There are many ways to market your eCommerce business online, and among them, all one stands out prominently - Affiliate Marketing mostly because of its effectiveness. Roughly speaking, it is a promotion technique that connects businesses with independent marketers who are willing to invest time and money to sell their products. Put another way, this marketing method connects a merchant that has a product to sell with a marketer who can sell it. ROI(Return on Investment) in Affiliate marketing is always calculated based on the performance-based. Thus advertisers only pay when affiliates deliver a specified customer action. In the eCommerce context, this action is typically an online purchase, which makes affiliate marketing very cost-effective.
What is an Affiliate Program?
It’s a simple relationship between two websites: an advertiser and a publisher. For eg - An advertiser (you as the eCommerce store owner) has products you want to sell, and a publisher (affiliate) promotes these products on their site and earns a commission on every sale. The eCommerce store owner works with other websites that publish content and review products. Ecommerce merchants can leverage a website’s influence, traffic, and expertise to generate sales for their business, and only pay after the sale is complete. The publisher uses their influence and web traffic to make money from the advertiser.
Examples of Affiliate Program Commissions
Direct Sales - Promotors earn commission from the traffic they bring to advertisers and which then drives sales.
Leads - Commissions are earned on actions like email sign-ups, social media follows form submissions, content downloads, etc.
Clicks - In case an advertiser is looking to generate a large amount of traffic might also pay an affiliate on a cost-per-click basis.
What are the Benefits of Affiliate Marketing?
There are quite several benefits when pursuing affiliate marketing for your eCommerce site. The internet has become a very collaborative place and the more websites you work with, the wider your reach and potential website visitors.
Here are some of the key benefits you’ll receive if you get started with affiliate marketing.
Everything is trackable.
You can view the report on impressions, clicks, leads, and sales all in easy to operate dashboards
- Affiliate marketing has a strong return on investment.
One important benefit of affiliate marketing is that it is all performance-based that is, you pay for what you get.
- Affiliate marketing can scale.
Along with your other digital marketing efforts, recruiting affiliates into your program will allow you to scale traffic faster.
- It provides third-party validation and social proof.
By partnering with trusted influencers and high authority websites, you can improve your reputation and build consumer confidence.
- You can focus on selling specific, high-value products.
When creating affiliate offers, online store owners can have affiliates promote all of their products or just a select few. It’s a good idea to have affiliates promote your high-value products with strong profit margins. Plus, if you have a low turnover rate on certain products, you can use inventory management strategies to promote your excess inventory, improving your sell-through rate.
- Last but not least, It isn’t expensive to get started.
So now that you understand the basics of what affiliate marketing is, how do you start your affiliate program? How can you leverage this type of performance-based marketing to drive more business to your eCommerce store?
There are two ways in which you can execute an affiliate marketing strategy – you can have your system for tracking or become a part of a professional affiliate network. These networks represent the marketplaces where you find other e-commerce businesses to promote your products. Some networks charge you a percentage of your sales with a guaranteed ROI, while some others charge you every month.
The smartest way to get started is to have your tracking system and affiliate program. Since most of the paid apps and plugins offer you a lengthy free trial period, you can assess your affiliate program to find if you are getting good ROI and decide whether it’s worth investing in them.
Find an Affiliate in Your Niche
Finding the right affiliate relevant to your niche is extremely important to promote your products in the right way. If you are not aware of your target niche, ask yourself questions like what topics you are passionate about; and whether the niche would give you enough money. If you are ready to write over 25/50/100 blogs in that niche, then it shows you are truly passionate about it and that is the niche you are looking for.
If you are using an affiliate network, you can use its built-in search feature to find the right affiliates. In case you are doing it on your own, finding other entrepreneurs in your niche or stores targeting an audience similar to yours is your first step.
Contacting an Affiliate
If you do not choose to use affiliate networks to connect with other entrepreneurs, the best way to reach out to them is through emails. So, once you have found entrepreneurs in your niche or stores targeting customers who would be interested in buying from you too, you should send those emails to see if they are willing to become your affiliate. This would require sending a few of your product samples and some convincing words to build credibility in addition to enticing them with good commissions on sales. If they decide to be your affiliate, it could be the start of a win-win relationship.
Remember that what affiliates bring you is not just sales, but customers who would stay with you for long. The probability of repeat customers is almost 60% to 70%, and these are people who eventually benefit you by bringing in more clients through word of mouth publicity.
Determine Commission Percentage
This is yet another crucial step in your affiliate marketing exploration. As a beginner, it is good to start with a 10% to 15% commission. As you become established, a 20% to 25% commission would bring you great partners with guaranteed results. The more generous you are, the more would you be in a position to attract professional affiliates to sell your products.
Some stores offer up to 50% commission to affiliates, while on the other hand, reputed fashion sites provide around 10% commission. According to the latest strategy of some of the best affiliate networks in 2017, higher commissions are noted to bring the best affiliates. With them as your partners, you can be assured to have the ROI you deserve sooner than expected.
If you ever wonder why you must get into affiliate marketing rather than various other advertising methods, it is because it gives you the power and flexibility to grow faster, cost-effectively do business and bring guaranteed results. There are various other benefits like reduction in sales staff, using free tools to leverage affiliate marketing, additional traffic without investment, better ranking on search engines for relevant keywords etc.
Moreover, you pay only when an ad works and you are in complete control. Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to build a strong customer relationship. So, start building your affiliate eCommerce program to acquire high-end affiliates who will help sell your products.
Nevertheless, you can expect results based on the proportion of effort and time you have invested in affiliate marketing. It certainly has the magic to create an extra revenue stream for your business. You just have to get into the field and you will start loving all that affiliate marketing has in store for you!