The rewarding of online publishers for bringing customers and thus sales to a business’s website is a simple description of affiliate marketing. These publishers (or affiliates) usually make up a network of reliable busy bees, who are hired by businesses (or advertisers) to drive traffic to their sites through quality content that will encourage people to part with their money and buy the company’s products or services. In theory, it’s simple and when it works – which it invariably does – it works very well, bringing rich rewards for advertisers.
So what’s the secret to it working well? How can a business ensure it’s engaged in effective affiliate marketing? Well, one of the big secrets is to make sure your publishers are coming up with rich, transparent, quality content that will convince potential customers that what you do and sell as a business is worth their time and money.
For instance, if you’re launching a great new offer or deal for one of your products or services, then without adequate publicity people aren’t going to be aware of what you’re offering them – and why it’ll be so beneficial to them. Good affiliate marketing is an excellent way to get that sort of message out there. But it goes deeper than that. Good content delivered by good affiliates is all about building a buzz around your products, services, and brand.
And to ensure that happens, you have to allow members to produce native content and trust them to be loyal, but also be (and sound) honest. If they don’t do this, there’s a danger it won’t be clear from their content they’re being paid to recommend your products/ services and at some point they – and you – are bound to get caught out there. Customers don’t just reward – they expect – transparency; they don’t like the wool being pulled over their eyes. Affiliates, therefore, need to be trusted to get on with what they do.
And this will deliver benefits; don’t doubt it. Inevitably, in the short term it will drive sales and traffic volume for your site via online search, but more strategically, in the long run, it can add greater margin in targeted products/ services, partly by reducing customers’ consideration cycles and shortening the steps they take in their online journey to purchasing from you.
Relying on affiliates to deliver quality content that delivers results to your bottom line is a matter of trust then, but for it to work, you have to let go and allow them to get on with their job. The results may not be immediate (conversions probably won’t come tumbling in straight away), but be patient and after a short while take a fair look at the role your affiliates are playing in your business’s customer journey. Judge them and your affiliate campaign on that – you’re bound to end up impressed and pleased with what you find.