Affiliate marketing has been around long before the birth of the internet.
However, it was in the 90s when Amazon launched the first affiliate program available to the public that a lucrative affiliate marketing business was born, of which many others would follow suit.
Today affiliate marketing has become a central aspect of many marketing strategies due to its low overheads and high ROI. An affiliate marketing program offers unlimited scale without needing a large affiliate marketing spend, which is especially beneficial for smaller businesses, who may not have the loads of capital to invest in a marketing strategy. And, of course, it’s lucrative for established businesses too.
Globally, the affiliate marketing industry is worth $12 billion. It’s an advertising model where a company offers third-party publishers (called affiliates) commission fee incentives to generate traffic or leads to the company’s products or services. eCommerce businesses usually provide affiliates with a unique link created to track traffic directed to their site.
Affiliate marketers don’t develop, build, pack, or ship products. Their only job is to act as “referrers,” meaning they expose a business’s target audience to a new product or service, and only if affiliate sales occur do they collect a commission. An affiliate marketer will typically place paid ads or market products or services on their website, app, blog, or vlog.
Generally speaking, affiliate marketing is a results-orientated marketing approach with a straightforward process that relies on cultivating and maintaining good relationships with affiliate marketers.
A quick note on landing pages and commissions:
Affiliate marketing sometimes has a bad reputation because people confuse it with pyramid schemes. To be clear, they are not the same thing. A pyramid scheme is an illegal business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying a commission from the sale of a product. Essentially, it pays members higher up in the structure with funds from new members.
The way affiliate marketing works is that affiliate marketers are paid a commission from the products they refer if their referrals result in a successful sale. Secondly, many are under the false assumption that affiliate marketing is irrelevant and dead. As long as affiliate marketers can bring customers to businesses in exchange for a commission, there will be affiliate marketing success.
According to eCommerce platform giant Shopify, “old school affiliate programs experienced fraud due to black hat marketing methods,” brandjacking, spyware, trademark infringement, and cookie stuffing. Despite these challenges, affiliate programs can be a high source of traffic and customer acquisition. Affiliate efforts, like all digital marketing strategies, take time. Most importantly, it requires an audience or affiliate network and expertise in the products or services your business wants to promote.
Because affiliate marketing relies on other people to promote your products and services, there is inevitably a degree of influence required. This can be on the scale of popular influencers, or merely friends referring products and services to their communities and networks. All affiliate marketing is built on transparency, authenticity, and trust.
In digital marketing, there are three types of audiences; earned, paid, and owned. Owned audiences come back to a brand, publication, or influencer because they enjoy the content they produce. They return out of their own volition. We could say that many influencers have owned audiences because they produce quality content.
Influencers can do everything new affiliate marketers can, but on a larger scale because they already have an audience. If you want to start affiliate marketing with influencers, you should take a proactive approach and provide them with a free product for them to assess whether your company is a good fit. You can also launch an affiliate program for influencers to join to leverage multiple audiences.
A strong marketing strategy has diversified affiliates that use different marketing tools. Blogging mavens tend to talk about products they’re passionate about, and becoming an affiliate marketer may provide them with an opportunity to make more money online. Chances are, that like influencers, they’re already part of sponsorship deals, and it won’t take them much to mention your affiliate marketing product in a blog post.
92% of marketers use blogging as part of their content marketing strategy, so affiliate marketing fits perfectly within this strategy. Many affiliate marketers who are bloggers will provide a review about the product or service offered (And 90% of customers read reviews before purchasing a product.) So, it’s a win-win for both parties. The most significant advantage is that you’re also getting premium content marketing at a low cost. Of course, it’s vital to select affiliate bloggers carefully.
Referral links are quick and easy to set up and work well with micro-influencers and, basically, anyone who has a network that can be leveraged. It’s like a digital word-of-mouth initiative to incentivize existing customers to introduce their family, friends, and contacts to affiliate products.
When a customer joins a referral program, they’re assigned a unique affiliate link that keeps track of every referral that comes from them. It tracks each step of the referral campaign in real-time, so you can clearly see where and how customers are in the marketing funnel. This valuable data can help maximize your marketing efforts. Referral links can be shared on social media, through email marketing, and even via WhatsApp to generate leads.
Almost everyone uses social media, so affiliate marketing on social media platforms is a no-brainer. The only thing to consider is which social media platforms your audience uses, and then tailoring content to suit those platforms. For example:
In general, it’s safe to assume that most affiliate marketers prefer the path of the least resistance. If your business is new to affiliate marketing, then social media is a good place to start promoting your products because the vast majority of your customers are likely already there.
Is affiliate marketing worth it? For many businesses, subscription-based services, and within the review sector, affiliate marketing has proven hugely successful. The secret is to match the right affiliate product with the right marketers. You have to know who your audience is and the types of marketing they best respond to. Affiliate marketing spending improves website traffic, increases brand awareness, and enhances social awareness without using much marketing budget.
Before setting up affiliate marketing, you need to determine your business goals, understand your competition, determine commission structures, and select marketing channels and methods popular with your customers. You’ll also want to establish a vetting process for affiliate marketers to ensure they’re authentic and produce quality content.
Then contact us here with all your affiliate marketing questions. We are always ready to help
Affiliate marketing is almost always a worthwhile investment; it generates 16% of all eCommerce sales in the US. If you need assistance with an affiliate marketing strategy to promote products, we can help. Comrade Digital Marketing Agency specializes in comprehensive marketing services that bring in more traffic and revenue. Although each of our clients is unique, they all share similar success stories after working with us. Keen to speak to one of our affiliate marketing specialists? Click here.
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