One way to take your ecommerce business to the next level is by discovering different channels that you can harness to create a stream of income. It’s about forming a well-rounded marketing strategy that complements and grows the business you have, by offering more value to your customers and followers.

If you’re not already participating in affiliate marketing- it’s time to consider making the most of this channel and its lucrative revenue stream. 

So what is affiliate marketing? 

As a whole, affiliate marketing is an online sales channel that lets a product owner increase sales by allowing others targeting the same audience “affiliates” to earn a commission by recommending the product to others. 

Simply put, affiliate marketing involves referring a product or service by sharing it on a blog, social media platforms, voucher codes or website. The affiliate earns a commission each time someone makes a purchase through the unique link associated with their recommendation

With affiliate marketing, you can work with thousands of publishers, who can feature your products and your brand on their sites. Instead of paying and hoping to drive traffic to your site, affiliate marketing allows you to create a powerful network of publishers who spread the word for you. Affiliate marketing offers you a wide variety of campaign options. Simply choose the ones that work best for your brand. 

The major players in affiliate marketing 

The advertiser- Also known as retailer, merchant or brand. This is the business that wants to improve its sales performance and attract more visitors.

The publisher- Also known as the affiliate. This is the website, publishing platform or influencer who will create content and market the brand’s products.

The network- This is the platform that connects advertisers with publishers. The network provides tracking, reporting, access to publishers, payment management, strategic account management, admin support and a range of other services.

The consumer-  A person who purchases goods and services for personal use. 

All these different players work systematically together within the purchasing funnel to generate sales for the retailer/brand. 

What are the benefits?

Pay on results – Overall, one of the biggest benefits of affiliate marketing is the payment scheme, which makes it a relatively low risk. Advertisers only pay publishers a commission when they receive a sale. This means they pay on results and for this reason, the return on investment is clearly set out. 

Control over costs – When branching out into new areas of marketing, one of the biggest barriers may be the fear of spending the majority of your marketing budget and not seeing the return you had hoped. With affiliate networking, publisher commissions can be set as a flat rate or as a percentage of the basket, meaning that the advertiser has control over the costs of the campaign. This control over the costs and the fact that there are no upfront payments makes affiliate marketing virtually risk-free for advertisers. 

Innovation and adaptation –Publishers are constantly finding innovative ways of promoting advertisers. It’s not only about how innovative these methods are but also how diverse they can be. Publishers use many different affiliate activities such as search engines, bloggers, social, incentive sites, mobile apps, technology partners and niche sites to promote the advertisers’ products.

Type of publishers/affiliates

There is a range of publishers available on affiliate networks, as part of your strategy its a good idea to become partners with publisher across the range to ensure you’re covering all areas an maximising the exposure of the brand. 

Cashback

Cashback, reward or loyalty sites constitutes as any website that offer people incentives to use a platform or programme regularly and work towards specific rewards. These rewards can include collecting points, getting cash-back or making charitable donations. This gives customers an incentive to repeat purchase and return to the site to receive these rewards. 

Content 

Content publishers include websites, blogs, and forums. This type of affiliate works by monetising the traffic that comes to their site by sending users to an advertiser’s page usually via either a banner or a text link. 

These sites can cover a range of topics and general interests, which is how they attract a broad audience and higher volumes of traffic. However, some of these sites can be niche, so they attract lower traffic volume but their conversion rates are often higher. 

Technology

Technology affiliates work by offering tools that help brands attract new customers and improve conversion rates, for example, they can offer better advertising by displaying adverts to users who have previously visited your site. Similarly they can also re-engage with site visitors who may have abandoned their carts. 

Email and Newsletter

Some publishers have access to a huge database of user emails, that they’ve built up over time. There are regulations in place to ensure each of these emails have been collected legally and that the user has signed up to receive these types of emails. 

The emails usually contain offers, tips, content or suggestions, which make them a useful way to attract sales. 

Social Media 

The popularity of social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, has lead to the creation of a new breed of affiliate’s that can send users to an advertiser’s site via their social media account. Instead of relying on readership or email addresses, these affiliates have created communities of friends and followers across a variety of different social media networks.

Voucher Codes/ Offers

Voucher code sites are websites that offer some kind of saving or discount to the consumer. This can be in the form of a certain percentage off the amount of their purchase, an additional gift, a promotion code, free shipping or any other sort of offer that incentivises someone to complete their purchase. Voucher sites are very popular, and they offer brands a great opportunity to engage with new customers.

Conclusion

Overall, affiliate marketing is a relatively low-risk, flexible marketing approach that is cost-effective and easy to implement. As well as this, it’s transparent- you can easily manage your costs through the levels of CPA you pay and control which affiliates you choose to partner with. 

Affiliate marketing provides the same opportunities for all companies, whether you are a start-up with a limited budget, or a well-established brand looking for new methods of exposing your brand to a potential audience. 

If you’re interested in beginning your journey into affiliate marketing, contact our team today to see how we can support you.