Affiliate marketing is the process of having other online sites and businesses advertise your products / services. It is one of the best ways to generate additional sales for your business.

The biggest advantages of the scheme is that you only pay your affiliates when they have successful referred a customer. Therefore, you can make a great and guaranteed return on investment from using affiliate marketing.

 

The Main Players In Affiliate Marketing

If you are new to affiliate marketing , you need to understand the major parties in the industry. Here is a list of the terms used to describe the different individuals involved and how they fit into the system.

Advertiser / Merchant

The business / individual who owns the product being sold / advertised. These are the people who want to use other sites to promote their work and will pay affiliates for their time. Although many advertisers believe they have the easy part of the affiliate campaigns; having a successful campaign is something will take time and effort and will only yield good results if the advertiser is willing to put in significant amount of work.

Affiliate

The individual or organisation who is advertising products on the behalf of the advertiser. Their business is often built on selling products from numerous brands. Some of these affiliates have one website while others will have many; each concentrating on a specific theme. The affiliate is paid based on the number of sales they have generated.

Network

This is a group of affiliates that advertisers can approach to see if any of those within the network would like to promote their products. This is usually a good way to entice several affiliates to sell a product / service but it can cost more.

Agency

A company that manages affiliates, advertisers and the campaigns so that all involved can achieve a significant return on their investments.

Agencies can offer significant value to the process as they can advise what steps are needed to improve the whole process. This advice can be given to the affiliate or advertiser. As agencies often work with the same select few affiliates, they will also know which affiliates would suit what products.

 

What Are The Main Advantages Of Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing has several benefits. Affiliate programs are constantly working to deliver high quality traffic to your site. This can boost the value of your site, if you were planning to sell it at a later date.

Also, affiliate marketers are like a sales team where you only pay for their performance. If they don’t perform well, there is no cost to your business. This makes affiliate marketing almost risk free; although there is sometimes a small campaign set up cost. This can range between $100 to $1000.

In addition to higher traffic levels, the traffic generated has a high conversion rate. This is because most of the hard work on persuading the visitor to convert has been done for you. When coming directly to your site via PPC, organic search or social media; only about 4% of your traffic will be in a position to buy a product.

In contrast, when someone is directed to your site from an affiliate, they have already been processed down a significant proportion of the sales funnel.

Therefore they are approximately 3 – 4 times as likely to make a purchase. Although some research suggests that if you have an optimised landing page, you can have an 85% conversion rate.

Also, affiliate marketing allows you to grow the reach of your brand. Many affiliate marketers have extensive network of consumers. The affiliate will know what their audience likes and what will excite them. This can be beneficial to the merchant because it can shorten the selling process and increase the effectiveness of marketing activities.

Another direct benefit is that the traffic generated through your affiliate marketing is going to be highly targeted. Therefore, you know that those who have landed upon your page are interested in what you are selling. They may not buy your product straight away, but they might decide to subscribe to your newsletter, blog or download an ebook. This can all be valuable information that you can use to further market to them and convert them into a paying customer.

If this does happen, it is always good to still pay the affiliate for introducing you to the new customer.

Affiliate marketing techniques are known to support a brand’s search engine optimisation. This will help you to develop your own leads as your search engine rank increases and your website gains more organic traffic.

You can also test new marketing strategies and content styles with your audience with very little cost to yourself. With most other forms of advertising, you’ll have to invest a significant amount up front to create new marketing materials and to maintain the campaign. With affiliate marketing, some of the costs are absorbed by the affiliate, giving you a significantly less risky option for testing.

 

Tips On Running A Successful Affiliate Program

To have a successful affiliate program you will have to use the best practices. Here are some of the ways that you can improve the chances that your affiliate scheme is successful.

Offer a high commission – some of the best affiliate marketers can request commissions to be upwards of 30%; especially for software products. This is often because they have a track record of generating traffic and sales for their merchants. When you are setting the commission, consider carefully how much you are going to offer your affiliates and how much you can afford.

Don’t be complacent – don’t think that an affiliate network will automatically increase your website’s sales. You still need to create good product pages, checkout systems and a perfect website.

Provide your affiliates with materials – your affiliates will better at selling if you provide them with numerous marketing materials. This can include banners, email copy, sales copy and other materials.

Be available – affiliates like to know you will be available to talk to them about your products. Therefore, ensure you can be reached by telephone or email when they have questions about your products or how specific campaigns are currently running. You should also communicate often with your affiliates to tell them how landing pages have performed, is there a sudden rise in interest for a certain product or if there is a seasonal abandonment of another. The more you interact, the more enthusiastic your affiliates will be to promote your product.

 

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to generate traffic and sales. However, it is not as easy as picking a few affiliates to market your site. You need to be dedicated to the process and be a good manager of various personalities and processes for your schemes to be a success. Consider looking for an affiliate marketing network today and see if you can grow your business.

Jake Burdess

Director at Aflua
This post is by Jake Burdess, the founder of Aflua and HEROIC. Jake is an English designer who lives in New Zealand with his wife and three kids.

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