Since 1966, Vans has grown from a small store in Anaheim, CA to become a trendsetting manufacturer and retailer of performance shoes and apparel. In 1998, the company launched Vans.com to function as both an online purchase outlet as well as new branding tool.
Vans.com wanted an affiliate marketing program to complement their online marketing campaign. With limited in-house resources, Vans.com turned over the program development to us.
We prioritized the objectives for the Vans.com affiliate marketing program as follows: A) Increase the amount of qualified traffic to the Vans.com website; B) Increase online sales of their line of branded shoes and apparel; and C) Build online brand awareness of the Vans.com company in the affiliate marketing space.
We approached the implementation and management of Vans.com as a 5-month process. The initial two months were reserved for implementation – a required development stage to build the necessary affiliate pages, affiliate links, and tracking technology. Our Creative Team developed each phase of the page-building segment – writing the HTML for the Vans.com pitch page (which describes the program), affiliate sign-up application, the FAQs page, and the legal agreement page. In addition, we developed ten affiliate banner links for Vans.com. To coincide with the program launch, we researched potential affiliate sites that offered complimentary content, demographics, and design. This list grew to number 365 potential affiliates, who were then acquainted with the launch of the Vans.com program. This tactic was used to ramp up the affiliate base quickly and to populate the program with relevant and targeted affiliates. The final three months were spent managing the program while training Vans.com staff to take over at the conclusion of the initial program. To create more impact among the most highly valued prospect segment, we delivered a specially designed program description directly to the top 40 affiliate directories. This was to ensure a wide reach and qualified exposure for a new program that was just about to launch. The development of a pay-for-performance compensation model would allow Vans.com to qualify their online shoe and apparel retailing – increasing their ROI by paying only for the sales their affiliates generate. Vans.com’s compensation model called for 8% net sale commission on sales generated by their affiliates.
The banner link creative development segment and overall page build was completed within the first month of implementation. Thanks to our involvement, Vans.com was able to complete implementation and launch their program December 5, 2000, just in time to take advantage of the holiday shopping season. Currently, there are approximately 2,000 affiliates reporting monthly recruitment growth since the program was launched. In addition, Vans.com has a steady stream of sales posting to their tracking system, and recently posted close to $6,000 in shoe and apparel sales in a single month.
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