If you are planning on using affiliate marketing and are wondering if it really works then the answer is, yes it does work. However, it takes time and effort to set up. But the obvious question is “Why” should you use affiliate marketing?
- You do not have to buy or hold any stock.
- You do not need to deal with customers or sales.
- You do not have to deal with dispatches and refund.
- You can run your affiliate marketing business from any part of the world.
Let’s move onto “How” to go about affiliate marketing. There are several types of affiliate programs. However, the most important is to develop a creative advertising strategy. Let’s start with a few to expand your eCommerce business.
Banner ads are the most predominant type. Affiliate managers should establish multiple sets of ad banners. One set should feature standard branding and the other set should emphasis various things such as seasonal promotions or product categories. It is important to set dynamic banners, which are ads merchandised by affiliate managers that the affiliate places on their site. It’s quite similar to ad network and display. For instance, affiliate managers can update the set of dynamic banners to feature engagement rings during the wedding season or attractive gifts during Christmas.
Widgets are ads that interact with customers or the website page they reside on. If an affiliate manager puts a search box on their site, then consumers enter in a search term and are automatically delivered to a page of search results on that site. For example, if a customer wants a particular food recipe, the search widget offered by Foodily can share menus, recipes and everything related to that particular food item.
Most blogs have a sidebar and the majority of affiliate traffic originates from posts. Therefore, the goal should be to include your brand in the body of a post. One of the best ways to implement this is to fish for product reviews. Identify blogs whose viewers match your target demographic and reach out to offer your products for review. But, know that not every blogger who accepts your products will actually write a review.
Instead of pre-written content you provide to bloggers, search marketers simply require your best-selling products, your landing pages and your conversion rates. Provide them with effective Adwords copies as they are great in getting top-ranked results. The positioning is wasted if the ad copy they use is inconsistent with the marketing message you want to convey.
The best option is to put together ‘search kits’ around each of your broad product categories and for each of these categories, list your best selling products, keywords, associated landing pages and ad copy. Remember that search marketers are using their own budgets to drive traffic to your site. The best part is that you are expanding your reach and seizing more real estate in search results. Once you establish a healthy relationship, you can coordinate efforts and secure multiple placements on distinct search, fencing out your competitors.
The next question is, how will you promote your newly-launched program?
Affiliate networks generally list newly launched programs on the main page of the affiliate interface. Many affiliate networks also offer paid announcement opportunities such as an email to all affiliates featuring your program or ad banner placement within the affiliate platform. For instance, if you want to launch your program on ShareASale, you can pay to advertise it through a banner on the affiliate home page, the data feed page, within the network directory.
A Best Web is a paid option that allows you to announce your program in its forums. This forum facilitates two-way discussion by enabling affiliates to post questions and comments. Such conversion creates a more engaging relationship which benefits affiliate managers in the long run.
Another option is to submit your program to different affiliate directories. They are searchable online directories that enable affiliates to locate relevant affiliate programs based on specific products or keywords.
The practice of inviting your customers to join the affiliate program is an option. By inviting your customers, you are incentivizing them to promote your products to audiences through different social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. However, you may have to walk them through the affiliate application process and guide them. Gradually you will realize that converting a loyal customer into an incentivized brand advocate strengthens their voice.
Affiliate marketing can extend your venture to a wider array of audiences.
Affiliate Marketing Sign Photo via Shutterstock
As an active affiliate myself I see the benefit of such programs. Unfortunately for small business owners they might not know about what’s available or if they do they might not feel comfortable setting the whole thing up. But they should just dive in!
Affiliate marketing is not new but it is quite surprising how many online sellers are not taking advantage of it. It is inevitable that revenue will increase with this. After all, you’ll get an army of affiliates to promote your products for you.