As you are probably aware, what is called an “affiliate program” or “associate program” is a relationship in which a merchant pays you (the “affiliate”) for links from your site to his site. Usually, the affiliate is paid only when an actual sale is made by the merchant as a result of your link.
This kind of advertising is called Pay Per Action (PPA) since the affiliate isn’t paid for carrying the merchant’s advertising link or graphic on his site, but only when a visitor performs a certain action (visits, fills out a form, makes a purchase).
eCommerce marketing involves testing, tweaking, and making sure your message entices customers to act, all while being ROI-positive.
Starting an eCommerce business isn’t easy, and one relatively untapped digital marketing channel at your disposal is affiliate marketing.
- Forty percent of marketing professionals say affiliate marketing is their most desired digital skill.
- By 2020, it’s predicted that the affiliate market will grow into a $6.8 billion industry.
- Eighty-one percent of brands use affiliate marketing programs.
Benefits Of Affiliate Marketing
An eCommerce affiliate program gives you scale and distribution.
With affiliate marketing, you increase your reach faster and more consistently, and distribute your message to the widest possible audience on the Internet. Plus, your eCommerce business only pays affiliates after the sale takes place.
When you partner your eCommerce platform with influential affiliates, they promote your products on their own sites and social media channels, leveraging their huge audiences to your advantage. In addition to increased exposure and brand awareness, the benefits of affiliate marketing include:
- Average online order is 31 percent higher with affiliate marketing customers.
- The AOV is 21 percent more with affiliate marketing buyers.
- Affiliate marketing customers offer a 58 percent higher average customer revenue.
Advanced Social Proof
- Sixty percent of consumers have been influenced by a blog review or social media post.
- Nearly 95 percent of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase.
- Seventy percent of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions.
- Sixty-nine percent of online shoppers want more product reviews from eCommerce sites.
Create Brand Ambassadors
- When trustworthy influencers blog, post photos or feature your products in videos, they’re approving your brand, and 82 percent of consumers say they’re highly likely to follow a recommendation made by an influencer.
Generate User Content
- Twice the amount of sales are generated through word-of-mouth compared to paid ads.
- Nearly three-fourths of all consumers depend on social media for information about a product.
- Eighty-four percent of consumers say they’ll go with peer recommendations above all other advertising methods.
How To Find Success With Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is not a “set it and forget it” marketing channel. Once you’re connected with the right affiliate marketing program and influencers, you must cultivate those relationships. You want to ensure your affiliates are representing your brand in the desired way and their promotional methods are effective.
Support your affiliates and communicate on a regular basis. Go beyond the commission and engage them with new creatives, trial products, and other incentives. They need to understand your brand, your latest products, and how to promote you effectively.
Offer A Menu Of Creatives
In your affiliate marketing network, you’ll provide affiliates with text ads, banner ads, and content they need to promote you successfully. Most of your affiliate traffic will come from contextual text links in the body of the content an affiliate writes about your site. In your affiliate network, you get to choose which landing pages these text links go to, whether they be category pages, product pages, or simply the home page.
Create banner ads in multiple sizes and designs so the affiliates can choose what best fits their needs. If you’re running a promotion or sale, promo-specific banners with start and end dates give your affiliates a more customized, enticing options to advertise your site.
Offer A Competitive Commission
Your affiliate partners will either receive a flat fee or percentage of each sale. Take a look at what your competition is doing and make sure your commission rates are competitive. The average affiliate percentage is somewhere between 5 and 30 percent, and it varies widely by vertical. Use your affiliate network to understand what is most competitive in your niche and what you can afford after you factor in your gross sales and cost of good sold (COGS). If you’re just starting an online business, you may want to offer a higher commission so that your brand is more attractive to potential affiliates. And you don’t have to stick to one commission rate. You can have multiple commission rates with different partners depending on how well they promote you and your current relationship.
Optimize Your Site For Mobile
Shopping from mobile devices is no longer just a trend, it’s a daily occurrence. Without a responsive, effective mobile site, your customers will quickly move on to the competition and purchase elsewhere.
Affiliate marketing is a cost-effective and scalable way to generate more revenue for your eCommerce business. You’ll be able to leverage the expertise and web traffic of other websites and only pay affiliates after the sale has occurred. First, develop an eCommerce affiliate program strategy based on your business goals. Then reach out to other websites and build real relationships. You’ll take part in a mutually beneficial marketing tactic and increase your eCommerce revenue in a predictable and scalable way.
Thanks to Adam Enfroy for sharing insights.