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AFFILIATE MARKETING

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.

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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. 

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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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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.

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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.

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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

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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AFFILIATE MARKETING

One Way to Start a Lucrative Career From Home That Could Pay $50,000 in a Day

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One Way to Start a Lucrative Career From Home That Could Pay $50,000 in a Day


Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This article was written by Mike Peters, founder of the Yomali group of companies, XPRIZE Foundation board member, and an Advisor in The Oracles.

Anna Gita

We’re in the midst of a difficult time in history. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a health crisis, and both the economy and jobs are suffering as a result.

While many of us can work from home, others cannot. But if a silver lining exists, perhaps it’s this: Now is the perfect time to learn a skill or launch a new career. Affiliate marketing gives you that opportunity.

So I spoke with Anna Gita, CEO of MaxWeb, our affiliate marketing network. Here she explains how to start a potentially lucrative career by working from home as an affiliate marketer.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketers are “traffic partners” who help online companies get customers and are paid a commission for every sale they send to a brand’s website. You can work with big brands like Victoria’s Secret and small brands that sell products on Amazon.

Affiliate marketers aren’t just social media influencers or bloggers. Have you ever shopped for a product online and then seen ads for similar products on Facebook the next day? That’s affiliate marketing. You can also use any traffic-generating approach like email, Google advertising, and TikTok.

Why is this a good opportunity right now?

Affiliate marketing can be a lucrative business with real financial stability, and there’s great growth potential because it’s a relatively unknown opportunity. It’s similar to starting an Amazon business but simplified because you’re selling others’ products instead of your own.

See also  11 Stellar Content Marketing Examples to Inspire Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Getting started is low-risk because expenses are minimal. You can market to your existing social media followers for free or set daily spending limits like $20 on Facebook ads while testing what works.

You can get paid $100 per customer; so if you send 500 customers in one day, that’s $50,000 — which is what many affiliates make. 

But what’s especially relevant today is this: You can work from home and get started by investing just a few hours a day. Many courses and resources can help you learn and practice as a side hustle while maintaining your day job.

Why do companies use affiliate marketers?

When brands spend money on advertising, they’re paying for “traffic” or website visitors, but there’s no guarantee it will convert into paying customers.

Rather than hiring a marketer or figuring out how to get customers on their own, brands can leverage affiliates’ expertise for attracting customers with a performance model where they pay a predefined commission per sale, meaning they invest nothing upfront.

What do you need to become an affiliate marketer?

All you need is a laptop and an internet connection; but to succeed, you also need a growth mindset. With a fixed mindset, you get stressed out when faced with a problem; with a growth mindset, you’re excited about learning new things. 

If you enjoy learning, you’ll do well. Like any new business, you have to put in the work and teach yourself, but it’s relatively simple. If you’re committed to investing a few hours a day, that’s more than enough.

How do you start?

First, choose what kind of affiliate marketing you want to do. I recommend starting with something easy, like Facebook or Google advertising. You don’t need an email list or Instagram followers to be an affiliate marketer, but if you have them, take advantage by focusing on email marketing or Instagram.

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Stick with just one platform and focus on mastering it. You can do your own research on forums like OfferVault and Stacked Marketer. Then once you have a stable income, you can expand your horizons by learning new platforms.

While you can work directly with brands, it isn’t easy — especially when you’re new, and they don’t know or trust you. That’s why affiliate networks like MaxWeb exist.

What are affiliate marketing networks?

Affiliate networks bridge the gap between brands and affiliate marketers. They provide language (copy) and graphics you can use, a unique link to track your conversions and other metrics to improve your campaigns. They also ensure the brand websites are optimized, so your visitors convert into customers and you get paid.

How do you find the right network?

Choose a network that has a good reputation and offers tested content and creative, tracking and tech support, and reliable cash flow. Look for networks that test everything for you and will pay you on time, at least weekly. Research “affiliate marketing networks” for recommendations and reviews; online communities and Facebook groups are an excellent resource.

Don’t worry about making $50,000 per day initially. Focus on earning the equivalent of your annual salary while working fewer hours. Earning a few hundred dollars a day is achievable with a growth mindset and effort.

No matter what uncertainty you’re experiencing right now, I’m here to tell you: it will improve, and a lucrative career is possible.

Connect with Mike Peters and Anna Gita on LinkedIn or visit MaxWeb.

Want to share your insights in a future article like this? Join The Oracles.

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