Affiliate marketing is not a new-fangled strategy. In the age of cut throat competition it has become obligatory for companies to adopt all the marketing tools to enhance sales. A bigger budget or marketing and sales team could prove expensive and hence affiliate marketing can be the solution in this virtual era. It is a marketing practice in which the business firm rewards different allies to help you sell and promote your business. An affiliate can be an individual or a company who earns commission from the Merchant in exchange of their Traffic generation, Lead, Sales or desired Action Generation services. The tricks and tools affiliates use are mostly the same as the company would itself have used, however, given the smaller size of their organizations and sometimes the sheer focus on specialized activities make them better and/or cheaper option.
The results of affiliate marketing can indeed be best managed through a dedicated affiliate network or few if you have a mass consumption product or service. However, quality of result may drive you towards a smaller number of Affiliate Network partners sooner rather than later.
Understanding your requirement
Affiliate marketing gains are highest when all the technicalities and requirements are planned to the very last detail. Sharing the target audience demographics and behavior like their buying medium / pattern may help you to get the campaign optimized earlier, hence, save you money. Some experienced Affiliate Networks have Insights from having run similar campaigns earlier and you could use that one of the factors to sign them up. If you need to tap target specific geographical locations, regions and population groups ensure that your chosen affiliate/s / affiliate network/s meet the stated requirement.
Know the Basics
To avoid any confusion about the Brand’s identity or positioning or frauds which can encumber your growth, please continuously monitor the quality of results and the means through which your chosen Affiliate / Network is giving you the result. For example, if your affiliate is marketing on social media, check their social media presence and the kind of content and engagement they provide to their customer. Use of word ‘Cheap’ in the post, while yours is a premium brand, may destroy years of your team’s work.
If a brand is running regular campaigns then Freshness of creatives and offers in addition to keeping the site interesting are some of the basic requirements.
Monitor each move of your Publisher (affiliate):
To maximize this marketing / sales mileage, one needs extensive research about the most fertile network and to establish personal communication with their team once the campaign kicks-off. Always monitor how much visitor attention the advertisement or mailer etc. is getting and the related increase in the number of customers via that channel. Making timely adjustment, if needed, is the key. If you are looking for relevant clicks / visits to your site, it would make a lot of sense for you to ask for a sample list of sites that shall be used.
Don’t ignore your pocket
According to a new research by Forrester, affiliate marketing industry is expected to grow to $ 6.8 billion over next five years making it unavoidable to opt for your marketing strategy. In developed markets the affiliate networks contribute almost 10% of total eCommerce sales. But, Return on Investment rather than the popularity of a medium (in your Trade) should be the deciding factor. Always ask for regular reports and analytics to see whether you are getting the desired results from the affiliate channel. If not, pause and see where the campaign is going wrong.
Positive online image of emailing service provider / Publisher
In the current digital advertisement market, multiple techniques are used to try and put ones service / product in front of the consumer whenever he/she is online and across devices. Typically affiliates are smaller publishers or email list providers and the aptness of their site and database should be scrutinized beforehand. For instance, some brand manager may not like his / her banner to go to a Porn site or a Coupon site. Other may want to use a list provider who uses permission marketing rather than spam. Similarly, the technique and quality of engagement may help you decide whether the social campaign is being rightly handled.