You should know by now that the heart of online marketing lies in making connections and creating visibility across the online marketing place. Affiliate marketing takes the connection building to a whole other level. For example, Cox Communications is a telecom provider of TV, Internet, and phone services. They may have 3rd parties referring customers to them inquiring about Cox internet plans, services and as affiliates. To make things clear just because I referred to Cox communications does not make me an affiliate but because the 3rd parties being referred to when marketing the services being provided by the telecom provider. Another example of affiliate marketing would be if Cox communication who is a trusted service provider would act as an affiliate for a 3rd party offering products and services that are not their own to existing and new clientele while adding value for both parties involved. Affiliate marketing is all about gaining the most visibility on the internet in the fastest possible manner essentially outsourcing basic marketing to 3rd parties for a % of sales generated from their marketing efforts. If the affiliates are able to reach a niche audience they are expanding your customer base where you weren’t.
In simple words company X directs the customer towards company Y where the transaction occurs. Participants of affiliate marketing are known as “publishers”, “advertisers and merchants”. It is an appealing choice for marketers as it is based on the simple rule of “pay per sale”. You can have multiple affiliate marketers which are all independent from one another allowing you to extend your reach.
Following are few of the most popular affiliate programs:
- Amazon Associates
- Commission Junction
Is Affiliate marketing effective for B2B?
Affiliate marketing can be a challenge for B2B marketing, but it is not entirely impossible. Web traffic is key for a publisher to drive sales. B2B advertisers will find success by working with B2B publishers. Whereas the merchants will find opportunities in promoting complementary products and services to interested businesses.
Is Affiliate marketing suitable for you as an advertiser?
Well, the very first step is for you to make a move and decide what niche will you be targeting through your affiliate channels? The second thing is to figure out the most suitable affiliate networks for that particular niche. After this, you need to ponder over the following three questions:
- What products and services will you be advertising on the affiliate’s platform?
- Do you know what to expect when it comes to the publisher’s commission stricter?
- What expectations do you have from these platforms?
These questions will help you forecast the future of your affiliate marketing channel. You are able to gain insight by answering the questions to determine suitability and scalability. If the market is wide enough for you to pursue? If not you should invest your time and effort into something that has greater marketing potential. A crucial step to it is reaching out to the prospective publishers and business partners to gain better insight. Real data and partner insights can lend a hand in understanding affiliate marketing and how can you meet the market demands efficiently and effectively.
If you’re confused about getting yourself registered on an existing affiliate network or creating your own? You need to consider the following things:
- See if there is an existing affiliate marketing platform whose product line aligns with yours?
- If yes, find the track record of the company? Do you feel that the company can deliver as per your expected results?
- You need to analyze if you can create an effective and competitive affiliate network? How long will it take to create an establish result driven affiliate network? Do you have a team to overlook areas that troubleshooting technical problems? Make sure that payments are made on time and determine if the invested time was justified by the results?
Is affiliate marketing suitable for you as a marketer/publisher?
Do you think that your organization is ready to promote affiliate deals? If yes, then ask yourself these essential questions:
- Is this a suitable revenue opportunity for your niche?
- Do the user-experience goals align with the affiliate offerings?
You can also analyze traffic to see if your audience is likely to convert or not. Perform a cross test on your user traffic to find out the expected conversion forecast through affiliate marketing.
Starter guide for affiliate marketing:
Here are five simple steps to get started with affiliate marketing:
- Observe your current audience:
Observing your current audience is quite important. It gives you a fair idea about the behavior and interest of your audience. It will help you in finding the best suitable affiliate network which offers the product or service according to your audience’s interest.
- Plan how to market your affiliate program:
Planning how to market your affiliate program is the second step towards getting started. If you want to make your affiliate program a success, you need to market it outside of your current user audience. If you get an ample amount of traffic you can attract potential affiliates without much effort.
- Focus on generating traffic which is more likely to convert.
- Announce the affiliate program in a strategic manner. Make sure that your community knows about your affiliate program. Publicize it strategically.
- Measure the results utilizing analytical tools to figure out what strategies and activities are gaining the most traction and opening up pathways for better opportunities.
Affiliate marketing is growing rapidly and helping many of the giant online stores with their sales. I hope the article has been of help in understanding affiliate marketing a little better.