With the numerous new technologies afforded us in this bright new age, companies are finding many new and exciting ways in which to ply their wares. Whilst the humble market stall holder might still be content in shouting his marketing spiel at passers by, more forward-thinking, business minded folk are starting to discover the fiscal benefits of alternative forms of marketing, chief among which is affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is a particularly enticing prospect for businesses that are struggling with their revenue as it has been proven to boost overall revenue if utilized well and in a market where there are hundreds, nay thousands of products and services launching annually, every little extra helps.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Essentially, affiliate marketing means others are getting paid to promote your service or product. Generally they’ll receive a commission based on how much they sell, which means affiliate marketing is a particularly attractive proposition for website owners who might not actively be selling their own wares.
The concept was first instigated in the 1990’s with some companies sharing revenue with people driving sales in their stores. Providing an incentive to these affiliates meant that sales increased quite dramatically and the affiliates themselves were also bringing in a tidy sum so everyone was winning.
Of course, affiliate marketing now primarily takes place online but the logistics are still the same. The reason it’s so effective is that it’s essentially marketing through word of mouth and word of mouth will always be the most effective marketing tool at a businesses disposal.
A company can tell consumers that it’s product or service is revolutionary and unmissable until it’s blue in the face but no matter how convincing the marketing spiel, it always sounds more sincere when coming from a third party
Affiliate Marketing in the Internet Age
Affiliate marketing these days of course works in a slightly different way.
Companies will pay online affiliates who will place advertisements on their sites. The commission generally works in a manner where the affiliate will get a set amount of money for each click and even more for a click that results in a sale. This might sound quite straight-forward (and it is in theory) but whilst becoming an affiliate is quite easy it’s a little more difficult creating a successful affiliate program for your own business.
There are numerous affiliate companies scattered throughout the internet but these companies could try to take you for a ride if you’re not 100% clear on the logistics of the practice.
Below we’ll be examining a few tips and tricks of the affiliate marketing trade that should help your businesses affiliate marketing program increase overall revenue without wasting time.
Tips and Tricks
- Don’t be too generous with your commission rates. A good base to work from is to offer 20% of the product or services markup. Work out exactly how much commission you can afford to pay and stick to it.
- Have both short and long-term incentive programs in place to keep your affiliates properly incentivised. Monetary incentives are obviously strong but try supplementing this incentive with more unconventional incentives such as gifts or holidays.
- Remember that your affiliates are essentially sales staff and as sales staff they will require management. Of course, you can’t be as hands on as your would be with your own employees but you can keep in touch with them via email or phone and always make sure you’re available to answer any questions that may have. You should also provide all affiliates with adequate training.
- Decide early on if you’d rather use a few committed affiliates who will bring you in significant amounts of traffic or lots of smaller, perhaps part-time affiliates who only bring in a few referrals each.
- Set up an affiliate agreement that protects your companies rights. More professional affiliates will not work with you if your agreement is not up to scratch so be sure to study other companies agreements and maybe hire a lawyer to help you draw yours up.
- Make sure you’re ready to respond to referrals that come through from your affiliates. Many affiliates might have reaches that extend to tens of thousands of people so you’ll want your customer service to be properly prepared.
- Make sure your affiliate software is stable. Hiring a member of staff to specifically oversee the software would not be a bad idea.
- Provide your affiliates with the right tools. Graphics, logos, banners and text to properly promote your site.
- Place links or banners to your affiliates sites on your own site to show you appreciate their services.
I hope this article proves to be a good starting point to your affiliate marketing career.