Affiliate marketing is big business. Research by Forrester Consulting estimates that affiliate marketing accounts for 7.5% of total digital spend among retailers. In the US, affiliate marketing spending is projected to increase from $4.21 billion in 2015 to $6.82 billion by 2020.
The vast jump is reflected in other countries’ figures too. Indeed, affiliate marketing takes place almost anywhere that e-commerce does. It is not limited to one business sector, one country nor one language. Data from Google Trends shows that searches for “affiliate marketing” in the five years to 2018 have taken place predominantly in (in order of popularity by location): Bangladesh, Nigeria, St Helena, Kenya, Singapore, the Netherlands, India, Ghana, Nepal, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, Cyprus, Estonia, the Philippines, Germany, Sri Lanka, Israel, the UK and the USA.
There are two simple reasons why affiliate marketing has boomed so quickly. Firstly, it’s easy to set up. Any brand worth its salt has an affiliate marketing program. Why would they not, when it costs just a tiny percentage of their sales revenue to have an army of keen affiliate marketers pushing their products?
Secondly, affiliate marketing can generate money. Serious money. For the cost of setting up a website and supporting that site to rise up through the rankings, affiliate marketers can make anything from pocket change to a small fortune.
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A global approach
With all this in mind, those embarking on affiliate marketing ventures often think big. The dream of untold riches (or at least a decent income) is what spurs on many affiliate marketers. However, not all of them necessarily think big enough. After all, the internet provides access to a vast, global audience. As such, it’s worth every affiliate marketer spending a little time thinking about how they can reach out beyond the confines of their own nation and language in order to make their marketing activities pay off even more.
This is where professional translation services can come into play. A small investment in a translation service is far easier and more cost effective than attempting to learn a new language! It’s also much faster, meaning that affiliate marketers can spend time working on their sites, without having to worry about language barriers.
Professional business translators can help affiliate marketers in several ways. Initially, they can help with the research part of the task. Affiliate marketers need to find companies whose schemes they can join. Translation professionals can support this work by providing translated keywords for the marketer to use, or indeed undertaking a portion of the research themselves.
Once suitable affiliate marketing opportunities have been identified, translation services really come into their own. Signing up to affiliate schemes usually means that the marketer has to commit to binding legal agreements. These range from light-touch agreements to complex, detailed documents. Understanding them is key for the marketer, who needs to appreciate in full what he/she is signing up to. Using a professional legal translator can provide this understanding by allowing the marketer to read the agreements in their native language.
Translation services can also help affiliate marketers to address any queries they may have. Email translation is quick and easy, and can open up dialogue between marketers and companies that speak different languages. It can also support marketers to engage with companies in the first place. An email template that sets out the marketer’s goals can work well in terms of an initial approach to brands that he/she wants to work with. Thus a single translation can be used multiple times, providing the marketer with excellent value for money.
One of the key components in establishing a successful international affiliate marketing income is the website that is used to sell the goods and services. This is the window to the world that customers will use to purchase the things. If the website is poorly worded or hasn’t been suitably localized for different countries’ audiences, it will potentially lose customers to competitors’ sites (and competitors’ affiliate marketing schemes!). As such, flawless website translation and expert localization must be applied in order to maximize the potential for success.
Nor should the website translation be seen as a standalone task. Websites that want to rise up through the ranks of Google and other search engines need to keep their content fresh, relevant and interesting. That means regular updates in the form of blog posts and other content in every language in which the site is published.
Multilingual affiliate marketing success
Translation can also play an important role in helping affiliate marketers to monitor their success. Most affiliate schemes have a dashboard setup, which the marketer can log in to in order to check their sales figures and income levels. These can be tricky to navigate in a foreign language, so having a translation of the page to hand is the ideal way to ensure that everything is in order.
Starting affiliate marketing in more than one country is certainly more effort than simply undertaking it in one country. However, the principles behind how affiliate marketing works are the same, even if the language is different. As such, once the initial effort has been put in, affiliate marketers who have tackled multilingual marketplaces can sit back and watch the dollars roll in (and the euros, pounds, yen, etc.).
A word on legal requirements
Affiliate marketers who work across different countries need to ensure that they comply with those countries’ legal and financial requirements. These can apply to everything from the need to state on the website that it makes commission from affiliates to how (and where) income from the site is taxed. Professional business, legal and financial translation services can again help with this, allowing affiliate marketers to understand their local obligations, wherever they choose to operate.
Affiliate marketing is here to stay. The vast revenue potential means that marketers will continue to seek out new ways to make money through affiliate schemes. As our use of the internet shifts – for example, with the rise of voice technologies – new marketing opportunities will arise. Those who are ready to capitalize on them, regardless of language barriers, should have a bright future ahead of them.
Louise Taylor is the professional writer behind the Tomedes Blog, writing on anything and everything relating to the translation industry and localization services. She is passionate about languages, having studied five of them in addition to her native English, and believes in the power of translation to build bridges between nations.