Promoting other people’s brands and businesses isn’t a purely altruistic act. If we’re talking about affiliate marketing, it could be very lucrative and a great way of building brand loyalty.
The way this works is simple: a brand reaches out to a specialist, an influencer, or a content creator, allowing them to earn a commission for every customer they send their way.
Affiliate marketers usually receive a link or a code, earning a percentage each time a customer uses the code or follows the link.
To make this affiliate marketing even more lucrative (and make the marketer look better in their eyes), it’s not uncommon to add a bonus discount. This way, everyone wins.
Still, how does affiliate marketing for e-commerce work? What are some of the strategies they may choose to use for e-commerce growth and scaling online sales? Here are a few things you should keep in mind.
Building a Robust Affiliate Program for eCommerce
The blueprints of a successful program need to be laid down by your own brand. First, you should:
- Begin with an in-depth market analysis to identify the ideal target audience for your affiliates.
- Utilize effective market analysis tools to simplify the complex process of e-commerce market research.
- Incorporate your own branding into the affiliate program setup to attract and engage potential affiliates.
- Develop a compelling pitch to showcase the benefits and value of your affiliate program.
- Highlight the importance of reputation for affiliates, emphasizing that their reputation is their most valuable asset.
- Emphasize the need for a thorough analysis of your offer from the affiliate’s perspective.
According to specialists behind a renowned digital marketing agency, the first thing that affiliate marketers examine is your online presence.
- Is your website professional enough?
- How well are you ranking?
- What is your online reputation?
They can ill-afford to associate with a cheap or cheap-looking brand, seeing as how their audience is expected to make these mental associations.
The thing with affiliate marketing is that they are paid on commission. This means they earn less if they aren’t convincing or consistent.
Since they have a direct incentive to give it their best, they are the ones who decide how much they’ll earn and how valuable they’re going to be.
Still, not every affiliate will get the same cut, so you need to set up several affiliate commission models.
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Recruiting and Empowering Top-Tier Affiliates
Your affiliate program depends on the reliability and quality of your affiliates. So, you may need help finding the right people for the job.
Finding the Right Fit
The first step in recruiting affiliates is to find someone relevant to your niche. This is the only way to get an adequate affiliate brand representation.
How important is this, and why is this important?
Well, first of all, it matters to you and your bottom line. You’re looking for someone who you share a target audience with. This way, you get the optimal results. The best part is that you both get to benefit from this approach.
If their audience is not interested in your product, their promotion is near-useless.
If your product is irrelevant to their audience, they suffer a credibility hit (randomly promoting for money).
So, you need to outline your requirements for what defines quality affiliates for e-commerce.
The Vetting Process
So, the first step of this affiliate vetting process is to analyze their audience. You want to see their audience size and engagement.
The latter is so important since you can never be too safe in the era of bought followers. Most importantly, you want to see how your audience and their audience overlap.
At the same time, once you start with the affiliate program, the analytics will be more conclusive. So you’ll know how to find similar affiliates.
Another thing you need to do is check their online reputation. When you start working together, you’ll get entangled, meaning any controversy they might be dragged into might also reflect on your brand. This means that, in the future, you might have to distance yourself from them, put all sorts of disclaimers, etc.
If you’re reaching out to international affiliates, use a VPN to see what kind of reach and influence they have from the perspective of a local viewer. Just pick one of the top VPN providers that support proxies from the region in question and get started.
The most productive affiliate partners are usually those who share your own set of values. No, this is not just a matter of preference. Shared values increase your odds of long-term collaboration. Remember, affiliate marketing is something that you do for the long run.
Equipping for Success
Another thing to keep in mind is the affiliate resources. While the USP of your product may seem logical and natural to you, this won’t always be the case. While your affiliates may be fully committed to your brand, they may lack the knowledge to market it properly.
This is why you must develop a great affiliate training project, an onboarding tool all your affiliates can share uniformly. This way, you’ll maximize affiliate performance and drastically increase your odds of making great sales.
Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to the affiliate marketing strategy than just the work of affiliates.
Effectively guiding independent affiliates to convey a consistent message can be a challenge. While they may have some guidelines, providing extra tools and resources helps them maximize the impact of the message.
Unique affiliate offers will benefit both your brand and your affiliates, so creating them is one of the top priorities for your marketing team.
You also need to ensure that your affiliate marketing campaign goes hand-in-hand with everything you’re attempting to do. In other words, your email, social media, content, and even other campaigns should consider your affiliate marketing.
If you intend for your affiliates to use affiliate marketing materials, prepare them in advance. You must also prepare materials to familiarize your affiliates with these affiliate promotions.
Tracking and Technology
You must also learn how to track your affiliate program via sophisticated affiliate tracking technology. The best part is that most of these tools have a fairly simple e-commerce platform integration.
Consider utilizing dedicated affiliate marketing tools such as Affiliatly, Everflow, Refersion, Tapfiliate, Post Affiliate Pro, LeadDyno, or UpPromote.
These tools offer seamless integration with e-commerce platforms, providing real-time information for efficient adjustments and updates to your affiliate program.
Optimization and Maintenance of Your Affiliate Program
Keep in mind that your affiliate program is not set in stone, and there’s a lot you have to do to ensure that it keeps up with time.
When crafting an affiliate program, you need to base it on current data and trends. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t have to engage in some affiliate program optimization at a later date. Track your competition, manage your affiliate programs, and refine your affiliate strategies.
Your affiliates will require something seemingly impossible – a combination of a hands-off approach and the right assistance at the right time.
This paradoxical nature of your relationships is the reason why affiliate relationship management is so difficult. To make it work, you need to improve your communication, which, at times, may require you to develop separate affiliate communication strategies.
At times, when you see a dip in productivity, you may even have to present some affiliate incentives to help get your affiliates back on track.
Legal and ethical considerations
While regulations and compliances may not evolve as quickly, ethical considerations are identical. They’re also in your best interest since you can persuade your audience to overpay for a service or buy an overpriced product just once. Remember, fairness is in everyone’s best interest in the long run.
Measuring Success and Scaling Your Affiliate Marketing Efforts
Previously, we’ve mentioned that once you get your first affiliates, you’ll have an easier time analyzing the data. First of all, it won’t be speculative. You’ll have some actual numbers coming from real-world sources.
You must start by picking the right affiliate marketing KPIs to analyze properly.
- Revenue: How much money has this particular affiliate partner brought in? This one is, by far, the most important of all performance metrics in affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketers that bring in more money are better than others.
- Conversion rate: The percentage of visitors that click on the affiliate link represents a job well done. This could be due to the better target audience (qualified leads) or link placement.
- Average order value: Some affiliates have an audience willing to spend more money. They might naturally have a more affluent audience or higher trust, increasing their persuasion power.
- Number of affiliates: This one is much more one-directional than expected. Why? Well, mostly because the affiliates who don’t attract an audience don’t get paid. Therefore, other than for administrative reasons, there’s no side-effect to having too many affiliates.
- Cost per acquisition: Ultimately, you need to know how much you’ve spent to attract a single customer through the affiliate program. This way, you’ll be able to assess the cost-effectiveness of your program, as well as your overall ROI.
You can use these metrics to scale your business and track the scaling of your affiliate programs. You see, affiliate program expansion needs to be conducted carefully and through careful planning, especially when it comes to growing the number of affiliates.
10 Best E-commerce Affiliate Programs
Arguably, the best way to understand what we’re talking about would be to see some great examples. Here are the top 10 best e-commerce affiliate programs you should keep your eye out for.
- Amazon associates: A huge program (many mistakes for an affiliate marketing network) where you can choose from 3 billion products.
- eBay Partner Network: A huge network with over 1.1 billion product listings of different kinds and varieties.
- Etsy Affiliates: A program specializing in craft supplies, vintage items, and handmade goods.
- HubSpot Affiliate Program: Ideal for publishers who engage B2B audiences.
- ClickBank: Despite its diverse offer, this program mostly focuses on digital products.
- Fiverr Affiliates Program: Instead of products, you most commonly connect businesses with service providers.
- Rakuten Advertising: This program is the epitome of prioritizing quality over quantity.
- ShareASale: This program puts an extra emphasis on startups, solo entrepreneurs, and small businesses.
- Awin: This affiliate program hosts more than 200 million online sales per year, which makes it one of the biggest e-commerce affiliate programs.
- CJ Affiliate: Amazing for multi-channel campaigns and working with some of the biggest brands (like Office Depot, Barnes & Noble, etc.).
As you can see, all these platforms differ in their primary focus and potential, but each has something unique to offer.
Why You Should Consider Cloudways Affiliate Program as an Inspiration?
You can consider the Cloudways Affiliate Program as an inspiration to start your very own affiliate program.
The Cloudways hosting affiliate program has three commission structures, offering flexibility for passive income:
- Earn based on successful referrals.
- Higher conversions lead to increased per-sale commissions.
- Enjoy recurring commissions for retained referrals.
- Get upfront and monthly payouts.
- Tailored for top affiliates.
- Earn up to $200 per sale after 80 referrals.
- Access banners and links for effective marketing.
- High performers earn double commissions.
- Personalized assistance for maximum potential.
- Receive via PayPal or Wire Transfer.
Free Hosting Credits:
- Accumulate credits by promoting Cloudways for expense offset.
Own affiliate program is one of the highest paying in the web hosting industry and something you can definitely learn from when starting your own.
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When you integrate affiliate marketing into your e-commerce strategy, affiliate marketing can become the backbone of your sales.
First, you need to develop a brand that affiliates will want to associate with. Second, you should sketch out the type of partnership you want to form and lay the framework for it. Third, you need to pick the right affiliates.
Ultimately, you need to keep track of what your affiliates are doing and how well your affiliate program is performing. With the right affiliate program analysis, you’ll always track your team’s success in real-time.
|Aleksa Radovic is a seasoned SEO and marketing specialist passionate about driving business growth through strategic online campaigns. With expertise in organic search optimization and targeted marketing initiatives, he has successfully enhanced the digital footprint of numerous brands. A true advocate for meaningful content, Aleksa is dedicated to delivering measurable results for his clients.
Abdul is a tech-savvy, coffee-fueled, and creatively driven marketer who loves keeping up with the latest software updates and tech gadgets. He’s also a skilled technical writer who can explain complex concepts simply for a broad audience. Abdul enjoys sharing his knowledge of the Cloud industry through user manuals, documentation, and blog posts.
Keep reading the article at The Official Cloudways Blog. The article was originally written by Abdul Rehman on 2023-12-18 00:52:15.
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