As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly thinking of lean ways to bootstrap your business and generate revenue. Affiliate marketing can be a remarkable sales strategy if effectively executed. The premise of affiliate marketing is simple enough: an individual uses his own platform and resources to link to a merchant’s product or service, and receives a commission if a purchase is made.
As the business owner, you retain the majority of control: you set the commission price, and can create rules about how your affiliate partners can market your offerings. Here are a few ways your startup can benefit from an affiliate marketing strategy:
Increase Brand Exposure
As a startup business, you’re hoping to grow, and to do so, you need exposure and conversions. Thankfully, with affiliate marketing, you can better leverage the followings and success of others. Some of the best affiliate marketers have been doing this for years, and understand what it takes to guide a visitor to a third-party landing page.
Often, affiliate marketers aren’t just people who spend their days solely promoting products. These are people who craft engaging content, have built up their own platforms, and have a loyal following. Take a look at some of the more popular blogs and you’ll easily see that many of them—even when you don’t realize it—are utilizing affiliate links.
For example, renowned travel blogger Matt Kepnes generates at least $40,000 per month with his blog, and utilizes affiliate links where possible. Check out this post on how to pick the best camera for an example of what we mean: notice that the suggested devices have affiliate codes in the URL once clicked.
With affiliate marketing, the individual promoting the affiliate link bears the burden. They place PPC ads, take care of social media outreach, and build their own landing pages if necessary. If your affiliate program is successful, you’ll have several people on the Web promoting your business for the cost of next to nothing for you.
Can Increase SEO
Backlinks are extremely powerful in the world of SEO. According to Backlinko, the number of backlinks had the most direct correlation to the position in search engine results pages compared to other ranking factors. Backlinking builds authority, and authority yields higher rankings.
Whether you just started a legal practice and want to jumpstart your legal marketing strategy or you’ve just completed a product lineup and need unique methods of promotion, backlinks can help get you where you need to be. This is especially true if the person promoting your offering has a solid following.
It’s important that you maintain quality affiliates, and having a reliable affiliate manager helps achieve this. The affiliate manager is in charge of developing and supporting the affiliate program. You can can chose to have an in-house affiliate manager, or one assigned to you by an agency. Your affiliate manager will help ensure you’re not getting low-quality links, which can negatively affect your SEO.
Additionally, conduct a site audit depending on the volume of traffic and revenue you’re seeing monthly. This manual audit the most effective way to monitor backlinks. There are several SEO tools for monitoring backlinks that allow you to get a high-level overview of all inbound links, and get rid of bad ones. These damage control tactics ensure you stay in good graces, and your product or service remains only on pages that can help build the brand.
Choose Your Affiliates
With an affiliate platform like Commission Junction, the affiliate marketer sorts through the products they want and narrows down their list. They request to begin promoting your product and, once approved by the platform (who vets marketers to ensure they’ll work hard at generating traffic for you), off they go. At this point, you don’t really have a say in whether they can participate, although, as previously mentioned, you can set boundaries and guidelines for them to follow.
However, you also have the option of choosing your own affiliates—if you’re willing to put in the work. This is where you make an exhaustive list of every potential partner who creates relevant content. If your offering matches their brand, they’re much more likely to stick affiliate links in their blog posts, without having to bend over backwards to accommodate it.
You can take this a step further by providing potential affiliates with specific links to blog posts they published that align with your business. This way, it’s a simple matter of plugging in a hyperlink. Furthermore, the blogger will appreciate the research you do and the personalization you put into it.
Receiving feedback on early products and services is invaluable to a startup. An affiliate program allows entrepreneurs to collect measurable data on the overall affiliate program, or an individual affiliate. For example, if you notice one type of advertising isn’t proving beneficial, you can make better changes to your marketing materials. Think of it like having an army of salespeople that does all the split-testing for you: you simply collect the results, and make appropriate fixes.
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