What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is like a commission only sales team. Affiliates can be bloggers, realtors, Instagram models, coaches, anyone with a website. They share links to your products and get a commission of the sales that they generated.
However, affiliate marketing is not to be confused with a pyramid scheme.
Pyramid Scheme vs. Affiliate Marketing
A pyramid scheme is about recruiting others to contribute to your own marketing, who, in-turn, recruit yet more people, each of you getting a share of the profits. This system is constructed so that most members do not make a profit.
Affiliate Marketing involves only three parties:
The Merchant – the original vendor of the product
The Affiliate – the seller of the product
The Consumer – the purchaser of the product
It’s a marketing channel that has been around for years and doesn’t have the same negative reputation as a pyramid scheme. The largest affiliate program is Amazon.com.
What Is The Value Of Affiliate Marketing?
According to Custora, affiliate marketing has the same sales rate as email marketing (about 16% of all eCommerce in the US – $63.1bn), but in the latest quarter (Q3 2017) conversions had dropped by 5%. This may just be a seasonal fluke, because according to a study done by Forrester Consulting, “affiliate marketing is expected to increase by a compound annual growth rate of 10%” each year until 2020.
It’s much more difficult to confirm the value of affiliate marketing to the individual affiliates. There is varying data from countless sources and no real proof, with affiliates claiming to earn anywhere from $200 a month to millions. The one thing main affiliate resources can agree on is that it isn’t a get rich quick career. Affiliates work carefully and meticulously for years to grow their online presence. That makes them a valuable resource for your business to tap into.
The Risks Of Starting Affiliate Marketing
Your program has to have the right structure in place to organically attract the right affiliates. Your program needs to have a few things in place before affiliates will join your program.
- Quality – your product and services won’t damage their reputation.
- Tracking – How are referrals tracked and how long do they remain in the system?
- Commission – are your commissions paid out per lead or sale? Fixed amount or percentage?
- Content – how often is your marketing material being updated? Do you have resources for the affiliates to request collateral?
- Payout – when are commissions paid out? Via what banking channels?
- Globalization – are your products available worldwide or are there restrictions? Is your website accessible from any device and language?
- Lead Ownership – are you willing to share the customer information with the affiliate? Do you track their referrals so they can follow up?
How To Attract Affiliate Partners To Your Business
Create an affiliate partner landing page with all the above concerns answered. You can even get our help in creating an affiliate partner information package. There are countless software solutions for affiliate programs, one of our favorites is Infusionsoft, it can track leads, sales and affiliate partners in one database.
The most important step you can take in creating your affiliate program is relationship building. Find a handful of individuals to test your program and refine it with their feedback.
It’s important to have the resources available for your affiliates to track their sales rates and calculate their ROI. Make sure your products are diverse enough for them to benefit from multiple messages to their audience as well as a healthy commission rate.
The Average Commission Rate for Affiliate Partners
Affiliate commission rates vary by industry and require individual research into competitor programs and testing. Lower rate commission programs, 5% in technology and entertainment, have a low affiliate adoption. An affiliate will have to work harder to meet their profit margins with lower cost and commission products.
Affiliates are often drawn to higher percentage commissions, starting at 25%, or one-time flat rate payouts, often costing hundreds of dollars per sale. Niche-specific affiliate programs usually offer even higher commission rates, because of the classic supply and demand model. Often these commission rates will be set by the product price. Luxury items will set a relatively low percentage, less than 10%, but the end commission can be thousands of dollars for a single sale.
Set your affiliate commission rates at a level that you will show the affiliates your appreciation for their hard work. They will not continue to promote your products if they don’t feel their hard work is appreciated. Let them know you aren’t just looking for cheap advertising.
Look at affiliate marketing as another funnel for generating sales. Because of the sales statistics, it’s a great idea to set a marketing budget that matches your email marketing and refine it until it regularly pays off for your business.