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AFFILIATE MARKETING

How Brands Can Use Affiliate Marketing to Increase Their Marketing ROI

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How Brands Can Use Affiliate Marketing to Increase Their Marketing ROI


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Getting a strong return on a marketing investment: It keeps a lot of people up at night. How will the money spent on that PR firm translate into sales dollars? How will that huge advertising campaign that cost a million dollars impact your brand? For most marketing initiatives, determining ROI is an unpredictable waiting game with no guaranteed outcome.

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There’s one marketing model that plays by a different set of rules, however — rules based on paying for performance after results have been driven. Affiliate marketing, once viewed as a shot in the dark, is driven today by sophisticated technology, transparency between partners and compensation tied to specific, measurable results.

Related: How This Affiliate Marketer Learned Enough About His Craft to Strike Out on His Own

That said, a successful affiliate program requires the right experience and partners. Whether you’re looking to start an affiliate program or take an existing program to the next level, you need a strong team behind you. Here are the five players you need to ensure you’re driving the affiliate ROI you want:

1. An Agency

Unless your company has the resources and bandwidth to build a team of several people with extensive affiliate marketing knowledge and experience, hiring an agency is the best option. Agency marketers are experienced at handling the multifaceted complexities that come with building and growing a high-performing program.

Make sure you’re clearly looking at the agency’s setup, ensuring it’s based on performance. I once saw a speech by Robert Glazer, the CEO of Acceleration Partners, a global affiliate marketing company. He wrote a book called “Performance Partnerships,” which focused on aligning any affiliate program with performance. It’s easy to fall for the trap of working with a company that says it will bring you sales, but make sure it puts its money where its mouth is. If it doesn’t deliver in the short term, chances are high it might not be able to meet long-term expectations.

2. A Scalable Network or Platform

Whether it’s an affiliate network or SaaS platform, all affiliate marketing programs need a technology platform to run on. Your platform should be able to support your growth plans and offer you the right features and geographical coverage, particularly if yours is a global brand.

Awin is an example of this type of platform. The firm provides technology that helps address industry challenges, such as third-party tracking, data light tracking, attribution and advanced commissioning. These types of data weren’t available years ago, but with new tech advances, you can identify what works, as well as when and why. It’s not just valuable for the affiliate program, but for also learning what works so you can apply that knowledge to different sales channels.

3. Loyalty Partners

If you want to scale your program quickly, you’ll need to partner with players who are focused on establishing loyal customers. Ebates is one of the bigger players in the loyalty sector operating on a performance basis. The brand is actively expanding its markets and its categories beyond retail to include travel, dining and ride-sharing for cash-back rewards.

It’s important to determine whether these types of partners will truly create loyalty or attract the wrong types of customers. If you pick the right type of loyalty partner, it can result in the strong, loyal customer base that’s key to long-term brand survival.

Related: How Loyalty Programs Are Emerging as Effective Marketing Tools

4. Mobile Partners

Customers are increasingly spending time on mobile devices and apps, so it’s imperative to have partners within your affiliate program who dominate the mobile ecosystem.

Ibotta is an example of one of these apps in the U.S., connecting consumers with grocery, retail and lifestyle brands and rewarding them with cash for buying things they need. I used the app pretty easily when I was standing in line with customer service after a purchase. I simply took a picture of the receipt, and the app applied the cash back to my account. With a lot of mobile user growth, it’s good to look at partners who have developed a mobile user experience that makes things easy and accessible for the customer.

5. Tech-Driven Publishers

The affiliate space has grown well beyond coupon and deal partners. To drive incremental revenue on a performance basis within your program, consider partnering with publishers who are advanced in e-commerce technology, including deep website integration and artificial intelligence.

RevLifter is one example: The company helps brands deliver more conversions, incremental sales and customers by personalizing deals for advertisers across marketing channels. Available worldwide on a pay-per-performance model, it uses AI to understand real-time signals from users’ on-site behavior and deliver the right deal to the right customer at the right time.

Related: Partner Programs Turn Competitors Into Collaborators

Whether you’re new to affiliate marketing or simply needing to step up your game, checking off these boxes will help you develop a strong affiliate marketing program. ROI is hard to manage when you’re running a bevy of marketing programs, but the right team can help you take the reins — and get the outcome you want.



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AFFILIATE MARKETING

How To Start Affiliate Marketing with No Money in 2023

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How To Start Affiliate Marketing with No Money in 2023


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

To start affiliate marketing without money, people often think you must become a blogger with a dedicated website — draining money and resources. Although it is helpful to have a blog when you can reinvest in your business and scale upward, it’s not essential. Affiliate marketing with no money means affiliate marketing with free traffic.

TikTok is a potential free traffic source that relatively few marketers, about 14%, currently utilize. Luckily, TikTok doesn’t appear to throttle the organic reach of content creators.

Tiktok doesn’t use follower count as a ranking signal, so you don’t need a million followers to make money as an affiliate. You just need to reach the right people. Here’s how to start affiliate marketing on TikTok.

Related: 3 Tips to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

Choose a niche affiliate program

To succeed in affiliate marketing on TikTok, focus on what people spend their disposable income on and stick to it. Once you provide hacks around these areas, you can influence people to purchase them using your link.

An example of this is the Shein Haul. Some categories you could consider include clothing, makeup, electronic gadgets, food, lifestyle and fashion. As a Tiktoker, you can simply start by showing off some items you got on Shein. Add links to the items, as people want to order any clothing they like during your try-on.

Hack your TikTok channel growth with emerging trends

At the core of TikTok genetic makeup are “trends.” The app is built around trends. To grow your TikTok reach and start affiliate marketing with no money on the platform, you have to begin to understand trends. Creatively tap into TikTok trends by:

  • Using trending music and sounds; remember to use these sounds while they are still new, so your content gets the impressions while it’s still hot.
  • Joining challenges, dances and mashups. Always bring in something new and unique to challenges. If possible, make a better and improved version so others can draw inspiration from yours.
  • Take content clues from already viral videos and look out for patterns. What sounds, hashtags and captions did they use? What was captivating in the first few seconds, and how did people react in the comments?
  • Initiate trends with your content and make it irresistible; mash-up popular sounds and switch up a current challenge. When you create videos with exciting sounds that are easy to replicate, it’s bound to go viral, as FOMO would want others to replicate

When your content finally goes viral, capitalize on the content that goes viral to build momentum in pushing traffic to your affiliate offer. How can you do this? Engage with every comment on your profile, welcome new followers and ask them what they want to see. This will skyrocket engagement with the viral video and increase its reach. Replicate this process in other videos.

Implement the product into your videos organically

People will scroll away if you sound like a robotic sales ad. To do affiliate marketing on TikTok, infuse your products organically by doing a storytime while using the product, adding it to your daily routine, sharing the product as a reply to a comment asking about it or doing a product review. Try to be as objective as possible.

Essentially, your priority should be to provide valuable information to your audience in an entertaining manner. Then strategically weave the affiliate product into the fun videos.

Related: I Ran the First Version of TikTok. Here’s What I Learned About Spotting Viral Trends.

Promote like crazy

Once you get the views, it’s time to promote your affiliate links and maximize your engagements. You can do this by:

1. Linking affiliate products

Add your affiliate links in easily discoverable areas by:

  • Using a popular hashtag if there are other similar affiliate products
  • Including your affiliate link in your bio or through a bridge page
  • Adding an affiliate URL in your content description
  • Offer a coupon or your unique discount code in the comments

2. Build your other social platform audience

Redirect your generated traffic to build engagements and followers on your other platforms. Do this by customizing your profiles and adding a Youtube or Instagram link. Also, let your viewers know they can watch the full clip on Youtube (if you have one).

Final thoughts

Starting affiliate marketing with no money means building an audience with a free traffic source — in this case, TikTok. Though TikTok does not restrict organic reach, unlike most social platforms, it still requires a great deal of consistency. Remain consistent in creating entertaining yet valuable content. When you finally start making money doing affiliate marketing on TikTok, invest in TikTok paid ads to scale even faster.

Related: 5 Essential Strategies for Boosting Your Brand’s Popularity on TikTok



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