Whilst all my friends continued their journeys in education via university, I waited patiently for any apprenticeship opportunities in the local area, as I was looking to continue my education whilst putting these learnings into practical use. This takes me to my current position, a digital marketing apprentice (currently in affiliates) at Summit, and time flies.
I have worked in affiliates for just under 6 months, yet it feels like only yesterday I was preparing for my A-Level exams. The truth is, there are similarities between the two; despite no longer being in education, every day I am learning new things within the channel and I wanted to share my top 5 learnings with you.
1) The Power of Relationships
Building and maintaining strong affiliate relationships is pivotal to the success of the channel. With stronger relationships, we can communicate with our affiliates easier, and receive faster responses, allowing for any necessary changes on their side to be changed within a far better time frame. On top of that, I have experienced that we can get discounts on any tenancy opportunities if we have a strong relationship with the relevant affiliate.
2) Communication is Key
The main point here is that in affiliates you are dealing with people, not machines, and therefore communication is pivotal to success. These affiliates will need to be continuously informed of any new products that need to be pushed, any price changes on existing products, any new offers on site or affiliate exclusive offers. They may have questions or queries which need to be answered, problems with the network which need to be fixed and at points they may wish to negotiate the commissions they are receiving per sale.
Communication is important to ensure the affiliates are delivering the correct message for our clients and it forms a big part of our brand protection exercises.
3) It Operates on a CPA Model
Unlike many other marketing channels, affiliate marketing is based on a CPA model. CPA stands for Cost per Acquisition/Action, which means the advertiser (business) only pays the publisher (affiliate) their commission once a specific action is completed by the customer. This action could be anything from making a purchase to filling out a form. Overall, a CPA model makes for a very low-risk form of marketing.
4) It’s Not All About Converters
I had heard about affiliate marketing prior to joining Summit and had used certain cashback and voucher code sites within my day-to-day life. And that is all I knew about affiliate marketing. Affiliates were just companies who sat at the end of the customer journey and provided discounts to said customer. Converters.
The truth is, the affiliate channel actually plays a vital role throughout the entire customer journey. Content sites such as TechRadar are an affiliate who raise awareness, whilst comparison sites such as uSwitch and CompareTheMarket support the consideration stage. Yes, affiliates do feature more prominently in the conversion stage due to the nature of the channel, but it is important to recognize how affiliates can support your business/client in all stages of the customer journey.
5) The 7 Key Types of Affiliate
I never knew that affiliate marketing could take so many forms, but knowing about each one and how it can work for different brands or activity, is important to understand the full scope of the channel.
1. Cashback –
A cashback website is a form of reward website which pays its members a percentage or sum of money earned when they purchase goods and services via its affiliate links.
2. Comparison –
A comparison site is a website that compares the price of a particular product or service in different stores or from different companies. They exist so customers can find the best price for the purchase they wish to make.
3. Content –
Content sites are the magazines of the online world; websites which post regular content surrounding a specific niche. In regards to the affiliate channel, you can pay for sponsored articles to be created/published, or simply just have affiliate links in relevant articles.
4. Voucher –
A voucher code site is a website which provides its users with an array of discount codes, providing an incentive to purchase by deducting a percentage off the customers purchase.
5. Influencer –
An influencer is a person who has sway over an audience, most often on a social media platform. In regards to affiliate marketing, an influencer will endorse a company’s products to their followers and will be paid a commission if those followers purchase via their affiliate link.
6. Loyalty –
A loyalty site is a website which creates an incentive to purchase by providing its users with “points” if they are to spend via their affiliate link. These points can later be exchanged for cash or discounts in some cases.
7. Technology –
These are affiliates who use technology to drive sales, by offering a solution to a problem. For example, Honey provide voucher codes so the customer doesn’t have to scour the internet.
All in all, I have learned a lot about affiliate marketing in my first 6 months, and I am continuing to learn every day. If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing and how to get the most out of the affiliate channel for your brand, get in touch today at [email protected]. If you want to see the true power of this channel and the results we get, take a look at the work we did with our client, Three.