Anyone who markets or sells a business-to-business (B2B) product or service knows how much more involved and nuanced the effort can be compared to trying to sell a product or service directly to a consumer (B2C).
While there are similarities, B2B marketing and B2C marketing aims to capture the attention of two distinct audiences.
When a B2B customer is in the market to purchase services or goods, decisions are often heavily weighted, reviewed and researched as they tend to be crucial for a business need or long-term goal; purchases tends to be driven more by logic and financial incentive (ROI) than emotion or a quick solution.
As such, most B2B consumers seek out recommendations or referrals from credible, trustworthy sources to influence or guide their purchase decision.
This is a key reason why many B2B companies establish an affiliate marketing program.
B2B Affiliate Marketing
An affiliate program can be a highly effective and scalable way for B2B companies to cost-effectively reach their target customers and do so in a way that elevates the transparency of their ROI.
Here’s how many companies realize value from their B2B affiliate program:
- Working with the right partners to promote their products or services.
- Scaling the volume of incoming B2B leads and sales
- Driving a higher quality of customer traffic
- Generating sign-ups for a free trial for their service
- Using their marketing spend more cost-effectively by paying only on performance (outcomes).
A B2B affiliate strategy can benefit many types of business models.
Generally, a B2B affiliate program supports companies who directly sell goods or services in verticals like technology, financial or retail. However, wholesalers and brokers also leverage affiliate marketing to effectively drive more customers to their reselling business.
Right Partnerships Lead to Higher ROI
Companies with a thriving B2B affiliate marketing program understand the importance of bringing the right partners into their program who align with their goals. The most successful businesses also tend to be open-minded about affiliate partnership opportunities that may seem “nontraditional.”
Yet, its often these “outside the box” partnerships that open doors to fresh promotional ideas that positively influence new customers in unique ways.
Types of B2B Affiliate Partners
The various affiliate partners within a B2B affiliate program can be as wide-ranging and diverse as the products or services that B2B companies sell to consumers.
In other words, there is no one-size-fits-all.
In some of our B2B clients’ affiliate programs, their partners include many “traditional” affiliates one would normally expect in a B2C affiliate program, such as content partners, social media influencers, mass media sites and review sites.
This is because these types of partners can also add value to a B2B affiliate program by securing high-value opportunities to promote your product or service.
A successful B2B affiliate program can also feature partnerships with other B2B companies; “ally” companies who have a similar customer audience. This type of partnership can open the door to higher quality traffic—and more efficient and effective management of it.
These types of nontraditional— yet mutually beneficial—partnerships can help B2B companies tap into a valuable customer segment that aligns with their target audience while giving their affiliate partner (also a B2B company) the opportunity to monetize their customer base.
Other types of B2B affiliate partners include:
- Email and newsletter partners
- Technology partners
- Niche content partners
- Mass Media partners
Establishing the right partnerships and structuring them on a performance-basis within a B2B affiliate program can help your business reach and convert new customer audiences, generate higher-quality traffic and realize scalable growth.
Questions about how a high-performing affiliate program can help you grow your B2B business? Reach out to our team for answers.
Morgan Bell-Schildt is a Senior Account Manager at Acceleration Partners managing B2B affiliate marketing programs for industry-leading brands around the globe.