One online search or visit to a competitor’s homepage can send modern marketers into a whirlwind of new technologies, revenue driving ideas, and business hacks. Each page promising the world to customers and prompting business owners to rethink the company-wide strategy:
How will my business find new customers?
How can we make a community for our existing audience?
What’s the best way to target specific segments of our audience?
For companies looking to harness the power of word-of-mouth within their existing network while expanding their audience to prospects and fans, adopting an affiliate marketing program may be the answer.
From afar, affiliate programs seem like a no-brainer. What company wouldn't want to increase leads with the help of motivated third-parties, rewarding their enthusiastic and profitable support to encourage more work on your behalf? Affiliate marketing has become a growing trend for simple, easy-to-launch marketing solutions, but the lasting benefits are much more complex. Affiliate marketing is more than a popularity contest with spammy-looking content. Programs that are strategically planned and managed have the power to inform new customers and direct new revenue to your business.
Whether you’re launching your first affiliate initiative or just curious about which benefits to expect from a successful affiliate marketing program, we’ve gathered a few time-tested tips to help you keep your affiliate marketing efforts in check.
Automate Manual Processes
The time, money, and resources required to wrangle your affiliates into a streamlined program, becomes much more manageable when you can perform tasks with the click of a button. If your current system requires spreadsheets and business cards then, chances are, you aren’t experiencing the full benefits of an automated affiliate marketing program. Automated affiliate programs provide each affiliate with analytical reports on their progress and allow companies to link affiliates to specific campaigns. This approach transforms your email list from a static checklist of names to a dynamic group of brand voices.The analytical capabilities of automated affiliate programs are a major draw for companies that want to promote transparency between the brand and its affiliates.
Perhaps the most important automated process for affiliates (and companies) is the reward payout system. According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Ambassador, 88% of Americans say they would like some sort of incentive (money, product or service, loyalty points, early access, swag) for sharing a product via social media or email. Additionally, 77% of Americans say they prefer money. The most successful affiliate marketing programs have seamless, automated cash payout systems and incentivizing rewards.
Don’t Overlook Your Customers
At first glance, many people cite big-name bloggers, celebrity co-signs, incentive motivated promoters, and influencer shoutouts as affiliate marketing examples. Believe it or not, there are members of your existing customer base with social followings and well-known platforms that can rival the reach of bloggers that are unfamiliar with your product or service. From a strategic perspective, user-to-user referrals push affiliate marketing programs along more quickly and organically than hit-or-miss blanket outreach. In fact, according to the same survey, 82% of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase. A successful affiliate marketing program will have a system for incorporating your existing list of customers into an elevated affiliate experience. Tapping into this immediate network avoids the possibility of creating a distant, corporate voice throughout your channels. Your customers want to hear from people that are like them and can really vouch for your brand from a buyer’s perspective.
Provide Marketing Collateral
Recognizable and consistent digital branding materials can differentiate one affiliate program from another in today’s technologically driven world. The individual account capabilities of an automated affiliate program empowers companies to communicate with their affiliates cohesively and consistently. This means that your latest piece of marketing collateral can be uploaded directly to the portal and distributed among your affiliates to share within their network. Thanks to social media, every ounce of modern marketing outreach is scrutinized and compared among audiences, so it’s important to start with this fact in mind. Creating and disseminating branded materials that maintain your company’s look and feel gives your affiliates the freedom (and confidence) to spread the word in a company-approved way.
Your Affiliate Marketing Program
Banking on one campaign or affiliate to carry your brand is a lot like putting all of your eggs in one basket. Instead of hopping onto the latest trend or overstuffing your most successful approach to date, diversify your marketing stack with an affiliate marketing program. When done the right way, affiliate marketing programs can accommodate the moving parts of your business and push your company closer to new revenue and better leads.