Is Affiliate Marketing a Good Idea for Small Business Owners?

You’ve probably signed up for a new app or service for your business and been asked if you’d like to earn some additional income as an affiliate, but can you be on the other side of affiliate marketing and have your clients promote you and what you do?

When marketing your business in a crowded marketplace, any additional string to your bow can be worth it, so how can affiliate marketing fit into your marketing strategy?

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is receiving a reward (such as money, discounts, etc) for promoting a product or service to others, who go on to buy. It’s the buying bit that matters. Just promoting the goods isn’t enough, a sale has to be made.

Often, a specific offer is created to promote to others that is better than they can get just by buying the item or service normally, this might be an extended free trial, bigger discounts, or additional items included for the price.

It can be worth signing up as an affiliate to promote products, apps and services you already use in your business to earn some additional income, accounting packages, content management systems, etc often have affiliate programmes you can sign up for.

Is it worth having affiliates promote what you have to offer!

Picture of a business owner writing a blog for affiliate marketingOf course, it is! Affiliate marketing is a powerful form of word-of-mouth marketing (which is the most effective form of marketing). With affiliate marketing you’re asking your customers to share their positive experiences with others and rewarding them for doing so. If someone has had a negative experience, they’re not going to suggest you to others, so the audience hearing from your affiliate can trust what’s being said.

According to Hosting Tribunal’s 2020 statistics on the marketing industry, affiliate marketing makes up to 15% of all digital media revenue and the industry is growing year on year.

It used to be the case that hearing someone would benefit from us buying something would leave a bad taste in our mouth, but I think that feeling has drastically changed over the last couple of years. Most YouTubers present an affiliate offer during their videos, we’re used to seeing blog articles with “this article contains an affiliate link” in the header, and I think as consumers, we’re aware that it is a genuine form of marketing and have grown accustomed to it.

 

Affiliate marketing allows you to choose who you align your business with

You get to choose who shares and promotes what you have to offer, it doesn’t have to be open to everyone that has ever bought anything from you. Having an affiliate programme that your customers have to sign up to be a part of can ensure you retain some element of control over this marketing, you can:

  • ask how and where they’ll promote it
  • scope out how they’re currently promoting other affiliate programmes
  • ensure their social media posts are aligned with yours
  • create an affiliate resource dashboard with images, pre-written copy and guidelines for them to use and stick to
  • can remove anyone from the programme not sticking to your guidelines
  • can track where leads and sales are coming from

Be selective about who you choose to promote your business. You might be tempted to get as many affiliates working for you as you can, but this can be counterproductive. Being highly selective ensures that the marketing is going to work well for you and get you those additional sales, but it’ll also create a snowball effect as those buyers will want to join your affiliate programme. You’ll always have a pool of affiliates to choose from.

You can evaluate affiliate marketing results easily

Google analytics metrics being used to measure affiliate marketing resultsSometimes one of the big headaches with marketing is knowing what’s having the most effect and where, but that isn’t the case with affiliate marketing. Because each affiliate has their own link to your offer, you can see who is bringing in the page clicks and sales. You can then take this further and scope out their social media to see what’s working so well (or just ask them what they’re doing to get these results!)

When you’re able to evaluate how affiliate campaigns are working, it can give you valuable insights into how to manage your regular campaigns. Are your affiliates doing something you hadn’t considered that’s working well? You can also test out different types of offer to see what resonates with your target audience best, trial new products and services through affiliates and using the result to fine tune the general release, etc.

Affiliate marketing can boost your brand awareness

When you have lots of different people talking about your brand, you’ll find that brand awareness will naturally increase. It’s no longer just you sharing content with the occasional happy client mentioning you, you’ve now got a team of affiliates taking things to a whole new level.

Not only will this support your social media marketing efforts more as their followers will see the content and click through to you to connect, but the more page views your offer/website receives from different sources online the better Google will regard you too, and that can mean a boost to your SEO.

Hopefully, this blog has helped you to see that affiliate marketing isn’t just useful as an added form of revenue for yourself but can be a powerful marketing tool to use within your business by having a team of people promote what you have to offer. It can take time to set up an affiliate marketing programme correctly, and fine tune it so you attract affiliates to promote you and they are in turn able to make those sales, but it’s well worth making that investment for the long-term results it can bring to your business.

 

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