Have you ever heard an entrepreneur say that they don’t want more leads? At least, I haven’t.
Regardless of the size and nature of their business, business owners are always looking for new leads that have the potential to convert into customers.
And, one of the most cost-effective ways to drive traffic and leads is to leverage affiliate marketing. You only need to pay affiliates when they drive you qualified leads or sales (depending on the payment model you choose).
Let’s start with a quick overview of the basics.
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What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a digital marketing strategy where you outsource your business promotion activities. You hire affiliates who get paid to bring you sales.
Most businesses only pay their affiliates for driving sales, not traffic because the traffic that doesn’t convert into revenue is almost useless. That’s why affiliate marketing is also referred to as “performance marketing” – pay only when an affiliate delivers results.
How does affiliate marketing work?
Here’s how affiliate marketing works:
- You will recruit affiliates to promote your business and assign them a trackable URL.
- The affiliates will market your brand, products, and services using different methods. Some affiliates may promote your product page link on social media while others may leverage native advertising to promote your products and services.
Other ways that affiliates leverage to promote brands include emails, blog posts, product review videos, checklists, social media Stories and posts, and YouTube videos.
- Affiliates will bring you leads or customers based on your affiliate model. Some brands choose to pay their affiliates for impressions and traffic, while others pay them for qualified leads, sign-ups, and sales.
- You’ll pay affiliates a commission for every lead or customer they bring your way. Plan how and when you’ll offer commissions to your affiliates. Check out this post on the benefits of offering instant affiliate commissions.
Why should you leverage affiliate marketing to grow your business?
Affiliate marketing is a low-risk marketing strategy with great rewards. It offers a number of advantages, especially for startups and small businesses.
Here’s why you should leverage affiliate marketing to grow your business:
- You only pay affiliates for real results.
- Bloggers, influencers, and publishers who sign up as affiliates are likely to have more experience and expertise in writing marketing copy and promoting your products and services.
- Affiliates can help you reach and engage new audiences.
- You can easily monitor the performance of your affiliates and drive the ones out that seem inefficient or shady.
Now that you know what affiliate marketing can help you achieve, it’s time to make the process easier and more effective.
How can affiliates promote your business effectively (and make money)?
Helping your affiliates make more money can, ultimately, help you drive more referral orders for your business. That’s why most businesses that use affiliate marketing provide their affiliates with the right resources, data, tools, and guidance to help them drive greater results.
Here is what you should do to help affiliates promote your business more effectively:
1. Do an Affiliate Audit
To increase sales and help your affiliates earn more commission money, you first need to understand what is working for your affiliates and what isn’t.
Deep dive into your existing network of affiliates to track and analyze:
How are your affiliates promoting your business?
Affiliates can promote your business through various ways and channels, which include:
- Blog posts
- Product videos
- Email campaigns
- Product reviews
- Explainer videos
- “How-to” guides for product usage
- Paid Google Ads
- Paid social ads
Identifying how they promote your products will help you analyze which marketing strategies and channels are delivering the best results for your business.
Do they leverage a scalable approach to affiliate marketing?
The next important thing to analyze is whether or not their marketing efforts can be scaled to increase your sales.
If an affiliate uses PPC advertising to drive traffic to your website, there is an infinite scope of scaling the promotional effects. However, if an affiliate uses their blog to promote your business and drive traffic to your website, the number of leads or sales they can generate is limited by the amount of traffic that their blog receives.
What is the average number of sales that your affiliates bring your way from various marketing channels?
Measuring the number of sales driven by each of your affiliates can help you evaluate their performance and efficiency.
You will be in a better place to identify your top affiliates who help you generate maximum traffic and sales. You can reward them by offering a bonus pay, a free product, or a higher commission percent.
On the other hand, if an affiliate is not driving any significant traffic or sales to your company, you can remove them from your group of affiliates.
2. Create an Affiliate Persona
Based on all of the information you’ve collected while conducting an affiliate audit, you should create an ideal affiliate persona for your brand. Doing so will attract the right affiliates for your brand and recruit them.
Define who your top (ideal) affiliates are.
- Who are they? Are they thought leaders in your niche or just publishers with a few thousand followers/subscribers?
- What are their audience demographics?
- What kind of content style, format, and tone do they use?
- What are their interests and top skills?
- Which channels do they use to promote partner brands?
Reach out to more affiliates that fit this persona – either via cold emails, cold calling, or by advertising on the right platforms.
You can find your ideal affiliates by searching through your existing customer base, the affiliates of your competitors, industry-related forums, and social media. Another great way to find affiliates is to list your products and services on popular affiliate networks such as ShareASale and ClickBank.
You can reach out to potential affiliates via email campaigns or social media DM (direct message) campaigns. You might like to use popular email finder tools to find their contact details. One of the best and most popular ones is VoilaNorbert- it’s not only an email finder tool but also an email verifier.
Now the question is: How can you help your ideal and other promising affiliates drive more traffic, leads, and sales to your business?
The answer lies in providing them with the right resources. Let’s get started.
3. Create Assets That Your Affiliates Can Use
No one understands your products and services better than you. Moreover, affiliates love brands that make their job as easy as possible.
Therefore, you should create high-quality content assets that your affiliates can use to promote your product or service in the best way possible.
These assets may include:
- High-converting sales copies
- A database of high-quality product images
- High-quality graphics and banners
- “How-to” guides
- Instruction manuals
- Explainer videos
- Product videos showcasing its key features and benefits
- Free training or demo videos to promote your software
- Case studies for social proof
- Other forms of promotional content
The point here is to find ways to make it easier for your affiliates to market your product or service to their audiences.
Don’t forget that creating relevant marketing assets should be a consistent process, not a one-time affair. You should keep updating your digital library of promotional content materials from time to time.
For this to happen, first adopt digital transformation and digitize all of your business assets, communication channels, and work processes.
4. Track and Monitor Performance
Aggressively test each of these assets for their conversion potential. Only keep the assets that help affiliates maximize sales and remove the ones that don’t.
You should also track the performance of each of your affiliates.
Share in-depth analytics of their referral sources and also benchmark them against others. This will help your affiliates understand what’s working for them and what’s not.
For example, you can tell an affiliate that their Facebook Ads are bringing in 2X more repeat customers than their newsletter ads.
Similarly, you can tell them that short Instagram videos and Reels are driving more 10X more leads than long YouTube videos. This will encourage them to follow the best video length practices that can help them make more money and get you more sales.
5. Reward Your Top Affiliates
Good affiliates are hard to find. They work hard to bring you customers who are more likely to stay and truly impact your bottom line. However, your top affiliates won’t stick around if they don’t get valued for the efforts they put in.
Do not piss off your top affiliates by giving them a one-time commission only. In fact, reward them with extra perks to show them that you value their efforts.
For example, if one of your affiliates generates 100 sales a month for an expensive product, will it be fair to pay them the same commission percentage as someone who generates 10 sales a month?
Of course not, right?
Similarly, if an affiliate brings you a customer who buys every month, think of the customer lifetime value (CLV). To value their efforts, you should pay the affiliate commissions each time their referred customer makes a purchase.
Doing this will incentivize them to find more of such customers for you. This will help you generate more revenue and increase your customer retention rate.
Rewarding your top affiliates is a great way to make them stick around and keep bringing you more sales and valuable customers.
Boosting affiliate percentages on less popular products is another good idea. Incentivizing your affiliates for selling products or services that are more niche-specific and harder to sell will help you increase sales of those products. Organizing events special for your best-performing affiliates is another great technique to reward their hard work and build your network.
6. Provide Your Affiliates with Powerful Automation Platforms
Establish a direct line of connection with all your top affiliates. This could be as simple as setting up a Slack channel to stay in touch. If you have a product with lots of discounting campaigns, use a task management tool and add your top affiliates here so that you can schedule your pricing campaigns accordingly.
Providing your affiliates with useful content assets is not enough. They will also need access to powerful tools to automate their marketing campaigns and generate better results.
While most affiliates already have an arsenal of tools, some of them might not be able to afford the popular paid tools. As a business owner, you can offer them access to the tools you’re already using.
Or, you can also negotiate with popular platforms to get your top affiliates a great deal on their paid plans and features. Some of these tools may include:
- Email marketing tools like Mailchimp, Moosend or GetResponse
- PPC platforms
- Social media marketing platforms like Buffer and Hootsuite
- Design tools like Crello and Canva
Getting good deals on paid tools for your top affiliates is a win-win-win situation for your affiliates, your business, and the platforms offering you a discount.
7. Offer Unique Discount Codes
To further help your affiliates make money by driving more sales, offer unique discount codes on selected products. Offering a limited-time discount coupon will help add a sense of urgency and lead to a greater number of sales in a short time.
Your affiliates will ask their audience to use the coupon code to get an off when purchasing your product. If a consumer is interested in your product, they are likely to make a purchase without delay, which will help you boost your sales significantly.
This is one strategy that the famous watch brand, Daniel Wellington uses extensively to generate sales. The brand partners with numerous influencers and bloggers, asking them to promote their watch collection with exclusive affiliate discount codes.
Affiliate marketing can take your business to the next level. Are you ready?
Affiliate marketing is booming right now, for both brands and affiliates (promoters). You should leverage this opportunity to tap into new audiences without paying for the reach. You will only need to pay for real leads or sales.
Leverage the tactics I’ve mentioned in this article to help your affiliates make more money by promoting your products effectively. In turn, they’ll help you get more sales and revenue for your business, which makes affiliate marketing a win-win situation for both parties.
Do you need help leveraging affiliate marketing for your business growth? Connect with us in the comments below.