In our latest blog we are trying to explore what is affiliate marketing and what are the ways to benefit from using it on your online store? We will get to the bottom of the question – does it represent a form of investment into your eCommerce business and what are the ways to maximise your return on investment? Scroll down and find out!
Do you know that successful affiliate programs can make even up to 15 – 20% out of total profit for an eCommerce retailer?
Yes, a small, discrete link in the footer marked as “Affiliate” can do that for you!
What is affiliate marketing?
In short, affiliate marketing, or partner program, has one goal – to create a mutual connection between influencers/publishers that use their influence within target market relevant for certain online store and drive traffic to it.
Traffic that will hopefully result in purchases being completed.
That is why finding great affiliate partner for your online store means finding someone who gets through to your target audience.
To be more precise – someone who already earned the trust of your target market usually by publishing content relevant for the industry.
Someone that they usually ask for a recommendation and/or advice.
Their recommendation can come in many forms – banners, coupon codes, videos or links. Many forms but only one goal – to refer to your eCommerce website.
For publishers it will mean additional income, meaning – this kind of partnership brings mutual benefit for both parties involved!
Imagine for example, an online shop that sells exclusively clothing and accessories, and a blogger that has thousands of unique visits.
Their collaboration could be immensely effective if they could agree that as soon as said blogger publishes an article, includes link towards online store recommending it to readers.
Blogger will be rewarded for directing the reader towards online store, reader will get a discount and store owner will get to close the sale!
Giant online stores such as Amazon or Asos for example, use this way to present affiliate program to their potential customers interested in affiliate program.
Here is how Amazon presents its affiliate program:
Meaning – from every link that results in a complete purchase, partner will get certain percentage as a commission.
Partners are guaranteed to be in touch with their analytics too.
They will have an insight into all transactions that have happened and can calculate exactly how much in commission they will have in the end.
Also, store owners provide publishers with a link in a form of a banner or button that they can set up on their blog or website.
They will also get a cookie, that will expire (usually in thirty days), that will be the one that will give insight and all the statistics for both parties involved.
Affiliate Marketing Benefits
Money/commission that the publisher receives can, in most of affiliate programs be used in several ways:
- online store owner deposits money on a certain account used by a partner/publisher.
- keeps money in online store giving the partner an opportunity to use it to purchase items.
- gets retribution in a form of a gift coming from online store.
- uses gifts obtained to organize a contest or giveaway keeping the circle going and ensuring larger number of commissions through affiliate program in future.
The whole process can be explained rather simply, through an example: online store owner gives five percent of his margins to a partner that agreed to be the part of affiliate program, while the buyer that got to online store through a partner gets five percent discount.
Meaning – buyer is not either gaining or loosing money. Same goes for all parties involved.
And that is one of the main reasons why affiliate program belongs to an online marketing domain.
Affiliate programs are usually presented in a form of a banner or a link.
And you are definitely familiar with cookies already!
Cookies are a base for the affiliate programs and need to be explained if we want to explain this partnership from another, more technical perspective.
It’s simple really – cookies are tracking where the links came from to your store.
You can choose and set up how what will be the expiration date for the cookies.
They contain important information such as ID Of the partner, time and date of the visit and IP address – information that affiliate programs will use to gather data on how successful their investment was.
It can also be rather useful to calculate ROI and see is it worth investing in such partner program in the future.
The importance of affiliate program can be best illustrated by a fact that you do not have to have an online partner in order for the program to work.
If you have a potential partner on your mind, someone who you believe is the right match for you, or someone that most definitely has influence in your target group, reach out to him, even offline!
Let’s say you have an online store selling prenatal care products and products for babies.
It is clear that your target market are parents with babies up to three years old.
Now think: what is the most visited place in the first couple of months?
Who do parents trust the most? Where do they go for help and to ask questions?
Pediatrician of course!
Now that you have found your affiliate partner, all you have to do is to generate coupon code that the doctor can recommend offline to parents.
By simply entering coupon code upon checkout, the buyer will get a discount and the doctor will get a commission for recommending product.
Of course, all the commission can be used on online store itself, as a credit that can be used to purchase your products.
What is probably the most important thing about affiliate programs is trust.
It is up to you as a store owner to do your best to find someone that can be trusted, someone that will make partnership a walk in the park!
It is up to your chosen influencers to decide what will be the approach towards the target market.
After all, they have earned they trust, became influential and do not want to jeopardise that for nothing.
So, leave it to them to find a way to communicate with your mutual audience.
Make an additional effort to choose the right partners for this endeavor.
That will mean that half of the job is already done! Make sure you pair up with an affiliate that will honestly recommend your products.
That is the only way that you will gain trust of your business partners, future affiliates and most importantly – your buyers!