Could an Affiliate Program Take Your Brand to the Next Level?
A new year means new beginnings. And if you’re looking for a way to elevate your brand this year, a robust affiliate marketing program could be the answer. But where do you start?
What is an Affiliate Marketing Program?
“Affiliate marketing — sometimes called performance marketing — essentially means hiring people to bring you customers, and only having to pay them when a conversion happens,” The Brandon Agency explains. “For example, you might get a $100 sale on your e-commerce website, and the affiliate may get $5 of that.”
It’s basically a performance-based commission structure where you pay outside sales agents to generate leads and sales on your behalf. You set the commission rate and they get paid for each sale they make.
Affiliate marketing programs are beneficial for a variety of reasons. Three of the biggest perks include:
- Cost-effective. In the grand scheme of things, an affiliate commission doesn’t cost you much. It allows you to increase sales while still preserving most of the profit margin.
- Increased brand awareness. Affiliates are incentivized to push your products on as many people as possible. Inevitably, they’ll reach entirely new markets. This gives you greater brand awareness in the marketplace.
- rks. Link building is one of the lesser-known benefits of affiliate marketing. If you have 100 affiliates working for you and they each publish blogs, push out social media posts, and build dedicated landing pages for your products, that’s thousands of fresh, organic links pointing back to your website. This enhances your SEO and could help your website move up in the search rankings.
Many of the world’s leading brands – including Amazon – rely on affiliate marketing for a large portion of their sales. Small businesses can also benefit. Affiliate marketing programs work especially well for businesses that sell physical products, software, and subscription services.
4 Tips to Help You Create a Successful Affiliate Program
Anyone can pay people a commission to make a few sales. But if you’re serious about leveraging affiliate marketing, you need to develop a formal affiliate program. Here’s how to make it worth your time:
- Study the Competition
It’s wise to do some competitive analysis prior to formally launching your program. This will help you understand what (if anything) your competitors are already doing.
As you study the competition, be particularly mindful of the commissions they’re paying, as well as the type of support and resources they’re providing. Do people seem to enjoy the affiliate program, or does it make it difficult for them to be successful? Can you charge a better commission and pull some of these affiliates away? The more questions you ask, the better.
- Set Your Goals
Any new business initiative – particularly one of this magnitude – should begin with some goals and objectives. And since affiliate programs produce a ton of data, it’ll be fairly easy to track your progress towards these goals.
- Hire an Affiliate Management Agency
Trying to develop, launch, and maintain an affiliate marketing program requires time and patience. Unless you have copious amounts of each, it’s recommended that you hire an affiliate management agency to do the heavy lifting for you.
The key is to find an agency that’s a good fit for you and your goals. Each one is different and it’s helpful to partner with one that’s flexible and scalable.
“Some agencies work directly with only one or two networks, while others work with anyone and everyone they can,” iAffiliate Management explains. “Find out how flexible an agency is before you sign on the dotted line. See if they’re limited to only a few affiliate networks or if they have the ability to take a partner directly and run the program themselves.”
- Optimize and Improve
Don’t expect incredible results right off the bat. In most cases, you’ll need to tweak and optimize your program over a period of a few weeks and months to get the results you need. Be patient and stick to the plan!
Enjoy Strategic Growth
Affiliate marketing is just one strategy businesses can use to grow their reach, generate more leads, and produce more conversions. When combined with other sales and marketing strategies, it’s consistently rated as one of the most effective tactics around. Give it a try this year and see if it moves the needle for your business.