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If it’s executed correctly, affiliate marketing can be beneficial for all parties involved, and companies like Netflix, Zappos, and eBay are cashing in on it. Unlike pay-per-click advertising, a company pays its affiliates only after a specific action is performed. This agreed upon action can be anything from getting leads to sign up for a newsletter and provide their basic information, to completing a sale. Whatever it may be, it’s up to you as the business owner to decide how the program is run.
It’s tempting to ease back a little and let your affiliates do all the selling, but it’s still important to pay close attention to the message that’s being communicated to your leads and customers. Understanding your target market is the first step to ensuring you can choose the best affiliates to match, so break those buyer personas out! If you’re running a large affiliate program, picking representatives with confident reach across your target audience is crucial.
Start with your target audience, and really think about what type of advertising is successful with them. What platforms do they engage most with? What type of voice do they respond best to? These are the types of questions that can help you choose the best course of action with your affiliate program. Even though it’s focused around driving more sales, the customer should still be at the center of your process.
There are resources to make getting your affiliate program off the ground a little easier, from already existing affiliate networks to software tools to help start your own. Using an existing network to recruit high-performing affiliates saves you the time and money it takes to find your own, and means they’ve already had some experience in bringing in conversions. Within your program, keep your payment plan simple. Clearly define the transaction or conversion you’re aiming for, and keep testing for the most optimal payout methods as the program progresses.
Now, if you’re planning on becoming an affiliate marketer for a company, there’s a lot that needs to be considered. Think about products you have genuine belief in, and can see yourself selling in the most natural way possible for a paid sponsorship. Choose products where you have confidence in converting your audience into customers, and don’t be pulled into exclusively working with big name brands with high-competition products. Being a genuine part of the target market makes it significantly easier to promote a product, relate to its audience, and be considered a reputable promoter.
Social media plays a massive role in the success of building a community driven by interest in your brand/product. Try to keep a moderately consistent message across your affiliate network, but leave room for a little freedom in the creative process. Affiliates that fill their profiles with heavy-handed selling and subpar content will have a hard time getting valuable customers on board, so focusing on your content and redirect links is crucial.
For companies just starting to get their feet under them, affiliate programs can be a cost-efficient way to extend their reach and exposure without having to assume the risk of pay-per-click advertising. Whether you’re a company looking for a new way to extend your reach and drive more conversions, or a savvy promoter trying to make some extra cash online, affiliate programs might be just what you need.
For more affiliate marketing tips, tricks, and trends, check out the WordStream blog.