Smaller scale affiliate marketing partnerships are certainly on the up. Our recent report on micro partnerships revealed that the number of marketers investing in this tactic has doubled year-on-year; 8% in 2017-18 vs. 16% planning to invest more for 2018-19. We can put this down in part to shifts in influencer marketing. Many influencers now have affiliate deals of their own in place with certain retailers across their social channels and blogs. Companies looking to work with them have to integrate with the existing partnerships or offer them something better.
But is an affiliate programme right for your brand? And how can you make sure you’re getting the best ROI for your efforts?
Should I be doing Affiliate Marketing?
If you’re a company who sells product through a large retailer such as Amazon, chances are you’re already benefitting from affiliate partnerships even if you didn’t create them. They have successful existing programmes with many online media sites, bloggers and social influencers already on board. So, when you secure coverage with these, they’ll link to your Amazon product page. You get the traffic to purchase and the sites get the commission. Win win.
However, if you’re looking to drive traffic to your own site, you’ll need to create your own branded affiliate programme. Here, the main currency is the time and resources to manage your affiliates, ensuring they have enough content to be able to successfully drive traffic through to your site, and that they are performing as they should. Make sure you have the resources to manage a programme before you start one.
Secrets to success
Speaking of content, this is a crucial area to get right. To get the best ROI from your affiliate programme, you’ll need to supply your partners with assets to engage their audiences and drive them through to purchase. Be sure to carefully consider what the audience will connect with.
If it’s a smaller scale purchase, such as a beauty product or a children’s toy, this may be as simple as a special discount. If it’s a more considered product like a camera, for example, you need to think about what will engage your potential customers at that point in their purchasing cycle. Do they need educating on the different features offered by different cameras? Do they need a how-to guide? Match your content to your end user.
Knowing me, knowing you
It’s crucial that your PR, influencer marketing and link building teams have a solid understanding of your sales strategy at all times. If you are wanting to drive traffic to your own site, but any one of those then secure coverage with a site with an existing affiliate relationship with Amazon, the result will be pointless. Publishers will always stick with their affiliate partner, no matter how nicely you ask them to include a different link. Teams need to take a thorough look at their online target sites at the beginning of a campaign to ensure each will be willing to include links through to your call-to-action page. If not, either the call-to-action needs to be changed, or the site is out of bounds.
We predict that brands investing in affiliate marketing will continue to rise as the number of publishers in affiliate partnerships increases. Be wary of following the crowd; doing the upfront research to make sure it works for your brand will pay dividends further down the line.