This is find out how to construct a dependable (and worthwhile) affiliate network from scratch
April 18, 2019 5 min read
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur’s contributors are their own.
Industry expectations are that total affiliate marketing spend will reach $ 6.8 billion by 2020. This is evident from an article recently published in Inc. Despite the proliferation of this promotional tactic, many brands aren’t sure what exactly affiliate marketing is – or how to use it in their own strategies.
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In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is a method by which brands partner with third-party channels to promote their products. These partners share links to products and earn a small commission on sales or web traffic generated by their content. Unlike standard ad placements, your brand is not responsible for creating the ad content. Rather, the partners create the content themselves.
There are a wide variety of partners who can fall under the affiliate marketing umbrella. Hence, building a reliable and relevant network is a major priority for today’s brands.
Understand your network options.
Before you start building your own affiliate network, you should understand the types of affiliates that are out there. After all, different partners may be better suited to your brand than others.
In a recent article from LinkTrust, an affiliate marketing software solution, it was found that most affiliates fall into one of three categories: publishers, solo marketers, and influencers. “Everyone uses their reach to advertise your product,” says the article. “Typically, the best partners will attract a specific audience that will be interested in your product. For example, if you’ve sold fitness equipment, a fitness Instagram influencer might be a good choice to partner with.”
In this regard, a fitness magazine would be another excellent choice, the article stressed. A magazine could advertise the fitness company’s products in any way the company wishes. Advertising, social media updates or links within content would be potential channels, the article says.
The good news is you and your own business don’t need to feel overwhelmed managing partner relationships. Affiliate marketing software platforms (like the LinkTrust previously cited) provide a system that brands can use to manage their affiliate campaigns. These systems also manage payments and transaction tracking to further simplify your workload.
Related: Top Affiliate Marketing Trends To Watch In 2019
When choosing partners, you should focus on partners that logically best fit your niche. Find out what audiences and messaging tactics these partners are targeting to see if they fit your brand image. These are the partners who are most likely to be interested in promoting your products while delivering high quality traffic to your website.
Create an attractive opportunity.
Affiliate marketing is ultimately about creating a win-win situation for you and your partners. Many enter this field as a secondary source of income or with the aim of making it a primary source of income.
For example, a case study from online marketing firm I Am Dawn-Marie revealed how the website CB Passive Income earned its founder over $ 12,000 in commissions in its first three months of operation. It did this thanks to a mix of blogging, email marketing, targeted landing pages, and a lot more.
Such case studies illustrate why many people want to become affiliate marketers. They also show that these marketers are actively trying to filter out the best partnerships.
As a brand, you need to make your own affiliate marketing program as attractive as possible. This starts with paying a quality commission rate. and what is considered a fair interest rate usually varies by industry.
Take Amazon. The e-commerce giant’s commission structure is based on product type. While video game commissions are only 1 percent, fashion products earn an impressive 10 percent commission. Other programs offer even higher commissions for partners who sell more products.
Mark Hayes wrote in a Shopify blog post: “You need to do some math to figure out what percentage you can afford to do without affiliate marketing. Can you part with 5 percent of the total revenue that comes from a sale? How about 10 percent?
“The higher the percentage, the more affiliate traffic you will generally get.”
Have clear expectations.
Even with the help of an online network, you should be constantly on the lookout for new potential partnerships while trying to make things as easy as possible for your current partners.
In a blog post for The Balance SMB, Laura Lake recommended, “Provide your affiliate partners with creative and promotional materials. You want to make the marketing of your products or services as easy as possible. The less work they have to do and the more conversions they see, the more likely they are to promote your product or service. “
So communicate actively with current partner partners when you expand or change your product line. Make sure you have all marketing guidelines for your products in place beforehand to avoid costly or reputational misunderstandings.
The tragic forest fires in California offer a case study: As Digiday reported, several influencers sparked controversy in 2018 when they used these devastating fires to promote their personal customers and brand partners – a move that undoubtedly undermined the brand’s overall image. When working with affiliate marketers, establish clear rules or guidelines to avoid such reputational issues.
Overall, building a strong affiliate marketing network may take a bit of work. However, once your network is in place, this type of system is relatively low maintenance compared to other advertising strategies.
However, one thing remains constant: You should keep networking! The more partners you reach, the greater your sales potential. Be ready to invest the time to continually recruit quality partners.
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By using a commission-based setup to motivate others to promote your products, you are essentially creating a modern word of mouth system that serves more customers than ever before.