The question of how to find customers has been around since someone hung out the first shingle. Add a few hundred years of small business and entrepreneurship and the equation has not gotten much easier, as there are so many options available to market a business.
The one thing that experts agree on is that there isn’t one simple answer, nor one method that will work for everyone. Using a combination of email, social media, SEO, PPC all need to be considered. What isn’t mentioned is that there is a way to avoid some upfront costs and decrease the risk in your marketing budget, as well as increasing sales. What am I talking about? Affiliate marketing.
What is an affiliate
Simply stated, it’s when someone else (individual or company) promotes someone else’s products. If someone uses a link to buy that product, then the person who shared the link gets a commission. Basically it’s having a salesperson that works for you on a commission only basis. Affiliate marketing is beneficial to both sides as the business only makes a payment if the desired result happens – i.e. the sale. Sounds good right? It sure can be but you’ll want to be aware of some things.
Boosting Sales: Affiliate programs will help sharing your service or product to the world. It can increase sales and conversions with a minor financial investment.
Reach New Audiences: If you are trying to break into a new market segment, having access to that audience can be difficult. Bringing on an affiliate that is engaged with that audience will help tremendously
Slow Growth: Setting things up is easy enough as there services out there that you can sign up with to run your affiliate program. Additionally, you could use a the WordPress plugin (AffiliateWP)* to set things up on your own allowing you to control the entire experience. That said, getting the right people to know about your affiliate program and onboarding them can also take time.
Management: Once the program is setup, managing the program will take time and resources. From creating the offers for the actual program itself to managing payouts, it’s not a simple set it and forget situation. You need keep the program fresh with readily available “creative” content that the affiliates can use in their marketing efforts.
The People: You’ll probably want limit who you accept into your program. Have some sort of vetting system via an application. If you let anyone in, you are apt to get people trying to run scams. The last thing you need to to tarnish your brand and company. Vetting those applicants will once again take some time.
At the end of the day, an affiliate program can be a great additional to your overall marketing plan, but it does take some time to get going. If you are interested in learning more about it, feel free to reach out and schedule a call.