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What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is an advertising model in which a company compensates third-party publishers to generate traffic or leads to the company’s products and services. The third-party publishers are affiliates, and the commission fee incentivizes them to find ways to promote the company. 40% of marketers worldwide consider affiliate marketing a crucial skill. 

In return for promoting your brand’s product or service, the affiliates get a commission on the sales they generate. These commissions are usually a percentage of the sale price or a fixed amount. Thus, affiliate marketing makes sure that payment occurs only when there is actual conversion.

How can NICE entrepreneurs benefit from affiliate marketing? What are the different types of affiliate marketing? Read on to find out.

Benefits of Affiliate Marketing 

  1. Low Start-Up and Ongoing Costs

Since an affiliate program does not require ad space or a team to create ads, the costs on your brand’s end are minimized. The money that goes into content creation and the marketing campaign is borne by the affiliate as well. 

  1. Low Risk and Flexibility

A low cost implies a low risk. Since the payment is made only after a sale comes through, this method is perfect if your business is working on a tight budget. You can also scale up and down your affiliate program at minimal costs. 

  1. High ROI

Affiliate marketing has a much higher ROI than most marketing strategies and contributes to 30% of company revenue. This conversion rate is because your demographic of buyers aligns with the affiliate’s viewership. Thus, the intended consumer base is only shown products or services of interest to them.

How Affiliate Links Work

An affiliate link is a specific URL that contains the affiliate’s ID or username. A unique affiliate link is provided to the affiliate chosen by you. The link is shared with the affiliate’s viewers or audience and helps to track the traffic directed to your site.

When potential buyers click the affiliate link, a cookie is stored on their device browser. This cookie helps your brand trace the sale back to the affiliate who sold the product. These cookies hold an expiration date (~30 days) and let the affiliates earn a commission even if the buyer does not buy the product right away. 

For example, if someone clicks on the link that Sejal Kumar has shared below, and uses the site to book flight tickets, even if done at a later date, she earns a small commission from Sky Scanner.

Sejal kumar using an affiliate link to promote Sky Scanner (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDKHJ4zgS24)

Choosing the Right Partners

While vetting and selecting affiliates, you must ensure that their interests and brand image align with your brand value. Synergy with the right affiliate ensures that the viewership generated will be individuals who resonate with your brand and find your product or service useful. This alignment ensures that your marketing efforts are being channeled to a highly targeted audience that is receptive to what your cultural enterprise has to offer. 

After finalizing the partnership, you must draw up a contract with clear expectations and lay out the details of the monetary transactions.

Types of Affiliate Marketing

1.Blogging

Bloggers typically use reviews, tutorials, how-tos, and other informative content to plug the affiliate product. They ensure that their style is retained, and the content they are creating is in line with the theme of the rest of their work. These blogs use the affiliate link to direct their viewers to your brand’s website. Nearly 65% of affiliate marketers worldwide generate traffic by blogging alone.

Here’s an example of The Gym Lab Blog providing it’s viewers an affiliate link to Total Gym’s equipment. 

https://thegymlab.org/total-gym-vs-bowflex-home-gyms/

2. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing on social media platforms is currently the most effective form of marketing to reach a curated target demographic. Furthermore, influencers have a great deal of impact on their followers’ buying habits. Thus, their viewers are more likely to be open to trying the product or service promoted. Their marketing usually takes different forms such as live videos, product reviews, posts drawing attention to the links, etc. 

Influencers on Instagram usually add their affiliate links to their profiles or attach them to Instagram stories. It was found that about 15 to 25 percent of the people who see a link in an Instagram Story click on it. 

Komal Pandey is a part of Amazon’s affiliate program. By directing her viewers to certain pieces, she makes a commission on her end. 

Komal Pandey who is a part of Amazon's affiliate program (https://www.instagram.com/p/CZwpiZlplNb/)

3.Email Marketing

Affiliate marketers can use their email lists as a good source of potential sales. The marketers usually curate these lists by giving their targeted audience some incentive to sign up, ranging from free sessions, tutorials, templates, etc. The affiliate links are added as part of newsletters or promotional emails and sent out. Marketers with an existing email list and engaged subscribers can leverage this method, regardless of their niche. 

4.Social Media Sites

Social media sites tend to promote products through banners and contextual affiliate links. Affiliate marketers can use these mass media sites to generate revenue. This method is ideal for affiliates with a large following or a niche product. They can share these links via Facebook ads, personal pages, groups, or promotional posts. 

readwithcindy providing an affiliate link for bookofthemonth (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwlLlykqvg4)

How to Track Affiliate Marketing Success

You can tell if your affiliate marketing campaign has worked by tracking metrics

Affiliates using ad programs like Google, Facebook, or Amazon can use their dashboards to monitor stats for individual channels. The key affiliate metrics to pay attention to are click-throughs, ad spend, ROI, conversion rates, net monthly sales, and overall revenue. Affiliate marketing tools help track performance, gather analytics, and provide competitor data. You must also note the type of content that is most effective at driving sales. 

Affiliate marketing is a straightforward method of building your online presence while generating higher revenue. With changing times, affiliate marketing continues to evolve. There are multiple ways to build an online presence, including the sending of PR packages, collaborations with influencers, brand partnerships, and more. Whichever method your cultural enterprise decides to adopt, you must ensure that the product or service you are sharing is relevant to your audience. For this, you must ensure that your content marketing is relevant to your brand’s mission. 

Stay tuned to our blog for more tips on how our NICE communities are growing their cultural enterprises.