What is affiliate marketing?
Rewarding someone for referring a friend to your business doesn’t sound unusual, and it isn’t. Many businesses have a “refer-a-friend” program to drive extra revenue to their businesses.
Basically, affiliate marketing is like this but on a much larger scale. Brands give monetary rewards to websites, influencers, and others for any sale they are responsible for referring. Usually, it’s commission-based (a percentage of a sale), but you can also set a price per purchase (or lead), depending on what you sell, and how you want to set your affiliate program up. These websites are known as publishers or affiliates.
The benefits of affiliate marketing
For advertisers or brands
For brands affiliate marketing can be a fantastic way to use word of mouth to drive sales, revenue, and brand awareness cost-effectively. [74% of consumers](areinfluenced by word of mouth when it comes to purchasing decisions.
Brands pay on performance, meaning that no commission is paid out if an affiliate doesn’t drive sales. It can be a more effective way to utilize marketing budgets than traditional marketing channels like paid search, where there is more risk.
It can also help increase your conversion rate, as working with affiliates can provide you with an audience already primed to buy because they heavily target their ads to your audience.
For different affiliate types and influencers, affiliate marketing can be an excellent way to make a secondary income (or primary income) from your website or social media channels. Once you have the content published, it then becomes a passive form of income as people will discover your content and purchase from a brand you promoted, earning you a commission.
Traditionally, affiliate marketing has always had a low bar to entry, meaning that anyone can start doing it. Depending on whether or not you already have an audience, it can have a low-to-no setup cost. If you are an influencer or have your own website already, you can easily start promoting brands to your audience without any costs. If you do not have an audience already, you will need to invest some money at the start to get your site set up and appearing in the SERPS.
The Downsides of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing can be a learning curve when you start. The good news is that plenty of resources online can help you become an effective affiliate program manager. Additionally, there are no guarantees that your affiliate program will perform – this is why it’s essential to work on affiliate recruitment, affiliate campaigns, affiliate activation, and relationship building to drive sales.
For affiliates, the competition can be intense. Especially if you have a content website – a strong focus on SEO is essential to try and ensure your content appears on the first page of the SERP.
There are no guarantees that you will earn money with affiliate marketing. You have no control over the affiliate program yourself, so if a brand decides to change commission rates, you have no say in it (you could promote another brand in their place, ask for a higher commission rate for your site, or stop promoting them completely.)
With that said, often the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. So what are your next steps?
How can you get started with affiliate marketing?
To start your affiliate program, you will need to figure out how to track sales (we recommend signing up for a free 14-day trial of Tapfiliate to see if it suits your business).
Assuming you already have an audience, the next step is to look for brands that would suit your audience and apply to their affiliate programs.
Once you have been approved you can start promoting them using your affiliate link, coupons, or any other assets they have provided you with (banners, data feeds, social posts, etc.,) You’ll have your own login for your affiliate program or network, so then you can see any sales that come in and how much commission you have earned. It’s a great idea to approach brands to run custom affiliate campaigns to try and maximize their revenue (and yours!)
So now, let’s get to the juicy part – how can you learn more about affiliate marketing?
Affiliate blogs for program managers
If you are a brand and want people to promote your goods and services, these affiliate blogs will help you with strategies and steps to take to grow your business. While there are fewer of these resources, the information they do have is valuable and will help you manage your affiliate program successfully.