If you’re a marketer or someone with industry knowledge, you should have a good idea what affiliate marketing is. For those who don’t, affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing where an online retailer, for example, pays affiliates commission for every visitor that they refer to their website to buy products. This relationship helps the business to get more organic leads interested in what they have to offer.
Affiliate marketing overlaps with several other Internet marketing tactics as affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Some methods include organic search engine optimisation (SEO), paid search marketing (PPC), email marketing, content marketing and display advertising. Sometimes affiliates use less orthodox techniques including publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner. In essence, affiliates are not subject to the business’ marketing tactics and are free to promote products as they see fit.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Contrary to what some may think, the business model for affiliate marketing is quite simple. First, find a good product or service that offers an affiliate program. From there, you send potential customers to the company’s website using a special tracking link. When the potential visitor makes a purchase, you will receive commission on the sale. There is no specific percentage and commission rates do vary.
While the model might be simple, it is not as easy to find (or refer) ‘ready-to-buy’ visitors. In many cases, affiliate marketers use paid advertising but this often costs more than what they stand to earn. Often, affiliate marketers must find ways to advertise for free which is challenging in itself.
The secret behind affiliate marketing success is similar to everything else in business – offering quality products that will provide people with something valuable. Follow these FIVE simple rules to find success with affiliate marketing:
Know your product and identify your audience
Not too dissimilar from nearly any aspect of digital marketing, you must know your product before targeting an audience. Become an expert in the product or service you are promoting as it will generate trust with your target market. You can only achieve this with a good quality affiliate marketing website with informative content that educates your customers while answering all their questions in one place. Read this helpful article on how to create buyer personas.
Once you have all the necessary information, ask yourself these questions when focusing on finding the right audience:
- What type of people will benefit the most from what you have to offer?
- Why would they need your product?
- How can they use it?
- What will they get from buying your product or service?
- What type of information do they need in order to make a purchase?
It’s imperative to find out what your audience really wants, what their challenges are and provide them with solutions in the form of your affiliate marketing products. If you have an affiliate account with a reputable online payment provider, offer your audience a solution to Nerdwallet for example. Or to LeadPages if someone is looking for an affordable solution to building landing or splash pages.
Focus On Multiple Affiliate Marketing Streams
Working only with one company or a single product might seem like the best option but the key to success is spreading your focus. The best way to approach affiliate marketing is expanding your horizons and not putting all your eggs in one basket. This way you can attract different referrals and give yourself the chance for more opportunities. As a result, if one affiliate marketing avenue under-performs, you can still find success with the other products.
It’s important to keep your options open and not sign exclusivity agreements only allowing you to focus on one product. The only time you might do this is when you’ve had incredibly positive experiences with a particular brand. Agreements with an unfamiliar brand can leave you tied to an affiliate marketing program that doesn’t work for you.
Keep Up With Digital Trends
With the internet always changing, you also need to adapt accordingly if you want to be successful in affiliate marketing. Keeping up with the latest trends will help you stay on top of your audience and continue generating interest. Your community is a great place to keep abreast of any new developments.
It’s always better to be prepared rather than researching trends and finding out more about them once they’ve peaked. This helps you understand different affiliate marketing tactics or strategies which means your approach can be different and fresh. As a result, your target markets won’t get bored and they will continue to look at you as an industry expert or influencer. As you learn about new trends and what’s working in real time, new opportunities may also very well present themselves.
Persistence Is Key
As with many things in life, persistence is key to success especially in affiliate marketing. Most of us want immediate results and when we don’t get it, we tend to give up. One crucial element in this process is trial and error. Don’t shy away from trying new things if your approach is not working.
It’s absolutely essential to identify areas that work for you and those that don’t. This is where continuous monitoring and data management play their part. Use this information to improve your marketing efforts in the future. You should also promote your websites, blogs and other marketing content at least once a day to attract more visitors. This will help you capture more data with useful statistics for future marketing efforts.
Find Your Niche And Build Trust
While you should focus on multiple affiliate marketing avenues, don’t mix and match too much. A blog or affiliate marketing website filled with numerous products across several categories may appear cluttered and without direction. Instead of a ‘shotgun approach’, you should focus on one niche market. This doesn’t only mean one product or brand but rather similar products from different brands. You want to create the impression that you are an expert in your field and build trust among your audience.
For example, if you’re an affiliate marketer offering web hosting, don’t add random links to car parts or clothing. Instead, find similar or complementary products, such as offering web design services along with hosting.
Knowing what digital marketing is and how to implement the different strategies is important in affiliate marketing. How affiliates promote their products depend greatly on their budget, industry knowledge and desired results.
According to Wikipedia, eighty percent of affiliate programs today use revenue sharing or pay per sale (PPS) as a compensation method. Nineteen percent use cost per action (CPA) and the remaining programs use other methods including cost per click (CPC) or cost per mille (CPM, cost per estimated 1000 views).
While affiliate marketing is not something WSI eMarketing offers as a service, we like to educate our readers about all aspects within digital marketing. If you have any questions or need assistance in setting up a digital marketing strategy for your business, please get in touch. We specialise in PPC, SEO, Social Media Marketing, Mobile, Online Reputation Management and Marketing Automation among others.