Affiliate marketing is an incredibly resilient and robust channel. It can be applied to all verticals, no matter your niche, size, or service level. Harnessing the power of affiliate marketing enables you to elevate your business to increase brand awareness; acquire new customers; drive revenue, and boost sales.
The channel predominantly works on a CPA model (cost-of-acquisition), which means that you only pay on results making it a cost-effective strategy with a low barrier to entry. The focus of this post is to explore how we drive revenue through advanced affiliate marketing techniques. These top tips and tricks for newcomers to the affiliate channel will ensure that you run your program effectively from the get-go.
Advanced techniques do not mean that we are about to introduce complex and exclusive ideas. Listed below are a few initiatives that we deploy when a program hits maturity. However, understanding these techniques from the outset can ensure that even a newly launched program ensures maximum value out of the channel.
Selecting your Affiliates
It may seem obvious, but many brands can fall into the trap of signing on thousands of affiliates when only a handful generate revenue when launching an affiliate program. Understandably, newcomers to affiliate marketing are eager to launch affiliate campaigns to generate money as quickly as possible. However, it is important to consider why the affiliate is a good ‘fit for your brand and how they can add value to your marketing strategy. Unfortunately, without careful consideration, this can lead to bad experiences for both parties with minimal results.
Carefully curating affiliates to work with allows you to build strong and profitable relationships, optimize your activity with the affiliate, and identify partnership opportunities. Establishing commission and KPIs also incentivizes the affiliates, thus laying down the foundation for a successful affiliate campaign. Strong positive relationships can ensure lucrative opportunities such as PR placements, exclusive collaborations; unique promotions; and introduction to new channels.
A/B Testing with Affiliates
A/B testing is a critical marketing device and vital when it comes to affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing constantly presents new opportunities, with new entrants and existing affiliates becoming more sophisticated with their services. Therefore, a rinse and repeat approach is required for ultimate success.
You need to constantly test your affiliate campaigns and affiliates to optimize your campaign to increase your revenue. A/B testing your affiliates ensures that you can find the right output for sales and source additional benefits for your partnership, such as new customers, increased frequency of purchase, higher AOV (average order values), and targeted audience reach.
Additionally, A/B testing your affiliate links and banners can provide useful data on what ads are working well and which banners need optimizing to reach KPIs. Test your links in various positions to see which area generates the most clicks. Consider testing your banners to increase your CTR (click-through rate). Banner blindness is a common occurrence when consumers are browsing websites. Avoid this by experimenting with its positioning, changing the creativity, or enlarging it.
The emergence of technology partners has been a fast-growing strand of affiliate marketing. Technology partners offer a wide range of services to increase revenue for brands on a high-performance model.
Working with technology partners to resolve website conversions, retargeting, prospecting and onsite virtual assistants is recommended. These services are offered within the CPA payment metric, ensuring low risk with high reward as a valuable opportunity for program growth.
Integrate with Other Channels
Only focusing your efforts on the affiliate channel can limit your potential of growing revenue and driving traffic. Utilizing various social channels and understanding how they can work together will ensure you achieve optimal results.
A common misconception of the affiliate channel is that it cannibalizes sales from other channels. This is not the case. Ensure that your affiliate activity is integrated across all your channels so that you can amplify the impact of the other channels rather than competing with them to drive value. Often brands make the mistake of not clearly defining the objectives and parameters of their channels, operating in isolation from one another. This can lead to a drop in sales from other platforms. The better aligned the affiliate channel is with your other channels, the great the value you will draw from the live affiliate activity.
The affiliate channel is rapidly gaining traction and is an incredible tool to accelerate your brand equity. It is a cost-effective channel that delivers low-risk with high return due to its CPA model, thus benefiting SMEs and blue chips alike.
These techniques may seem obvious now we have shared them with you, but like any other type of digital marketing, affiliate marketing requires a strategic approach, a solid understanding of your audience; clear targets; and constant evaluation of your activity – maximizing and optimizing where possible.
Sophie Williams is the Digital Marketing Executive at Webgains