Introduction to Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing traces its roots to the late 1990s when the Internet became a primary medium for marketing products and reaching out to customers. It’s an intelligent marketing concept through which you showcase your brand in affiliate websites and get recommended to your prospect customers. If visitors purchase or sign-up for your product/service from the affiliate site, only then you pay a commission to the affiliate website owner. This oldest and cost-efficient marketing technique is still prevalent in today’s world, and if done in a tactical manner, gives effective results.
Through affiliate marketing, you can increase your awareness and follow your audience on every digital platform. Such a marketing technique also increases the frequency of your digital ads and enhances your brand’s visibility & recognition. Even though you might not make a sale, yet you end up having an active brand presence. At the same time, there’s a quicker brand recall in the minds of your consumers.
Besides expanding your markets, affiliate marketing enables you to improve your SEO results and bring traffic from dual sources, i.e. organic rankings and affiliate websites. You also witness higher conversion rates since people consider the affiliate sites as a credible source of information. Also, with affiliate advertising, you can customise content based on specific target profile and niche-down your communications for better audience engagement.
As for affiliate website owners, you can generate a decent stream of income by recommending specific brands to the suitable target group. Also, you can boost your affiliate marketing efforts by developing credible and informative content around the products and services you advertise. This, in return, benefits you in a number of ways:
- By publishing more informative content on your site, you are generating more traffic towards your website. Hence, increasing visibility of your brand.
- By creating content and generating quality traffic to articles that contain affiliate products, you are maximising your revenue stream & developing relationships with affiliate programme providers.
For instance, take a look at Smart Passive Income (By Pat Flynn). He has built an extremely successful blogging business based on affiliate marketing, which generates roughly $150,000/month.
Successful Affiliate Marketing Strategies
In affiliate marketing, dual efforts are targeting the consumers. The first one comes from the brand who considers the visitor as a potential target and the second one from the affiliate website which forms a marriage between the visitor and the brand. Therefore, in order to stand out as a successful affiliate marketing strategist, at first, both of you – the brand and the affiliate site must stay persistent in focusing towards the relevant target audience.
There should be continual efforts until you achieve your desired results. You must plan your strategy well and ensure that it’s in line with the overall communication objective. Patience is another attribute for executing the plan and using the affiliate sites to market the brand. Also, as a brand team, you must have the quest to learn and gain knowledge and tweak your strategies with time.
Affiliate Tips For Brands (Product/Service Owners)
With the above qualities, you can consider the following strategies and make the most of your affiliate marketing programmes.
#1 Choose Niche Categories
A common perception in affiliate marketing is that accepting every single site into your affiliate program will increase the chances of gaining more revenue, traffic and recognition. However, things don’t work in this manner. If most of the affiliate sites have no domain control authority or are not considered as a credible source by the visitors; it won’t return any value. Thus, a good way is to experiment with various niches, find a niche category that works best for your audience and then focus all of your efforts on those specific sites. Gradually, if you get good results, you can then expand to other niche categories. This way, you grow one inch wider and penetrate one mile deeper.
#2 Know Your Customers and Your Products
Before getting into the actual strategy, it’s important to take out some time and develop a good understanding of your products and your target profile, including their psychology. Knowing you customer’s product purchasing behaviour and decision-making cycles will provide you with very insightful data. By doing this, you will have clarity in “what to market” and “whom to market to”. Once you get these answers, you are half way to a successful affiliate marketing journey. Most affiliate marketers create a resource where they put their extensive researches. Such a well-researched data happens to be the most credible and reliable type of content by nature. The audience also relies on such information and quickly reacts to the communication.
#3 Affiliate With Reputable Websites
It’s not always the affiliate sites that make the first move when it comes to affiliate relationship. Sometimes, especially if your product/service is relatively new, your business should be the one taking the initiative and reaching out to reputable websites/blogs known for utilising affiliate marketing. Can you imagine how many brands dream of being listed in Pat’s resources section?
So, you should try and team up with trusted websites that are capable of driving traffic and sales you desire.
#4 Target Mobile Users
Research conducted in November 2014 stated that 46% of all affiliate clicks and 26% of all affiliate retail clicks came from mobile users. With a sharp increase in mobile transactions, it’s high time to ensure that your affiliate sites are mobile-friendly and responsive. To take this even further, Google is absolutely obsessed with mobile-friendliness, thus the introduction of Accelerated Mobile Pages and mobile-first indexing.
You really can’t go far without considering your potential audience who happen to be the mobile users. Hence, it may be worthwhile adding an extra “mobile-friendly” requirement for your prospect affiliate representatives.
For Affiliate Website Owners (Product/Service Promoters)
While the above strategies assure best results for the brands, here are some new-age affiliate marketing tips for the affiliate site owners:
#1 Search Engine Marketing
After establishing your affiliate platforms, you must then look into its promotions. While most affiliates use pay-per-click (PPC) with little or no productive results, achieving decent organic positions shall give you the results you’ve never dreamed of before.
Although SEO should only be treated as a long-term strategy, it can bring tremendous results that no other marketing medium is capable of. For instance, by ensuring that your On-Page SEO is backed up with a regular stream of informative, quality content, you can generate a steady influx of quality traffic and increase conversions.
Of course, SEO is much more than just a decent On-Page optimisation and content, but these two will enable you to build a decent foundation for all of your future efforts. Check out the following resources to learn more about SEO:
#2 Content Marketing
Affiliate marketing happens in a chain system with the product and the customers at both ends, and the affiliate site at the centre. This emphasises the need to prove your effectiveness as a useful middleman in this marketing chain. In affiliate advertising, you get a quick response to a custom content strategy. Thus, with proper affiliate links, marketers can frame unique content and create a benchmark for their competitors. Personalised content along with affiliate links (wherever required) will not only surpass the competition but also draw the attention of the audience and offer a different experience.
#3 Recurring Revenue
Some affiliate websites prefer one-time payouts because of inflation and the ability to earn more interest. However, one-time payments might not allow you to make significant changes in your strategy. Based on your product range, look for ways to build a part of your overall affiliate revenue in the form of recurring revenue. Hence, it might be worthwhile conducting an extensive research of different affiliate programmes to analyse their commission structures.
Thus, regardless of whatever happens in the future, you can stay secured and continue your affiliate marketing efforts. Recurring revenues will also maintain flexibility in affiliate marketing.
#4 Seasonal and Breakout Trends
As an affiliate marketer, you must always look for emerging trends. By embracing such trends, you can create a difference in your marketing approach and find new ways to achieve your results. There are mainly two kinds of affiliate trends: seasonal and breakout. Seasonal trends are more predictable. These are recurring and usually happen when you are at your peak. Thus, use your marketing brain and try to determine the right time for implementing seasonal trends for your products.
You can also make the use of Google Trends to identify peaks for specific search queries.
Talking about breakout trends, they are not so easily predictable, and therefore you have to rely on industry experts. Keep your ears and eyes open to the latest industry insights and consider the recommendations of the experienced individuals.
#5 Increase Revenue by Order of Magnitude
Successful affiliate marketing happens from high commission sales. Initially, you might start with low range products/services, which will build a strong foundation to your affiliate revenue. However, as you cover the first stepping-stone of affiliate marketing, promote products that offer value to the site’s readers. By doing this, you can increase your credibility and generate more revenue to the site by order of magnitude.
Affiliate Marketing Trends 2017
Besides the above affiliate marketing strategies, here are some latest trends that are sure to deliver success in the world of affiliate marketing.
#1 Storefront Websites
Storefronts are the most common, non-traditional affiliates. They are entities that co-brand with retailers to increase their exposure as well as sales. In storefront sites, you can sell your products, your affiliate website gets a commission and your consumers find you. Thus, it’s a win-win for all. As an affiliate marketer, you get good profits and help others in your value chain. It is also an efficient way to spread your brand awareness and allocate work among your partners.
#2 Cross-Device Tracking & Remarketing
Today, browsers are not restricted to using one particular device for searching their desired range of products. This calls for cross-device tracking through which you can keep an eye on your audience’s activities and track their behaviour across multiple devices. Based on your observations, you can implement remarketing and follow your audience whenever and wherever they go. And if you can follow them correctly, they are more likely to enforce their choice in your product.
Cross-device tracking is a continuous method that is likely to change frequently. Thus, there’s no single solution that will work for all your audience. An ideal way is to follow the behaviour of your consumers and target them accordingly.
#3 Mobile Marketing
While mobile marketing is a useful affiliate marketing strategy, it is also the ongoing trend. Naturally, with most of your users browsing through their different hand-held devices, you must keep going mobile. Therefore, invest in getting more traffic through mobile devices and create personalised communication for different audience profiles.
You can also affiliate in mobile applications.
#4 Emerging Marketing Verticals
New industries and sectors are emerging with time. Besides your general affiliate sites, try to figure out ways by which you can take the opportunity from the newly-established industries like Virtual Reality. Since such sectors are more specific to certain countries; you can tap on a country-specific audience (if you are a global brand) and get more consumers.
Again, keep your ears sharp and open your eyes to all the emerging scopes, and take your business ahead. Besides working with the mobile apps, you can also consider some utility applications, which are currently very high in demand. Also, open your arms to partnerships with other brands and develop good connections.
#5 Influencer Marketing
Not just selecting any affiliate website that works for all brands, but choosing the most appropriate platform that fulfils a particular brand’s needs is all that a smart affiliate marketer must think of. Influencer marketing is a highly profitable industry, and by selecting a relevant one, you can easily bring your affiliate marketing efforts to the next level.
Influencer marketing can be further optimised by providing them with the right kind of tools, messages and calls-to-action. Also, use your influencers to execute high-converting offers and make more sales, every single day.
On the one hand, affiliate marketing is undoubtedly the best way to promote your products and bring audiences from diverse sources. On the other hand, it’s also a profitable medium for affiliate websites.
With the right strategies and correct approaches, you will generate some decent business from your affiliates. By implementing the latest trends, you will be able to maximise your marketing efforts and enhance results. You shall also stay ahead of the competition and illustrate a clear distinction for your consumers. And above all, it is more cost-efficient, assures productive results and can take your brand beyond its zenith.
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