VoucherShares.co.uk was founded in 2019 by friends and co-founders Tanya Larsen and Miranda Coombes. Both women are mothers; Miranda has two children and Tanya has three, and care deeply about the planet, its future, and helping preserve it for future generations.
The site fully focuses on sustainability and encourages people to be more responsible when shopping. The idea for the company came from the duo’s wish to provide something that could be truly rewarding for everyone – customers, the planet, and themselves.
Tanya chatted to Niamh Butler-Walton about why advertisers need to form better relationships with their affiliates and women-driven businesses…
What is your role and what does it consist of?
I am the co-founder and CEO of Codes To Share, a UK based business that currently operates two discount code websites. VoucherShares.co.uk was launched at the end of 2019 for the UK market and eCouponShares.com was launched in August 2021 for the North American market. VoucherShares.co.uk is the first voucher codes website in the UK to focus on sustainability and is a fully certified CO2 neutral website.
I am not an inventor by nature, and I don’t always come up with original business ideas myself, but I am a very passionate executive. If I like an idea, I get fully consumed by it and I make it work. If you want a business to succeed you need to give it full dedication. The idea of a green voucher code website came from my business partner and co-founder, Miranda Coombes. I liked the idea very much and joined as an investor and full time CEO, whilst adding my previous experience of being a CEO of a technology business for the last 15 years or so, growing startups into the multi million revenues, and subsequently selling them.
I am a very keen supporter of conservation projects and the model of a green voucher codes website resonated with me straight away. My role is that of any good tech startup CEO – being patient with money, creating the right team, bringing the model to market, making sure the model works and generates revenue, growing and developing the business further and of course, maintaining the love for what I’m doing along the way.
What do you enjoy most about the performance marketing industry?
I love the technical part of it and the excitement and benefits that our customers get from using our technology. I have a mixed engineering and finance background and it may not sound that interesting, but I get real excitement in seeing how our technical ideas can instantly affect our business top line, as well as deliver revenue to the advertisers we work with – plus save the planet as we go. My career path started in digital in 2002, back in the day when the internet was still slow, and I totally love what I’ve achieved in the last 20 years. The instant consumer behaviour reaction is a massive thrill that keeps my interest in the performance marketing industry.
The other massive attraction for me always was the flexibility around the industry. I have a family and three children, I’ve travelled the world and the only workplace I needed was my laptop. I would not be able to live such a fulfilling life as easily if I had been in the office nine to five. This flexibility is a massive attraction for me as a mother.
Not to forget of course that the performance marketing industry still has room for genius ideas to conquer the space – and this is extremely rare to find nowadays.
Who is your performance marketing hero and why?
Probably Robert Rose. Not just because I love rock music and long-haired guys, but because he truly believes in the fact that performance marketing success is true marketing success.
Who in your team deserves more recognition? (The unsung hero)
I would say our SEO guy, also a keen blogger, Shaun Richings. Both Miranda and myself have taken away a lot of knowledge from him and have been inspired to take risks when introducing a new discount website into an already massively competitive marketplace and succeed in it.
What trends are you seeing working with advertisers?
The Voucher Shares niche may be a little different to generic voucher websites but even though we appeal to sustainability-conscious consumers by default, we can see that advertisers who put sustainability at the heart of their business receive more overall attention from today’s consumers. We work with thousands of brands and we can see the increasing trend amongst the consumers to look for more eco-friendly products rather than for just the best deals. That’s why this summer we introduced a green icon to highlight all sustainable and eco-friendly products from different advertisers and make it easier for consumers to identify.
How has the role of affiliate networks changed over the last 12 months?
We’ve noticed affiliate networks have become more accessible to smaller businesses. Small businesses need access to online selling, it has become their life line during the pandemic. It’s great to see that many affiliate networks have made their joining process easier and are also making more effort to connect new advertisers with good publishers. Affiliate networks have become better business facilitators in my opinion.
What one thing would you change about the industry?
Advertisers need better direct relationships with their affiliates. As I mentioned above, affiliate networks have become better facilitators, but there is still a long way to go before advertisers can truly embrace the fact that affiliates are doing the hard work of selling for them and so should not be at the bottom of the revenue distribution. There is still a long way to go to make affiliate marketing more transparent and I believe affiliate networks could do more to support affiliates. Affiliates help to build customer loyalty for advertisers. Long term positive impact of working with affiliates should not be underestimated.
What’s your top tip for advertisers?
Embrace a sustainable business model. Preparing and implementing sustainable changes to your business now will set it up for a brighter future.
What other areas of the industry can you see yourself working in the future, perhaps?
I would love to focus on a tech startup advisory but also business support for women-driven businesses in performance and affiliate marketing as well as digital businesses focused on sustainability. If I can achieve business success with three children and English as my second language then anyone can. They just need to start at the right place.
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