
  • Although David says he doesn’t look at banners.  Darren advises that they have to meet the challenges of Google changing, so they need to change.  Banners have been around so long and they’re surprised that there’s still so much emphasis on banners. They do their own creative because it’s faster and they know what will work with their visitors.  If the merchant won’t allow that, it’ll hurt them.  They’ll work within their guidelines for sure.

There was a lot of good information and wasn’t much time for a Q&A session, so there was none.  Despite it not being what I was going in for, it was still a good session and dropped some handy tips from some top affiliates.  There was also some good data points in the slides, so here they are for your viewing pleasure as well: