When it comes to increasing leads, how can brands ensure their B2B affiliate marketing program is driving pipeline growth? Here are three ways to leverage affiliates in your overall marketing strategy.
1. Connect with the right affiliates
Finding affiliates to promote your product can be a tedious task, but partnering with the right affiliates is the real key to success. Instead of leveraging an affiliate network that hosts hundreds and thousands of affiliates looking for the highest commission rate, a better approach is to personally curate a team of affiliates that are best suited to represent your brand.
As Hailey Friedman shared as THE secret hack to building a successful affiliate marketing program at RealtyShares, “people love being recognized.” A good way to do so is to initially reach out and NOT mention your affiliate program, but instead recognize and engage with their brand. While this may sound counterintuitive, try this approach and you might be surprised by the results.
Once you have established a relationship, it is much easier to attract affiliates to join your program. This also gives your brand the opportunity to do research and make sure the affiliates you are reaching out to are a right fit for your brand.
While vetting affiliates can be more work upfront for your team, its a proven way to set up your B2B affiliate marketing program for success.
2. Offer a competitive commission structure
The incentive structure for B2B affiliate marketing programs can be a tricky process. For our most successful B2B brands, we recommend offering a smaller incentive for passing over a qualified lead (or whatever your company specifically considers a qualified entry point into their pipeline). If that lead ultimately closes, that same affiliate is then given a larger commission for sending you a new customer.
This is effective for one very big reason: When an affiliate knows that there’s a short-term incentive for simply sending over a qualified lead (and a potentially bigger reward for that customer closing), it removes a critical barrier to participation and immediately ramps up affiliate activity.
And this doesn’t have to turn into a big budget campaign. Even if the incentive for qualified leads is low (i.e., a flat $50 — a reasonable amount to pay for qualified B2B leads), it almost always ramps up lead generation activity from affiliates. And, like any marketing activity, the more qualified leads you get into your pipeline via affiliates, the better chance you have of driving a healthy ROI.
3. Provide informative content
Like with any marketing program, educating your members is integral to success. Creating a step-by-step guide (even better, a video) to getting started is a great way to make sure your affiliates are ramped up and ready to start sharing your products and services while keeping to your company guidelines. Having easily accessible digital assets and tools for your program is another way to guarantee that your affiliates are keeping to your brand’s style. By investing in education, your program will more likely see higher adoption rates and lasting relationships with valued affiliates.
Achieving Success with B2B Affiliate Marketing
If your marketing goals include getting in front of as many responsive prospects as possible and increasing leads, then B2B affiliate marketing is a great tool to use. When combined with your other lead generation activities, your company is sure to see an increase in pipeline growth.