Grow Your Business Using Affiliate Marketing
Some days owning an e-commerce business is easy and others it's very, very hard. So hard, in fact, that you want help in order to acheive the best results. There's nothing wrong with wanting or needing help. The only thing wrong would be if you don't know what kind of help to enlist. For store owners, their help comes in the form of various marketing techniques. Marketing is at the crux of every retail or commerce business structure. One cannot be successful without it.
Think about a youngster, let's call her Susie, trying to sell lemonade at their lemonade stand. Poor kid has the best lemonade in the town, but no one knows about it. She has an online website, but there are just not enough customers to seal the deal. Susie's SEO (search engine optimization) isn't what it could be. What's a girl to do? This is where she would start enlisting the help of marketing.
While marketing is helpful in and of itself, you can dive a little bit deeper and determine what type of help, or marketing, would be most helpful. Today, the type of help I'm going to recommend is affiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
You know those lawyers who say things like "You only pay if you win?" That's affiliate marketing in a nutshell. You, the store owner, enlist the help of a third-party marketing company, the affiliate, to market your brand in various ways in order to drive sales. If the traffic that originated from the affiliate does no convert, you don't pay them. Pretty solid help, right? I would say so and you as a store owner would stand to benefit from this type of marketing model.
How Does It Work?
The actual succesful execution of affiliate marketing is fairly simple, in fact it's almost like a funnel. The first thing that is needed for each affiliate is a unique tracking link. This is how you track the consumers that are steered towards you from your various affiliates. You'll need some type of tracking sprogram that will help you discern which customers are coming from what link. Finding the best software isn't difficult, though, nor is creating a trackable link used for the affiliate.
The next stage that affiliates will consist of marketing, pure and simple. However they best see fit to market your product using that link is what they will do. Perhpaps they will use an influencer. Maybe they'll post on YouTube. Perhaps they have an entire site devoted to reviewing various items (your brand is likely not the only one the affiliate is representing). Maybe they'll just pay for ad space. However the affiliate chooses to market your brand is what they will do. One thing to note here is that you may not get to call the shots, or even weigh in for that matter.
The third stage is action. Once the leads that the affiliates steered toward you have converted, they have done what you asked of them. Whatever methods the affiliates used, they got you your sales conversions. There's only one thing left to do.
The final stage of affiliate marketing is to compensate the affiliates for their efforts. However you choose to do that is up to you. Maybe you'll do it in one lump sum after a group of sales. Or maybe you'll do it per transaction which might turn into a lot of work if the affiliate is good at their job. It doesn't matter what method you use, as long as you pay them.
The Good with the Bad
At some point when considering an affiliate marketing strategy you probably thought that it was too good to be true. It isn't too good to be true, but there are a few things to consider when weighing your options.
You Get Your Money's Worth
While many other marketing companies have you paying for their services no matter what, you're only paying for affiliate marketing if they successfully give you conversions. If they don't get you conversions, they don't get paid. While it may be unfortunate for you to not have those conversions, in fact, it will really stink, but at least you didn't pay for failure.
Very Cost Effective
Affiliate Marketing has been touted as one of the most effective forms of marketing. Because of the reward-based system, it encouraqges marketing companies to be exceptional in getting you leads. As long as you have enlisted a decent affiliate, it's almost impossible to lose money this way.
Affiliates are Good at their Jobs
This benefit goes hand-in-hand with the others. If the affiliate is good at their job, you pay them and you've got some solid business as a result. You're rarely wasting money for results. The other thing to keep in mind is that if affiliates do not successfully convert sales for you, they have effectively wasterd their time. What is it that's always said in the business world, or the world in general? "Time is money." What company is going to waste their time, and their money and resources, if they don't think they can get your brand what it needs from them? Not one because not only will they waste their time, money, and resources, they're also likely to gain a poor reputation. If no one believes they can get the job done, no one will hire them in the future.
You Don't Have a Say
As I mentioned before, the affiliate marketing company is going to market your brand however they see fit. Whatever means the believe will get them conversions is what they will act upon. This may not be a bad thing all the time, but it is a possibility. If you're someone who likes a say in every detail of your brand, this may not be the best option for oyu.
Lead Quality May Not Be Good
As much as your goal is to convert sales, your additional goal should be to have repeat customers. If they happen to drive sales to you, but they aren't your target audience, then you might not have a repeat customer. The quality of customers the affiliates are sending your way may not be as solid as customers who find your site organically.
Finding an affiliate marketing company is pretty easy once you've done your research. They don't discriminate--they provide the same services to start-ups as they do veteran companies. You'll have to weigh your options concerning whether or not this is the best option for you. But just ask Susie. I'm sure that she will be more happy about successfully selling lemonade because of a proper marketing technique.