How much are you willing to spend in order to acquire a new customer?
This is one of the first questions you should ask yourself when you assess your marketing budget.
If you’re a startup and want to build your customer base, a well designed affiliate marketing program that attracts marketers who trust and promote your products to potential leads can give you a serious advantage over your competition while you see an improvement in your R.O.I.
So, what can affiliate programs bring to the table for your company?
Here are 7 ways affiliate marketers can benefit your bottom line.
1) Create Brand Awareness
Think of affiliate marketers as your “ears-to-the-street.”
In a performance marketing study conducted for the Internet Advertising Bureau UK, researchers found a 6% increase in return on investment from 2013 to 2014 for advertisers who increased the amount of money they spend on building affiliate marketing programs.
Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo rates affiliate marketing as one of the top 19 customer acquisition channels you can use to get traction, noting that affiliate programs serve as the core sales and marketing channel for information products, e-commerce stores, and membership programs.
Publishers are not only in it for the money. They’re tying their name and brand to your company’s values, giving them the ability to connect emotionally with potential customers.
This helps give your brand a human voice (or several) while spreading awareness in a natural way compared to traditional advertising.
Affiliate programs are also a cheaper method of reaching new audiences seeing as how you don’t pay the affiliate unless someone clicks their link and makes a purchase.
2) Multiply Your Marketing Channels
One of the most attractive qualities of affiliate marketing is that it allows your company to diversify its traffic sources over time.
As your affiliate program grows with active participants, so does the amount of website traffic and social media shares.
If leveraged properly, these factors alone can help your company grow its revenue stream by building a small army of traffic referrers directing everything back to your site.
Experience Advertising focused on improving their affiliate programs by measuring and optimizing their recruiting strategy so they could pull in new affiliates every month.
This included proactive affiliate outreach/inviting through email campaigns, running ads on social media and search engines, and targeted affiliate outreach.
New Affiliates and Publishers Recruiting on a Monthly Basis
3) Everyone on Your Affiliate List Has a List – Use It
Web traffic isn’t the only channel that can experience an uptick in activity.
If your affiliate marketing program can leverage it, getting your publishers to build an email list with the traffic they generate can help convert low awareness leads to customers over time.
You’ve probably heard “The money is in the list!” a few times.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective methods of online marketing.
If the customer trusts your affiliate enough to let them into their inbox, they have a chance to have a one-on-one conversation on your company’s behalf, moving them closer to a sale.
4) Improve SEO with Proper Backlinking
This isn’t a simple task, but if done properly, you can expect a serious improvement in your websites Google search rankings over time.
Affiliate marketing can affect your SEO in both good and bad ways depending on how well your program is ran, and where it is being hosted.
Network links and direct links with parameters are not counted as natural backlinks.
Network links are recognized by Google as internal links, and don’t affect SEO.
Direct links with parameters are seen as unnatural, so Google would penalize your site because they look like paid links, or paid placement links.
However, direct links with no parameters are backlinks that point directly to your site, and not an affiliate network.
If these links are coming from sites that are niche specific and content relevant sites, then these should help your SEO.
Like I mentioned earlier, this isn’t simple, so here is a tool to help you get the ball rolling:
You’re going to have to coach your affiliates on the best way to market to the traffic they generate.
Their success is your success, which brings me to my next point…
5) Train Your Affiliate List on Marketing
Once you’ve established a list of affiliate marketers and publishers pushing your brand to new audiences, you’d better make sure they’re making the most of their efforts.
Keeping your publishers up to date on marketing trends is your responsibility.
Wealthy Affiliate does a great job of this.
They’ve created a community where aspiring affiliates connect with seasoned pro’s so they can learn what’s affective and what isn’t.
You may not have the same resources to do what they’re doing, but a weekly email blast keeping your affiliates up on the most effective marketing tactics should be good enough.
6) Learn From Your Affiliates by Building Relationships
The key to getting the most of of your affiliates is by tracking their efforts, building relationships, and learning from them.
Syed Naimath found out through tracking his affiliates campaigns that 80% of his results came from 20% of his affiliates.
Once he narrowed down who those 20% were, he spent time and energy on building relationships with them and optimizing their campaigns.
This helped them improve their revenue stream, which improved his in return.
How’s that for incentive?
7) Make the Most Out of a New Product Launch
Not only do you have a pool of customers (affiliates) you can run a pre-launch trial with, those same affiliates will push your new product to their audiences.
These are 2 valuable resources any business owner would love to have at their disposal.
In a Nichehacks case study, the writer shows how NicheReaper doctored a genius contest that inspired their affiliates to implement core marketing tactics into their campaigns.
Stuart, the author of Nichehacks netted $6,711.50 in just 5 days.
Affiliate programs expand your reach and allow your products to be personalized through branding professionals.
The best part? You can have realistic expectations.
Whatever they sell from your inventory puts money in their bank account too.
You can’t beat incentive.
How do you use use affiliate marketing in your company? Let us know in the comments below!