Being able to rely on partners to assist with making your business model a success is something that many brands strive to achieve. For example, Northsail assists our customers by guaranteeing that our projects are always completed on-time, on-spec, and on-budget.
But when it comes to marketing assistance, your brand might be struggling to figure out what kinds of strategic partnerships, you might be wondering where to start.
One type of partner that can be extremely beneficial for growing your brand awareness, and the effect of your existing marketing campaigns, is to start using affiliate partners.
But what is website affiliate marketing and its benefits? What types of partners can you access through affiliate networks? Before we give you some tips to get you started, let's discuss the basics of affiliate marketers and affiliate programs.
Affiliate partners come in a few different forms, but you could quantify an affiliate partner as anyone that drives traffic back to your website through the use of tracked links.
This means that affiliate website marketing is the process of partnering with affiliates (the type depends on your end goals), with the goal of driving more traffic to your website, and ultimately, increasing leads or conversions for your business.
Typically, these affiliate links range in Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA), depending on the type of partner that you're using, the demands of their marketing efforts, and the affiliate network you're choosing to use to connect with these other brands.
If you're a direct-to-consumer brand, there's a good chance you've heard other business owners in your network talk about affiliate marketing before, but if you've never tried it for yourself, you might not realize what you're missing.
We all know that the big enterprise-level companies are having no issues getting their brands/products in front of their target audience, because they've already established themselves as leaders in their markets. But what about the small and medium-sized brands that are just trying to carve a niche spot in their industry?
Affiliate website marketing gives you the freedom to grow and scale your business at a pace that would be nearly impossible to meet using only your own resources. Through accessing affiliate programs, you can reach potential customers that are completely outside your existing network.
More than that, you can leverage the credibility that successful affiliates have already built for their own brands. It allows you to reach more than just a niche audience. Affiliate campaigns often target massive audiences, which gives smaller businesses a competitive advantage against the Fortune 500 companies.
Best of all, the digital marketing strategies that are employed through affiliate partnerships are usually funded by affiliates income, which means you just need to worry about finding reasonable commission rates, based on your goals.
Not having to fund many of these affiliate marketing strategies directly is often considered one of the biggest benefits of affiliate marketing, which is probably why it's become a billion-dollar industry in just a few years.
There are five categories of affiliate partners that you may choose to access, each with their own unique benefits/costs. These are:
These are the experts that you want to turn to, if your biggest goal is to build your brand. In fact, they'll organize, create, and oversee the campaigns for you, so that each campaign’s efficiency is maximized.
Often, agencies have a lot of experience generating passive income for businesses like yours, so they can create the best results for both your business and your other affiliate partners.
Creators are actually a wide umbrella of different brands, including all varieties of content creators, as well as social media influencers. These people have spent tons of time already developing their own brands, as well as establishing strong followings of consumers.
Influencer marketing can be incredibly effective, but it's important to note that like other areas of the affiliate marketing business, not every content creator is going to be a good fit for your brand.
However, when you can find creators that are creating high-quality content that's in line with your own branding, it can be a great way to build word of mouth advertising, in addition to your active campaigns. They can also provide other valuable content offerings, like guest blog posts for your website.
Media buyers are the experts that will work alongside your own team to purchase ad space for your campaigns. They're also arguably the most popular form of affiliate marketing spending.
Not only will they negotiate for you (and they're often quite good at it), but they'll make it their mission to ensure your ads get the best possible placements, regardless of where you're aiming to market.
This means you'll get ads that are built on valuable content, which can dramatically increase the sources of traffic for your paid advertising.
Email marketer affiliates are leading the way in modernizing old-school email marketing techniques. They help encourage your other campaigns by including branded links in their own email campaigns.
Possibly the biggest benefit of using email marketers is that you'll be able to access their extensive email lists, which they have spent time and resources collecting themselves. This means, you'll have the advantage of leveraging all their hard work to expand the reach of your brand.
A lot of the time, publishers end up being review sites or popular SEO bloggers, who you can commission to promote your brand within their network.
Working with publishers usually means agreeing to some kind of end-goal for your business, and then embedding links in their website/content to help encourage those goals. In most cases, lead generation or conversions are the end goals.
Publishers are very popular, like media buyers, as they can encourage massive growth for your brand through accessing their extensive network of customers.
There are dozens of great affiliate marketing programs out there that you can choose to access, but finding the right affiliate program is the first step towards creating the most effective campaigns.
Squaredance is a great example of an affiliate marketing network that has a wide range of different types of affiliates and brands to choose from.
A major benefit of using Squaredance over other networks is that they don't charge any kind of monthly fees for accessing the network. This means that affiliate marketers only pay for sales on their platform, which is great for improving your conversion rates without absorbing a lot of ongoing overhead costs.
Now that you've decided on a platform to use, you need to decide what kind of affiliate relationships you want to build, as well as what amount of affiliate commissions you're willing to pay.
Each prospect will be different, so you have to be diligent in vetting your potential partners. It's important that you ensure the potential partner's business goals are the same as your own. In many cases, it's a good proactive choice to do some research on the history of the partner, if you don't know much about their brand.
Explore the types of marketing that they typically use. Does their marketing model align with your own? That's important to be aware of for the sake of brand affinity. How much additional income do you hope to generate if you were to partner with them? Are you looking to improve awareness or generate actual sales? Different campaigns can yield very different results.
You don't want to just draw traffic to your site, you want to draw high-quality traffic. The kind that will yield results for your long-term business ventures. Otherwise, it could just end up being just another way to expand your business spending.
Now that you've narrowed down your list of potential affiliates, it's time to create some proposals that you can use to pitch partnerships with your chosen marketers.
Be clear in your proposal what type of affiliate marketing efforts you're looking to access, the digital products or services in exchange that you're providing for customers, your current marketing budget, and any information about your customer base that you'd like to share.
All of these things will help clarify whether these affiliate opportunities would be as beneficial for the prospect as they would be for you. It needs to be a two-way street that provides tangible benefits for businesses on both sides, while also encouraging the business growth that you're looking to achieve.
SIDE NOTE: Before you start each proposal, it's a good idea to take a look at their existing affiliate marketing campaigns, as it will give you an idea of the volume of organic traffic, which they'll be trying to drive for you.
Once you've given all your project proposals to the affiliates that you've chosen to approach, it's time to wait and see what they have to say.
Depending on the range of products that your business is offering, some potential partners may not feel like your brand is a good fit for them. And that's okay. Remember, affiliate income is funding the campaigns, so if they don't feel like it can be successful, it's best for you both to stop before you've started.
However, if the prospect believes they have the affiliate marketing tools necessary to make your campaign a success, they may come back with a counter offer or even accept your proposal as it is.
From those prospects that are interested, it's up to you to narrow down the best possible projects from the ones that are interested. If you're planning to run multiple simultaneous campaigns, it's important to ensure that you won't be pushing yourself over-budget if the results exceed what you're expecting.
Truth be told, the affiliate marketing business is hardly a perfect science. No matter how much you prep and the quality of the brands that you're partnering with, as with all other forms of marketing, the affiliate marketing industry can be unpredictable.
Some partners may not pan out. Some campaigns may not perform as well as you had hoped. That's okay! You can't be discouraged; especially, if you're just learning about the advantages of affiliate marketing for the first time.
Niche products can take time to find brands that will reach the right target audiences. Physical products may be hard to showcase online, and if your online business isn't getting the conversions you want, you may have to re-evaluate your product marketing materials.
If your first affiliate platform doesn't yield the results you need, look at other options. There are plenty of platforms out there, and there's no rule that says you have to only use a single network. Just remember to keep track of the advertising costs, so you don't put yourself in a difficult situation by being overeager.
Keep tweaking your process, until you find an advertising model that works best for you, as well as your affiliate partners.
Northsail understands that marketing for businesses can be a major challenge; especially if your team is spending tons of time and resources working with developers to get your website to the state that it needs to be.
Thankfully, we've got a solution for you - Horizon. Horizon is our newest service, and it's taking the stress and expense out of creating and managing your next website project.
Horizon can quickly and easily create high-performance landing pages, custom customer data forms, widgets, and more - all from a single, intuitive dashboard.
Best of all, you can try Horizon for free for 30 days. No obligation or credit card information required. All we ask is that you take the time to tell us a bit about how your experience was with Horizon when you're done.
We’ll send you important updates about the early access program and your free invite when we are ready.
Your contact information will only be used for the early access program, not for future sales and marketing.