July 16, 2002, 12:00 AM

Affiliate program helps double web sales for cataloger Personal Creations

Personal Creations rates its LinkShare program among its most cost-effective online marketing, seeing affiliate traffic triple over 15 months.

Personal Creations`5-year-old web site has seen its affiliate sales grow by an average 16% per month since it launched an affiliate program with LinkShare 15 months ago, the company tells Internet Retailer. The site, the web channel of a 15-year-old catalog company, sells gift items ranging from ties to teddy bears that can be personalized with engraving, embroidery, and photo transfers.

While he won’t disclose traffic numbers, marketing manager Norman Galimba says traffic through LinkShare, the company’s exclusive affiliate network provider, has tripled since the program launched. Web sales are the smaller part of the catalog company’s sales, but they are growing fast, representing about 17% of total sales last year and about 35% of sales so far this year.

Galimba says the affiliate marketing program is among the most cost-effective types of marketing the company conducts online. “Our ad cost as a percentage of sales (though LinksShare) is 16%,” Galimba says. “That is our average commission plus LinkShare fees.” By contrast, he says, other online marketing and advertising initiatives, a mix of portal deals, e-mail marketing, paid search and search optimization, together average about 20% of sales.

Galimba adds that another benefit of affiliate programs are their ability to bring in new customers. While he would not disclose percentage of new customer acquisition through LinkShare, he does say, “Any customer we add through an affiliate link is likely to be a new customer.”

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