Just over two decades ago an entrepreneur near Seattle embraced the idea of using business owners to help pad the success of another business. He called it “friendship marketing,” and wrote extensively on it as a way to generate leads and brand familiarity.
That was in the pre-eCommerce days. The field now is far wider; the competition much stiffer. But the ideology remains, and it’s now known as “affiliate marketing.” Though not quite as personal, it’s a way to piggyback off of successful businesses to both generate and divert sales. For the most part, it involves allowing other businesses targeting the same audience to receive commissions from their willingness to refer out to you. Sounds simple.
It’s a bit more complex, but the possibilities are plentiful. The obvious big-time affiliates range from Shopify to Amazon Associates; from Ebay Partner Network to Coinbase; and from ClickFunnels Affiliates to Wayfair Affiliate Program. Each offers a varied payout structure and a different set of unique benefits. On the low end, commissions may amount to 5 percent of each sale. That said, individual arrangements may spice up the deal with kickbacks as high as 50 percent. Your mileage will vary.
For newer or smaller online sellers, it’s a way to get established as you are building what hopefully will be a thriving business, and earn revenues in the process.
It may sound counterintuitive to send business away, but consider this: if someone is already signed on to you as a seller, they will buy a product from you unless you don’t carry it. This is where affiliate marketing referrals kick in, earning you a slice of the pie.
Once you’ve chosen one or more affiliate partners, you may share their links on a blog, social media page, or web site. Commissions are earned whenever someone you’ve referred makes a purchase.
Plan ahead before you finalize with any affiliate. Speak with experts familiar with the product or service so you can be confident in your referrals. Make tutorials that explain the offer or product, giving potential buyers a feeling of familiarity and a more personal endorsement.
Set up a way to transmit these referrals through an email list, text database, or other method that works for you. A more in-depth web page will allow pop-ups and other ways to advertise your affiliate’s offerings.
Consider sweetening the deal with a bonus offer to anyone who heads to your referred affiliate. That may earn you favorability points and a continued loyalty.
It’s essential to keep in mind that the affiliate marketing program is based on trust. Choosing a partner with a high profile and solid reputation is your best bet.
Thinking of jumping in? Here are some excellent suggestions for affiliate marketing partners: