As a small business owner, the chances are that you’re always looking for new ways to promote your products and services to considers, whether that’s through social media, by building a successful blog, or by focusing your efforts on your search engine optimisation.
One technique you may not have considered, however, is affiliate marketing.
In short, this involves you offering people a commission for referring customers to your products, and it’s super effective.
In the United States alone, affiliate marketing spending will top an incredible $6.8 billion by 2020, and worldwide 16% of all online orders are generated through affiliate marketing.
What’s more, big companies like Amazon and Apple use affiliate marketing to drive sales – in fact, 81% of brands leverage the power of affiliate marketing.
If those reasons aren’t enough, we’ve gathered together some more for you to read below…
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of affiliate marketing is that you only pay your affiliates when a desired action takes place.
Because of this, you’re not only able to save a tonne of money, but the chances are that your affiliates will be more motivated to make a sale.
Rather than being paid every time they recommend you, those potential customers have to step over the line and actually make a sale for your affiliate to be paid, so they’ll be working hard to push the benefits of your products on their website, social media pages, and on YouTube.
Widen your audience
Affiliate marketing is big business, and for publishers like bloggers, social media influencers and YouTubers, it’s one of the only ways they can make money.
Because of this, it’s likely that there will be a tonne of affiliates with established audiences who want to promote your products.
The best part? That means you can access their established and loyal readers and viewers without paying them; you’re only paying when their readers become your customers.
Indeed, affiliate marketing allows you to tap into new markets where you may not have had the budget or idea to explore, helping you boost your online presence with very little work on your side.
Of course, you’ll need to introduce clear rules and restrictions to your program to ensure your products only appear where you want them to, but that’s pretty straightforward.
Build your reputation
Working with trusted bloggers and influencers to promote your products and services can help you to build your reputation and more importantly, instil confidence in potential customers, who can often be sceptical about trying new brands with few reviews.
Work with partners you can depend on and build sales funnels where real bloggers shout about the benefits of your products and services and ensure blog posts and YouTube videos have been optimised for SEO.
And remember that there’s a fine line between influencer marketing and affiliate marketing – don’t pay for partnerships as there’s no guarantee you’ll get a return on your investment.
Another benefit to affiliate marketing is that it can be very cost-effective, as you only pay a commission when a conversion takes place.
Because of this, you’re not throwing away thousands on Facebook Ads and Google Ads, and you can spend more of your time promoting your affiliate scheme and delivering a great service to your new customers.
Of course, you must take into account your commission costs when pricing your products and remember that people aren’t going to sign up to your affiliate program overnight – they’ll need some convincing, and that may require outreach, SEO, paid advertising, or partnerships.
Scale your traffic
Finally, a quick word on traffic.
The more affiliates that sign up to your program, the more sites that will link back to your website, meaning you’ll have more opportunities to convert new visitors into customers.
Though affiliate links don’t have a direct impact on search engine rankings (use the appropriate canonical link element to avoid penalties from Google), they can still drive traffic to your website and encourage people to search for your products.
Indeed, a customer might read about your products through an affiliate blog post, but then go back to your website organically in a few weeks and complete the purchase – meaning you won’t need to pay an affiliate for their involvement.
One small word of warning: scale your affiliate marketing program accordingly, and ensure your website and distribution can cope with an increase in visitor numbers and sales.
The last thing you want to do is sell out or offer poor service to your customers!
There you have it – just some of the benefits of affiliate marketing. Do you have any others to add to this list? Let us know on Twitter @MuffinMarketing and check back soon for more.