Affiliate marketing is often considered to be one of the best online marketing channels for companies to get low-cost brand awareness and gain new customers. However, there is a common misconception that certain industry verticals may not cater well to the affiliate channel.
Although retail is one of the most common verticals in the affiliate space, all merchants in all industries can and should be able to take advantage of the “pay for performance” model to grow their business. Below are five ways any company – regardless of the industry vertical they are in – can build a successful affiliate program:
1. Know who your customer is
You need to have a clear definition of who your customer is. Age, location, interests, and company size or yearly revenue are just a few examples of categories to build out your customer profile.
2. Find the right partners to connect with
Whether it be a review site that specializes in certain categories, fashion influencers, or a travel site, recruit partners who are considered “experts” in the market you are targeting. When reaching out to them, be sure to convey how your product/service will bring value to the affiliate’s site.Merchants must remember that affiliates have spent a lot of time and effort building quality content that attracts their readers. As such, they aren’t interested in posting on behalf of just any brand that pays them; working with affiliate partners is not a one-way partnership. Merchants must bring value to the affiliate as much as they expect the affiliate to drive quality leads and sales.
3. Break down barriers
Provide partners with compelling offers, creative, and content that is relevant to their audience. The less research and work that affiliates need to do for any given brand, while seeing strong conversions, the more likely your brand will be promoted.
4. Treat affiliates like partners
One size does not fit all. Be willing to build customized creative and promotions that cater to your affiliate partners’ readers. Also, understand the time and effort it can take affiliates to create content and work with them to support their success in the program. Whether it be through commission increase opportunities and bonuses, or even exclusive content or promotions, take the time to reach out to partners to understand how to best support them.
5. Continue to find new partners
Depending on your company vertical, the list of quality affiliate partners can be limited, however, there are always new sites launching or adding content for their readers. As a best practice, continue to recruit new quality partners and sites that target your customer and cultivate those partnerships to build a successful program.
The above steps are universal when it comes to building and growing a successful affiliate program. Whether your customer is a small business or a 25-year-old fashionista, a client’s success is found by identifying its customer, recruiting the right partners into the program, making it easy for their partners to promote their products, and supporting affiliate partner success in the program. And, as always, continue to find new quality partners for continued growth.
To evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your affiliate program, check out our FREE affiliate grader!