Affiliate marketing programmes enable other people to promote your product for a commission. You only have to pay them if they make a sale. Affiliate programmes typically work by creating a unique URL for each person promoting your products. The clicks that these affiliates generate are tracked by affiliate software. Once you have set up custom links, you’ll be able to track who is driving sales so you can compensate them.
How to track
You can use a plug-in on your website or an external affiliate programme to track links and manage payments. It’s advisable to find out which affiliate tracking programme most influencers in your niche are already using and join that one. Some third-party programmes, such as ShareASale or Rakuten, charge businesses an up-front fee for joining plus commission on sales. That’s in addition to the commission paid to the affiliate marketer. It’s important to research incentives and commission rates within your industry in order to attract higher calibre affiliate marketers. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself sinking time and money into an affiliate programme that doesn’t reap any results.
You will need to put rules in place about how the affiliate marketer can use your brand name, coupon codes and discounts. Otherwise, you could find that a combination of store discount, affiliate commission and payment to your chosen affiliate tracking and management programme is eroding any profit.
Pay attention to paid search keywords you will allow them to use, as they may compete with your own paid search campaigns—effectively pushing up the price of your own paid ads. You’ll be paying Google more for adverts while paying commission to the affiliate—all for the same sale.
How do affiliate marketers get people to buy your products?
They typically share your link on social media, in blog post reviews of your product, or in a YouTube video where they demonstrate it. They might write a blog article in a neutral, unbiased style, presenting the review as a comparison of several products. You have seen the articles: ‘Which is better Panasonic or Sony flatscreens?’ Somewhere in the article the affiliate marketer will declare that the article contains affiliate links, as there are now strict rules in place for marketers to be up front with consumers or face a hefty fine.
Sir Alan Sugar recently received a public telling off from the regulator when he was told to remove a tweet that promoted a tooth whitening kit. The Apprentice host tweeted that a product from a brand launched by one of his apprentices, and in which he owns a 50% share in the business, would make a “perfect Christmas gift”. The advertising watchdog said the tweet breached guidelines as he failed to make it clear that it was an advert. Embarrassing stuff for a business leader who has been knighted.
These days affiliate marketers have a multitude of tools with which to get your link out. They might use Facebook ads, Instagram posts, competitions, Twitter and a host of other communication channels. So, if they can get your link out there effectively, why can’t you? The answer is time, skill and having a tribe of followers. Affiliate marketers do this for a living, and they’ve been doing it for years. An experienced affiliate will push messages out much faster than you can even think of them. They may have built up a fan base who subscribe to their channel and trust their reviews. So one day of work can result in thousands of sales.
If you invest time and attention in your affiliate marketing programme, you can reap the benefits of their expertise and connections by only paying commission on products when they sell. Well worth looking at this untapped stream of income, don’t you think?The Web Designer Group provides web design, SEO and social media marketing services. Get in touch for a chat about growing your business.