As a small business, you have a limited budget to spend on marketing. You need to not only generate awareness but also convert that awareness into sales. With affiliate marketing programs, you can stretch your marketing budget to get more conversions & traffic while not spending extra money!
Here are 20 ways to stretch your marketing budget with an affiliate program.
1) Use Content Marketing to Attract More Affiliates
You probably already use plenty of online marketing methods. If you have a blog or website, it’s easy to write content that appeals to affiliate marketers’ interests and drive traffic from them. For example, if you’re selling fitness equipment for home use, create a post about the best exercise regimes that use that kind of equipment and link to your affiliate offer. You can also add a call to action at the end of your blog posts, asking people to subscribe for more information about an offer.
2) Consider Bundling Your Affiliate Offer in with Other Offers
As a small business owner, you may have several products and services. You may already have an affiliate offer on your site or blog, but are you promoting other offers alongside it? This is the perfect way to appeal to new audiences while using existing traffic.
For example, if you’re selling a book about online marketing techniques, offer an affiliate commission for sales of any product or service that your company also sells.
Consider including information about non-competing offers that complement your current offer. This can work exceptionally well for seasonal offers, but it’s not limited to only these. You must be careful to avoid featuring the bundled products in a way that makes one of them seem more compelling than the others.
Ensure you disclose what each product is and the commission, which will protect both your business and your affiliates from negative ramifications.
3) Combine Affiliate Marketing with Offline Marketing
As a small business owner, you don’t need to spend all your marketing budget online. If you sell products at trade shows or local events, consider using an affiliate program to drive foot traffic that you wouldn’t otherwise get. You can share your affiliate marketing code with other businesses in your area; for example, you might give the code to a local hotel to display on their website.
4) Use Social Media Marketing to Attract Affiliates
Affiliate marketers are typically very active on social media, so if you use this kind of marketing for your small business, share links or posts about your offer using social media channels. For example, you might create a daily plan for promoting your affiliate offer on various social media networks – Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. – and then sharing affiliate links for that offer across all your profiles. You might create a post to share on your Facebook page about how readers can save money when they shop with their favorite retailers through an affiliate program.
5) Use Free-to-play Offers to Attract More Affiliates
Many different offers will appeal to different affiliate marketers; some want to make money with affiliate offers, while others are fine with receiving free products in exchange for reviewing them. For example, if you sell beauty products, consider running a “takeover” offer where you send your affiliates enough products to review on their own blogs or social media channels. For example, Newchic, a fashion clothing retailer, frequently sends free samples for affiliates to review.
You can also run contests to get more reviews, ask participants to offer a review in exchange for participation, or ask bloggers to create social media posts about the contest.
The key here is to make it easy for affiliates to share information about products and offers with their followers. If you want quality reviews, consider paying your affiliates bonus commissions if they get enough people to sign up or purchase through their affiliate link.
6) Offer Creative Campaigns to Transform Lazy Affiliates into Engaged Marketers
For some affiliates, the idea of writing a unique review is too much effort. If you want to motivate them to engage with your products and offers, consider creating creative campaigns that tie in with offline events or seasons. For example, if you’re an online retailer that sells Christmas-themed ornaments, you might run a campaign where bloggers and social media influencers offer creative ways to use the product – such as decorating their homes for the holiday season.
7) Reach Out to Affiliates Through Email Marketing
If you already have an email list, consider reaching out to your subscribers with announcements about your affiliate offers. For example, you might send an email with photos of your products to subscribers who live in areas where you plan to host local events or run contests. You can also use this kind of outreach for other types of affiliate marketing programs; for example, if someone subscribes because they’d like to review your company’s sunscreen products, make sure they’re aware of your “takeover” offer.
As you develop relationships with affiliate marketers, try to get more affiliates on board. For example, if you notice that one particular blogger is reaching out to several different brands about guest posts on their site, send them an email to let them know you’d like to work together.
Developing an affiliate program email newsletter with content designed to encourage affiliates to promote your site will make the most difference. This is because that’s the best way to spread awareness of your affiliate program and generate sales you would not otherwise get. Regularly send them content designed to encourage them to promote your site. Use an email management tool to stay in touch with affiliates regularly.
8) Add a Partner Program Page to Your Site
If you want multiple affiliates on board, consider creating a page on your website where you can list offers and recruit new partners. Place links to the page in strategic locations – try placing links near relevant products or within blog posts about affiliate marketing so that visitors who aren’t yet affiliates can find the page quickly. For example DealMachine, a real estate investor software for lead generation has a dedicated Affiliate Partner page to recruit new partners.
9) Use Affiliate Offers as Lead Generation
If you’re selling digital products, often affiliate marketers will want to go through the sales process and become one of your customers rather than simply earning commissions on offers they refer. Generating high-quality leads is key to successfully selling online – stretch your marketing budget by “selling” your affiliates on the value of buying!
If you find it challenging to sell your affiliates on buying your products, don’t be afraid to sweeten the pot. Consider offering bonuses like refunds on sales or product credits for making at least one sale. You can also make sure that affiliates get special access to sales and discounts (without these deals appearing anywhere else) – this is a great way to get affiliates excited about selling your products.
10) Offer a Referral Program
There’s no need to spend money attracting more affiliates if you already have the ones you want, but there is also little benefit to paying them less than they’re worth. Instead of using commissions as your only form of affiliate marketing budget stretch, why not offer some other perk instead? You can sweeten the deal by offering an added incentive to refer others in addition to signing up.
For example, if you sell SaaS (software as a service), consider an affiliate program that offers your affiliates a discount on their copy. When an affiliate signs up, they can also get a discount on their product copy as part of your offering.
11) Use a Higher Per-Sale Commission for less popular products
If you’re selling a not-so-popular product, don’t feel obligated to offer the same commission on every sale. Instead, consider offering affiliates a higher commission for promoting less popular or new products. This will be good for your bottom line because the affiliate is more likely to sell your less popular items – and it’s great for their audience because they can get a better deal on something they’re interested in.
12) Use a Tiered Commission Structure Instead of a Fixed Rate
Another way to stretch your marketing budget with an affiliate program is to use a tiered structure that pays higher commissions for higher volume. For example, instead of offering affiliates 20% commissions on all sales, you can use a tiered structure that pays 5% for the first sale of the month, 10% for the second sale, and 15% for any additional sales. This will be more effective than if you select just one commission rate.
13) Use a Performance-Based Commission Instead of Fixed Rate
You can stretch your marketing budget even more by selecting a performance-based commission structure instead of a fixed-rate structure. You pay affiliates on a per-performance basis, so if they bring in sales that average $10 but one month they bring in a sale of $100, you pay commission on the per-performance basis. This will make it more rewarding for them to promote your products and give you the benefit of only paying when they get results.
14) Leverage user-generated content
Content created by your affiliates adds value to your site and drives traffic. This will not only help you build trust with potential customers because it’s coming from third-party sources but also enable you to generate many high-quality leads – all without spending extra on paid advertising.
15) Encourage product reviews
Another way to stretch your marketing budget with an affiliate program is to introduce product reviews. Content created by affiliates adds value to your site, but product reviews are even more compelling. This is because your affiliates are vouching for the product and effectively selling it to their audience. The social proof from content created by an affiliate adds value to your site and builds trust.
16) Incentivize your top affiliates
Your top affiliates are your best customer acquisition channels, so incentivize your top affiliates with special commissions for new customers. This will encourage them to promote your site more aggressively and spread the word about the affiliate program.
17) Partner with affiliates that have integrations or tie-ins to your product
Many types of affiliate marketers exist, but some examples are eCommerce stores, membership sites, and even other SaaS companies. You can find affiliates that have not only a large audience but also those that have integrations or tie-ins to your product. They’ll be able to generate a lot of sales, and you’ll be able to achieve your business goals simultaneously.
18) Promote an affiliate contest
One of the best ways to push your marketing budget even further with an affiliate program is to conduct a contest. You can incentivize your affiliates by offering them cash prizes for bringing in the most conversions during a specific period. With this strategy, you’ll be able to generate a lot of sales, and your affiliates will be able to earn some extra income. It doesn’t cost much to run a contest, but can impact your bottom line positively.
19) Offer a high commission rate for a limited time
Instead of making it available year-round, offer a higher commission rate for a limited time. This will encourage your affiliates to launch a more aggressive campaign and promote your site as much as possible during the allotted time frame. It’s simple, but it does work!
20) Keep your affiliate program simple
Finally, don’t complicate things by adding lots of requirements to your Affiliate Program. If you do this, you’ll be turning away potential affiliates and limiting the number of people who want to promote your products or services. Let iDevAffiliate help you to start an affiliate program that is easy to embed and track. You can increase conversions with an easy-to-use affiliate program that asks for only the most basic information.
As you can see, the best way to run a successful affiliate program is by finding creative and innovative solutions that enable you to drive as much traffic to your site as possible. You can make the most of every marketing dollar spent by using these strategies to stretch your affiliate marketing budget.
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In addition to being an editor for iDevAffiliate, Alex is a Digital marketer, SEO and PPC expert, copywriter and UX/UI consultant with tracked working experience since 2006. Tireless marketing learner, experimenter, analyst and practitioner. Holder of Master Degree in Applied Linguistics.