Affiliate marketing is a process based on revenue sharing in which you recruit other people or companies— “affiliates”— to market and sell your products or services on a commission basis.
This kind of marketing is on the rise — in fact, it currently accounts for around 16% of all e-commerce sales and is expected to increase through 2020.
Due to this strategy’s high-value delivery of benefits to advertisers and publishers, it will continue to take a front row in many marketing campaigns.
If you’re considering adding affiliate marketing to your arsenal of marketing tools, there are three areas of focus that will give you the most impact when developing an affiliate strategy.
3 Ways to Leverage Affiliate Marketing for Your E-Commerce Business
Having affiliates selling your products for you on a commission-only basis seems like a no-brainer.
But there are specific things smart e-commerce businesses focus on to get the most out of their affiliate marketing strategy.
1. Make Recruiting a Priority
Don’t make the mistake of allowing any and all to be an affiliate for your company. Why might that be you ask? The more affiliates you have more reporting, management, and headaches you have.
Typically, a mere 20% of affiliates will be responsible for 80% of sales. The rest? They’re just taking up your time and resources.
To increase sales across the board, recruit — and vet — relevant affiliates only.
If your e-commerce business sells clothing, partnering with a blogger who writes about business finance isn’t going to help your bottom line.
Instead, team up with other businesses in your niche or attract partners with relevant products.
For example, a seller of after-market car seat covers could team up with a maker of car decals or after-market stereos.
Influencers have become an incredible source of traffic and sales for eCommerce brands. Finding the right influencer for your space can be difficult or very expensive, but if you find a good fit it can mean serious revenue.
As SocialMediaWeek.com recently reported, “Arielle Charnas– the Instagram Influencer behind Something Navy – exclusively used Instagram Stories to announce her collaboration with Nordstrom – a collection that sold out in just 24 hours.”
SocialMediaWeek.com continued by explaining how Nordstrom is combining influencers and affiliate marketing technology to drive sales, “Nordstrom Rack’s recent partnership with Shopping Links is an outstanding example how influencer marketing can be coupled with affiliate marketing to drive not only brand awareness but also traffic and sales. By utilizing the Shopping Links Influencer marketplace, Nordstrom Rack was able to simplify the process of identifying and gifting influencers at scale. Individually-selected Influencers created a series of social media posts supported with blog posts to showcase Nordstrom Rack’s products to more than 500,000 potential customers.
Shopping Links worked with the team at Pepperjam to identify a number of influencers who met not only the traffic requirements but were the right fit in terms of audience and brand alignment – all within Nordstrom Rack’s affiliate marketing budget. A total of three fashion and lifestyle influencers provided increased awareness, traffic, and sales together with a boost in brand recognition – without the need for more costly traditional advertising methods.”
These types of affiliate partnerships between brands and influencers are driving serious business both online and off.
2. Have an Excellent Onboarding Program
It’s important to spend most of your time conducting recruitment and vetting new affiliates.
To free up your schedule to concentrate on this important task, you must ensure you have an easy way to get your affiliates settled in once you’ve recruited them.
Having them onboard themselves through a dedicated portal will take the pressure off of your team and allow them to refocus on higher priority tasks.
Your portal should collect information pertinent to completing your transactional relationships, such as payment preferences, tax identification, account information, and other contact details.
3. Incentivize Your Affiliates
There is a myriad of ways to increase your affiliates’ motivation to sell.
Discounts, access to promotional tools, tailored content, and performance bonuses all help increase participation — and your bottom line.
Plus, there’s no end to the creativity you can apply to help keep affiliates actively engaged in your campaign.
Possibilities go beyond a simple increase in commission to include contests, exclusive coupons, and even tools and services. These types of campaigns not only help your affiliates sell more products but also help them give their audience value. The more engaged they can keep their audience the more action they will take on the products and services they recommend.
And incentivizing need not take up a big chunk of your marketing team’s time when a quick adjustment to your payment platform can calculate necessary bounties, bonuses, and awards.
Take it a step further to recognize and reward your top affiliates. As Scott Allan, Rakuten LinkShare’s senior vice president of marketing points out, ”
While your top publishers are already reaping the benefits of working with your brand, consider additional bonuses that recognize their efforts so you can further leverage their success.
These incentives can reward publishers for various activities, including the obvious sales-driven incentives, as well as longevity with your brand, amount of website traffic generated and other measurable milestones.
What’s important to note here is that top successful publishers have a lot of options and can pick and choose from a lot of brands. With this in mind, you always want to cultivate strong affiliate relationships with your star performers. Some extra acknowledgment can go a long way.”
E-Commerce and Affiliate Marketing — A Perfect Match
E-commerce offers the perfect platform to increase the benefits — and reach — of affiliate marketing strategies.
Online businesses are positioned to be globally effective, reaching more people than ever before.
And, when combined with other online marketing strategies such as
By recruiting appropriate, top-selling affiliates; onboarding them quickly and easily through a dedicated portal; and incentivizing them to increase sales; smart e-commerce businesses have a built-in money-producing plan that can help them weather market fluctuations and changes in trends.