Ever considered how to use affiliate marketing programs or partner programs for your business? You should launch an affiliate marketing program for your business because it’s a well-known method to multiply your efforts to grow your business exponentially.
The whole world will put in the hard work just to promote your products and services.
Several businesses tend to use blogging, social media, email marketing, paid advertising, and several other digital marketing methods to grow.
All that’s good and they all work.
Organic marketing takes time (and you might not have the patience for it). Paid advertising takes money and you might not have the budget for it.
So, what will you do? Let others do the work for you. Let self-employed, dedicated, committed, and absolute “go-getters” do all the hard work for your business. If you have products or services, let affiliates or partners do all the marketing for you — at their expense, by spending their time, and their resources.
Did you know that you could actually multiply the growth of your business by using affiliates or partners?
While you are at it, here are some best practices to ensure you have a successful partnership program or affiliate program:
Ask yourself: Is Affiliate Marketing Good For Your Business?
Not all businesses are a good fit for affiliate marketing. Some verticals such as fashion, retail, e-commerce, SaaS companies, wellness, beauty, telecom, media, online courses, membership sites, and other Internet-based businesses are a perfect fit for affiliate marketing.
If you are a small service provider, coach, consultant, etc., affiliate marketing is the wrong marketing channel for you (you just can’t handle the growth and the demand, period).
Recruit affiliates actively
If you launched your affiliate program on ShareASale or PartnerStack, most affiliates will automatically start applying for your program. At that point, you’d have to seriously get into a vetting process for those inbound affiliate applications and look for quality affiliates (not the number of affiliates).
Launching your affiliate program or partnership program doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax (you can, but maybe later). It’s critical that you actively recruit your affiliates or partners.
Look out for micro-influencers or influencers, bloggers, YouTube creators, Instagram influencers, and anyone else with the right kind of audience that’s a close fit for your kind of business or niche.
Until you reach a mass of targeted affiliates, you can’t lift your legs up and sit down (actually, you can’t ever).
Focus on a personal touch
After onboarding affiliates, don’t just vanish into thin air. Actively reach out to your affiliates or partners and ensure that they are on the money. Ask them if they have questions, provide them with marketing material, help them out with doubts (if any), and even listen to their ideas on how they’d like to promote your products and services.
If possible, provide affiliates with the know-how necessary to succeed with your partner program. Share ideas, let new affiliates know what other top affiliates of your program do and let them know what kind of digital marketing channels work best.
Your affiliates should know you (affiliate managers) by your first name.
Make resources available to affiliates and partners
There’s a reason why I insist that you use established affiliate platforms, affiliate tools, and affiliate networks: dependability and the fact that it’s an easier way for affiliates to get access to the affiliate resources, program materials, business assets that they’ll need to effectively promote your business.
For instance, some publishers (who happen to be affiliates) with a strong social network will want to use “deep linking” while sharing content on social media networks or when they are blogging.
Most affiliate networks and platforms (Rakuten, for instance) make it really hard to find deep links (such as specific custom pages on your site, a specific resource, an eBook, or an online course).
Another affiliate network I know (but won’t name) actually takes a cut out of affiliate commissions at the time of payouts.
Choosing the wrong affiliate platform or affiliate network could only mean heartburn later on when you realize that your affiliates can’t generate custom links, deep links, or when you realize that you can’t make payments, or when the affiliate network in question has a habit of taking commissions from affiliate payments (this is supposed to be free).
Looking for affiliate marketing statistics ? Watch this space for a continuously growing list of affiliate marketing stats and as to why you should seriously consider affiliate marketing for your business.
Affiliate marketing is a $ 6.82 billion dollar industry and it’s one of the smartest ways of growing your business with minimal work (but there is work involved).
84 percent of publishers and 81 percent of brands had adopted affiliate marketing (and that was in the year 2016) [Source]
73% of merchants (more than double the publishers) reported that revenue generated from using affiliate marketing programs met their expectations. [ Source: Viglink]
Most merchants (65%) state that affiliate marketing accounts for 5%-20% of their revenue, most of which is highly incremental [Source: Viglink]
86% of publishers expect their affiliate marketing revenue to increase or stay consistent in the future, and a staggering 91% of merchants plan to increase or keep their affiliate marketing budgets the same in the future. [ Source: Viglink]
Affiliate marketers use content to good effect in their campaigns and with good reason. Over the last few years, content produced by affiliates has grown by 175 percent, and the revenue created by content publishers has increased by 240 percent. Content marketing, in general, creates three times more leads than ads, yet costs 62 percent less. [Source]
If you’re a retailer and phone calls are an integral element of your marketing strategy, then if you are not leveraging Pay-Per-Call, you’re leaving revenue and future sales on the table. Pay-Per-Call conversions on average range between 10 to 15 percent compared to 2 to 3 percent for online conversions.
According to the National Retail Federation, over a third of marketers feel that affiliate marketing is one of the strongest forms of acquiring new customers. [Source]
The IAB research also shows that in 2017 increased affiliate marketing spend helped generate 8.9 billion in sales. This 9.2 percent growth is estimated to have created £16 return on every £1 invested.[Source]
According to industry research conducted by IAB UK, the growth of affiliate marketing is beginning to show up in the U.K.’s GDP performance. This figure exceeds the performance delivered by the entire U.K. agriculture sector [Source]
Research by AM Navigator into the popularity of affiliate marketing niches discovered fashion emerged as the clear favorite with 18.7 percent of affiliate campaigns promoting fashion-related products. Runners-up in the study was the sports and outdoor product sector with 14.6 percent of programs, followed by the health/wellness and beauty sector which accounted for 11.1 percent of programs. [Source]
Affiliate marketing accounts for around 16% of all E-Commerce sales globally [Source]
In 2017, search queries for the term influencer marketing with 325% more than the year before it [Source]
Native advertising has been effective for affiliate marketers in the past and will remain to be an important asset in 2019 [Source]
What do you think of these affiliate marketing statistics? Do you think I missed out any? Please comment and let me know.
What happens when you let a full battalion of highly-motivated, skilled, and absolutely committed folks to do all the blogging, writing, social media, content marketing, Youtube videos, and even paid ads on your behalf?
Performance marketers (also called as affiliates or partners) do just that. They’ll go ahead and write a blog post (on their already popular blog), share social updates (on their own networks), launch paid campaigns (On Google or Facebook), and do everything that digital marketing demands.
On your behalf.
Without you ever paying them for it (unless they get you results)
“15% of the total digital media advertising revenue is attributed to affiliate marketing, and affiliate programs generate 15%–30% of all sales for advertisers.
Think about it. An opportunity like this was never available to businesses before.
Now, as a business, you can. Just launch your affiliate marketing program or partner program. Affiliate marketing programs for businesses are usually of two kinds:
CPA (Cost per Action) or CPL (Cost Per Lead): These are affiliate marketing programs or partner programs where businesses (such as yours) agree to pay X dollars (or even cents) for each lead that signs up through an affiliate’s or partner’s efforts. Through affiliate networks such as Maxbounty and Peerfly, thousands of affiliates will apply to your campaign (if it’s a good fit for them while you’ll accept them if they are a good fit for you).
If both parties accept, affiliates will be allowed to promote links (usually to landing pages pre-built for your campaigns).
If they succeed in getting you leads, you’ll pay them cash through those affiliate networks.
Simple enough, eh?
CPS (Cost Per Sale): These affiliate programs are more involved and more demanding to run (for both affiliates and for businesses or merchants).
Cost per Sale programs are exactly what you think: affiliates or partners get paid when they make a sale on behalf of the business they partner with or the merchant they are associated with.
Since it’s a sale that’s involved, the payouts are relatively higher (and the stakes are just as high as well for all parties).
Why choose affiliates or partners instead of hiring your own sales team, you ask? Here goes:
Affiliates and partners are:
Independent & business-minded: Affiliates and partners are usually bloggers and website owners (self-employed full-time or part-time) and are committed to making money from their online publishing efforts.
Partners come from a variety of backgrounds (across countries) and deliver various end-products such as blogs, online courses, membership sites, full-fledged online portals, or online publications.
Each of your affiliates or partners have independent exposure and influence over their own individual audiences.
Collectively, that’s powerful. It’s an exposure you’d have paid with your lungs to have.
Highly-motivated partners: At a time when it’s absolutely impossible to keep someone motivated enough to work for your business, there are several million potential affiliates and partners who are already highly motivated (all on their own) to help put out a good word for you.
Some affiliates and partners have already built up sizable audiences (even before they’ll come around to promote your products). Others are on their way up.
Either way, these are people (or teams) that have motivation from the word go. They don’t need your money until they get you results.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Your affiliate program or affiliate management is automated
When you pick up smart tools such as PartnerStack , Tapfiliate for launching your affiliate program or partner program or when you use a full-fledged affiliate network such as ShareaSale, most of the “affiliate management” part of the equation is handled for you.
Once you launch your affiliate program or partner program, upload affiliate assets (banners, emails, affiliate training material, and other assets), and establish your rules or terms or conditions, everything can be automated (unless you want to get proactive and manage affiliates on top of automated affiliate management that PartnerStack, Tapfiliate, and ShareaSale provide).
No affiliate or partner ever wants to wait and wonder when you (as a business or merchant) is going to make payments. On the other hand, no business wants to pay for no results (or for fraud or for malicious transactions).
Each of those platforms also have anti-malpractice systems, fraud detection, and several other features to help you and your partners do business without worry.
Traffic & Sales, on Autopilot
With several thousands (or maybe even millions) of affiliates and partners pushing the word out digitally across the world, you’ll see an instant spike in traffic, leads being generated, and of course sales. Your total expenses (towards affiliates or partners) will only accrue when these results come in (say leads generated or sales made).
If you’ve set up your partner program or affiliate program right and by using appropriate affiliate management software, you’ll see a glowing roster full of sales thanks to the collective efforts of your affiliates and partners. Period.
TL;DR: Looking for the best affiliate management software? Of all the affiliate management software tools available for your business, I highly recommend TapfiliatePartnerStack & Shareasale — all platforms have excellent tools, paranoid support, and awesome global reach.
Do you want to multiply your sales with a recruited army of affiliates or partners? Would you like to stop paying for guesswork or experiments and only pay for results? If you said yes to any of the above statements, you should launch your own affiliate program or partner program.
Millions of affiliates put in their own efforts by launching a web presence of their own, blog regularly, and even spend on paid ads to promote your products for you in exchange for a commission.
For a merchant (that’s you) then, a global network of affiliates can help push sales and make you money. In exchange, all you have to do is to pay them a certain percentage fee off of the sale in addition to managing your affiliates and partners.
Affiliate networks, affiliate marketing programs, and partner management tools give you the platform, the infrastructure, the technology, and the tools you’d need to manage affiliates, manage payouts, and a way for affiliates to run promotions or campaigns on your behalf.
With several options out there for your business, which affiliate management programs or partner management programs should you choose? Let’s dig into your options and help you choose the right partner management platform:
If you are a online course creator, online course solutions like Podia and Thinkific have built-in affiliate management solutions that you can make use of.
PartnerStack is a modern and contemporary solution helping businesses manage more than 270,000+ partners globally. It’s a powerful solution to run partner programs or affiliate programs for your business.
With PartnerStack, you can create out-of-the-box partner programs using the marketing stack you already employ.
PartnerStack helps you to launch fully-automated partner programs, manage your global roster of affiliates or partners, and stay in compliance without you having to do much.
Shareasale (now a part of Awin) is one the oldest affiliate networks out there. Shareasale is a global affiliate network featuring several tools for businesses and businesses to run and manage affiliate programs.
With a single login (to the network) to manage all your affiliates, Shareasale helps you deploy your affiliate programs complete with asset management, affiliate link tracking, affiliate dashboards, managing assets for affiliates, and communication.
Shareasale has several advanced features that can make your affiliate or partner management a breeze. A few of those features are real-time click data, clickstream attribution, the ability to tag your affiliates for effective segmentation, a welcome kit for all new merchants or businesses that sign up, an easy-to-use API, and more.
All new businesses that sign up with Shareasale also get superior customer support along with several training webinars to help you navigate and learn the finer aspects of affiliate or partner management.
Ratuken has been around for a while reaching 202 countries with the reach, network, infrastructure, and tools you’d need to drive more revenue for your business with the trusted bank of affiliates within the Ratuken Network.
Ratuken has a host of products for your business to help launch affiliate marketing programs along with the technology, insights, analytics, attribution, and for global affiliate management.
Obviously, you also get access to strategic recommendations, a robust platform, payment processing and distribution that you’d need to run a successful affiliate marketing program.
Like Shareasale and Ratuken, CommissionJunction has long been the global network most businesses depend on for extended reach, powerful technology, a dependable infrastructure, and a host of tools for affiliate management.
Spanning over 240 countries and territories, CommissionJunction immediately gives you access to a global pool of affiliates who’ve helped reach more than 940 million customers collectively for the businesses that use CJ.
CommissionJunction provides cutting-edge, innovative, and omni-channel solutions for affiliate or partner management such as affiliate personalization, cross-device tracking, cookieless tracking, and verticalized integrations.
Hasoffers By Tune
If you’ve been an affiliate for any length of time, chances are that you’ve seen and used Hasoffers whether you knew about it or not. Hasoffers is a popular offering used by several businesses, agencies, and even affiliate networks (including CPA affiliate networks).
Hasoffers provides businesses and agencies with a completely customizable platform for affiliate management such as deployment of affiliate specific links for promotion, click tracking, call tracking, affiliate API, fraud prevention, affiliate subscription, affiliate management, payment management, and link tracking.
You also get performance automation, advanced targeting, deep linking for affiliates, and several other features.
Everflow is a campaign management platform to help you manage your campaigns with affiliates and partners.
Everflow helps you track around 1 Billion + links and pull reports, get detailed breakdowns of every link clicked on, bulk blocking of campaigns down to the placement level, granular reporting, Proxy IP blocking, and more.
Everflow provides your business with a simple API, if you are out to build custom partner programs for your business while still making use of the technology stack that everflow provides for you.
Refersion — unlike the other biggies here — is a simple way to acquire and manage your affiliates and partners.
As with most other solutions here, refersion allows you to quickly launch your affiliate marketing programs with everything you need to manage and track campaigns.
Every link can be tracked (including analytics and click data). As a business, you can also set up automatic affiliate recruitment, automatic payments, view recurring commission reports, and watch conversion data in real-time.
Every affiliate gets a personalized dashboard with personalized data for that particular affiliate.
Started by the founders of Savings.com and CommissionJunction, ImpactRadius provides businesses a comprehensive affiliate management platform with an exhaustive screening and onboarding mechanism.
ImpactRadius features include affiliate or partner onboarding management, contracting, reporting, real-time analytics and tracking of direct affiliates. You can also use call tracking and monitoring of promo codes.
With ImpactRadius, your business can deploy SEO-friendly links, flexible tracking options via FTP upload, Pixel, Data Post, REST API, Mobile SDKs, etc. along with Integration with CRM and Salesforce.com.
LeadDyno just happens to be getting popular at the time of writing this. Focusing on fast-track affiliate program launch for your business, the essence of the affiliate marketing software seems to be “speed”.
With LeadDyno, you can take advantage of the fast affiliate signup process and instant listing in their fast-growing network (along with listing on e-commerceaffiliates.com.
As with most affiliate management tools, your affiliates are instantly onboarded with access to special links created for them by LeadDyno so that they can share links on their websites or as they share content on social networks.
Chances are that you are doing everything in the book to grow your business with inbound marketing tactics including blogging, social media, and growing your email list.
Maybe you are also working hard to launch automated webinars or regular webinars, go all guns blazing with Guest blogging or link building efforts, staying busy on social media, producing infographics, creating slide decks for Slideshare, and more.
Heck, on top of all that, you might also be running paid advertising campaigns on various channels available today including Facebook ads, Google Ads, Quora Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and Twitter ads.
If you aren’t doing any of those, you should. If you checked out all the boxes, then it’s time to think big.
PartnerStack is built to help you build and scale up your affiliate programs, starting from day one — no set up, no coding, no heavy-weight work needed. Partnerstack provides you with tools, infrastructure, and the technology. With Partnerstack, you can:
Launch out-of-the-box affiliate programs or partnership programs for your business.
Integrate with the technology stack you are already using (and you can customize your program to create both simple and complex partner channels, as you need to)
Pay PartnerStack and they’ll manage partner payouts and global compliance for you.
Provide access to marketing tools, referral program documents, sales success information, documents, and more to enable your affiliates or partners to succeed.
Get in-depth analytics of all the campaigns that send you traffic, leads, and sales (thanks to the collective efforts of each of your partners or affiliates).
Create Customized Referral programs
With PartnerStack, you get everything you need to get your partners going right of the bat. For instance, you can equip each new partner or affiliate with a unique and custom URL. You can also have your partners direct where the traffic should go to, and then track their individual performance.
As a brand, you can develop custom company pages by putting your brand at the forefront of your partner program. This includes ability to upload your logo, design your custom program sign up page, choose your brand colors, and inviting your partners.
No one business is the same, but all businesses need a way to generate leads and sales. Depending on how your business works, your products, and your services, setup custom reward programs for your partners.
In turn, your partners will put in the effort to drive traffic, leads, or sales for you using their own, individualized custom links. But the best part about PartnerStack is that you can set your own reward system which can automate and target the goals you seek with your partner program.
Launch Smart Campaigns & Automate
Need an NDA signed by each partner as they sign up with your program? You can automate that. Want to engage with your partners with email campaigns?
You’ll have access to campaign management designed for partner success. You can also boost your leads or sales with timed campaigns, launch time-sensitive sub-programs, and set dedicated time periods for bonus commissions, for instance.
Of course, your PartnerStack dashboard allows you to track your partners, and each individual partners’ performance.
As a business or a brand, you’ll always know where your sales are coming from, who’s generating referrals or sales, and how to improve each partner’s performance (if you prefer to be hands-on like that).
Individuals have been expressing their opinions, voices, knowledge, and insights for several years now with blogging, content, videos, podcasts, and on social media networks.
It could be a myriad of topics (depending on individuals and the content they produce) but chances are that there are bloggers, online publications, and publishing powerhouses that have made it their mission to spread the word and to influence.
So, you now have micro influencers, major influencers, LinkedIn influencers, Twitter Influencers, Instagram Influencers, and several others.
In some circles, their word is respected. They opinions are revered. Their suggestions are taken to heart. Their recommends are promptly lapped up.
Now, imagine if an entire army of talented, self-motivated, focused, energetic, enthusiastic, and savvy influencers take up the work of promoting your products, services, or apps?
What if they’d do all that for you, all the time, 24×7, 365 days a year, year on year?
How would it be if they take up that massive, continuous, and dedicated effort on your behalf (for your products and services) without asking for cash, remuneration, commissions, monthly retainers, hourly fees or fixed fees until they get you results?
Those influencers (major or micro) exist, and they are called affiliates or partners (however you wish to call them).
According to Tasos Perte of WebmarketingSupport, affiliate marketing accounts for at least 7.5% of retail spends.
A Rakuten Marketing survey reveals that the U.S. affiliate marketing spending will increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.1 percent between 2015 and 2020, creating an estimated $6.8 billion industry.
Affiliate marketing is huge and has limitless potential for your business. But let’s dig deeper on why you should start affiliate marketing for your business:
Affiliate Marketing = Performance Marketing on Steroids
Performance marketing is when you only pay for results. Normally, the kind of results you seek would be traffic to your website, leads, or conversions — and you’d normally spend time, effort, or money to get the results you seek.
With affiliate marketing though, you recruit an army of affiliates — each of whom will spend “their” own time, resources, and money to get “you” results.
In exchange for a recurring or a one-time commission for their efforts, it’s one of the best ways to monetize “their” effort as affiliate marketers.
The numbers only prove this right. In the United States, affiliate marketing spends through 2015 to 2010 (in billions) as shown below (thanks to webmarketsupport).
All of that money did not go in vain (for retainers, salaries, or hourly pay) — all those billions spent were for “results” — actual payouts for sales made, for conversions, or for leads generated by affiliates.
Influencers — small or big, known or unknown — don’t just hang out on Instagram (doesn’t apply for all businesses and all kinds of influencers, you see?).
Influencers “influence” by thought leadership, insights, suggestions, and recommendations.
If they have a point of view, they’ll write a blog post about it. Or maybe they voice it out in a podcast. Perhaps they’ll communicate using a video on Youtube.
They’ll tweet on Twitter, write a short post on Medium, publish a post on LinkedIn Publishing platform, or go all guns blazing in an active network.
Maybe they’ll answer questions on Quora or even launch a Quora Session about.
Some influencers want to monetize their efforts (no one does anything for free). Influencers will then partner with a few brands or become affiliates to help monetize the effort they take and for the value they provide to their respective audiences.
It’s just another way for them to make money from the value they add or from the assets they work hard to create (such as blog readership, email marketing list, or an instagram following).
Affiliate Marketing Is For Everyone, Thanks to Tech
You and I know how popular Amazon’s Associate Program is, right? Don’t just sit there thinking that affiliate programs are only for brands with deep pockets.
Today, you have technology, infrastructure, and numerous solutions to help you launch your own affiliate marketing programs or partnership programs.
Using Partnerstack, for instance, you can quickly and easily build an affiliate or a partner program without breaking a sweat just like several other brands such as Asana, Unbounce, Botletter, and others do.
If you are looking for a traditional affiliate marketplace, Shareasale provides you with a simple pay-for-results platform to help you manage a global roster of affiliates.
Depending on your business, there might be built-in solutions for affiliates management too.
For instance, if you were in the business of creating online courses or if you were a course creator, platforms such as Podia and Thinkific provide you with built-in affiliates management (make your students your affiliates, partners, ambassadors, or evangelists).