As a business owner or marketer, you have probably come across many different types of marketing: social media marketing, inbound marketing, email marketing, content marketing, etc. But have you ever heard of affiliate marketing? If your answer is no, it is about time that we change that.
Affiliate marketing has proven its power in the marketing world which explains why annual affiliate marketing spending is projected to hit the $6.8 billion mark by 2020. Businesses are massively investing in this type of digital marketing and small businesses are no exception. If you want to know why you should give affiliate marketing a chance, these seven reasons will help you clear any doubt.
But before we get to specific benefits, let’s explain what affiliate marketing stands for and how it works.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
This is how Pat Flynn, a successful entrepreneur, a blogger known for his website Smart Passive Income, and podcaster, explains affiliate marketing:
“Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like the most, promote it to others/clients, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.”
According to that, affiliate marketing is strongly based on relationships. There are three main parties that create this relationship:
The advertiser is the one whose products are promoted, the publisher is the affiliate or the one who promotes the product for a profit, and then you have a consumer – the one who they want to convert.
This infographic by TechSpark will help you visualize the process:
As you can see, it is a pretty straightforward process where each party benefits from the relationship.
Now, let’s address crucial reasons which hide behind the success of affiliate marketing.
1. Gain Customers’ Trust
Unlike world-famous brands that have a long history and an army of loyal consumers, small businesses still have to prove to potential customers that they are trustworthy.
Affiliate marketing can get you that trust. For example, if an influencer and YouTuber who shares beauty secrets says that she loves a certain product, there is no reason why her followers shouldn’t trust that brand.
It is a relationship that is built on trust. Affiliates are mostly influencers or bloggers who already have their loyal followers and who can direct their attention to your services.
Small businesses rarely cooperate with macro-influencers (at least over 100,000 followers). They demand significant investment and are mostly reserved for famous brands.
Micro-influencers (ranging from 1,000 to around 100,000 followers) are your way to go if you want to cooperate with these entrepreneurs. Some marketers claim that their impact is even better than that of micro-influencers because they have a closer relationship with their followers.
You can also choose to work with established bloggers or website owners in your niche.
2. Spread Brand Awareness
Just think about it – every consumer who knows your affiliates will now hear about your business. Even if they don’t decide to instantly buy your products, they may start following you on social media, reading your blog, or subscribing to your newsletter.
The fact that their appreciated entrepreneur posted about you makes you a business worth knowing.
Whether they purchase the product or not, they will certainly check you out and maybe even recommend you to some of their friends and family. In any case, affiliates will help you spread brand awareness.
Keep in mind that it is crucial that you pick affiliates that are related to your business. For example, if you sell vitamins and supplements, reach out to entrepreneurs who promote a healthy lifestyle or exercise.
Their audience needs to match with your target audience.
3. Enhance Your Sales Team
Your affiliates will play the role of your sales associates. The bloggers, businesses, or influencers you decide to collaborate with will do the marketing and selling on your behalf.
With their help, you’ll be able to step up your promotion game and get more attention to your products. Ultimately, this will generate more revenue for your small business.
However, it is recommendable that you diversify your affiliates. You don’t want to be too dependent on one person. It will be best if none of the affiliates brings more than 25% of the affiliate revenue.
The more affiliates you include in your team, the more secure you will be. In addition, you’ll be able to attract attention to a different audience.
4. Be Fully in Control of the Campaign
Not only will you have other entrepreneurs helping you sell your products but they will do that under your terms.
It is up to you to set the commission levels and decide on what type of marketing material you want them to use.
Just set all the rules upfront so that both parties know what are the conditions of your cooperation.
You can organize the affiliates’ marketing however you want. For instance, all of your affiliates can promote the upcoming release of a new product. Or, some of them can focus on the new product, while others can still recommend the old ones.
Whenever you need some help to customize your campaign based on the affiliate’s platform and the product you want them to market, use writing services such as Trust My Paper to compose an effective content.
5. It is a Low-Risk and Low-Cost Option
The reason why this is a perfect choice for your small businesses is that it doesn’t carry many risks and it won’t drain your marketing budget.
The affiliate program works in such a way that you only pay your affiliates when they make a sale. That means that you won’t have to pay for cooperation that doesn’t bring any revenue.
Considering that affiliates work on the commission, it will be in their interest as well to sell as many products as they can.
Why invest money in ads that may or may not bring results, when you can pay for advertisement only when you make a sale.
Therefore, you will never invest money in this cooperation without getting something in return. There is no possible way that you’ll be wasting money.
Also, as was previously mentioned, you are the one who sets the commission rate. This allows you to pay the percentage that you can at this moment.
6. Ensure Website Sustainability
Without people clicking on your website, it can easily fail because it will lack traffic. And let’s face it, no one wants to get their website shut down before it even starts working properly.
E-commerce websites actually have an 80% chance of failure due to lack of traffic. You certainly don’t want to become a part of this statistic.
Affiliate links contribute to website sustainability because they constantly drive traffic to your website.
Even if people decide not to buy your product, their curiosity will still lead them to click on that link and see what it is all about.
This is especially important for new businesses that are yet to attract people’s attention. That is why affiliates are a safe investment that will at least get your website running until you figure out which marketing tactic works best for you.
7. Track Your Sales Progress
Thanks to the affiliate marketing programs you can easily track how much revenue do your affiliates bring. Affiliate platforms let you know whenever someone clicks on your affiliate link which makes it easy to measure your sales progress.
Some of the other aspects of affiliate programs cover are:
- Metrics on impressions
- Number of clicks
- Number of sales
- Custom conversions (such as email signups)
Collecting this information can help you establish marketing techniques that will work for your target audience. Use this knowledge to improve your marketing strategy.
According to Entrepreneur, some of the best affiliate marketing tracking software platforms are Everflow.io, LinkTrust, AffTrack, Hitpath, etc.
Some Final Thoughts
Affiliate marketing creates relationships, grows your audience number, and increases your ROI. Besides that, you’ll have partners to help you evoke trust in your consumers. Usually, it takes a lot of time for small businesses to get acknowledged but affiliates can help you speed up that process. While this may seem like a big step for a small business, it is a step worth taking. It is a low-risk and low-cost option which brings maximum results.