Starting an affiliate program for your company is a great relatively low-cost way to market your business. Sure there are associated startup costs and monthly fees, depending upon whether you choose to outsource or run the program yourself. But in comparison to a major traditional marketing push, the costs are rather small.
On the surface, affiliates make you more money. Yes, you pay out more money than you would without affiliates, but remember that the more you pay your affiliates, the more traffic they’re sending your way. And since they generally don’t get paid until a sale is made, your risk in using them is quite low.
Affiliates do more than just bring in extra dollars, though. They can add some real value to your e-Commerce business in a number of critical ways. The end result of any marketing plan is to bring in more money. And affiliates will ultimately do that for you. But for the most part, their real value has been grossly underused.
Break Into New Locales
Your affiliate program is just that. Yours. That means it’s up to you to determine which countries are eligible to join. Generally you’ll start with the best-selling locales and regions, as you know those markets best. But there’s an entire world out there waiting to spend money online. Why not go after some of that global currency?
Opening up your program can really help spread your business globally. After all, who knows the area better? If you’re hesitant, then start off small, just testing out a specific area, be it a specific country like Canada or Great Britain, or a geographic area like APAC or EMEA. The advantage here is that the affiliates will know best how to “sell” your service. They just naturally know the local dialect and culture. That means they should easily be able to figure out how best to market to their audience, rather than you having to devote unnecessary resources to figuring all that out.
While most e-Commerce managers wear many different hats on any given day, so too do affiliates. Or at least your entire group of affiliates can. Just think about it for a minute. If you have a pretty unlimited supply of “sales reps” out there pushing your product, why not mix things up a bit?
We’re not just talking about mixing up rev shares, but instead offer up completely different promotions to different affiliates to see which ones work best.
Try out different landing pages with different affiliate sources. Try different traffic sources, whether it’s websites, social media, emails, newsletters, paid search, etc. With a huge pool of affiliates to choose from, you can easily break things down or test out various calls-to-action.
Tap Into New Markets
Another powerful advantage to using affiliates is the ability to tap into new markets. No matter what your product or service, you can easily spin it towards a variety of different markets. Selling athletic shoes? Sure you can go after standard sports and fitness sites. But why not try hitting up some popular family sites? Or cooking blogs? Or even dating sites? Be creative and think of unique spins you can put on the way your product can be promoted.
Affiliates run the gamut in terms of the content they cover, so be as open-minded as you can when you think of pushing your brand. Be flexible with your creative so it can fit on a majority of different sites. Test out different markets with a few key affiliates in that niche. If it’s working, put more effort into it and build out even more creative. If it’s not, then scratch it and move on to another niche.
Working with affiliates can mean a huge boon to your business. But like most things in life, you’ll get back what you put into it. Using some of the methods we mentioned here, you’ll soon realize the true value that all affiliates hold in their hands.