These days, businesses can’t simply go online, open a website and expect their job to be done, or for their target audience to know about them and purchase from them. Other than a fantastic website, quality products, a brand image, and social media presence, what really works is word-of-mouth- having people pick and promote the products they like, is a good way to attract potential consumers and convert site visits into sales as well. In simple terms, this is known as affiliate marketing and is currently one of the most used marketing strategies.
Affiliate marketing: What is it?
The basic rationale behind affiliate marketing is for an individual or a company to earn money by sharing or promoting a product or service they enjoy. If other people, i.e., prospective and current consumers, end up clicking on the link provided by the affiliate and buying the product, the affiliate earns a commission from the same. This way, affiliate marketing is highly lucrative to individuals as well as brands looking to increase their sales figures and conversion rates.
Affiliate marketing neatly combines the efforts of three different stakeholders to promote and increase the sales of a product or service:
- The seller/brand/company- While the company actually selling the product or service does not need to actively market it through affiliate marketing, they can and usually do also share profit with the affiliate when a sale is made.
- The affiliate- This could either be a person or a company, that engages with a target audience to promote and convince them that a certain product/company (of the seller) is worth their money. With each purchase made through the affiliate link, the affiliate and generally, the seller earns and shares the profit.
- The customer- The customer has nothing to do with the relationship between the seller and the affiliate, but his or her purchase decision determines the profit earned by the seller and the affiliate.
Payment for an affiliate, meanwhile, can be of a few kinds, although it is mostly pay-per-purchase-
- The affiliate gets paid a commission for every purchase made by the consumer through the affiliate link.
- Alternatively, the seller chooses to pay the affiliate per lead- as in, for each person who visits the seller’s site and fulfils a required task action, such as creating a registered account, taking a survey, etc., the affiliate gets paid.
- The affiliate gets paid for each click that redirects the consumer from the affiliate’s page to the seller’s site.
Benefits of choosing affiliate marketing
- Remote work opportunity- Affiliate marketing can be and is easily done by working from home, at your own comfort. You just have to ensure you have a computer and/or smartphone and a working internet connection, and you should be set to do your job!
- Making (fairly) easy money- A great aspect of affiliate marketing is that it lets you earn money over time quite easily without having to put in continuous effort. While in a regular nine-to-five job, you would have to work continuously to generate income, in this case, you put in enough time and effort at the beginning of the product/service campaign and over time, as consumers buy these through your links, you get paid.
- Easy to set up and light on the pocket- This one is a benefit for both companies and affiliates. Affiliate marketing is super easy to get started with and other than the actual goods or services being promoted, companies don’t need to provide anything and neither does the affiliate have to pay extra. A win-win for both!
Good to know: How to achieve success in affiliate marketing
While affiliate marketing is fairly straightforward, there are still certain pointers one could do with when starting off, in order to do well in this field.
- Create an identity and stick to your field- The number and variety of goods and services you may get the choice to promote can be baffling. You may be tempted to fill your portfolio with all sorts of products, but don’t do that. The category and kind of products you advertise will be known to your audience as your identity, your choice, and your type. You won’t be able to keep the audience’s interest and trust in you if you jump to and fro a variety of things frequently.
- Ensure your reviews are detailed and informative- When you are endorsing a product or service, logically you will need to review it thoroughly for your audience so you can persuade them that it is worth their money. To this end, make sure you keep your review detailed, compare the product or service with others in the market and point out its benefits as opposed to those, and keep your audience engaged.
- Consider campaigns carefully before committing- As mentioned before, there is no dearth of products and services out there to choose from, as an affiliate. However, if you promote a bad product or service, that could damage your credibility and your reputation among your audience. So be sure to conduct good research into the brand or product you are endorsing and to ideally ensure there is alignment in your basic core values and theirs.
- Make use of multi-channel marketing media- While your task is basically to tell and show your audience how you enjoy such and such goods or services and wait for them to purchase the same, you can do a lot more to ensure they do. Make use of social media like Instagram and Facebook to reach out to your audience and engage them. Create a blog and stay active on it. This way, you reach a larger audience and become a familiar face with them, meaning increased engagement and sales.
Useful and current affiliate marketing trends
- Increase in demand- Affiliate marketers are realizing their in-demand position in the industry today. As an affiliate, you could benefit from this advantageous position greatly and enter high-paying affiliate programs. However, as a brand tying up with affiliates, tread carefully and set clear terms regarding commissions and rewards, while ensuring your affiliates are treated with due respect.
- Influencer marketing- Earlier, websites and larger affiliates were the trends, but today, influencers and their specific audience base have entered and changed the equation. If you are seeking affiliates who can target and garner sales from a specific demographic and audience, influencers are the affiliates you need. The audience base they bring in is mostly very loyal, and will likely make the purchase.
- Focus on data analytics and traffic movement- More and more affiliates as well as brands collaborating with affiliates are making use of analytics to gather important information such as changing conversion rates, the kind of traffic they are getting on their page/site, etc. This information helps affiliates figure out where they need to increase their reach, and for companies to understand the points they need to improve on through affiliate marketing.
Clearly, affiliate marketing is very in right now, and by the looks of it, it isn’t going anywhere soon. Whether you are looking for partners to promote and help sell your products, or you are an individual or brand looking to earn some more by promoting products you like, affiliate marketing is the one-stop solution!