Affiliate Marketing. You may have heard of it as it’s been around for a while. In fact, it’s technically one of the longest standing online marketing channels. But you may not understand how it works or what value it offers to an online marketing plan and that’s okay, you wouldn’t be alone. I view it as the underdog channel, and I think that’s why I love it so much. So, in a nutshell, what is affiliate marketing? Well, it’s the use of one website to advertise the products of another. Seems simple enough, right?
Since the inception of the affiliate channel back in 1994, it has come a long way. The variety of available affiliates has changed dramatically, and there is increased access to a wide range of audiences. What used to be a link on a website, can now come in many forms, such as cashback sites, voucher code sites, influencer hubs, loyalty sites, comparison sites, and even through tech innovations, such as the likes of Smarterclick that provide targeted popups tailored to show to people you want on-site…
Affiliates is an ever-evolving world and one that will continue to go from strength to strength. So here are 5 things I think you need to know about the affiliate channel and why it should play a role in your marketing plan.
1. Building relationships with partners is fun
It’s a fantastic way to reach new audiences that you may not have captured through other marketing channels. However, it takes time to develop, especially for newer brands that are not as established online. You must build trust and to build trust you must build the right relationships with the right partners. When consumers trust the source, they are more likely to be comfortable making the purchase. Whether that is a preferred cashback site, or a go to blogger, working with them and understanding their audience will in turn help you maximise the effectiveness of your promotion/offer and “tap into” their unique audience base. This can help you really target your campaign and pick-up customers that may not have found you organically, or through other channels. Having someone that actively wants to work with your brand will inevitably go a long way to help increasing your brands awareness.
Sure, profit is important, and you do not just want to be giving things away, but sometimes building the brand is just as important and the affiliate channel can help on both fronts there.
2. It is reactive to change
The affiliate channel is a great way to push sales, growth and revenue and when used as part of a holistic approach to online marketing, the speed at which the affiliate channel can operate at typically means you can go live with new offers/promotions within minutes of them being signed off. Maybe a competitor has released a stronger offer and you want to act quickly to beat them, or perhaps you need a bit of a sales boost, whichever it is, pushing offers through the affiliate channel can be a great and efficient way to hit targets and generate those extra sales.
3. It is a great way to complement a marketing campaign
Marketing continuity. You may have a great offer that you’re pushing sitewide, perhaps a Summer sale with a strong discount code. As we mentioned earlier, when used as part of a holistic approach to online marketing, you could then utilise the affiliate channel to spread that message across your partner base, and often host those offers/codes/sales on a merchant page for free. That’s right, free. It typically doesn’t cost to be listed on a website, and from that you will then be listed within their category pages and any sales that come off the back of that are just straight up wins.
4. Low cost. Low risk. High reward?
Low cost, low risk. The affiliate channel is typically very cost effective. Often you will find most affiliate programs work on a CPA (cost per acquisition) basis, meaning you only pay out on sales that are generated. You’re not having to spend money per click hitting your site, so the more sites that you have onboard and correctly set up displaying your offers/links, the more opportunities you will have to covert those into paid customers. In essence, you are paying for performance instead of just paying for clicks.
5. Show me the money!
Affiliate marketing has been proven to have a higher return on investment (ROI) than other marketing channels. Having the ability to choose who you work with means you can quickly get to relevant audiences that are typically engaged. When someone is getting a recommendation from a blog or website they visit, or perhaps someone they follow on social media, they are more likely to trust what they are saying and be influenced to make a purchase. That’s why they call them influencers I guess… they influence. Get it? Anyway, to summarise, you’re essentially channelling your marketing efforts through affiliates that have direct access to a targeted audience, and with that may be more receptive to what you have to offer.
Sold yet? If you want to know more about how affiliate marketing can play a part in your business strategy, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]. And if you need more convincing, take a look at the amazing results we helped our client Three achieve.