How small businesses can leverage affiliate marketing

4 MINS Team

Key Takeaways

  • Affiliate marketing expands your customer reach and extends your budget.
  • Use a platform like Impact to find affiliate marketing partners.
  • You can also use your affiliate platform to track leads and sales referrals.

It’s been said that your network is your net worth. Linking to outside sources and partners to help promote your business can help you take your company to higher levels of success.

Affiliate marketing, in which companies promote your brand and are rewarded for leading customers to your website or when you make a sale, is a low-risk, high-reward proposition. This performance-based online marketing tactic can help you affordably attract more business, generate higher revenue and effectively build your brand. 

A Low-Risk, High-Reward Way to Expand Your Customer Reach 

An affiliate marketing plan can be easy to organize and implement and offers you profitable benefits, including:

It Works
Over 80 percent of businesses participate in affiliate marketing and it accounts for over $12 billion in worldwide consumer sales. In this strategic business relationship, affiliate partners drive qualified customer leads and traffic to your website and brand. This results in a “win-win-win” situation as customers find quality products and services, your affiliates are compensated for providing you with quality leads and your business increases sales and revenue. Affiliate marketing is one of the largest sources of online income, accounting for over 16 percent of all eCommerce orders in North America

Best of all, you only pay when you see results, making it a smart and measurable investment in your marketing plan. “Affiliate marketing is like virtual word of mouth that expands your audience reach and extends your budget,” says Director of Acquisition Marketing Steve Vezain. “You are investing in performance sales, not just extra audience traffic.”

It’s Simple to Start
There are many industry experts and thought leaders in your business category who are bloggers, influencers and marketers and are willing to promote your business on their websites. What should you look for in a good affiliate partner? “They should have experience in the vertical market you are operating in and have a track record of effective marketing strategies and targeting quality traffic,” says Vezain. 

Vezain suggests you begin by joining an affiliate platform like Impact that helps you find qualified affiliate marketing partners, onboard and manage all of these partners in one place and track performance metrics, while also making it simple for you to pay your affiliates. Potential affiliate marketers apply to platforms like Impact, which selects qualified candidates. You then have the opportunity to research the possibilities and determine which affiliates you wish to partner with. 

“Platforms like Impact do the heavy lifting and tracking for your business,” Vezain says. “Even if you have already built an affiliate partner network, this type of expansion will allow you to have greater reach.” You may also be contacted directly by potential affiliate partners. Do your homework and get to know a company to make sure they complement your brand and marketing objectives before forming an affiliate relationship.

“Affiliate marketing is like virtual word of mouth that expands your audience reach and extends your budget.”

– Director of Acquisition Marketing Steve Vezain

It Pays to Be Clear
Whether you partner with a platform like Impact or deal directly with a potential affiliate marketer, be clear about your affiliate relationship expectations. Determine your reimbursement rate for leads and sales referrals and decide how much of your marketing investment should be focused on affiliate partner reimbursements. “Payouts should be around 20 percent of your marketing budget,” suggests Vezain.

To ensure you maintain control of your marketing messages, provide detailed information about your brand, products and services and have digital artwork and banner ads ready for your affiliate partners. Prepared quotes about your brand from you or a trusted employee can also be used in blog, website or podcast content by your affiliate marketers. 

It’s Easy to Track
When operating your affiliate partner program, platforms like Impact and Commission Junction make tracking customer leads, sales referrals and the affiliate reimbursement process fast and easy. By reviewing real-time performance metrics, you can determine which affiliate relationships are working best and which aren’t and make adjustments to your plan to maximize success.

Build Your Brand Network with Affiliate Marketing Partnerships

Leveraging affiliate marketing partnerships for your business can be cost effective, efficient and a great way to promote your company. Think of affiliate marketing as another tool to attract attention and customers as you continue to build your brand.

Images: Shutterstock

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