For companies who have never encountered affiliate marketing (also known as ‘performance marketing’) before it can be difficult to know whether to begin.
In its simplest terms, affiliate marketing uses one website to drive traffic to another. Based on a pay for performance system, an affiliate would drive customers to your website, receiving commission for these visits that result in sales.
The market has grown considerably more complex in recent years, often involving four main parties: the merchant (or advertiser), the network that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and takes care of payments (the affiliate program), the affiliate (the publisher) and then the customer. When carried out successfully, affiliate marketing can open your site to a wealth of new potential customers.
Affiliate marketing holds benefits for organisations of all sizes. For a publisher, it provides the opportunity to generate additional revenue and boost you own brand reputation through association with the brand names advertising on your website.
For an advertiser, affiliate marketing extends your ‘reach’ in terms of audience and, if properly targeted, provides an important new sales channel. For smaller businesses, especially, the concept of paying for advertising only when you receive results is obviously a welcomed benefit. For example, while SEO and PPC have their well-documented advantages, they do require a large level of trust when it comes to parting with a large portion of your budget up front, prior to any positive results.
For larger firms, in order to compete with other companies in their sector, it is important to have an integrated digital marketing campaign that makes use of a number of different marketing channels and affiliate marketing is increasingly recognised as an important element within one of these. In terms of industries that lend themselves well to affiliate marketing, retail is popular with this form of marketing, as is travel, leisure and financial services, however as long as the project is approached accordingly, I believe companies in any sector can benefit.
Establishing a trusted network of affiliates is something that comes with experience. At Absolute Digital Media we draw upon our experience across a number of affiliate networks to find the right affiliates for your organisation. Because every business is unique the strategy needs to be tailored to a company’s individual requirements.
Typically, newcomers to affiliate marketing will choose to join an affiliate network run by an established affiliate marketing organisation, such as Affiliates4U, ABestWeb and WickedFire.
Affiliate networks have pre-existing relationships and programs in place with a range of advertisers and can help you to select the right brands for your website or, alternatively, help you select the right sites to place your own ads with. Large affiliate networks also tend to offer a range of a services and support, including tools and techniques for boosting revenue and tracking performance.
Your measurement criteria should be specific to your business, however common KPIs would likely be the volume of traffic being driven to your website, the financial value of this traffic, as well as the quality of visitor- how do they engage with your brand? In turn this should be weighed up against the cost of commissions to affiliates, as well as time and money spent managing the program.
As you move forward, keep on refining your affiliate strategy by asking yourself why some ads work better than others. Are you targeting the right audience? Are your ads in the best position on the site? Keep on testing alternatives and experimenting to achieve the best results.
Absolute Digital Media
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