As someone who has been in the ecommerce arena for some time, you’re sure to have come across ‘Affiliate Marketing’ more than a few times. However, though affiliate marketing has existed for quite some time now, most people are not really conversant with how the whole thing works. To put it very simply, affiliate marketing is a marketing strategy that is based on performance. Affiliate partners get rewarded for successfully driving a predetermined action like completing a lead capture form, visiting a site, purchasing a product or service. It is pretty low risk, and can be very effective for promoting your products. Here are the benefits for ecommerce in some detail:
Pay for what you get
The biggest advantage of an affiliate program is that it is 100% performance based. You pay your affiliates only a commission once the desired action happens; this motivates them to put in efforts to ensure that the action happens. This way you only pay for what you get – and not for traffic that adds no value to your company.
Just as strategies like website CTAs, blogs and email marketing do, affiliate marketing allows easy tracking of actions like click through rates, site views and so on, which were driven by your affiliates. Now this is important because it lets you see your best performing affiliates, and also the best performing tools on different sites, like banners, placed links, and more. This can help you keep the best and do away with the non-performers.
Partnering with an affiliate gives greater exposure to your products and services. When the affiliate is the most relevant and ideal for your niche, the exposure will spiral, as it will be marketed to a targeted audience. Exposure creates awareness about your brand, and helps you build an image. When you have a recognizable brand name, people are more likely to trust you, and purchase from you repeatedly.
Third Party Validation
People are more likely to trust someone else’s opinion about your products than what you say about it yourself; you can compare it with the reviews left on TripAdvisor about a hotel vis-à-vis the hotel’s description. Validation from a third party helps build trust – and people will be more confident about purchasing such products.
Boost Traffic Swiftly
Combined with other marketing efforts, affiliate marketing programs will enable you to scale traffic faster than before. After all, the more the sites that link to your ecommerce site’s pages, the more leverage you have to convert visitors into buyers. Having multiple reputable sites link back to yours also boosts your SEO, as site engines will push our site to the top of the result pages.
Expand your Market
Regardless of what industry you want to tap into, you are sure to find relevant websites that you can partner with, because affiliates are present in literally every domain and industry: from handicrafts to appliances and everything in between. The best part? Most of these affiliates are highly likely to have an already solid visitor base. By teaming up with them, you can leverage this base to expand into markets you haven’t entered into yet, and would not have been able to because of infrastructure or budgetary constraints. Entering new markets makes your online presence more robust and strengthens your brand. Affiliate marketing partners are almost like an extension of your marketing team.
As you’re only paying commissions when the desired actions take place, you’re paying for something with proven value, and this makes it significantly more cost effective than other methods. Additionally, when you partner with affiliates in new markets, you get to enter a new market without investing heavily in a whole new marketing campaign. This means you don’t have to take the risk of shelling out big dollars for sailing in untested waters!
Affiliate Marketing is a low-risk, cost effective method to expand your marketing efforts beyond the constraints of the bandwidth of your small business. It is worth the investment, and can help you build your brand and drive business goals.