Best practice from Webgains.
Virginia Hayward Ltd was established by the Hayward Family in 1984 and is a family owned and run hamper business. It provides hampers direct to consumers and corporate clients in addition to white label solutions for well known high street names such as Sainsbury’s, Selfridges, John Lewis, Waitrose and Interflora.
The company’s website was originally launched in 2002 and re-launched in 2008. The website currently receives approximately 810,000 unique users per annum and as a direct result of the re-launch it now accounts for 25% of all revenue, up 10% from the previous year.
Alex Walker, the marketing manager for Virginia Hayward has the remit of building brand awareness and increasing sales both online and offline. Webgains has been working closely with Virginia Hayward to fine tune and optimise its affiliate marketing program since August 2007.
Alex is clear about the challenges presented to him when he started his role in December 2007: “In our first year of running our affiliate program we were only signed up with one network, Affiliate Future, but considering the low cost and low risk model of CPA, we felt it was necessary to sign up with another network and therefore began our ongoing successful relationship with Webgains.”
‘We felt that Webgains offered us the best fit, demonstrating a true passion for affiliate marketing as well as a desire to work with us’ ALEX WALKER, MARKETING MANAGER, VIRGINIA HAYWARD
Approach The focus of the Virginia Hayward program has been on recruiting and retaining a motivated affiliate base to deliver the required results. Efforts have concentrated on affiliate attraction, site optimisation, voucher code strategy and dialogue with affiliates.
Alex Walker comments: “We looked at all the other bigger networks and felt they didn’t quite meet our business objectives and needs. We felt that Webgains offered us the best fit, demonstrating a true passion for affiliate marketing as well as a desire to work with us.
"The reputation of its account management team and its well considered approach to our seasonal work, meaning how to recruit and work with affiliates during Easter time etc. made our decision to work with it an easy one to make.”
Example of how Webgains have driven sales over the Christmas period in 2008 “In order to increase conversions online, the website had to be redesigned and re-launched in 2008. From the outset our account manager at Webgains was very proactive in terms of advising us exactly what to consider when building an affiliate friendly website.”
“Our affiliate marketing program through Webgains means we have also been in a position to take advantage of the recent popularity of online voucher codes. The system we previously used didn’t enable us to process these types of voucher code initiatives effectively and efficiently without having a detrimental affect on our profit margins.”
Virginia Hayward initially addressed this problem by integrating voucher code functionality into its new website design and by using Webgains’ Voucher Management Tool, which simply manages the entire process from start to finish.
Alex Walker is keen to control the process in this way. He believes that merchants need to be aware that by offering too many discounts to consumers they can indirectly devalue their own brand.
Webgains’ senior account manager Sachin Thanki comments on the final plank in Virginia Hayward’s affiliate strategy: ”Affiliate program results are directly correlated to the amount of time and investment a merchant puts into affiliate communication and ongoing dialogue. Virginia Hayward realise this and do a brilliant job on this front.”
To open up communication channels with affiliates, Virginia Hayward created a specific affiliate newsletter. The letter was then sent out to 500 affiliates on average every quarter, announcing the brand’s upcoming offers six weeks ahead of launch, giving affiliates sufficient lead time to consider and promote them.
The affiliate marketing program also allowed Virginia Hayward to reach qualified consumer niches, achieving mass reach as well as the huge rise in online sales through the affiliate channel; Virginia Hayward have also benefited from a significant increase in brand exposure, at a lower cost than exposure gained through traditional means such as a print ad campaign. Walker comments that affiliate marketing has also allowed Virginia Hayward to trial exciting marketing channels such as twitter.
“I was quite skeptical when it came to the commercial aspects and longevity of something like twitter, however a few months ago when we launched our ‘Blast from the Past’ sweet hamper, we noticed that around 10 affiliates had added our links and voucher codes to their twitter profiles.
"We were astonished and pleased, although it was unsurprising given that entrepreneurial affiliates proved early adopters of such technology. We have embraced this new channel and are waiting to see how it develops.”
Alex concludes by touching on some of his long-term ambitions: “Affiliate marketing requires dedication and a lot of investment in terms of time. In the future I would like to continue to build a deeper ongoing relationship with my affiliates to come up with more bespoke solutions and tools, working with Webgains I am positive I can achieve this.”
For more information contact:
International Marketing Director
Dragon Court, Top floor 27-29 Macklin Street
London WC2B 5LX
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7269 1228
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7269 1249
E-Mail: email@example.com www.webgains.com
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