Business growth is synonymous with creativity. One of the hardest parts of going into business is finding creative ways to let the world know that you are in business (and that you offer something they need). Even companies that have been in business for years can struggle to get their name out into the marketplace on a grander scale.
For small to mid-size businesses, multi-million dollar ad campaigns are just not in the budget. Creative marketing is your key to success, and one of the easiest ways to do this is through affiliate marketing. If you are new to affiliate marketing and would like to explore it further, we have outlined some of the pros and cons to help you decide whether it is right for your company.
What Exactly is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a simple way for brands to generate income by allowing other businesses to advertise products on their website through ads, sales of affiliate products, or through other incentives programs.
There are essentially two forms of affiliate marketing:
- Having other brands advertise your products on their sites and to their customers
- Advertising the products of other brands on your website and to your customers
One of the most prominent examples of affiliate marketing is by way of influencer marketing. Social media influencers use affiliate marketing to earn money by endorsing a company’s products and sharing them with their followers. By mentioning a product or business in their videos or blogs, they generate more traffic to the company’s website and earn a small commission.
Another example is when small retail establishments pay a fee to sell their products on huge online marketplaces like Amazon through its affiliate program. This allows them to take advantage of its behemoth customer base.
Why Should I Use Affiliate Marketing to Grow My Business?
Affiliate marketing offers a small stream of income, which can really add up over time. Each time someone visiting your website clicks on a banner ad, you get a small commission for the click-through.
Sponsoring a non-profit organization or a small sports league is also a way to build a partnership that can generate extra income for your business. To sponsor a non-profit, you typically donate a sum of money to the organization and the organization then in turn will highlight your business as a sponsor in their marketing materials – it is a win-win situation for both businesses. Affiliate marketing is about forming partnerships with well-established companies in an effort to share consumer networks and get your brand name out there.
Here are some of the benefits of using affiliate marketing:
1. Low-Cost Revenue Stream
Most small to mid-size businesses simply do not have a large enough marketing budget to pay for high-cost advertising to the masses, like TV commercials and radio ads. Affiliate marketing allows you to generate extra income just for promoting products sold by larger companies or promote your own business by selling goods on larger platforms. With programs like Google Ads, you can add banner ad boxes to your website and generate a small commission when someone visits your website and clicks on the ad. Likewise, you can create your own banner ad, and Google ads will publish it in the ad box on other websites.
2. The World Becomes Your Oyster
Affiliate marketing reaches consumers all around the world with a very minimal time commitment on your part. If you are interested in adding banner ads to your website, the hardest part is figuring out where exactly to place them on the page. Selling products through affiliate marketing programs is also easy to do, and you gain access to a global customer base. The opportunities are vast, especially when you compare them against the amount of time and effort that goes into creating them.
3. Small Income Can Drive High Revenue
Have you ever heard the saying, “Mind your pennies, and the dollars will follow?” While you may only receive a couple of pennies per ad click or a smaller profit on items sold through affiliate programs, the revenue potential over time is huge.
It’s similar to email automation in that it’s almost a set it and forget it model. Once you set your affiliate marketing program up, the rest is up to the platform it’s running on, the users it’s appealing to, or your partners that are working to promote it.
4. Builds Partnerships
Whether your customers are promoting your product to their customers, a brand is sharing a banner ad on their site, or you’re pushing another brand’s product on your site, affiliate marketing enables you to build stronger partnerships.
At the root of the strategy is trust – each brand has to trust the other in order for affiliate marketing to be successful. And when trust is shown and lived up to, it strengthens the bond between each brand and opens the door for more partnership opportunities in the future.
And now, here is a quick look at some of the cons:
1. Following Another Company’s Rules
When you work with affiliates, you are required to follow the rules set forth by that company. In the case of banner ads, you will have no control over what ads are placed on your website. If you choose to work with an affiliate program, like Amazon, you have to sell your products in accordance with their policies and procedures.
2. Not All Affiliate Marketing Programs are Created Equally
Some affiliate marketing programs pay you for each interaction, while others only pay you if someone makes a purchase from your lead. In the case of selling products on affiliate websites, there is usually a sales fee that must be paid for each item sold.
3. A Lot of Website Maintenance
If you choose to run banner ads on your website to generate commission or ad click revenue, you have to maintain your website frequently in order to drive traffic to your site, so they see the banner ads in the first place.
Affiliate marketing is a great choice if you are trying to grow your business and are exploring other avenues of potential income, but it does come with its own unique set of challenges. Make sure you consider the pros and cons and what kind of program you’d like to participate in first (i.e., have other brands join your affiliate marketing program or be an affiliate marketer). Know your parameters and start small. Once you evaluate some return, you can decide to expand your strategy.
Seen at: Benchmarkemail.com
6 Email Marketing Threats Every Professional Should Know About
With so many companies and professionals utilizing this channel, it’s no surprise that hackers have their eyes on it too.
These scammers use unsolicited emails, malicious links, and other ways to breach your systems and steal your personal information, files, and other important resources.
Hence, you need to take proactive steps to ensure you don’t fall victim to their ill-doings.
In this post, we’ll share the six most common email marketing threats professionals in every industry, niche, and role face daily.
We’ll also share useful prevention tips or solutions for each threat.
The Most Dangerous Email Security Threats Professionals Face
Let’s begin with the oldest and most annoying threat – spam. In short, spam refers to unwanted or unsolicited messages advertising different products and services – most of which are fake. Some also contain Trojans and malware in the form of links or attachments.
These emails flood and clog mailboxes with junk that serves no purpose to professionals and simply wastes their time or impacts their productivity. Here are some interesting stats to give you an idea of how big of a threat spam is:
- According to Statista, nearly 60% of email marketing traffic volume is spam;
- Mailmodo says that one spam email produces nearly 0.03g of carbon monoxide. In 2021, nearly 4.5 tons of CO2 was released just because of spam;
- Less than 25% of spam messages are legit. Around 73% are phishing emails, while 2.5% are scams and fraud.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to eliminate spam from email marketing. However, you can protect yourself by:
- Reporting, blocking, and deleting suspicious emails;
- Using a third-party email filter, such as SpamTitan, Xeams, Spambrella, etc.
Spoofing is among the most popular email marketing threats taking the business market by storm. In short, spoofs are forgery emails used by scammers and criminals to mimic real brands. They prompt recipients to share their personal information or make a transaction on fake landing pages linked within the emails.
Here are some interesting stats related to spoofs:
Unfortunately, the only way to prevent theft or loss by spoofing emails is through due diligence. This includes simple practices, such as:
- Sticking to trusted brands for products and services;
- Identifying fake links by hovering your cursor over the link to display the real URL;
- Contacting businesses on their official numbers to verify the content of a branded email.
3. Botnet and DDoS Attacks
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) typically involves using botnets connected to the internet to send out massive spam and phishing campaigns that can overload systems. Here are some interesting stats related to DDoS attacks via email:
- According to Secure List, US businesses alone faced over 78,000 DDoS attacks in Q2 2022;
- Comparitech states that around 70% of businesses face 20-50 DDoS attacks every month.
DDoS attacks via email typically occur when attackers get a hold of IP addresses. Therefore, one of the best ways to prevent them is by using free VPN software, which allows you to browse and use emails anonymously.
Phishing is one of the oldest email marketing threats professionals have faced since the early 2000s. It employs social engineering and other techniques to trick employees into sharing personal information that could result in their money, data, or identities being stolen. Here are some interesting stats related to phishing:
- According to a 2021 Tessian study, employees receive around 14 phishing emails on average every year;
- Cisco’s 2021 Cybersecurity Trends Report claims that at least one employee clicks a phishing link in nearly 86% of organizations;
- According to Verizon, nearly 96% of phishing attacks happen through email.
Phishing attacks can be avoided if you know how to identify and prevent them. For instance, most attackers use unfamiliar links or make offers that are just too good to be true. Recommended prevention practices include:
- Not clicking on strange links or popups;
- Not sharing your information on sites that aren’t HTTPS secure;
- Regularly installing security patches and upgrades.
5. Business Email Compromise (BEC)
BEC attacks have grown exponentially since the start of COVID-19 due to the rise of remote work. These attacks are similar to phishing. However, the only motive is to steal money from businesses. BEC attackers impersonate high-ranking professionals and instruct employees to fake accounts.
Here are some interesting stats related to BEC attacks:
- According to Id Agent, nearly 77% of businesses faced BEC attacks in 2021;
- Nearly 80% of BEC attacks occurred due to criminals impersonating high authority figures, such as supervisors, attorneys, CEOs, or vendors.
- The FBI reported around $2.4 billion of theft in 2021 by BEC attacks.
BEC attacks can be prevented in many ways. The simplest way is by confirming the request with the recipient via another channel, such as a call. Secondly, you should also check the email address carefully for errors.
However, the best ways to prevent BEC attacks are through multi-factor authentication and using paid work email accounts.
Finally, the last email marketing threat on our list is malware. Malware is sent for one core purpose – to compromise business operations. Hackers trick people into downloading ransomware, adware, and spyware by prompting them to click on links, popups, and email attachments.
Here are some interesting stats related to malware:
- According to Phishing Box, nearly 46% of businesses and professionals receive malware via email;
- According to Cleard In, around one in every hundred opened emails contain malware.
Every business and professional needs to have powerful anti-malware software running whenever they use their devices. It can help identify and eliminate threats proactively. As far as prevention goes, it’s all about caution and due diligence.
As an email user, you need to pay close attention to suspicious attachments, strange links, spelling issues, and unrealistic offers.
Now that you’re aware of the six most dangerous email marketing threats professionals face, you can take more proactive steps in maximizing protection. Email marketing will continue to dominate the business world.
Hence, it’s up to you to educate yourself regarding cybersecurity threats and how to prevent or combat them.