What is Affiliate Marketing and How Can it Help My Business?
How can you generate consistent sales? Getting your sales pipeline up and running is always the biggest challenge for a new business.
But it’s made a little easier when you have an entire team selling day and night for you.
That’s the idea behind affiliate marketing – a digital advertising channel where businesses pay affiliates a commission to generate traffic and leads for their products.
This approach to online marketing is far from a fad. It’s estimated that 16% of global eCommerce sales now come from affiliate marketing programmes.
In other words – if you’re not doing it, your competitors are.
It’s time your business develops a razor-sharp campaign of its own, and starts smashing your sales records.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
This digital advertising channel means working with partners who have the power to sell your products.
Often, these people have established their own online followings – like a blog, vlog, social media account or e-newsletter.
However, you need a compelling scheme to make sure that people want to sell on your behalf. Usually, affiliate marketing operates on a commission-based model, so the revenue from any sales from the affiliate is shared between affiliate and business.
With each affiliate given a unique link to share, it’s easy to track sales through a variety of digital platforms. This commission will change depending on the nature of your product and affiliate relationship, but it’s not unusual to see companies pay 5-35% per sale.
The 3 Types of Affiliate Marketing
Ready to make the most of this pay-per-performance marketing strategy? The three main types of affiliate marketing may impact how you structure your brand’s campaign.
Unattached Affiliate Marketing
Unattached affiliate marketing is the most basic approach for brands.
These kinds of affiliates have no specific expertise in your company’s niche, meaning they likely won’t have an established platform with like-minded customers to sell to.
Unattached affiliates often use established digital marketing techniques, such as social media marketing and PPC advertising, to attract clicks and earn a commission. Some brands provide affiliates with display ads to improve their sales.
While unattached affiliate marketing means you can quickly grow your sales network and shift products, you won’t have a chance to engage with your final customer to enhance your authority.
Related Affiliate Marketing
If you want to work alongside people who appreciate your brand’s niche, you’ll want to focus your attention on related affiliate marketing.
These affiliates are usually people with a certain level of expertise and influence. This way, the customers who’re interested in your products will view them as solid sources of information.
A related affiliate might be respected in your space, but they likely won’t have used your product before. Unfortunately, that means they won’t be creating awesome user-generated content for your brand.
For example, a popular photographer might include an affiliate link to your product on their website, but they won’t create content exploring what makes it great or how to use it.
Involved Affiliate Marketing
Involved affiliate marketing can be incredibly lucrative for your brand. But it needs a much deeper relationship between the business and its affiliates to deliver success.
This kind of strategy sees the affiliate create content around your specific product, like a comprehensive blog post or a video review posted on YouTube.
With involved affiliate marketing often associated with social media influencers, the trust they have with their audience can be leveraged for your mutual benefit.
If your brand wants to skyrocket its sales from this advertising technique, this involved approach might just be your key to success.
Unique Benefits of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is vastly different from every other kind of digital advertising. In fact, a carefully considered scheme ensures your brand gains a big edge over its competition.
Digital marketing offers significantly lower costs than traditional avenues. But there are still expenditures involved with planning and executing a campaign that converts your target market.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most affordable types of digital marketing, because your affiliates are doing much of the leg work for you.
As your partners take on the responsibility – and costs – of marketing your products, you simply have to pay out a commission when their work delivers a sale.
Tracking the sales generated from affiliate marketing is crucial for the company and its affiliates, as it ensures everyone is being paid fairly.
However, businesses can also use affiliate links to track information that helps shape their ongoing approach to digital marketing.
As you can identify which affiliates are selling the most products, you can reflect on their marketing strategy to see if it can be incorporated into your own advertising campaigns.
If customers are converting in their droves from an affiliate’s e-newsletter or YouTube video, these learnings might prove incredibly valuable in how you approach promotions in the future.
You’re in control of your own affiliate marketing programme, so you can decide how it scales up and down depending on demand.
If you’re having trouble attracting affiliates, you might pay a higher commission to attract top-quality influencers that’ll provide a significant sales boost.
Alternatively, you might find the commissions cut into your margins too much, and you want to extend your network to affiliates who’ll take a lower commission.
Establishing Your Affiliate Marketing Programme
Affiliate marketing has the potential to be hugely beneficial for your business. Yet, there are some important considerations to make before launching your programme.
Choose the Ideal Platform
There’s nothing wrong with managing your affiliate marketing programme in-house. But not many small- and medium-sized businesses have the resources needed to track your affiliates, measure success and process commissions.
With this in mind, it’s likely a better idea to choose an established platform to handle the dirty work for you. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of options in this space.
For instance, ShareASale is a user-friendly platform featuring great reporting tools and an established directory of affiliates ready to sell your product. Other leading platforms include Commission Junction and Tapfiliate.
Pick Your Affiliates Carefully
When it comes to picking the right affiliates for your brand, it depends on how you approach this type of campaign. If you don’t mind who markets your products, almost anyone can be an unattached affiliate.
However, brands who want to take a more hands-on approach may need to review who can access their affiliate marketing programme. If you receive applications via your website or social media activities, you’ll need to hunt through them to find the best candidates.
You might also decide to approach bloggers or social media influencers in your niche to convince them to create content around your products. If you can offer great incentives, this task will be much easier.
Selecting the Right Payment Model
Every online affiliate marketing campaign needs a payment model that rewards its affiliates for making sales. This model needs to clearly explain the goal and how much the affiliate will get paid.
As you might expect, a common payment structure is cost-per-sale, where affiliates are compensated with a commission on every sale they generate.
However, you might decide that a cost-per-lead model makes sense for your business objectives. This means affiliates get paid for every potential customer who submits their contact details to your website.
If brand awareness is your company’s ultimate goal, rewarding affiliates based on CPM – cost per thousand impressions – could be the way to go.
Partner with the Experts
Online affiliate marketing is one of the main ways businesses attract eCommerce sales. But finding success in this competitive space requires an expert touch if you want to generate the best possible ROI.
If your business is looking to level up its digital marketing campaigns and Google Display Ads Optimisation, First Page Australia’s highly experienced team can handle virtually any job.