Affiliate marketing is a unique marketing channel in which businesses (merchants) and individuals/website owners (affiliates) work together for their mutual benefit.
For affiliates it provides a way to earn commissions by advertising products sold by merchants. As such it offers a quick way for an individual to start a business with the potential to earn money from day one without the investment in stock, staff, warehousing, etc. and with fewer headaches too.
Affiliate marketing is also an excellent model for a business to use in order to sell more products and gain increased online exposure.
How do businesses (merchants) benefit?
Businesses make money by inviting affiliates to promote their products. Every time they make a sale that comes via an affiliate link, they pay a pre-agreed portion of that sale to the affiliate who referred the customer. The more affiliates they have promoting the product for them, the more sales they can make. The business benefits from free advertising and higher sales, so it is worth paying a percentage of the profits in commissions.
How do affiliates benefit?
They have an opportunity to promote well-known brands or to focus on small niches. They refer traffic to the target website and if someone buys something, the affiliate earns a commission. Sometimes they may promote a specific product. In other cases they may promote a brand or a website, such as Amazon.com. As such they need only drive traffic to the site through the special link they are given – their affiliate link. This identifies the traffic as theirs and calculates the commission due from each sale made through that link.
Is it expensive to use this model?
Affiliate marketing is paid purely on results. This means there will only be setup fees to consider. This holds true for both businesses and affiliates. The business doesn’t pay the affiliate anything unless and until they deliver sales.
Similarly the affiliate doesn’t have to pay anything to get started, unless they want to develop specific promotional activities to make more sales and commissions.
As a merchant, it’s a great way to grow your sales and drive more traffic to your website as well. You have the opportunity to grow a team of affiliate marketers who will promote your site on your behalf.
You may reach a far bigger audience than you could ever hope to do on your own. Similarly this provides the opportunity to make more sales and find new customers.
Finding affiliate platforms
An affiliate platform is essentially an intermediary. It occupies a position between businesses and affiliates, managing sales and commissions as it does so.
There are many affiliate platforms online today handling all kinds of affiliate programs for a wide variety of businesses. We’ve highlighted three of them below.
This is probably the largest affiliate platform online today. It also has the most advanced affiliate interface and user-friendly reporting dashboard. Known as Darwin, this administration area uses the newest web technologies. More features are gradually being rolled out in this area. The downside is setup costs for merchants are normally around the £2,000 plus mark. www.affiliatewindow.com
This provides a smaller affiliate platform with simple reporting features. As such it is a much cheaper platform: setup costs for merchants are only a couple of hundred pounds. It is relatively easy to use and manage as well. Styles Creative recommends it for new businesses. www.tradetracker.com
This site offers an affiliate platform similar to that of Trade Tracker. It is not as advanced – or complex – as Affiliate Window so it can provide a practical alternative to the above two sites. www.affiliatefuture.co.uk
When we hear about affiliate marketing we are often told about individuals with a website targeted towards a specific niche. They then promote products appealing to that niche in the hope of achieving a high conversion rate and selling more products for higher total commissions.
However there are also plenty of mainstream affiliates out there. These include sites such as QuidCo, TopCashBack and VoucherCodes.co.uk. Every one of these sites signs up people who want to buy things online. By clicking through the affiliate links provided by each business, the site earns its commission. It then splits the commission between itself and the person making the purchase. These sites are exceptionally well-known so businesses that are able to promote their products on here stand to benefit.
Managing an affiliate campaign successfully and effectively
Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to boost sales, promote a product to a wide audience and boost traffic to your website. It can seem overwhelming and complex to begin with but the results speak for themselves.
Styles Creative are experts in affiliate marketing. We can set up and manage affiliate marketing campaigns on your behalf, taking on the hard work while you focus on your business and enjoy the additional sales. Get in touch today to find out more.
If you would like to learn more about how your business can benefit from Affiliate marketing, either contact us or call 01789 296800 and ask for Rob.