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Affiliate marketing. What Is Affiliate Marketing and How to Use It

Affiliate marketing has been trending for several years and is in demand in various areas of business. Many companies create special departments and hire employees who build connections with affiliates.

We talk about the features of affiliate marketing and the areas of its application.

What is affiliate marketing and why do you need it?

Affiliate marketing, or affiliate marketing, is the promotion of a business with the help of other companies or specific individuals.

Affiliates are the product owner (seller) and the marketing partner. As a partner, you will receive a fee for each transaction that occurred with your assistance.

Amazon has been launching similar affiliate programs since 1996. The sellers of the online store placed banners and links to specific books or the address of the amazon.com website on their pages. When users went to Amazon and bought books, an affiliate commission was credited to the stores’ accounts. In 2000, Amazon received a patent for the components of its affiliate programs.

Many popular companies use different affiliate marketing formats. Each marketplace offers its own terms of promotion. Banks, medical institutions, online schools, travel agencies, private specialists — everyone who has found reliable affiliates successfully uses this type of advertising. Also, representatives of the B2B segment — large industrial, logistics and IT companies — are actively using partner promotion, despite the scale of their activities and detuning from the mass market.

Advantages and disadvantages

Affiliate marketing has obvious advantages:

  • Mutually beneficial cooperation. Not only will you attract new customers, but you will also strengthen relationships with other market participants. The more affiliates advertise you, the easier it is to establish yourself as a reliable seller.
  • Profit growth. Your affiliates’ loyal customers trust them and will accept the ads as a useful recommendation. Therefore, be ready for a flow of new orders from the very start of the affiliate campaign in order not to miss a single new customer and provide good service.
  • Indefinite. You can cooperate with affiliates on an ongoing basis. The timing depends on the specifics of the tasks. Sometimes a week of advertising is enough to attract attention to a one-time promotion, and it will take months or even years of cooperation to expand the business.
  • A high level of creativity and new opportunities. A marketing campaign that is prepared by two brands at the same time turns out to be brighter and focused on a wide target audience. This helps to quickly increase the level of recognition and make a loud statement about yourself.
  • Transparent analytics. You can track the results of promotion through the affiliate module. Each click on an affiliate link to your site from the partner’s resource will be displayed separately in analytics services.
  • Universality. Affiliate marketing is suitable for anyone who does not plan to invest a lot of effort and money in advertising. With the help of affiliates, you will ensure a steady flow of customers at reasonable costs.
  • Ready-made solutions. There are special platforms for finding affiliates: AdmitadZacrossim, or Affiliate Platform.

There are only two obvious disadvantages of affiliate marketing:

  • Large companies are reluctant to agree to cooperate if a potential partner offers a product for a narrow audience or plans to bring a new product to the market.
  • Affiliate marketing only works as an auxiliary promotion tool. To achieve consistently high results, you will need other marketing tools and techniques.

Types of Affiliate Marketing

There are two types of affiliate marketing affiliate programs:

  • Resale. You find partners who buy your product in bulk at a special price and sell it.
  • Referral. In this case, affiliates help you increase sales: they post links to your products on their sites, offer their customers bonuses from your brand. Sales grow by increasing the amount of targeted traffic to your website. Next, the traffic is converted into leads, and then into sales.

The type of referral program depends on the advertising channels and its format. These can be:

  • banners or teasers on the website.
  • contextual advertising and recommendations.
  • links to an online store or landing page in blogs.
  • Email Marketing.
  • Mentioning products in videos or podcasts.

Make sure that mentions of you do not look like spam, otherwise the reputation of the brand will suffer greatly.

Participants in the process

Usually, the affiliate marketing process includes:

  • Advertisers.
  • affiliate networks;
  • Managers;
  • Analytics;
  • freelancers, such as web developers and designers;
  • Users, i.e. potential customers.

Basic Formats & Tools

As part of affiliate marketing, the following techniques are used:

  • Offer integration. Partners post your special offers and promo codes on their online platforms. For example, a bank starts an affiliate campaign with a marketplace and offers users to pay for a purchase with its card in exchange for a discount.
  • Content integration. Partners publish information about special projects, quizzes, articles, guides, and interviews with each other on their resources. Almost all major online stores have their own blogs in which they include the content of their partners.
  • Product integration. Two or more affiliates create a joint product. For example, a beauty blogger cooperates with a cosmetics brand and releases his own line of lipsticks, offers subscribers discount promo codes, and reviews new products on his social networks.

The possibilities of marketing partnerships are not limited to just these formats. You can come up with unique interactions with affiliates and adapt existing techniques to your needs.

Increase the number of customers with Calltouch Widgets. The system will automatically process user requests, as well as lead forms from different social networks. This will speed up and facilitate the work of managers, while all requests will be taken into account even after working hours. Make communication with customers convenient and efficient in just a few minutes of widget setup.

How to Launch Affiliate Marketing

First, find affiliates. You can do this on your own or with the help of specialized platforms — for example, register in the Zacrossim database.

Carefully consider the terms of the affiliate program and only then proceed to the preparation of the campaign. It usually consists of the following steps:

  1. Formulate the terms of cooperation and the payment scheme.
  2. Prepare the links you want to place on affiliate sites.
  3. Develop creatives: banners, widgets, lead forms. Think about content that will favorably emphasize the brand image.
  4. Create a personal account for partners with a user-friendly interface. This is an important element of collaboration — it simplifies not only analytics, but also the overall work on the campaign.
  5. Prepare a landing page or a page on the website for customers with a detailed description of the terms of the program. Describe why it is profitable to participate in it.

Now it remains to discuss with the partners the tasks, the desired result and deadlines, approve the format and involve technical specialists in the work — at least web developers who will design affiliate sites.

How to Improve Efficiency

To ensure that affiliate marketing is profitable, adhere to the following rules:

  • Choose the right partners. To do this, study the market, competitors, target audience in advance, and consult with experts, such as experienced marketers.
  • Make sure that the affiliate sites are running smoothly and are user-friendly. Due to an ill-conceived interface, visitors may simply not notice a mention of you, and developer mistakes will prevent an increase in traffic and conversion.
  • Formulate your sales proposal clearly and concisely. At the same time, describe the terms of cooperation in as much detail as possible.
  • Track conversions from day one. Make sure that each communication channel is effective, otherwise you will waste your marketing budget.

Let’s say that partners have posted links to you on their blog, organized an advertising email newsletter, and added a block with recommendations for your products to the site. After 2 weeks, you see that the newsletter turned out to be an ineffective format — abandon it and invest in more effective ones. Track affiliate sales with referral links and UTM tags.

Calltouch Call Tracking will help you study the target audience and track the results of campaigns. Take control of all calls from potential customers and identify the sources of phone traffic. Conversations with managers will be automatically recorded and saved in your personal account, as well as reports on requests. The service can be integrated with all popular CRMs.

Payment Methods

There are several payment models:

  • PPS (pay per sale);
  • CPA (cost per action) — a reward for the target action performed;
  • CPC (cost per click) — payment for clicks on links.

The most common PPS model is the payment of a percentage of the amount of sales. It motivates an affiliate to attract a target audience to your site more than others. The CPA payment scheme assumes that the affiliate will receive a reward for the user’s first contact with you, and whether he makes a purchase depends only on you. CPC is pay-per-click, which is often completely inefficient. Unscrupulous affiliates use various tricks to inflate useless traffic.

Many companies offer potential partners to calculate the payment on the page of the site, where the terms of cooperation are described.

At a glance

  • Affiliate marketing is a collaboration with other companies in order to expand the customer base at the expense of their audience.
  • To run affiliate ads, you first need to find reliable affiliates. You can do this on your own or with the help of specialized platforms such as AdmitadZacrossim, or Affiliate Platform.
  • Carefully consider the terms of the affiliate program and only then proceed to the preparation of the campaign.
  • The possibilities for marketing partnerships are endless. You can come up with unique ways to interact with affiliates or adapt existing techniques to your needs.

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