I’ve worked with affiliate marketing for years and years and I genuinely believe it is one of the most effective acquisition channels when managed correctly.
WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING?
In a nutshell, it is you (the retailer otherwise known as ‘the merchant’) working with a publisher (voucher code site, cashback site, blogger, content site and more) to sell your products or services through a commission based model, usually this is managed through an affiliate network. Essentially, for every sale that they generate – you will pay them a commission. That commission could be a percentage of the total sale value or alternatively a pre-defined commission rate based on the tier within a tier structure in which a transaction falls.
£1 or more but below £5 = £1 commission paid
£5 or more but below £10 = £2.50 commission paid
and so on…
You decide that you’re willing to give to the publisher.
An affiliate network acts as an intermediary between publishers and merchant programs. It allows website publishers to more easily find and participate in affiliate programs which are suitable for their website (and thus generate income from those programs), and allows websites offering affiliate programs (typically online eCommerce sites) to reach a larger audience by promoting their affiliate programs to all of the publishers participating in the affiliate network
WHY CHOOSE AFFILIATE MARKETING?
For me, this article written by Emma Cross for AWIN (an affiliate network) is a great starting point when you’re thinking about the benefits of affiliate marketing. I think she’s captured the key points as to why this channel is a great channel for any eCommerce businesses to consider investing in.
“All traffic is not created equal. If you sell spa products, for example, you don’t want to waste your advertising budget attracting people who are looking for car products. By working with affiliates who understand your industry and are already active in it, you will receive targeted sales from a warmed up audience. This makes it easier to maintain the relationship with your new customer going forward.” – I think this sums it up nicely. You’re working with people who have an interest in what you do or will attract the right customers that are more likely to buy from you.
From my own personal experience, while I appreciate that I have to pay a commission on the sale that is generating and usually an administration fee to the affiliate network – that is all I have to pay. PPC is the best example to use here – every click costs me money and in fact similarly with Social Media advertising, that costs me money to run but I can’t always guarantee a sale. At least with affiliates – I know I only pay when a sale comes through. Paying for performance is actually a much safer bet.
As the merchant you are actually in control – often with social advertising and PPC, you’re competing continuously in a difficult marketplace but within the affiliate world, you’re in control. You provide the incentives, you set the commissions structures and you control the costs.
TYPES OF AFFILIATES
It’s important to remember that there a quite a few different types of affiliates and again as the merchant, you have the ability to select which ones you invite or approve onto your programme – Cash back, voucher code and content sites just to name a few.
If we take discount codes for example – most consumers are often looking for a discount on their purchase, by partnering with voucher codes sites like VoucherCodes.co.uk, VoucherCloud and MyVoucherCodes – you’re putting yourself in the right space to offer discounts to your consumers.
Influencers are also a great affiliate partner option as well. Consumers trust people that they admire – influencers are just that, people that consumers want to emulate.
HOW DO YOU WORK WITH AFFILIATES?
Once your program is set up and you have affiliates that are performing well, you can just leave it to run itself with little or no maintenance but personally, I don’t agree with that as I think that this channel can be very lucrative and so needs to be nurtured.
I think it’s important to be involved with your affiliate network – providing good incentive offers and updating these regularly so that you are front of mind for your affiliate partners. As well as creating new and interesting creative on a regular basis, whether that’s for a campaign, seasonal event or just your generic brand creative – similarly to regularly updating your incentives, new creative will keep your brand fresh and relevant.
I also think it’s important to have relationships with your affiliate partners – having direct content with affiliates and knowing who the go-to person is will ensure that your programme is always front of mind.
SEO benefits hugely from affiliate marketing. If you read my post:
you will know that backlinks are a huge game changer for any online brand yet it is one of the biggest challenges we face as marketers – ensuring a a successful link building strategy with high quality links. When you partner with affiliates, you go a long way to aiding your SEO efforts because you add numerous backlinks to your site through affiliate blogs, social pages and websites.
This is particularly effective if working with higher-ranked partners whose audience then share and tweet details about your product or brand.
This post by Oberlo is definitely worth a read too! https://www.oberlo.com/blog/how-to-make-money-with-affiliate-marketing