Successful Affiliate Marketing Factsheet
What Is Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing put simply, is a method of promoting your business online through third party websites (the ‘affiliates’). The affiliates promote your products or services from their website and are earn commissions for generating sales, leads or sometimes clicks.
Using affiliates as a source of referring business means that you (the ‘merchant’) are able to pay affiliates based on their performance and revenue that they generate for your website.
The affiliate industry has been around for many years and has developed along with consumer internet usage. According to a survey by E-consultancy, the UK affiliate industry has grown from £2.16 Billion in 2006 to £3.13 Billion in 2007.
The recent growth in the affiliate industry has created fierce competition within the market and today there are numerous networks and software solutions available to manage affiliates. As any experienced affiliate marketer will tell you, a network or software solution alone is not sufficient to create a successful affiliate marketing strategy.
Affiliate marketing is about forging and maintaining long term relationships. Good affiliates are hard to find and fairly limited in number, so it is essential to ensure that when starting an affiliate programme of any kind you need to get in front of the right affiliates and have the right offering to build these long term relationships.
Typically a well executed affiliate programme can generate around 15-20% of your online business. When implemented correctly this will be ‘incremental’ sales or leads that become a key part of any online advertising or emarketing strategy. To make things more appealing (if you are not already convinced) affiliate marketing is performance based once a programme is set up, you only pay when a predefined action (usually a sale or lead) takes place.
With such a large potential impact on your online sales, the affiliate channel should not be overlooked and should be an essential part of most eMarketing strategies today.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work
Affiliates (often referred to as ‘publishers’) are typically website owners who have an existing base of users visiting there website, blog, forum or other media. These affiliates carry advertising for merchants and send targeted users to the merchant‘s website to generate sales or leads for the merchant. When the users complete an action (such as buying a product or filling in a lead form) you, the ‘merchant’ pay a commission to the affiliate for the sale or lead generated.
Affiliate sales are automatically tracked by either a network or software solution to provide reliable reporting on the volume of sales generated by each affiliate. Ultimately with a network or tracking solution in place you have an affiliate programme, however, the key to success is what happens after this point.
A successful affiliate programme is like having 100’s or even 1000’s of commission only sales people generating visitors, leads and sales for your website. The affiliates need to ensure that you are generating sales or leads in order for them to make money.
Creating the Perfect Affiliate Programme
The affiliate community is continually growing and changing. Setting up a successful long term partnership with key affiliates is essential if you wish to create ongoing success from this channel.
The potential of any affiliate programme is often reliant on the quality of the merchant’s website, its products/services and overall business proposition. Once your proposition is correct Affiliates are an ideal way to spread your brand and get your message to an additional audience that may have been previously out of reach.
The very nature of the affiliate industry means that affiliates are often able to provide new and innovative routes to market that would distract from the running of your online business. By working closely with key affiliates and developing programmes to meet their needs it is possible to grow your affiliate programme year on year and for the long term.
The Reality Behind Affiliate Marketing
Common believe is that there are hundreds of thousands of affiliates promoting sites across the UK, but the reality is that as with most things in marketing an 80/20 rule applies. As is so often the case only a small percentage of the affiliates will ever generate business for your website and in order to create a successful affiliate programme you will need to find the small percentage and this is where the hard work begins.
Generating the right base of affiliates can take time and perseverance. Key affiliates can often found in forums and other online communities, however, to find the best affiliates for your affiliate programme takes good old fashioned work.
Top affiliates for a specific industry need to hunted out and relationships must be built to create long term success.
So how does it really work?
By utilizing industry knowledge companies such as eMarketingSolution provide solutions that will take away the complications of affiliate marketing so that you only have to look after the sales it creates. Whether you need help choosing which direction to take or would like to have the entire process managed, professional consultancy’s can take the headache out of setting up and managing affiliate programmes.
Return On Investment
Affiliate Marketing is one of the purest forms of performance based online advertising. Commissions are only paid when an action (such as a sale) is achieved which minimises the risk and provides a very positive Return on Investment that can be defined and modelled by merchants before launching a programme.
Commissions are defined by you (the merchant), which means that you have complete control of your budgets. Ultimately this allows you to manage costs in line with your margins ensuring profitability and a suitable return on investment.
The nature of the industry means that you affiliate marketing programme will grow as relationships are built with key affiliates. As such it is unlikely that the FULL benefits of running an affiliate programme will be seen straight away. Typically it will take 2-4 months to achieve critical mass and truly reap the rewards of working with affiliates.
How eMarketingSolution Can Help Your Websites Affiliate Marketing
We have first hand experience of creating relevant marketing and advertising strategies that generate results for your business. As the online market matures and users become more 'internet savvy', its essential to promote your products and services correctly and through the most relevant channels.