Affiliate marketing lets an online retailer (referred to as the advertiser) increase sales by allowing others targeting the same audience (known as affiliates or publishers) to earn a commission by recommending their products.
The publisher promotes products using a unique link. They get paid a commission when a visitor to their site clicks on this link (e.g., a banner, logo, or text link), goes to the advertiser’s website and performs a particular action. Usually, this is completing a transaction such as buying a product or subscribing to a service.
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a massive opportunity for all eCommerce businesses. In fact, affiliate marketing is responsible for driving up to 16% of eCommerce sales in the USA (Source: Business Insider). Benefits include:
Whatever your product type, there will be publishers who are focused on your niche. Sites such as review site and bloggers can send targeted traffic to your products. For example, a pram review site might wish to have affiliate links to pram retailers to monetise their content.
Pay on Results
Affiliate marketing is a performance marketing channel with payment only made if a sale is completed. This model makes affiliate marketing a low-risk channel and attractive to merchants. Some affiliates will want to be paid for impressions, but this is much less favourable for the advertiser as it does not directly relate to sales.
Publishers may offer the opportunity to promote offers at additional cost. Whilst many affiliate networks are free to use, some will charge a monthly subscription.
Unlike some channels (e.g., online marketplaces), the merchant can invite them to opt-in to marketing messages after the sale.
Low Start-Up Costs
Setting up an affiliate programme through an existing network has limited setup costs.
Boost Brand Awareness
Consumers like to buy from retailers with which they are familiar. Affiliate marketing enables companies to grow brand awareness by appearing on multiple contextually relevant sites across the web. For example, by launching an affiliate scheme and recruiting the right advertisers, a clothing manufacturer could appear on numerous fashion-focused blogs.
The larger affiliate platforms will have an international presence and enable your brand to reach publishers worldwide.