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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 affiliate marketing and advertising networks for ecommerce players.

How ecommerce players can leverage affiliate marketing 

Imagine there’s a digital shop selling 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 sales 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

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.
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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 online advertising needs to be targeted with pinpoint accuracy. 

3. Be time and location sensitive

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. 

See also  Affiliate Marketing vs. COVID-19: Industry Movement and Expert Advice on Surviving the Impact

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.

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 Google Analytics or traffic trackers can provide you with the needed analysis to measure the success of your affiliate campaign.

See also  17 Actionable Content Marketing Tips for 2022

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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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.

utah778 | Getty Images

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.

See also  Affiliate Link Building: How to Do It the Right Way

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.

See also  Customer Experience Will Determine the Success of Your Company

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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This $19 Course Demystifies Affiliate Marketing in Two Hours Flat

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This $19 Course Demystifies Affiliate Marketing in Two Hours Flat


Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Fire up your go-to social media feed, and there’s a good chance you’ll scroll past at least one promo code or coupon being promoted by an influencer you follow. Without even trying, you’ve been exposed to a new brand, as well as an incentive in the form of a free trial or discount that might just get you to convert. That’s the magic of affiliate marketing.

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Companies big and small are leveraging affiliate marketing to drive brand awareness and conversions, and affiliate marketers stand to make a pretty penny for their services. Of course, the field can be a bit tricky to crack. but that’s what the SEO Affiliate Domination course is for. Now only $19, this course can help you make a killing in the affiliate marketing scene; and for 90% off what it would usually cost.

In just two hours, this course offers a detailed look into the lucrative world of affiliate marketing. Jump in, and you’ll discover important strategies for e-commerce, affiliate marketing, SEO, and video marketing; and you’ll emerge with a greater understanding of how to build brand authority.

Normally $199, the SEO Affiliate Domination course is on sale for only $19, a whopping 90% off the usual price.



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Pick a Marketing Model That Lets You Pay for Results, Not Potential

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Pick a Marketing Model That Lets You Pay for Results, Not Potential


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In an era of caution, companies need to invest in marketing efforts that lead to a direct payoff and don’t require more than they can afford. Over the past week, I’ve had to evaluate all the things I’m doing at Calendar to see what’s really moving the needle. It’s astonishing the things we’re spending money on that aren’t actually driving revenue to our bottom line.

Visual Generation | Getty Images

As today’s environment forces drastic behavioral shifts in our daily lives, companies of all sizes and in all industries are evaluating the changes they need to make to stay nimble in our new economic reality. As businesses adapt to the stay-home economy, they’ll be focusing on which investments drive the best possible outcomes.

Businesses are used to pouring money into marketing channels that require upfront, flat-fee investments for promised inputs and potential outputs. Rather than invest in these marketing channels, companies can leverage affiliate marketing, which only requires them to pay partners once they’ve achieved the desired result.

Related: How to Build a Reliable (and Profitable) Affiliate Network From Scratch

What is affiliate marketing?

When managing their marketing budgets, companies should invest in channels tied directly to outcomes and avoid unnecessary risk. After all, if they pour all their funds into marketing but see no payoff, how will they afford to develop their products and services further? 

Affiliate marketing (often called “partner marketing”) is simple: A brand partners with a publisher, or an affiliate, to market a product or service to its audience using a tracking platform. Unlike marketing channels that require upfront payment, brands pay publishers a percentage-based commission for each sale generated through their content. 

See also  Customer Experience Will Determine the Success of Your Company

Forrester predicted that by the close of this year, U.S. ecommerce sales would total $500 billion. Combine that with predictive analytics firm Custora’s prediction that affiliate marketing will influence 14 percent of ecommerce purchases in the U.S., and that means affiliate marketing will impact $70 billion worth of sales. Pepperjam’s Adobe Summit 2017 Survey revealed that only 4 percent of are investing in affiliate marketing, meaning there’s a big opportunity. 

Related: Three Trends That Will Drive the E-commerce Sector In 2019

How affiliate marketing pays off (in more ways than one).

Affiliate marketing offers a cost-per-action (CPA) payment structure instead of a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) structure. This creates a sustainable, competitive advantage because businesses only have to pay for converted sales and leads after the publisher finalizes them. Even during tough times, brands should always want to pay for incremental revenue. It prevents businesses from throwing good money after bad — they don’t need to invest large amounts of money into marketing campaigns or ads that turn out to not convert as expected.

Instead of continuously investing money into Facebook and Google, hoping it leads to conversions, affiliate marketing enables brands to broadcast their product to a wide audience of potential customers with a pay-for-performance pricing model. It also enables them to be more hands-off, allowing their affiliate partners to use their brand standards to do the work themselves. Affiliate programs can even include partners who will share the brand via Facebook or Google; unlike traditional methods on those platforms, these will be paid based on those campaigns’ performance, allowing a low-risk entry to these channels. 

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Related: How Much Should You Spend on Social Media Marketing?

Even in an uncertain economy, this framework can scale. Because the marketing investment is only a portion of the revenue the partnership brings in, businesses just have to figure what they’re willing to pay for each transaction or new customer. They don’t have to worry about pouring excessive budget into a single channel. 

In a precarious marketplace, businesses need to stabilize their immediate future by investing in channels that they know will drive profit. Affiliate marketing is the model for this moment: It’s built on transparent and trusting relationships, where brands and partners set clear expectations and companies only have to pay for the outcomes they get.

People are at home, and that’s where affiliate marketers can capture their attention. Companies can stay ahead of the game by using affiliate marketing to maximize their ROI and make sure they’re paying for outcomes, not inputs.



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