Does the world of marketing seem like a minefield? Don’t worry you’re not in a minority as many small business owners are in the same boat. You know what you need to keep your business afloat, increase sales and bring in new customers. However, you may be unsure about the best way to do it. It is time for you to consider Affiliate Marketing an excellent way to increase your sales and build your brand.
Affiliate marketing is steadily increasing in popularity and it is easy to understand why. Between 15% and 30% of online sales come from affiliate programs. More than five billion dollars was spent on affiliate marketing in 2019 because it is a sure-fire way to build your brand and increase your sales.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a partnership between a marketer and a company. The company pays the marketer for referring customers to the company. They can be paid either per lead or when a customer signs up and buys a product. Want to know how you can benefit from affiliate marketing to increase your sales and grow your small business? Keep reading for some top tips.
10 Ways Affiliate Marketing Can Help Your Business Succeed
1. Affiliate Marketing Offers a High ROI
Compare affiliate marketing to Google Ads and the affiliate marketing cost per sale is very enticing. The actual cost for Google Ads is very much dependent on the industry, but in some cases, it can cost as much as twenty times more than a sale via affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing you typically only pay commission for a sale rather than simply paying for traffic, which is the case with Google Ads and many other forms of marketing.
2. Affiliate Marketing is Very Cost-Effective
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based method of marketing. As such, you only pay for sales generated by your affiliate marketers. What this means is that you’re not wasting your marketing budget on a method that is not very effective. You set up your commission rates in advance, and you can set it at the best rate because you know how much each one of your sales costs. For other types of advertising, it can be very difficult to quantify.
3. Expand Your Reach With User-Generated Content
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For the small business owner, one of the greatest advantages of affiliate marketing is that it allows you to expand the reach of your business. Imagine you’ve got 15 or 20 affiliates who have signed up for your program. Each of them is going to be promoting your services and products which means the reach of your business expands. If each of those affiliate members has several thousand followers, that’s numerous impressions you don’t have to pay to get.
User-generated content is one of the best ways for you to take advantage of affiliate marketing. What is user-generated content? Basically, it is content created by people outside of your business that promotes your brand.
This strategy works very successfully because more than 90% of consumers look to influencers for service and product referrals. Almost three quarters of consumers look to social media for ideas about the services and products they want to buy. This makes it the perfect platform for showcasing any user-generated content. Consumers are far more likely to believe the benefits of your brand if it’s your affiliate members that are promoting it rather than you.
4. Leverage Social Proof With Affiliate Marketing
Having affiliates providing positive word-of-mouth marketing is extremely useful because nowadays, social proof means so much when it comes to your business. Positive reviews are what your business needs, and for people outside of your organisation to advocate for you.
Researchers have found that as many as 91% of people in the age group 18-34 trust reviews just as much as they do personal recommendations. Your affiliates can leverage social proof in the following ways:
Provide positive reviews of your service or product
Provide positive reviews for the affiliate program you’re running and help to keep it growing
5. Give Your Top Affiliates More
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Any smart affiliate marketer looking for a brand to promote and partner with is going to look for affiliate programs that pay more. Typically, 10% is usually what is being offered, although there are programs that offer less or more, depending on the number of services or products being sold. 10% is a good place to start in the beginning, but you need to consider introducing compounding benefits for the affiliates who stick around and promote your services or products successfully.
A good affiliate will work hard for your business and generate sales that make a difference, but it has to be a two-way street. Don’t think you’ve got to pay them a huge amount, but it will pay to increase their potential for earning if you want to keep them motivated. Obviously, the rate you offer is going to differ, depending on your margins, products and services that you sell, as well as your business model.
If you’ve got high margins, you’ll have more room for maneuver than if your margins are low. Make sure you do the math to see how much your top affiliates can earn and create a path that helps them increase their earnings as they perform better.
6. Incentivize Your Affiliates to Sell More of Your Less Popular Items
Every business has a product or service that doesn’t sell as well as all the others. You may be unfortunate enough to have a few. That is not to say your product or service is particularly bad. The reason behind the lack of sales could be an audience that is selective. It might be that the service or product is more niche which makes it hard to sell. It might also be the price that is working against it. If the product is expensive, sales might be very rare.
Your affiliates can help boost sales of a less popular product. Consider increasing their earning percentages to encourage them to sell more. If you have got a standard rate of 10%, increase it to 15% or more to drive more action. Remember that your affiliates are going to aggressively sell a product that brings a higher return.
7. Use a Dedicated Email Campaign
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Email marketing is a great way to attract new customers and communicate with leads. However, it is also a great way to encourage more action from your affiliate program members. There are lots of different ways you can take advantage of a dedicated email marketing campaign:
– Keep your affiliates informed of all the changes and updates to the program
– Let them know when you’re planning a sale so they can help to promote the deals
– Provide marketing material for them to use
– If you send your emails at the optimum time it can help improve engagement
– Share tips on how they can improve their sales
8. Affiliate Marketing Helps With Data Tracking
If you know how well your business is performing, you can determine whether to make improvements for the future. Affiliate marketing results can be tracked which means it can provide important and significant insights into who your customers are, where they come from, why they choose to buy your products and so much more.
Affiliate tracking helps you decide whether to make changes to your website to increase conversion. The data from your affiliate tracking can also help you to offer better creatives and encourage your affiliates to be more productive.
9. Boost Your SEO with Affiliate Marketing
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When an affiliate promotes your business, they do it with the help of a link that leads the customer to your website and drives traffic to your offer. These links are beneficial for search engine optimization because they improve the organic ratings of your website.
If your affiliates also have high ranking and the content they produce is of the highest quality, it also offers value at the same time as linking to your services or products. Both of these factors also have an excellent effect on your SEO. If the content is shared, this is also very beneficial for your business.
10. You are in Control
Unlike a number of other forms of marketing, affiliate marketing allows you to be in complete control, even though you’re outsourcing the job of promoting your business to your affiliates. You are in control because you get to set the levels for commissions and incentives as well as providing the creatives you want the affiliates to use.
You get to choose who you want to work with. If the affiliates you sign up turn out to inactive, it is not going to impact on your bottom line. When a staff member, on the other hand, does not produce the results you require it can cost your business a lot.
Affiliate marketing does not have to be used in isolation. It can work just as effectively when used alongside other types of marketing and can also be used to boost campaigns or promotions you are running.
Affiliate marketing has many benefits and if you choose to integrate it into your business plan, it will help manage your marketing budget effectively. Not only that, it also helps to increase the exposure of your brand to a completely new audience. If you’ve yet to take advantage of affiliate marketing, now might be the right time to jump on board. Take too long to decide whether it is right for you and you risk getting left behind.
Author Bio: This article was written by JJ O’Connell of Northside For Business. JJ works with start-ups to identify channels to grow their business. Affiliate marketing has proven to be a major benefit for companies looking to expand their customer base, if carried out correctly.