I’ve been writing a lot, lately, about how big businesses have been expanding exponentially because they created affiliate programs, and how small businesses can use the same steps to sell their products and services even more quickly. But first, let me explain what affiliate marketing is.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.
When a business is interested in a performance-based relationship – where the business pays for the service after they have made a sale (or a connection), the business needs to set up an affiliate program to manage those relationships.
How Are Affiliate Programs Different From MLM?
Sometimes when we talk about affiliate programs, people start to ask how it’s different from MLM. Essentially, MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) creates a non-salaried workforce that sells their products for them. Affiliate Marketing, on the other hand, does not involve the creation of a workforce. The business/merchant has a product they want to sell, and the affiliate partner has a community with people who may be interested in that product (and many other products). So the affiliate partner works with different merchants to inform their community of the merchant’s product.
How Affiliate Programs Help You Sell Your Products and Services Quickly
The great thing about affiliate programs is that you’re able to get very specific about the kinds of communities that are ideal for your products, and you take the time to connect with them. When there is a great alignment between your product and what the community needs, then the conversion rates and Return on Investment (ROI) ends up being higher than other marketing channels.
How to Get Started
The Affiliate Program advantage framework gives us a few steps to grow and build successful programs.
Here are a few steps to get you started:
Clarity on the Ideal Client
The whole program relies on understanding who the ideal client or end-user of the product is and knowing where to connect with them. It is essential for the business to really get clear on who their ideal clients are in order to create the best strategy.
Tracking Platform/Network Decision
In order to make sure that the affiliate partners get properly compensated for their work, your program needs a platform or network that can track the links appropriately. There are advantages and disadvantages to the decision, so thorough research is important.
Affiliate Partner Recruitment
Once you know who your ideal end-user is, then you can begin recruiting partners that have communities full of your ideal clients.
Activation of Affiliate Partners
Once the partners start joining your program, you will take steps to activate them and help them understand how to be successful with your program.
Optimization of Affiliate Partners
As time goes on, you will share best practices with affiliate partners so that those who are doing well can do better, and those who are not doing well can begin to do well.
Once you have these basics, then you have the foundation for building and growing your affiliate program and selling your products and services faster.