What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliated marketing is a collaborative effort between a company that either manufactures and sells, or supplies goods, henceforth called the merchant, and an independent promoter henceforth referred to as an affiliate.
In essence, the collaboration boils down to the merchant outsourcing portions of their management campaign to the affiliate. After one party approaches the other and conditions for the arrangement are set, the affiliate starts promoting the merchant’s product on their platform.
After that, the promotion converts into sales for the merchant. The affiliates themselves earn a commission on a per-sales rate, and their results are tracked via affiliate links.
Why is Affiliate Marketing so Good?
If done correctly, affiliate marketing is a very effective method of promoting a product, with a very good track record of converting views to sales. It is both an efficient way to do business, and a very convenient one, due to how it’s generally arranged.
For the merchant, affiliate marketing is great because exposure by the right affiliates can instantly affect their bottom line. Effectively, the merchant can build their own brand and to get valuable exposure without investing heavily in marketing. The result of any given affiliate’s promotions is also imminently quantifiable. The main factor how the promotions work, which takes all the guesswork out of the equation.
For the affiliate, affiliate marketing is also an excellent way to bring in some extra money at minimal additional cost to themselves or their business. They effectively get to earn small commissions on each sale that’s associated with them by promoting and selling other people’s products. They just advertise the product – and thus can make money selling things without actually dealing with customer service, holding any stock, or even having to fulfill orders.
How to do Affiliate Marketing if You’re a Merchant?
When you do affiliate marketing as a merchant, essentially, you’re offering a person with an audience, like influencer or blogger of some sort, to endorse your product online. You do this to gain exposure on a platform that someone has already established.
The affiliation process is usually pretty simple – either you will contact the affiliate, or they will contact you, offering their services. You will need to both agree on some sort of per-sale commission – which is essentially the money you pay them for their endorsement.
Additional arrangements may be necessary to incentivize their audience to use this specific channel to make purchases and motivate the audience to go out and buy the product. Discounts or a couple of percent work wonders in such situations.
Once you negotiate all of this, plus any other applicable details, you will need to provide the affiliate with a so-called affiliate link, which they will, in turn, give out in their promotions. All sales made through that link will earn the affiliate the commission, and you can track how much impact each affiliate has on your bottom line.
Finding the right affiliates to promote your product is the key to doing affiliate marketing correctly. Ideally, the affiliate you’re looking for is a popular content creator – an influencer, blogger, vlogger, or another type of online entertainer. What you’re looking for is someone with a nice big body of high-quality work and an audience that appreciates them and trusts them.
Also, they should be of good character and have a professional attitude toward the arrangement. When picking an affiliate, it’s best to dedicate some time to research each candidate, to make sure you’d want to associate your brand with theirs.
What Should Merchants Watch out for When Doing Affiliate Marketing?
Arranging appropriate compensation for services rendered by the affiliate is key for the venture’s success. Remember, affiliate marketing is not a regular advertisement. This means that the affiliate should not receive compensation based on clicks or impressions – just on sales made.
Additionally, as mentioned before, you should make sure to avoid affiliation with bad content creators. You don’t want your brand associated with someone unwholesome or unprofessional, even if said affiliate had reach. Don’t skip on the due diligence here – watch some of their content.
On that note – make sure your affiliate doesn’t suffer from ad over-saturation. This can reduce each individual affiliation’s effectiveness greatly.
Don’t try to manage your affiliates too closely. By all means, keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not damaging your brand, but don’t try to influence their content – a hands-off approach works best for affiliate marketing.
How to do Affiliate Marketing As an Affiliate?
Your job as an affiliate is to effectively recommend products to your audience. This is not difficult to do as an influencer or internet content creator. However, it still requires some effort on your part.
First, you need to be a somewhat successful influencer, with a body of quality content under your belt and a sizable audience that supports and trusts you.
The second step is to create some value for both your audience, yourself, and the merchant that wants to reach the said audience, by recommending quality products by good merchants.
Successful affiliates recommend that you endorse products that are in some way related to the interests of your audience – the more direct the connection, the better.
For instance, as a beauty blogger, you will probably have more success convincing your audience that a specific brand of lipstick is worth purchasing than if you recommended that they buy a particular type of power tool.
This is not to say that you can’t try and recommend things that are completely unrelated to your usual area of expertise – but it may be a long shot.
Additionally, do some serious due diligence on everything related to the product you’re recommending. Make sure you research the company and ensure that there’s nothing shady going on with it.
What Should Affiliates Watch out for When Doing Affiliate Marketing?
Don’t skip on the due diligence. Thoroughly test and read up on the product you’re endorsing. Ask for a sample to make sure it’s up to snuff. You don’t want to damage your brand by associating with unpopular companies or look like a shill by recommending a product of low quality.
Don’t forget to tell the audience where the affiliate links can be found and what additional benefits they will receive if they use this specific link when they shop with the merchant.
Don’t change the nature of your content. Weave the recommendation into it seamlessly, and structure your recommendation to present the product in an appealing way. Give enough details on the product to sell it to the audience, but not so much that you become annoying or pushy.
Finally, don’t over-saturate your content with what are essentially ads. This can damage your relationship with your audience.
If done correctly, affiliate marketing creates value for all parties involved. The customer gets to both support a content creator they appreciate and buy a product that is highly regarded at a discount.
The affiliate gets to promote something they know is good, earn money, and help out their fans by recommending cool products to them. The merchant gets exposure for their product. Everybody wins.