How To Nail Affiliate Marketing: Part I

No news to you, small and large businesses leverage social media and other media outlets to promote services and products, targeting particular audiences. But how to widen the net cast? Affiliate marketing, of course. Simply put, partnerships are forged so that others in the industry (or those related) promote for a business. The affiliate is then rewarded per customer/visit/sale via the advertisement on their website. Affiliate marketers turn to social media, email, display, anything digital these days, to increase traffic and awareness. It’s a beautiful cycle, if you ask us. So how to leverage affiliates as a brand? Our tips follow.

The Launch Process – Affiliates as Distributors

Businesses often see spikes in consumer traffic and activity (read: profit) after product launches. Makes sense, right? A lot of variables go into this process (lead resources and distribution, to start), and one of them is the affiliate factor. You can’t sell something without an audience. We’re sure you have your email list, social media followers, and the like, but as we mentioned, you want to cast that net as wide as possible. That’s where affiliates come in as your distributors. Look to them as partners for the widest reach possible to your targeted consumers. They can take your offer and then apply it to scale. Just make sure to track your ROI with each affiliate so that you make sure your leads are doing well. There are plenty of applications out there that can help with this, including Ambassador.

Find Your People – Join Affiliate Networks

Now how to find your ideal partners. We emphasize treading carefully here, as affiliates are the variable with the highest risk. They’re what you have least control over. Luckily, they are most crucial when you are first starting out, and once you have a few trusted ones, they become less of a reliance. Back to fostering those relationships – first you must put your feelers out there. Create a blog post and email inviting people to your affiliate program, contact like-minded bloggers and businesses directly, search forums, and tap into affiliate networks. Then once you’ve created a few relationships, ask those affiliates to connect you to new ones. It sounds easy, but really it’s a time consuming process that’s much like widening your circle of friends or dating. Sharpen your networking skills and dive in. Last but not least, you can jump into a pre-built network like Rakuten to turbo-charge your networking and pre-filter affiliates for you.

Gain Credibility – Roll With the Punches

Another point to stress: don’t assume everyone wants to be your affiliate to make a quick buck. You need to be deserving of the partnership. That means having a solid foundation of leveraged social media platforms, brand voice, and belief in the whole package you’re offering. Put yourself in their shoes and figure out how your partnership will be mutually beneficial. Then once you’ve built a solid reputation, top affiliates will enter your circle as you become credible by association.

Hire An Agency

The simple truth is that creating a vast, scalable and profitable affiliate network takes a lot of time and effort, since many of the affiliates will become hit or miss. This is where leveraging an agency who’s been there before – and has worked in your vertical – becomes invaluable. There are many out there to choose from, not just our own, and the time savings and ROI generally outperform managing your network in-house.

So! Ready to make affiliate marketing apart of your business crusade? We thought so. Whether you’ve got the next best product or already-successful service, we bet affiliate marketing will fit nicely into the mix. Ready, set, get going!

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