Grow Your Business and Sales with Affiliate Marketing in 2019
Affiliate marketing is the practice of paying a commission to online publishers (such as bloggers, e-magazines, and news sites) that promote or feature your product on their sites and networks.
Publishers only earn a commission when they drive sales of your products, so you only pay for affiliate marketing when it works.
Arranging for your products to be promoted on other sites typically allows you to reach more people, and hopefully generate more sales than if you relied solely on advertisements or your own site and store.
The success of your affiliate marketing depends on selecting and working with affiliates that are relevant to your brand and popular with your target audience.
Thousands of people will learn about your products or services on the blog. But affiliate marketing is more than just getting your name in front of the most eyes. It’s also about legitimizing your brand and product in a way normal ads don’t.
There are 2 ways to seek out affiliates: finding them yourself and joining an established affiliate network.
If you choose to find affiliates on your own, start by thinking about the interests and online habits of your target audience.
Which sites do people in your target audience visit? Which writers and online personalities do they like and trust? What terms and phrases would you expect them to search for online?
Test out potential search terms and see what sites pop up. You can also use a tool like Google Trends to see the popularity of search terms, as well as which related terms people are searching for.
Once you identify a site that attracts your target audience, see if they’re already doing affiliate marketing with other businesses. You can do this by clicking around their site or by simply reaching out with an introductory email.
If the site already does affiliate marketing, jump right into talking about logistics and commission percentages. If they don’t do affiliate marketing, you can propose a new agreement and see if they’re interested.
You can also find affiliates by joining an affiliate network, which is a service that connects merchants with publishers that do affiliate marketing.
Services like Rakuten, ShareASale, and Commission Junction are good places to start, but there are many others. You pay a fee to join these networks, but it’s typically a faster, easier process than finding affiliates yourself.
Affiliate networks offer databases of relevant publishers and guidance on which ones will be good fits for your business. They also provide tools to create the custom tracking links you’ll need to monitor sales and commissions.
Affiliate networks also provide analytics and dashboards that track important metrics like affiliate sales. With these resources, affiliate networks can be a great option for new and small businesses trying to learn the ropes.
Whether you find an affiliate on your own or use an affiliate network, you’ll need to establish how sales and commissions will work.
There’s no right answer for how much of a commission an affiliate should receive, but generally, you’ll have to offer a larger percentage of sales if you’re a new or lesser-known brand than you would if you’re established and well-known.
You want to incentivize your affiliates to sell as much as possible, so consider a scale that increases commission percentages as sales volumes increase.
Once you’ve chosen one or more publishers to partner with, the success of your affiliate marketing depends on building strong working relationships.
Like any relationship, communication is essential. Talk to your affiliates about the best ways to use and sell your products, answer any questions they may have, and provide them with resources they need, like images or product info.
Your goal shouldn’t be to get your products on as many sites as possible. It is better to work with a small number of high-quality partners that are popular with your target audience than to work with a lot of partners that are irrelevant to your target.
Finally, there are laws that may apply to endorsement or sponsorship campaigns, so it’s smart to consult with your legal department to make sure you have adequate disclosures about the sponsored nature of the content.
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