Your Guide to Affiliate Marketing as an Online Business
Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a secret team of marketers stealthily embedded across the internet?
And the cost to pay them was really low?
Well, I’m here to tell you that you can.
With affiliate marketers.
Whether someone is a doctor, an accountant or any other occupation, they’ll step into the shoes of a brand advocate for your business.
But there are some tactics that you should follow when it’s time to launch your affiliate program.
In this resource, you’ll read about 7 affiliate marketing tactics for your online business.
Some of the benefits of an affiliate program are:
- Low Cost: With a small commission fee, partnering with affiliates is not an expensive endeavor at all.
- Great ROI: Even if you paid an affiliate 25% for each referral on a $100 product, that’s $75 in extra revenue you otherwise wouldn’t have had.
- Scalability: You can customize your affiliate program any way you want and easily adjust whenever you want.
- Hyper-Targeted Audiences: Since you choose your affiliates, you’ll tap into audiences you know will be interested in your brand.
Now, let’s start off by seeing why affiliate programs are so important to an online business.
Importance of a Good Affiliate Marketing Program
Affiliate marketing is an enormous industry today.
And it’s grown at a rapid pace.
In 2010, businesses spent $1.6 billion on affiliate marketing in the U.S., according to Statista.
That number may sound great to you but now, that figure is expected to reach $8.2 billion in 2022.
The reason why affiliate marketing is so important is because it provides value for the affiliate. With a few simple clicks here and some copy-and-pasting there, an affiliate makes a great bang for the buck.
And it’s a win-win for both the affiliate as well as the brand.
Here’s the thing … people are just skeptical. Especially if you sell a high-ticket product.
But they will trust their friends, family and colleagues.
According to Nielsen, 84% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know.
It’s just classic social proof.
Industries use affiliate marketing the most include:
For the most part, affiliates are most commonly used in the B2C space. As stated by Affiliate Summit, 81.4% of affiliates promote B2C brands.
Just think of those bloggers and YouTubers who leave links to brands that are related to their industry.
For example, a video game streamer discussing a gaming headset brand as soon as the video starts.
But B2B companies can still certainly utilize an affiliate program too. As a matter of fact, Harvard Business Review finds that 84% of B2B sales begin with a referral.
Although affiliates are usually found through third parties such as social media and affiliate platforms, your own customers also make great affiliates. And it’s a nice incentive for your current customers or clients to stay in your brand ecosystem.
Actually, that brings us to the first tactic on the list for affiliate marketing for your online business.
Affiliate Marketing Tactic for Your Online Business #1: Reach Out to Your Current Customers
Your top customers or clients are the best jumping point when it comes to acquiring your first affiliates.
Since they already think your brand is great, you won’t have to convince them much.
And they likely find your product or service to be simple to understand and interact with. According to Siegel+Gale, 61% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand because it’s simple.
So when it comes to educating your customers on your new affiliate program, make sure to keep it short and sweet. Don’t make it any more complicated than it needs to be.
The best way to get started with reaching out to your current customers is through email. And make sure you explain the benefits of becoming an affiliate. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Below is a screenshot of the message we sent to our newsletter list.
As you can see, we currently pay affiliates 10% of the revenue we generate from the referred client each month. Or, since these affiliates are also our clients, they can opt to have 10% taken off their bill. Hypothetically, it’s even possible to receive our digital marketing services for free since there’s an unlimited number of referrals they can make.
Affiliate Marketing Tactic for Your Online Business #2: Pick a Platform To Use
Unless you have or plan to have an in-house affiliate program that requires some coders, you’ll need to find the right platform for your needs.
Once you have a platform to use, you’ll be able to easily manage and keep track of all your data related to your program.
At AutoGrow, we recently launched an affiliate program that our clients have been desiring for quite some time. And we personally use FirstPromoter due to how easy it is to just set up and get going.
With the platform, we can:
- See who our top affiliates are
- Send payments en masse
- Create personalized referral links
- Use segmentation for specific campaigns
- Set up recurring payments
Although FirstPromoter was a good choice for us, there may be another platform out there that’s better for your online business. In fact, FirstPromoter is geared toward the SaaS and productized service space, so it wouldn’t be a good fit for an online retailer, for example.
Just do a little digging and you’ll have no trouble finding the right platform.
Affiliate Marketing Tactic for Your Online Business #3: Utilize Affiliate Networks
An affiliate network refers to the other brands or personalities promoting your own brand for a small commission.
For example, a blogger linking back to an Amazon product page.
According to Forrester Group, 83% of advertisers use an affiliate network dashboard where they search for partnerships.
With an affiliate network, you essentially have a small marketing team working for you for a smaller fee than you would for traditional employees.
But remember that an affiliate network is just a supplement to your overall marketing efforts. Don’t rely on it too much.
For best results, you should either have an in-house marketing team already, or you can outsource your marketing to an agency or marketing platform.
Affiliate Marketing Tactic for Your Online Business #4: Create a Landing Page
When you’re starting your affiliate program, don’t forget to make sure it’s reflected within your website. As you know, your website is the nucleus of your online business.
You see, if you’re going to get serious about your affiliate program, then you need to treat it as a core part of your business, not an afterthought.
If you want your affiliate marketing program to be successful, it needs to mesh naturally with the typical buyer’s journey.
According to Affiliate Summit, your company website is the top way affiliates find out about programs.
By creating a landing page that outlines your affiliate program, prospects and existing customers will become more aware of it.
For example, educational platform Skillshare has a landing page on its website specifically for its affiliate program.
For every new customer affiliates refer, they earn $7. And the page goes into great detail on the specifics.
In general, the landing page looks clean and professional while conveying the value of becoming a Skillshare affiliate.
Affiliate Marketing Tactic for Your Online Business #5: Add a Strong CTA to All Post-Purchase Touchpoints
After a customer purchases something from you or someone becomes a new client of yours, notify them immediately about your affiliate program.
As reported by Extole, consumers are 16 times more likely to make a referral if there’s a strong call to action (CTA) on the post-purchase page.
But a strong CTA doesn’t have to be limited to a post-purchase page. You might want to include your affiliate program in an onboarding email too.
The idea is that your new customers just spent some money, so they’ll be really interested in winn. And becoming an affiliate will do just the trick.
Just below is a screenshot from GrowthHero.io, a Shopify affiliate app that gives you the option to add a CTA for your customers to join your affiliate program after making a purchase.
Affiliate Marketing Tactic for Your Online Business #6: Have a Good SEO Game Plan
Your keyword strategy can make or break any marketing campaign.
And that’s essentially what you’re dealing with here when it comes to recruiting new affiliates for your online business. You have a propositional value that you’re trying to promote .
So like your other marketing projects, you need to use SEO best practices in order to attract consumers that will be interested in your program.
Think of the words and phrases someone would type in the search bar.
For example, for paid advertisements for a marketing agency, you might bid on keywords like:
- agency affiliate program
- affiliate program for agencies
- marketing agencies affiliates incentives
- agency with referral program
Using the right keywords will make your ads more hyper-targeted.
But you also need to apply the same principles to your organic traffic as well. Whether it’s an affiliate program landing page, a YouTube tutorial or something else entirely, you must align your content with what consumers search for.
According to a poll from Search Engine Journal, organic search has the highest ROI among 49% of marketers. And 19% say paid search generates the highest ROI.
Affiliate Marketing Tactic for Your Online Business #7: Find Social Media Influencers
Finding social media influencers to work with is a very popular affiliate marketing tactic these days.
As found by Mediakix, there are as many as 37.8 million influencers on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. And that doesn’t even include Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat influencers.
Of course, you’d need to choose the right platform depending on your online business’s target audience. But still, there’s a little social media influencer love for everyone.
Once you find willing influencers with the right niche audience, you can expect to generate $6.50 for every $1 invested in your influencer, according to influencer promotion software firm Tomoson. And 51% of marketers think they acquire higher-quality customers through influencer marketing.
Some things to keep in mind when looking for the right influencers to add to your affiliate marketing program are:
- Use tools like BuzzSumo to share popular pieces of content in your niche.
- Check out who your most influential followers are also following — and reach out to them if they’re a good fit.
- Understand how engaged your prospective influencer’s audience is. You don’t want to choose influencers who have a large number of followers but very little interaction from them.
- Settle on which type of influencer is best for your brand
- Mega: 1 million followers or more
- Macro: 100,000 to 1 million followers
- Micro: 10,000 to 100,000 followers
- Nano: 10,000 followers or fewer
Launching an affiliate program is exciting. It takes minimal effort on your part yet can yield great results.
At the same time, you have another avenue for keeping your current customer base happy.
But implementing and getting people to actually sign up for your affiliate program is the tricky part for newcomers. Luckily for you, there are some best practices out there that, as long as you’re mindful of them, you’ll have no trouble finding success with your program.
In this article, you read about 7 affiliate marketing tactics that will give you the baseline you need for launching a program for your online business.
Now you’re ready for your brand awareness to spread quickly and your sales growth to boom.
And before you go, let me ask you something …
Is your online business currently considering launching an affiliate program? Or revising one?
Let me know in the comments below.
Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.