Businesses employ various strategies with one primary aim: to market their products and services to their target audience. Some of the different marketing strategies these businesses deploy include social media marketing, media buying, PPC (Pay-Per-Click), content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and email marketing.
But the most profitable of these marketing strategies is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is so critical to business success that organizations send delegates to attend the world-renowned affiliate conference, a gathering of lead generation specialists, content marketers, SEO gurus, and conversion optimization specialists.
But what is affiliate marketing, and why is it so important that businesses worldwide employ it as one of their central aspects of marketing? This article answers these questions and more.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing refers to an advertising model in which a business or organization compensates individuals – via an affiliate marketing program – to drive high-quality leads or traffic to the organization’s products and services.
These individuals – known as third-party publishers – or affiliates, receive commissions each time their traffic generates sales for the organization. In other words, the affiliates promote the products and services of a company in return for commissions after sales are made.
Affiliate marketing is one of the simplest forms of online marketing. It is so simple that experts recommend it to newbies as an excellent avenue to enter the online marketing space. It is also one of the most profitable methods of making money online, probably only second to email marketing.
Affiliate marketers – another term used to describe affiliates or third-party publishers – do not require special training or previous experience. Instead, the requirements for success with affiliate marketing are a passion for the niche and solid persuasive writing skills.
Of course, suppose you possess a persuasive skill like copywriting. In that case, you can bring that skill to your affiliate marketing business. But anyone can engage in affiliate marketing as long as they are passionate about marketing.
Why affiliate marketing is important for businesses
Affiliate marketing is vital to businesses and brands for many reasons. For instance, research shows that affiliate programs were primarily responsible for generating 23 percent of all sales on average for brands. In addition, companies that run subscription-based services, SaaS business models, and the product review sector have had remarkable success with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing also accounts for up to 15 percent of revenue in the digital media industry. Moreover, about 58 percent of all affiliate purchases were made via mobile devices in 2018. Statistica reports that affiliate marketing spending within the United States is estimated to reach $8.2 billion by 2022.
This shows how powerful affiliate marketing is. The following also showcase why brands employ affiliate marketing as one of their core marketing strategies today:
Enhance brand awareness
The primary goal of any business, offline and online, is to get instant recognition by as many prospective buyers as possible. When affiliates drive more and more traffic to your site daily, the result is a significant increase in brand awareness, i.e., more people get to know about your business and what it entails.
Since affiliates also take a share of the brand’s revenue, they become loyal advocates. Their vested interest in the brand’s success will drive them to do everything legally to gain the trust of their prospective customers.
Reach a much broader, highly targeted audience
Small businesses or startups enjoy the most benefits from affiliate marketing. They can tap into their affiliates’ audiences to expand the brand’s reach. However, reaching the new target audiences could be challenging or cost a lot of money in ads or campaigns.
But businesses can work with third-party publishers that resonate with your brand. These affiliates will drive targeted traffic through their links to your website, so that they can purchase your products and services.
Boost conversion rates
Monitoring the overall performance of your business enables you to deploy operational improvements down the road. Affiliate marketing tracking provides high-quality data that gives your brand vital insights into your target market, where they come from, why they are buying, the best time they make purchases, etc.
Brands study and analyze this rich collection of data to significantly boost conversions. This is possible as you make the necessary changes to your website. This may include making your site mobile-friendly, creating more engaging visual content or creatives, etc.
Increase social proof
Most consumers no longer rely heavily on companies’ marketing messages on their sales pages. Instead, they have higher expectations and mostly look for social proof or testimonies to validate the claims made by any brand.
In-depth research shows that nearly 95 percent of consumers rely heavily on online reviews before making a purchasing decision. Therefore, when a brand successfully builds rapport with a highly engaged target audience, the market will leave lots of social proof that will make it easier for its affiliates to generate massive sales.
Enjoy higher ROI (return on investment)
Determining return on investment (ROI) for advertising and marketing campaigns can be challenging and unpredictable. As mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing is unique, a performance-based business model for profitability only. Companies don’t pay for prospective buyers via clicks or impressions; they only pay for closed sales.
This is one of the crucial reasons small businesses employ affiliate marketing to promote or market and sell their products/services. Channeling your brand’s promotion efforts via an affiliate program enables you to gain influence and direct access to a highly targeted and receptive audience with high chances of doing business with your organization.
Save lots of money
Affiliate marketing is the most cost-effective strategy any organization can deploy, especially compared to advertising costs. In addition, affiliate marketing is performance-based, meaning affiliates will only get paid their commissions after a successful sale.
Businesses can set up their affiliate program, which includes a commission structure. This prevents such companies from wasting money on advertising that is primarily ineffective.
Organizations worldwide employ affiliate marketing as part of their sales-generating strategies. However, other techniques do not offer the same growth, promotion, and sales level as this unique marketing system.
That is why businesses of all sizes will continue to adopt affiliate marketing as markets grow daily.