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AFFILIATE MARKETING

How to Use Affiliate Marketing to Level Up Your Ecommerce Strategy

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How to Use Affiliate Marketing to Level Up Your Ecommerce Strategy


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ecommerce continues to gain relevance as people find it more convenient to shop online, especially when 2020’s pandemic hit. Now, the ecommerce vertical is 2021-ready. But the initial obstacle remains: How to position a given product before the precise audience?

To remove this barrier and grow customer reach, you need to know a thing or two about and networks for ecommerce players.

How ecommerce players can leverage affiliate marketing

Imagine there’s a digital shop children’s bikes, and it’s about to launch an international seasonal sale campaign. The store has a variety of options: The owner can place paid search ads, approach a multinational agency for conversion or hire an international marketing team.

What works most, however, is localized and personalized promotion. And this is where a partnership between ecommerce players and affiliate marketers becomes profitable. See, thanks to the influence they have on their viewers, affiliates are the pros of campaign optimization and local targeting.

How does it work? A blogger or website owner (an affiliate) recommends a merchant’s goods and gets paid each time a user buys goods via this recommendation. Purchase is the only action that is paid.

Related: 8 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting Affiliate Marketing

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Advantages of using affiliate marketing in ecommerce

If you’re wondering why merchants should take advantage of this style of online marketing, here are some of the perks:

  • Generates the right leads to your website.
  • Helps you keep track, control and measure your marketing success.
  • Gives you serious value for your money since it’s performance-based.
  • Widens your brand awareness and business reputation.
  • Drives repeat sales.

How to promote an ecommerce offer

With the aid of a fitting associate offer and promotion strategy, you can maximize leads and sales from your advert.

Whether yours is a small store or a business empire, to get the most out of your ecommerce affiliate programs, here’s what to keep in mind.

1. Come up with an ecommerce offer

Before you start looking for affiliates, you should decide what you are going to promote and what results you expect. This will be your offer. So what exactly is an offer? It’s an arrangement provided by an advertiser to attract individual marketers. It may detail things like your brand or business, the commission rate, shipping information, product descriptions, landing page, creatives or images related to the product.

2. Direct the right products to the right people

One of the most common mistakes to avoid is shoving the whole ecommerce website down the throat of potential clients. Your efforts, instead, should be directed toward meeting their demands. Identify the right products that meet the needs of each set of audiences.

Users are quick to disregard unspecific ads and campaigns that are irrelevant to their current needs. This is why needs to be targeted with pinpoint accuracy.

3. Be time and location sensitive

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Time and location are two critical factors in ecommerce. As you plug into a partner program, give consideration to time and location when developing your campaign.

Pay attention to differences in time zones. When are prospects most likely to see your ads? These ads should be shown only to those within the geographical reach of your distribution services.

4. Prepare your landing page

First off, your home page shouldn’t be your landing page, mainly because a majority of viewers won’t pay attention for long, as we all get distracted easily these days. Remember that the ultimate goal is to convert as many leads as possible to sales.

You want to focus on the main headline (make it grabby and punchy), social proof, CTA (call-to-action), eye-catching media content (images, videos, etc.) and compelling copy (containing benefits and product features). Timers, containers, lots of white space — these are the little details that make your landing pages even more effective.

Related: 3 Tips to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

5. Provide your affiliate marketers with visuals

The more attention it grabs, the better. The higher the quality, the better. Visual content often works better than words. Or combine the two masterfully, and you have an affiliate offer that marketers are dying to promote.

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Affiliate marketing in ecommerce calls for high-res images visualizing the products, their descriptions, their benefits and sometimes social proof. That’s why you should always create and share high-quality visuals with your publishers.

6. Think of how to track your affiliate offer

To find exactly how affiliate marketing impacts your ecommerce site, you need to have a distinct idea of how many people click on your ads or links, how many of those clicks turn into prospects and how many of those turn into conversions. Tools such as Analytics or traffic trackers can provide you with the needed analysis to measure the success of your affiliate campaign.

7. Choose a promotion strategy (or let affiliate network experts do it for you)

Another vital aspect is choosing a suitable promotion strategy for your offers (that’s if you’re working with publishers directly). If you’re going with an advertising network like Google, you provide all necessary information about your offer, and affiliate marketing experts decide how to best promote it. The same is fair for affiliate networks.

Creating the best affiliate offers starts with the right products. Identify which segment of people would be drawn to your products and services. Draw patterns from their online behavior, target them where they can be found and tailor your ad to their biases.

Related: This Is Why Teenagers Are the Affiliate-Marketing Experts

This covers working with pubs they are in constant contact with. When you understand the target market, you can create a highly productive affiliate marketing campaign in a collaboration that results in increased leads, conversions and sales.

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AFFILIATE MARKETING

During COVID, Affiliate Marketing Is Emerging As a Cost-effective Channel For Brands

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During COVID, Affiliate Marketing Is Emerging As a Cost-effective Channel For Brands


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You’re reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

With the outbreak of the pandemic, going for performance-oriented channels has become a prerequisite for stability. Several advertisers are struggling with low marketing budgets and a pressure to drive return on investment (RoI) through limited spends, especially owing to current times. The most common dilemma for companies is to decide where to focus their marketing budgets on, after investing in one’s own in-house paid channels. “Affiliate channels’ often provide desirable solutions, as the performance of such activities can be assessed and paid for. When the budgets are lower, investing on a marketing channel where one gets to pay per lead or pay per transaction, could be the safest bet during the current crisis compared with other marketing channels.


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Representational

With the ongoing challenges of customer acquisition and the pressure to get RoIs, the advertisers have tried to come up with the online business approaches in order to depend less on offline means.

Despite the evolution of marketing practices and strategies, amid the big quantum of content available online today, brands are finding it difficult to reach out to their target audiences in an effective manner. Taking the current health crisis into consideration, customers are more concerned about health and safety, thereby influencing their choices with respect to financial services such as in the insurance segment, over the others.

This holds especially true for brands operating in niche segments, such as the banking and financial services sector which offer specialized products and services. Their marketing content, essentially, is about communicating “what’ the brand is offering, “why’ the customer must opt for it and “how’ can the customer acquire the same. It’s not easy to convince people to trust someone to deal with their money and life’s savings.

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Why companies in the BFSI sector must opt for affiliate marketing

FinTech has transformed the BFSI sector drastically. From payments, loan applications to insurance, almost every service in the banking sector is going digital at a rapid pace. Apps, banking services and products are also updated regularly to enhance user experience, and make financial services easier and more convenient for consumers. The digital shift reflects prominently in the adoption of digital payments as well. A 2019 KPMG report showed that non-cash transactions are growing at a CAGR of 12.7 per cent. The number of merchants accepting digital payments has also skyrocketed, growing from around 1.5 million in 2016-17 to 10 million in 2019.

However, due to COVID-19, investor sentiments are at an all-time low and this is likely to cause severe disruptions in the banking industry all over the world. Banks will now have to regroup their departments and teams to chalk out counter-strategies to maintain good assets and earnings.

To tap into the growing digital opportunity, BFSI brands must leverage innovative marketing strategies in order to increase their sales by targeting the right customers. Working on an affiliate marketing strategy could be one of those options which could aid the financial services sector with cost-effective solutions, while driving up traffic. In an affiliate marketing setup, publishers cannot treat the BFSI brands’ products and services like other commodities.

As all of their offerings revolve around money, it is integral for brands to prioritise generating a need for these services among their target audiences. The key to effective brand communication, in the BFSI domain, is transparency in information delivery. To cater to this marketing requisite, opting for affiliate marketing can prove to be highly useful for the BFSI sector. By signing up relevant publishers as affiliates, BFSI advertisers can reach out to their target consumers in a trust-based ecosystem for communicating their key brand messages.

Affiliate with whom and where?

For affiliate marketing programmes, BFSI brands require those publishers who have the required ingenuity for curating relevant information in the right category of the sector. With everything going online from doorstep delivery of daily groceries through just a click, to getting the health checkup or tests done at home, users are now more aware about such needs. The probability that they will go searching online for services and also transact online is very high. It would be an opportune decision to reach out to the target audience in such a manner, as it is likely to generate faster results and direct interaction with a user looking for a service.

Furthermore, countless other possibilities open as affiliate networks facilitate revenue sharing mechanisms between the service provider and a publisher when one’s link gets clicked. Compared to several other digital marketing options which depend on user accessibility and high costs between corporations for using certain platforms, affiliate marketing’s targeted content is more likely to fetch dividends. The post-pandemic growth reality will be a difficult pill to swallow and affiliate marketing solutions can make the changes positive and palatable. This will not only be an economical option, it will also help companies acquire customers who are looking for a particular service, while simultaneously incentivizing the publisher too. Beyond sales and on-boarding of new customers, the average time spent by an Indian working professional or Internet user has increased multifold due to pandemic. This goes to show that people will continue to look for their necessities online across multiple websites and portals. It shall open up opportunities for brands to increase awareness about one’s services across several sectors without the need to remain confined to one’s own market segment. Below are some of the platforms where companies in the financial sector can join affiliates to target more consumers:

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Blogs: Online blogs are one of the most trusted platforms for the BFSI sector. Specialized content publishers who demystify financial services and products such as loans, insurance, credit cards, overdraft protection for consumers, are the most sought-after ones for the BFSI brands in affiliate marketing. They cater to an audience that actively seeks out experts’ advice before making all financial decisions. Bloggers also get an opportunity to drive traffic to specific services offered by different BFSI verticals. Bringing publishers on board who operate in this domain helps the brands drive high-impact marketing campaigns which deliver fast results. Some of the websites that feature such content are Cashoverflow.com and Goodreturns.in.

Business news websites offering guidance on personal finance: Various news portals such as NDTV Profit, CNBC TV-18, etc., feature content that consumers can avail to manage personal finance, insurance policies, etc. These websites are regularly accessed by keen observers on finance and banking, who are one of the primary target audiences for brands in the BFSI sector.

Comparison sites: Comparison sites invite immense traffic of consumers who are interested in getting the right deals in financial services which are most suitable for them from the budget and consumption point of view. Brands dealing with financial services such as personal banking, insurance policies, credit card policies can avail these sites to target potential customers.

Contextual advertising: Contextual advertising is a marketing model where affiliates or publishers can target consumers based on their specific interests. These platforms provide relevant content, targeting a particular set of audience for whom unnecessary features are eliminated based on their past browsing behavior, making it one of the most effective platforms for brands in the BFSI sector. The companies can also get their products featured in specialized content meant to meet specific ends.

E-mail inventories: Brands can supply relevant information to potential and current consumers via newsletters in their email inboxes. Information on latest offers, new updates on products and useful information on services can be relayed to the customers who otherwise find ads, SMS-marketing intrusive and use ad-blockers on their devices. BFSI companies can tie up with content affiliate sites that send out value-based articles and ideas with other exciting information about the brands, promoting more subscriptions and sales.

A win-win for both: the brands and the affiliates

By making the most of the growing digital presence of consumers, affiliate partnerships can prove to be one of the most cost-effective ways for banks and financial institutions to convert consumers online. The fast and approved online transactions help the BFSI brands acquire more control over their businesses than the other conventional marketing practices. Moreover, in creating affiliate marketing campaigns for the brands in the BFSI sector, the publishers also have more opportunities to earn big commissions compared to the other e-commerce campaigns. Brands operating in the BFSI sectors generate more sales and earn more profits on their products and services as compared to the non-financial brands. For every customer gained, the publisher gets an opportunity to earn a couple of times more commission on it than it can from, say, when a consumer buys a stationery product. Big banks pay commission basis the pay-per-scale model. Most financial institutions offer commission of this type to bloggers.

And last but not least, players in the BFSI sectors can get a fair chance to incorporate multiple marketing tactics and test innovative strategies in an affiliate marketing programme without the slightest worry, since rewards are paid only on a performance basis which is well accounted for.

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