Double Dipping: Direct Mail Conflicting With Affiliate Marketing

When someone contacts me and starts off by saying: “Great Blog”, they get my attention. Sometimes flattery does get you everywhere lol.

Here’s a note I received from Eric B. using my contact form:

Hi Terry,

Great blog. Just found it. Not sure if you can help, but I’m trying to do some research to understand a problem that’s come up for a client. I’m particularly ignorant about affiliate marketing and I’m really hoping that you might be able to direct me towards some resources that could help me. Basically, the problem is that my client sends out direct mail and each piece of mail has a code that the prospect enters on the home page when they come to purchase/apply. However, the company also has an affiliate program. What seems to be happening is that people receive the direct mail piece, go online and either with a basic search to find the site, or if they’re searching and trying to do some research, they end up on an affiliates site. They then click through to the company site and sign up with the direct mail code. Essentially, my client then ends up paying both the DM and affiliate costs for the same prospect.

Do you know if this problem is endemic and if so, what are others doing about it?

Interesting situation isn’t it. If you credit just the direct marketer – the online affiliate is gonna be ticked. The aff marketer is driving traffic to a website, just for someone else to get the payday. And if the direct marketer loses the credit, he’s gonna be ticked.

If no one is getting a worthwhile conversion rate – no one promotes. Company is facing a lose-lose situation.

Here’s part of my reply:

Solutions to consider:

Have the direct mail pieces direct the customers to a toll free number and use the code as “request extension DMX for this item” or “request operator DMX”. Remove the direct mail tracking code option from your website, phone in orders only. You can track & credit the direct mail prospects that way and cut out the double dipping.

Or setup a separate website address for direct mail leads. Your website is: abc.com for affiliate marketers, have abcdirectmail.com for the direct mail traffic only. Remove the direct mail code entry option on the main website where the internet affiliate marketers get credit, and don’t include affiliate cookie tracking on the direct mail website (which shouldn’t be a problem with affiliate marketers since it’s an entirely different website–one that they’re not driving traffic to). Operate and keep the two websites completely separate.

That’s all I could think of off the top of my head. If you have a solution, feel free to comment. Or if you specialize in this area and can provide Eric with a solution, feel free to send me your contact info to pass on to Eric.

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One thought to “Double Dipping: Direct Mail Conflicting With Affiliate Marketing”

  1. Ah, the joys of offline marketing…

    I would go with the multiple Web site plan. Just make sure that the new URL is unique but still makes sense in relation to your company name. What I mean is, if your main site is http://www.abcd.com, don’t just create http://www.abcd1.com for the direct mail – I suspect that consumers might leave out the 1 if they see it as unnecessary.

    Either way, good luck to you. Direct mail is soooo offline 🙂

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