So, you've just opened a new online store and want to spread the word? Or maybe you've just launched a new product and want to start driving sales as soon as possible. In both cases, affiliate marketing could be the answer. If you’re not sure what affiliate marketing is or how you can use it effectively, this blog is for you.
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing means harnessing third-party organisations or publishers to generate traffic or leads to your website. It’s one of the most widely used digital marketing trends today. Let’s say you want to advertise a particular product on your website. Instead of spending money on traditional ads, you decide to go with affiliate marketing. This involves contacting a third-party organisation - either a content creator or content publisher - and arranging for them to promote your product. This could be done by writing a blog post about it or generating video content around your product.
An affiliate marketer creates content with links to your site so their readers visit your site and purchase your product in a trackable way. If they generate sales, they receive a commission from the profits you make. This means you save money on advertising while still driving up traffic and sales and your affiliates make passive income from any sales you make.
Affiliate marketing is also beneficial because you don’t have to directly spend money to make money. It’s performance-based marketing, so you only have to spend money if your affiliates generate sales for you. This makes affiliate marketing a popular marketing method for new companies or startups that may not have a significant marketing budget.
One of the beauties of affiliate marketing is that there are lots of marketing channels you can use to drive traffic to your website. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Blogging is one of the most popular marketing channels. A niche blogger writes a post about your product or includes your product tangentially in a post about similar subjects and includes a link to your site. The blog aims to drive people to visit your website to generate a sale. Of course, the quality and popularity of the blogger in question play an important role in whether this approach is successful. You can expect to pay at least £25 an hour for quality freelance writing to assist with affiliate marketing, and many bloggers will write for a lot of different brands. Alternatively, you can contact a content publisher and pay nothing at first (because they pay the writer to create the content), but you’ll be required to pay the content publisher a commission if the writing does lead to a sale or sales.
You can also partner with YouTube influencers or other video content creators to get your product featured by experts or popular names in the industry. Let’s say for example you offer training courses for coders and programmers. You could contact a coding vlogger on YouTube and commission them to make a video featuring your courses. This video would include a link to the course you want to promote. This will potentially drive people who are already interested in coding to your website, making them more likely to convert.
You can also market your products through social media personalities or influencers. Instagram influencers for example can feature your product on their channels in exchange for a commission or a percentage of the sales you make from a product. This works best if you know which influencers to contact in your industry. You only really want to partner with influencers who have an audience made up of people interested in your niche. Think critically about which platforms your potential customers use to make sure you are working with the right influencers for your target audience.
Affiliate linking involves forming partnerships with other online stores or websites and linking between each other's products. Of course, the websites you link to can't be direct competitors, as otherwise, you would siphon sales from one another. But if you can partner with online stores that are complementary to you, this could be very effective. Be careful not to have so many links that it creates confusion or makes your site less intuitive and easy to use. As online marketer Alex Williams from Hosting Date notes, it takes just three seconds of delay for a user to think about leaving a website because it seems too slow or clunky.
“A sudden spike in traffic might break or slow your site, due to the server’s cap, killing the golden opportunities,” says Williams. “It takes three seconds of waiting for a user to click out of a site in frustration. Servers limit individuals so that all have good average performances.”
Here are some good questions to ask yourself if you are thinking of going down the affiliate marketing route:
Firstly, choose the type of content you will primarily use for your affiliate marketing. This could be blogging, YouTube videos or another medium. This choice will be determined by your industry and target audience. Once you have decided on your platform, contact content creators who are experts in your industry and active on that platform. Try not to spread your affiliate marketing too thin as this tends to make it less effective.
This will be one of the first things potential partners ask, so make sure you decide in advance. Many affiliate marketers are responsive to commission rates of around 25% or so. In other words, if you make a sale of £100 thanks to the efforts of an affiliate marketer, they'll make £25 off that sale in exchange for promoting your product. It’s important to calculate a fair commission rate while also taking into account your profit margins and business expenses. Take a hard look at your finances before deciding how much money you can afford to part with for a given sale in exchange for the flexibility and affordability of affiliate marketing.
Lastly, put together a resource guide for affiliate marketers so they know how to represent your brand’s voice and products accurately. This is vital if you want to retain control of your brand identity and make sure that your company is not misrepresented. It’s a good idea to collect these resources ahead of time and provide them to each affiliate marketer who agrees to a partnership so they know from day one what you expect from them.
Affiliate marketing could be the strategy that helps you to really grow your business.
If you do it right, it can be very effective especially if you don't have a sizable advertising budget, so it’s definitely worth considering if you’re just getting started with your online business. Good luck!
by Lee Li Feng | 23 Feb 22
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