How Affiliate Marketing Can Help Grow Your Business and Revenue
What is Affiliate Marketing?
A marketing arrangement by which an eCommerce retailer pays commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals is known as affiliate marketing. In simpler words, it is the process of earning commission by promoting other people’s products on your website.
According to Wikipedia, this industry has four core players. The merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer.
Other definitions suggest of three parties in the fold: the merchant, the publisher, and the customer.
Whether or not there are three or more parties in the process, one should see it as a method through which, even when the product is not ready, the person can make money by promoting other’s products.
At its very heart, affiliate marketing is an age-old process. You find a product you like, promote it within others, and earn profit for each sale you make. Online marketers can look at it as the process of spreading product creation and product marketing-related information across different parties. Thereafter, each party receives a share of the revenue, according to their contribution.
Advertisers frequently overlook affiliate marketing. Search engines, e-mail, and website syndication capture much of the attention of eCommerce marketers. However, affiliate marketing carries a much lower profile.
Still, affiliates continue to play a significant role in e-retailers’ marketing strategies.
This is how Affiliate Marketing works:
- You find a product you want to promote.
- You sign up for their affiliate program and register yourself as an Affiliate Marketer.
- Then you get a special link (or an affiliate link) which, directs the user to the Merchant’s site and allows the Merchant to see the user clicking on your link.
- You promote your affiliate link on the internet.
- When someone buys the product, you earn your commission.
What is an Affiliate Link?
A link provided to affiliates by the merchant is called an affiliate link. It directs the traffic from the affiliate’s website to the merchant’s site. Additionally, it allows the marketer to keep track of who clicked on that link.
Affiliate link operation requires the sending of tracking codes upon user selection of the link (clicks on the link) that identifies which affiliate partner the user has come from. These tracking codes may be part of the hyperlink (visible to the user) or the user may send them along with the link when the user clicks on the hyperlink (hidden from the user).
You can also use the tracking codes to update the processing of orders such as discounts or to direct the affiliate visitors to preferred products.
The affiliate agreement during the registration process of the affiliate program commonly states that the affiliate is responsible for arranging its own affiliate link and making sure that it connects to the advertiser’s website.
When visitors to the affiliate website click on the affiliate link, it directs them to the web page of the Merchant’s website and also generates an affiliate ID code. When the user lands on the Merchant’s web page, the affiliate ID code is stored during the visitor’s session. If the visitor purchases a product, the affiliate ID is stored along with the order information. The commissions paid to the affiliate partner depends on the order information and affiliate commission table.
The image above shows the promotion of the Merchant’s affiliate link on his page by an affiliate marketer.
How to use Affiliate Marketing to boost revenue generation
According to the 2016 social media marketing report, 93 percent of marketers use Facebook to market themselves. The report also shows that 76 percent of marketers use Twitter to do the same.
According to marketing automation company Marketo, 60 percent of consumers said that they bought from a business because of something they saw on Twitter. Moreover, 93 percent of consumers said that they use Pinterest to plan for purchases. Also, 75 percent have taken action from post inspirations on Instagram.
Needless to mention here that Affiliate Marketing is now a perennial pillar of the revenue model of each and every eCommerce business as it is the affiliate links that help get the customers on board. No wonder it has matured into such a significant tool for driving sales. Furthermore, it is expected to grow into a $6.8 billion industry in just five years.
As of September 2014, there were 1 billion websites on the Internet and the number keeps multiplying each day. Going by the boom that is present in the market now, soon all websites which have good traffic inflow will carry affiliate links.
We have put together a few tactics that every Affiliate Marketer should be aware of before starting their journey.
Knowing your niche
Finding the right niche for your business is one of the toughest tasks in the oversaturated market of 2017. A profitable affiliate niche helps you tap into a strong buyer’s market.
As an affiliate marketer, your job is to sell someone else’s product on their behalf. As an outside salesperson, your best bet in tracking down a profitable section starts with finding a niche audience. Products come and go, but evergreen audiences are forever.
Health, wealth and relationships are three issues that always need solutions. Consumers always buy into products and services that help them to find relationships, regulate their diets, and make more money.
The health market includes niches such as diets and weight loss, embarrassing problems, quit smoking and medical issues. Euromonitor reports that the health and wellness industry will be worth $1 trillion globally in 2017. Diabetes.org reports that over $322 billion is spent in the US on diabetes every year.
Wealth covers Forex, gambling, lottery, jobs and employment, affiliate marketing, business opportunities and more. The wealth industry in the UK alone is worth £100bn, which’s twice as large as the hotel and restaurant industry. The gambling industry is worth over $35.5 billion and the Forex industry trades over $5.1 trillion per day.
Relationship refers to online dating, maintaining a healthy relationship, getting your ex back and such. StasticsBrain reports that 49,250,00 people in the US have tried online dating. Marriage Counselling can cost up to $200 an hour on average. And Neil Strauss just sold 2.5 million copies of his “pick-up artist” book, The Game by leveraging this concept.
This means that there’s a lot of money around for grabs if you’re willing to help people with advice that makes them healthier, wealthier and sexier.
Get an Influencer
Influencer marketing was rated as the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel, beating organic search, paid search and email marketing. A recent Google Trends survey reveals that 84% of marketers plan on executing at least one influencer marketing campaign during the next 12 months.
Currently, 47% of online customers are using ad blockers. This is exactly where influencers come into the picture. People block ads but they never include influencers in the equation. Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on using key leaders, celebrities to drive the brand’s message to the market and to target those who have grown disinterested with advertising. As the world has shifted to social media, consumers look at fellow consumers to inform their purchasing decisions. Instead of looking at companies, as they did in the past, they now look at each other and at their favorite personalities (influencers), who are consolidating massive followings on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and other platforms.
So, rather than marketing directly to the consumers, you instead inspire /hire/pay influencers to get out the word for you. But before assigning the task of putting out the message, the marketer has to be aware of the target audience the influencer caters to.
Split-Test Landing Pages and Ad Copy
Split testing is a way of comparing multiple versions of a web page (homepage or landing page) to find out which one converts visitors best. When the test is run, traffic to the page is split among the different versions and their performance is tracked. Whichever version converts the most at the end of the test, wins!
Split testing, also known as A/B Testing or Bucket Testing can make a huge difference in your marketing campaigns. It helps you to know what works for your eCommerce business and what doesn’t.
To master this craft, a marketer should know how to run a successful split test and be sure to make only small changes at a time. The opposite will make it difficult for the marketer to understand what gave rise to swings in conversion.
Use Retargeting to Increase ROI
An excellent way to convert users who have visited your website but left without making a purchase is to launch retargeting or remarketing ad campaigns.
Keeping the customer engaged by enabling the sale to be relevant in the customer’s browsing experience is the key takeaway of retargeting for serious marketers who diligently optimize spend and time effectively.
You can do it through Google Adwords, Facebook Ads or any other third-party retargeting networks. Retargeting not only helps to re-engage customers but also enables them to complete the checkout process. Thus, it can help in recovering the potential loss from abandoned shopping carts.
Web push notifications can provide an amazing solution here by sending product-related push messages to the visitors when they come online. Vizury has an excellent retargeting platform for affiliate marketers where push messages can be personalized on a 1:1 basis and sent on a real-time basis.