Betty Says: Call Us for the best price

I have been selling sheds online for many years through affiliate programs and local vendors.

One of the affiliate programs I sell sheds through is Betty Mills. I have been a BM affiliate for years and noticed at some point last year that they were asking customers to call them for the best price on Arrow and Duramax sheds.

When the customer calls, I get cut out of the affiliate commission, so my sales of these two shed brands was hurting.

Cape Cod Post and Beam Shed Plans

This is a real shed. The Cape Codder Shed from Pine Harbor Wood Products. Want to build one just like it? Click on the picture.

With the shed season fast approaching, I was keeping an eye on this thread over at abestweb where oilguy had this to say about some of the shed product pages at Betty Mills, first posted on Dec. 2, 2009:

While looking at sheds on Betty’s Website the first thing I see is

To Get The Best Price on this Item,
Call us now at 1-800-ttt-yyyy

Is there any sense trying to promote this stuff anymore since we do not get credit for phone sales ??? Surely the customer is much more likely to call when this is the first thing you see in BIG BOLD LETTERS

No one from BM responded until February 9th, 2010. So this was unresolved for two months…

A few of the affiliates went back and forth with BM about how to resolve this through removing the phone number if it is an affiliate referral, etc… but it was still unresolved.

Then BM posted one of my shed sales on the same thread to announce the start of the 2010 shed season:

It’s starting. This affiliate sale just came in this morning.

This email is to notify you a sale of $3,909.39 was referred by [removed] in the Blast Off with BettyMills! (1) campaign on 2010-02-15 09:53:07. The transaction ID is [removed] and you’ve just earned [removed].

I decided to chime in after I saw that:

That was my sale you quoted on 2/15.

I haven’t sold an Arrow or Duramax shed in a long time…

Since Arrow is one of the most popular brands, I would have to say the “call us for best price” is killing those sales, dead.

The more I think of it, I wonder if we can remove the text if a customer comes in via an affiliate link. I bet it’s possible.

You should be able to hide the phone number if it is an affiliate referral easy enough.

I don’t know what software you all use at BM, but a simple conditional statement should do:

if $affiliate_referral == “yes” {

$show_phone_number_for_best_price == “NO”;

}

Right now I am running about $0.20 earned per click, which isn’t very good on extremely targeted traffic and a CTR of 14.89% so something is not right. 2 sales out of 1623 clicks is poor, even for high dollar items like sheds…

I have been a BM sheds affiliate since 2003 and this “call us” stuff is a raw deal for affiliates.

BM responded with:

Cape Cod, I had suggested that but was reminded that could be cloaking. Let me dig into the matter, as that would be an easy fix.

So I said:

So what? If by cloaking you mean trouble with the search engines, this is hardly a “cloaking” issue. This would be triggered by an affiliate referral only and Google doesn’t give a rats @ss if you are going to show or not show a phone number.

On another note: I see you all are heavy into re-targeting lately as well.

If someone is re-targeted and clicks on the re-targeted ad, that wipes my cookie right?
If so, that is killing sales as well…

Then they said:

There is no reason the affiliate cookie would get blown out as far as I know. These should be two unrelated events.

PM me a link to your website and let me see if I can set up a test case for the ‘call me’ suppression.

So I sent the PM and they responded with something about the development guys were looking into cookies and sessions to detect whether the visitor came through an affiliate link, adding a parameter to the affiliate url, etc…

They also assured me that the re-targeting was not affecting my sales.

A few days later they updated the original thread with:

UPDATE: Our affiliates have spoken.

All text stating ‘‘Call us for better price’ has been removed from ALL Shed items at Betty Mills. (this was due to the minimum advertised price issue).

Thanks for alerting us to this issue.

Also to their credit, they also came out with  a $500 shed contest for affiliates. $250 for the most shed revenue and $250 for the best shed limerick.

I’ll see what I can do about the shed revenue part, but I am not much of a poet…

Update: 3/27/10 — Well that didn’t take long.  I just sold my first Arrow shed since they removed the phone number.

http://www.abestweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=126862

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