In order for your business to thrive, it is vital to get it in front of as many people as possible. A proven successful way to do that while building trust within your niche is with affiliate marketing.
Businessman, philanthropist, and motivational speaker Bo Bennett once said, “affiliate marketing has made businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires,” and he was right. Affiliate marketing is a simple yet effective way of promotion that continually financially benefits your business as well as those promoting it. Since the first affiliate program launched in 1994, the industry has come a long way and is still as fast-growing as ever.
Affiliate marketing is an estimated $6.8 billion industry. It is one of the four largest sources of online sales, outperforming display ads and even social media. Over 80% of brands and 84% of online publishers employ affiliate marketing, and nearly 90% of advertisers say that it makes up a significant part of their marketing strategy. Regardless of the size of your business, the number of products you sell, or the type of services you provide, an affiliate program is just good marketing.
So, what do you need to know about starting an affiliate program and getting the most out of it? Here are some best practices to keep in mind.
An effective affiliate program has three key elements: a clear marketing strategy, a full service of operations overseen by experienced operators, and strong affiliate recruitment and personal development.
Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy
Before you sign up for anything, think about your business and how you would like to see it represented across the digital landscape. What keywords would you use to search for your business online? Who is your ideal audience? It’s important that you have a clear vision of who you are and who you are trying to reach. Without this insight, you could drive up your marketing costs by targeting an audience that will never convert into sales.
Start small and be transparent about where your business is right now and your goals for the future. A good affiliate strategy is one that grows along with your business. Work with a small group of affiliates at first so that you can effectively monitor your growth.
Plan for the future. The internet is a place of rapid innovation. Evolve with the industry to improve how you can use affiliate marketing to grow your business over time.
Managing Your Affiliate Program Operations
Perhaps the most significant decision you will make about your affiliate program is the platform you will use. Many brands utilize an affiliate network for their management. However, this means that they are making vital decisions about the way your program will run, and not you. Managing your own affiliate operations lets you keep full control of your business and the way it operates.
Affiliate tracking software like iDevAffiliate makes it simple to manage an affiliate program. With more than 20 years of experience, they have a proven track record for growing their industry from the ground-up. Their robust, scalable, and easy-to-use dashboard installs in minutes and easily integrates into an existing website. Their competitive pricing makes it possible for a business of any size to get started.
Who will be overseeing the daily operations of your program? If you don’t have firsthand experience managing an affiliate program, you may want to hire someone who does. An affiliate program has the potential for fast growth. With an affiliate account manager, you will have someone at the helm who understands all the moving parts.
Finding the Right Affiliates
Affiliate marketing is a natural progression of the culture of connection that exists on the internet. People naturally love to share, and we all do it on every platform we gather on. Tight-knit communities form in the comment sections of blog posts and YouTube videos, on Facebook timelines and in Twitter DMs.
The trust that someone has with the community that they have built is a cornerstone of affiliate marketing. Highly trusted influencers have audiences who frequently look to them for honest recommendations. Affiliate marketing allows publishers to monetize that interaction in a way that is transparent and mutually beneficial.
Partnering with eager, like-minded folks will ensure that your brand reaches a captive audience. Look to publishers across different platforms to maximize your reach.
- Niche bloggers frequently use affiliate content to boost their blog traffic. Reaching out to bloggers one-on-one with ideas for collaboration can drive potential customers to your website or shop for as long as that content is published. Bloggers use affiliate links when posting reviews, holiday gift guides, product roundups, infographics, press releases, and other informational articles.
- YouTubers are using affiliate marketing for makeup tutorials, amateur cooking videos, gear and equipment demos, DIY home fixes, and more. Working with video creators allows potential customers to see exactly what they can expect when they buy your product or service.
- Social media influencers are always having evolving conversations with their audiences. They can take a product and turn it into a must-have item for the holidays. In one quick picture or short video, they can turn the idea of a pampering service into a couple’s weekend getaway. When you work with social media influencers, your brand becomes a part of those conversations.
- Your existing customers may be your most loyal affiliates. Post about your affiliate program on your social media channels, email list, and website. People who are already fans of what you’re doing may want to recommend your business to a friend or loved one—and earn a commission when they do.
Affiliate partners are the lifeblood of your program. The right fit can mean the difference between soaring sales and your program stalling out.
Get Started Managing Your Affiliate Program
Affiliate marketing is one of the most reliable forms of passive income for publishers. Since 2015, revenue from affiliate programs has and continues to grow by 10% annually. This continuous growth looks promising for the future of affiliate marketing and the businesses that utilize it.
You can’t get the word out about your business all by yourself, and you can’t trust that if you just run your business well that the word will get out all on its own. Create your affiliate program today and gain a little help getting your company in front of the right people.