Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wish: How an Affiliate Marketer and a Conversion Rate Optimization Expert Found Success in Simplicity

Richard and Stephen are the rare breed of business partners. They don't quarrel, they don't have firm delineations of duties in their business, and they somehow managed to start and grow an incredible business alongside an existing successful venture. How did they do it? Answer: they kept things simple.

An Expert in Conversion

Stephen Pavlovich started out in SEO. From his humble beginnings, and working with a photo printing company, he established his skill in Internet marketing - getting the company ranked very well for its desired keywords. Still, the rankings weren't good enough for the printing company to rank #1. Stephen had a choice. He could attempt brute-force tactics that could diminish the ranking of the company over time, go after broader, less-relevant keywords, or he could focus on increasing conversion.

He chose the conversion route, and understandably so. Within three months, the company's revenue had increased six times over. From that point forward, it was obvious what Pavlovich should be doing for clients.

An Expert in Affiliate Marketing

Richard Kershaw's background is in affiliate marketing. Yes, affiliate marketing. When companies want traffic, they don't always pay up front for it. Sometimes, they seek out the services of someone like Kershaw, and pay a referral fee for delivering sales. It's a win-win relationship since the company saves money on the front-end, but someone like Kershaw can command ever higher referral fees for good performance. As a business model, it's solid. So solid that Kershaw became a top affiliate for a major supplier in the UK. Eventually, he decided it might be better (and more interesting) to be on the other side of the fence.

When Kershaw Met Pavlovich

Pavlovich and Kershaw met in 2007, thousands of miles away from their home. Ironically, it was Las Vegas that kicked off a rock-solid relationship that would eventually turn into multiple successful business ventures. Ironic because both lived near London, but it took PubCon to bring them together. Their first successful business venture together was The Conversion Factory. Harnessing the lead generation skills of Kershaw, and the conversion acumen of Pavlovich, the company focuses on taking existing traffic and increasing conversion without increasing traffic. Next, they turned their eye to a truly unique business idea.

To Wish Upon A Star

You can't commoditize a zombie hunt. That's part of the magic behind Pavlovich's and Kershaw's new business venture Wish.co.uk. They offer unique experiences that are difficult to replicate and, even if you could, no one can touch them on pricing.

Want to learn how to fly a plane? Want to see what it's like to be thrown into a full-on riot? How about romantic getaway for three? Wish.co.uk plunges you into some of the most exotic and thrilling scenarios. In some ways, it's like those "daily deals" you get from Living Social or Groupon - except that Wish doesn't have an expiration date on coupons and its pricing allows vendors to perpetually offer deals without going out of business.

Companies that agree to do business with Wish agree to discount their services, but both the customer and the offering company walk away happy with the deal. The key to making the business work is partially in the business structure. Much of inner workings of the company are outsourced - from marketing, to lead generation, to fulfillment - Pavlovich and Kershaw have kept things really simple.

That's a good thing because, in a way, Wish has had to compete with other heavyweights in the "daily deals" industry - heavyweights with a lot of cash and full-time employees. The founders do admit, however, that their choice of name allows them to "punch above their weight." Incredibly, the two landed the website name in a Sedo auction for about $12,000. It was serendipity. Wish was just the right word for their unique service. Going forward, it looks like blue skies for the two partners. The name has real market appeal, it's ridiculously easy to remember, and it has a high resale value if things ever come to that.

Jack Harding is a marketing analyst with more than a decade of experience under his belt. He spends his time exploring the world of online marketing and reporting his observations on various blog sites. To see affiliate marketing and CRO in action, visit Wish.

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