Once you’ve decided on a digital marketing strategy, it’s time to put that plan into action. Affiliate marketing is an effective method of generating brand awareness and converting potential customers into paying customers by relying on affiliates and their popular content to generate sales for you.
Affiliate marketing is a type of partnership between brands and a type of marketer that creates content that generates traffic. The marketer has their audience and is paid by the brand to refer customers to the company.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work for Affiliates?
Most companies make signing up to be an affiliate easy. All you have to do is sign up on a website, and you can start promoting products to your audience. Other businesses require you to go through an approval process so they can vet the people they work with.
Once you’re approved as an affiliate, you’ll receive a special link from the company that’s unique to you. The link tracks customers that click on the link and purchase products. Using your link as a guide, the company will pay you based on how many customers you bring to them.
Businesses can benefit from affiliate marketing because they only have to pay affiliates when they get a customer through the affiliate link, which means virtually no risk and only the opportunity for a high return on investment (ROI).
Affiliates also benefit because they can use their popular content to generate money. Because they are only paid based on results, they must work hard to get rewarded.
Affiliate marketing is a great option for B2B and B2C businesses.
Creating an Affiliate Marketing Campaign
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that affiliates will sign up for your program just because you have one. Digital marketers should be incentivized to join your affiliate program over your competition’s. Many companies have affiliate programs, so you’ll need to make yours stand out from the rest.
Choose a Niche
You should only work with affiliates within your niche so you don’t run the risk of putting in time and effort for zero results. For example, if you sell construction software, only work with affiliates who write about or post about the construction industry so you can ensure they have the right audience you’re trying to reach.
Consider the way your business is branding and what its message is to determine what your niche should be. You should also consider your target audience, including their gender, age, and interests. The more narrow you can get, the better you can find an affiliate that’s right for your program.
Consider Your Incentives
How are you going to get affiliates to sign up for your program? There are many ways to incentivize affiliates, including influencer gifting, higher potential for earnings, and the ability to work with a company that aligns with their values.
You can choose any number of incentives; just make sure your incentives make the best affiliates want to work with you. Remember, no matter how great your incentives are, affiliates will ultimately choose to work with you based on your business’ mission. For example, if your business donates a percentage of its revenue to a non-profit, you can attract more affiliates.
Now that you’ve chosen your niche and know what incentives your program offers, you can start looking for affiliates. Finding your potential affiliates is easy. They’re already out there getting tons of attention from their audience, not to mention you can use several platforms to find and vet influencers.
After you’ve located affiliates you want to work with, you can start reaching out by introducing your business and the incentives that you offer.
Create Quality Content
Affiliates will be more willing to work with you if you make their jobs easier and give them quality content they can use. Make sure you give them access to branded photos to use for social media posts, free training for their followers, and examples of content they can share with their subscribers.
The easier you make it for affiliates to promote your product, the more successful they will be.
Part of your incentivization program can be about rewarding affiliates that perform the best. For example, you can enter top-performing affiliates in a raffle to win a prize. You might also choose to give them rewards during the holidays or for meeting certain goals.
Affiliate marketing is a process, so if you don’t get any sales right away, don’t give up. All affiliate marketing takes from businesses is time. You’re not risking any of your revenue by working with affiliates because you don’t need to pay them until they send you a paying customer.
Finding the right affiliates can be difficult, especially when you’re still tweaking your incentives. After all, you have to be able to make money on every sale. By giving all of your influencers 50% or more commission on sales, you might end up not being able to make anything off of the sale of your products.
Stay consistent with your effort and tweak things as you go. You can also send your affiliates a survey to see how you stack up compared to other affiliate programs and get their feedback on how things are going.
Show Affiliate Appreciation
Affiliate marketers and digital marketers are just like your regular employees and should be appreciated. After all, they’re doing a lot for your business by sending you customers even if you’re paying them. By showing your affiliates appreciation, they’ll feel incentivized to work harder.
You can show affiliate appreciation by sending them birthday cards, presents, and even a happy birthday email.
Not showing your affiliates appreciation and simply paying them what they’re owed makes them less likely to put as much effort into promoting your products. Instead, they’ll spend more time promoting other businesses. Even something small, such as contests among affiliates, can help them stay engaged in your affiliate program.
Running Your First Affiliate Program
Although affiliate marketing programs have fewer risks than other types of marketing, they’re not without their challenges. Affiliates are contractors, which means they don’t work with you, and many won’t show you the same level of commitment as others.
You might also run into someone who claims to be an affiliate but tries to take advantage of your company. Luckily, most affiliates are honest and don’t like to let their partners down. Remember, you’re new to this, so expect to have some mistakes. The more effort you put into your affiliate marketing campaign, the better it will be.
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.