Affiliate marketing: sign up for the program and watch the money roll in!
...Or not. A big payoff with minimal effort is usually too good to be true.
Some people have even gone as far as calling affiliate marketing a scam. Sure, there are some bad tactics out there, but if done correctly, affiliate marketing can make a world of difference to a business, especially to those just starting out. It can be a great way to grow your own network while raking in some new customers.
This month we asked the experts: How can affiliate marketing help your business?
Digital products typically earn affiliate commissions between 30% and 50% per sale. With such high commission opportunities, you can offer various digital products without ever investing countless hours in research and product creation on topics outside of your expertise.
By marketing third party affiliate products, your digital content can be well-rounded on all matters of a subject. Though you may be an expert in one niche, there may be a very close neighbor niche that your content needs to cover.
Affiliate marketing allows you to cover these neighboring topics while giving your audience the exact digital product or service they need, when they need it. This method in no way discredits your expertise in your own niche, but rather fills any gaps from a different perspective.
Trinity Owen, The Pay At Home Parent
The minute you launch you'll find tons of coupon sites applying whose goal is to rank for your URL or Brand + coupons in Google. This intercepts your shopping cart and lowers your revenue per sale. That is where the main risk is.
If you want a program that adds value, you need to go out and recruit partners, teach them how to sell your products and constantly keep up with them. If you don't have the time to put in, then it is not a channel for you. You could hire an agency, but make sure they won't let affiliates in that intercept your shopping cart like in the example I gave. That and fraud orders are your biggest risks.
Adam Riemer, Adam Riemer Marketing
Using affiliate marketing to sell your company's products and service is akin to hiring a keen and driven sales team on a commission only basis! You obviously need to pay a fair commission to your affiliates, but in return they will be creating reviews and blog posts and even posting banners for your products and mentioning you in their email newsletters.
For companies that are just getting started this can provide a really quick way to scale up sales without the risks and responsibilities of a big sales team.
Ben Taylor, HomeWorkingClub.com
Affiliate marketing can help businesses in two ways. Firstly, you can generate additional revenue very easily by becoming an affiliate for products that are related to your own business, but not in direct competition. That's an easy win that can help you monetize content marketing efforts, for example.
Secondly, businesses can generate a whole new income stream by setting up their own affiliate program to generate new leads and customers. This is a more challenging route to follow, but it has the potential to become a multi-million dollar revenue channel
The key to succeeding with an affiliate program is know your numbers. You need to understand your average order value and the lifetime value of a customer - and you must have strategies in place to maximize these numbers. That way, you can reward affiliates well in order to attract the super affiliates who can make your program rock.
Rob Palmer, GoFreelance
When you first start out with a website, one of the most difficult things to do is to make money. While there's always an option to place ad units throughout your website, this comes off as too commercial and may turn off visitors.
By using affiliate marketing in the right way, you can avoid having your website scattered with ads and still make a profit on products that you love and trust. This is what makes affiliate marketing so easy to execute. If you really believe in a product, you have no reservations about recommending it to others.
Ron Stefanski, Ace Website Development
Small businesses often do not have a huge marketing budget. Small business and entrepreneurial ventures often have to get 'scrappy' and creative in their marketing ventures. Building partnerships, affiliate relationships and cross-referrals can be one of the best ways to grow a business.
For example, we find that targeting partners' customers (via cross-incentives for our customers & cross-blogging for content) is a cost-efficient method for growing our business. Developing strategic alliances with companies that serve business owners within your industry is a great way to market to customers who are similarly situated and within your industry. This can be done affordably and can be a great mechanism for slow and steady growth
Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com
Affiliate marketing can be a very effective way to reach new customers. Every affiliate that promotes your products or services will have their own audience, and getting exposure to those audiences can be extremely valuable. Not only will it help you to increase sales in the short-term, but hopefully some of those customers become loyal, repeat customers who buy more of your products and tell more people about you. When that happens, the impact of affiliate marketing has a snowball effect.
Last year I worked with a few affiliates who were especially effective at promoting some a digital product I was selling. The short-term increase in sales was nice, but what I loved even more was seeing many of them becoming repeat customers by purchasing other products I launched in the following months. Affiliate marketing grew my email list of customers, and then every future promotion or product release became more profitable.
Marc Andre, Vital Dollar