Thursday, June 30, 2005

Top 20 Blair.com Products for June '05

Here are the top 20 products at Blair.com for June '05. Clearance items are not included in the list.

39539 Scandia Woods® Piqué Knit Polos
10897 Windowpane Shirt & Embroidered Tank
32674 Checked Capri Set
19904 Seasonless Knit Shell
35790 Floral Print NIghtgown
15706 Tankini Top, Shorts & Skirt (Tankini Top)
10048 Tropicool® Poplin Pedal Pushers
16319 Calcutta Cloth Pants
35719 Stretch Knit Tee
34307 John Blair® Banded Bottom Shirt
16305 Knit Ponte Pants with Pockets
30202 Wrinkle-Free Oxford Shirt
32641 Knit Gauze Pants
12406 Scandia Woods® Full Elastic Sport Pants
19920 Original BendOver® Pants
10049 Tropicool® Poplin Pants
32747 Solid Knit Fleece Jacket
15707 Tankini Top, Shorts & Skirt (Skirt Bottom)
32325 Lace Print Tankini
15708 Tankini Top, Shorts & Skirt (Swim Shorts)

A few observations...

There are a couple more menswear products in the "Top 20" this month, and the pique knit polos at #1 are a menswear product.

The swimsuit separates hold 3 spots in the "Top 20".

Finally, I should tell you that I rank products in the "Top 20" by order volume, not sales dollars. One product that isn't in the "Top 20" but produced higher sales dollars is the Men's New Balance® 404 Sport Sandals at $39.99.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A site's "look and feel"

I literally review hundreds of sites each week. It's time consuming, but necessary. Every time a site applies for a partnership with Blair.com at either Performics or CJ, I visit the site and take a look. That being the case, I don't spend a lot of time at each site... maybe 2 or 3 minutes. So, the first impression means a great deal, much like when the average consumer comes across your site.

Believe me. I've seen them all! Everything from lavish sites with flash intros (I don't like them) to sites with nothing more than banner after banner after banner.

One of the great things about the World Wide Web is that it can level the playing field. A professional-looking site owned and operated by a stay-at-home mom can be just as appealing to consumers as a site owned by a large company. The key is a professional-looking site!

Thankfully, you don't need to be an HTML wizard to have a professional-looking site. Take me for example. I'm a salesman. I know how to market a website, but my knowledge regarding HTML coding comes to a grinding halt soon after being able to boldface text.

TemplateMonster.com to the rescue!

TemplateMonster.com has thousands of predesigned website templates that you can purchase and download, and many are quite inexpensive. I'm in the process of creating a site dedicated to motorcycles, and TemplateMonster.com has 10 motorcycle-specific templates from $17 to $62. Have lots of cash laying around? You can purchase a template at the TemplateMonster.com "unique price" (typically $1000 or more), and TemplateMonster.com will remove the template from their site following your purchase.

Using a professional template allows me to focus my time on marketing my site, instead of spending days/weeks/months designing it. And, believe me... converting visitors to buyers is much easier with a professional site. If you're thinking about creating a new site, or giving an old site a facelift, consider using TemplateMonster.com to give yourself a head start.

BTW -- no promises, but maybe I'll post my "motorcycle site" when it's done to get your thoughts.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Introducing the Blair.com Dynamic Product Showcase Creator thru Performics

Here it is! I told you earlier this month that I was testing the PSC from Performics and that the Blair.com version would be available in the near future. Well... the future is now. Here's what Performics had to say about the PSC...

Performics recognizes that keeping offers fresh is a constant challenge for web publishers. We want you to have the tools and data you need to earn more with Performics!

The Dynamic Product Showcase Creator, hosted by AffSolutions, provides an easy-to-use, web-based tool that creates affiliate link encoded product showcases with just one click. You can use the Dynamic Product Showcase Creator through Performics to select items directly from an advertiser's feed for dynamic rotation on your site. You can select categories and keywords to generate a showcase for the advertisers in your program. You can customize the colors, sizes and selection of your showcase through the web-based tool. Since the feed is updated every 24 hours, showcases on your site will always have current offers, products and information.

To be able to use the Blair.com PSC, you must have a partnership with Blair.com via Performics. So... go ahead... give the Blair.com PSC a try. You can find it at performics.afftools.com/blair/

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Affiliate Summit '05 Wrap-Up

As I promised, there were several people who took the time to blog about Affiliate Summit '05. Check out The Affiliate Summit 2005 Blog for a nice list of blogged reviews, comments and photos from Heather Paulson of X10, Revenue Magazine, Digital Moses and many more.

Visit the Affiliate Summit 2005 Blog at: http://www.affiliatetip.com/affiliatesummitblog/

Thursday, June 16, 2005

eComXpo Announces Plans for Bigger and Better Virtual Tradeshow

I thought the following article might interest Blair.com affiliates. I attended the inaugural eComXpo in February, and Blair.com even had a virtual booth. It's an online conference where you can visit with colleagues, attend sessions and learn about the affiliate marketing industry, all from the comfort of your own home! Now I'm going to spray on my Ron Popeil hair for a second to tell you...

You won't pay the thousands of dollars you would pay to attend a "regular" industry conference! You won't pay $500... or $300... or even $100! Passes to attend eComXpo start at a shocking $19.95! Yes... only $19.95!

In all seriousness, the eComXpo is a great value for anyone who wants to learn more... AND earn more!

Here's the Article:

Bannockburn, IL - June 14, 2005 -- After a successful debut this past February, eComXpo - the virtual tradeshow for eCommerce Marketers returns for an even bigger and better event, October 6-8, 2005. eComXpo will expand its scope to include tracks for search engine and interactive marketers, as well as affiliate marketers and others interested in eCommerce marketing...

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

New Blair.com Promotion: FREE $10 Gift Card with $75 Purchase


Well folks, the Michael Jackson not guilty verdict is in, so now we can all get back to work!

I've added a new Blair.com promotion to both programs with Performics and Commission Junction. Shoppers will receive a $10 Gift Card with a $75 purchase. This should keep generating sales during the summer months, until the fall fashions and holiday seasons arrive. A variety of banner sizes are available, along with a text link. To access these creatives, please log into your acount at either Performics or CJ.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Affiliate Summit 2005

Well, folks, this is the week!

The 2005 Affiliate Summit kicked off this morning in Las Vegas. For the 3rd straight years it's a sellout, with around 500 people in attendance, 150 people on a waiting list, and tickets being "scalped" on eBay for as much as $2200! In my opinion, this speaks a great deal in regards to how much our industry has matured.

As you might have guessed by now, I am not in attendance at Affiliate Summit '05. I was able to attend both the Summits in '03 and '04, but scheduling conflicts forced me to bow out this year. In both '03 and '04, I found the presentations excellent, and the networking pretty much non-stop!

This year, Declan Dunn and Fredrick Marckini are the keynote speakers, and presentations range in topic from Affiliate Marketing Analytics to Website Conversion Rate Tuning... even a few presentations on blogging.

I have a large number of friends at the Summit, so I'll do my best to get info on the Affiliate Summit and let you know what was discussed. I'm sure Brad Fallon will be blogging about it, too!

Though I was forced to miss the Affiliate Summit this year, I love getting the opportunity to network with affiliates and other managers face to face. That said, I'm planning to attend the Performics Summit in Chicago, August 22-33, and CJU in Santa Barbara, September18-20. If you're planning on being in/around those cities at that time, call/email/IM me so we can meet and discuss our partnership.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

White List My Emails!

It always amazes me...

I send out an email to affiliates to alert them regarding a new Blair.com promotion or tool, and as many as 10% of those emails bounce. Or, I get auto responses saying something along the lines of "All email sent to this account is flushed, and unread, due to the large amount of spam."

It just doesn't make sense to me! I try to make it easy for affiliates to contact me, by supplying my name, email address, business phone number and AIM. But... some affiliates don't give me any way to contact THEM.

To make our partnership work, affiliates need to make certain that they can receive my emails. First, make certain that the email address in your account with Performics or CJ is current. (Make sure your box isn't full, too!) Second, you need to make sure your spam filter isn't blocking my emails, and if it is, you need to "white list" my emails so you can keep current on Blair.com promotions and news. Shawn Collins covers this topic under his "Affiliate Tips".

So... take a couple minutes to make certain that you're receiving my emails. I promise not to overuse this privilege, and guarantee that it will help to further our partnership.

Monday, June 06, 2005

New Blair.com Product Showcase Creator

I'm currently in the final stages of testing a new tool that will soon be available to Blair.com affiliates in our Performics program. I think it's a GREAT tool, and I'm sure Blair.com affiliates will think so, too!

So... what exactly IS a "Product Showcase Creator"? A "PSC" gives affiliates without a vast knowledge of programming the ability to place Blair.com product links are their site(s) quickly, and easily.

All an affiliate will need to do is go to the page, enter their Performics ID, and choose a categorie or keywords. Once you click on the "Create Showcase" button, it generates the code an affiliate places on their site, and gives you an example of what the page will look like. You're also given the option to show large or small images (or no images at all), product descriptions, and price. It even allows you to decide how many columns to use, how many products to show per page, font size and border color.

I'm no techie, and I'm finding the PSC easy, and fun to use.

The Blair.com Product Showcase Creator should be available to Performics affiliates in the next couple of weeks, so start planning how you'll put this new tool to good use.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Top 20 Blair.com Products for May '05

Here are the top 20 products at Blair.com for May '05. Clearance items are not included in the list.


10048 Tropicool Poplin Pedal Pushers
19904 Seasonless Knit Shell
10049 Tropicool Poplin Pants
10897 Windowpane Shirt & Embroidered Tank
30202 Wrinkle-Free Oxford Shirt
32641 Knit Gauze Pants
32674 Checked Capri Set
15706 Tankini Top, Shorts & Skirt
35719 Stretch Knit Tee
35790 Floral Print NIghtgown
32747 Solid Knit Fleece Jacket
16305 Knit Ponte Pants with Pockets
12406 Scandia Woods® Full Elastic Sport Pants
19905 Stitched Crease Ponte Pants
32509 "Wanda" Canvas Fisherman Sandal by Totes
39454 Windowpane Shirt & Embroidered Tank
32426 Pintucked Capri Pants
16319 Calcutta Cloth Pants
35709 Knit Gauze Shirt
19920 Original BendOver Pants

I'll be blogging the Blair.com "Top 20" at the end of/beginning of each month.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

What is wrong with affiliate marketing and how can it be improved?

Shawn Collins (a guru in affiliate marketing) posed the above question to affiliate managers. Here is my answer that he posted 5/13 on his blog, Affiliate Program Tip Blog.

No need to touch on the standards. You know... the topics on every board and in every e-zine. I'm talking about spyware, BHO's, spam, cookie stuffing and commission stealing.

All can easily be considered problems in affiliate marketing. But, I feel there's an even bigger problem. A problem that is often fueled by, and even a contributor to, the problems mentioned above.

I'm talking about the adversarial relationship between affiliates and merchants -- two groups that prefer to call each other "partners"...

To read the entire post, click here.



Blair.com June Promotions

Here are the affiliate promotions running in June at Blair.com:

15% OFF Orders of $70 or more (Exp. 6/15)

FREE SHIPPING on Orders of $40 or more (Exp. 6/30)


Both of these promotions are available to Blair.com affiliates at Performics and Commission Junction, where you'll find text links and banners in the most popular sizes.

Hot Blair.com Keywords

Whether you're an experienced "search affiliate" or simply want to give it a try, I'm hoping this post might help you. I've been asked by several affiliates if there are any "hot" keywords for Blair.com. Well... I guess "hot" when discussing keywords is about as subjective as "hot" can be when discussing the opposite sex. Is a "hot" keyword one that gets a boatload of traffic, or one that converts at an astounding rate? Is it seasonal, or does it perform well year-round? I don't know that answer to these questions, so... without further ado, here are what I feel are some hot Blair.com keywords:

women's clothes (and also womens clothes... no surprise there!)
men's pants ( and mens pants)
bedspreads
curtains
women's pants
women's shorts
elastic waist pants
chenille bedspreads
banded bottom shirts
chenille comforters
sleepwear
womens swimsuits
womens slacks

and...

flannel-lined jeans (this one surprised even me!)

Of course... this isn't an all-inclusive list, and I'm not endorsing any of these. I just thought that this might give Blair.com affiliates a place to get started.