- By: Ricky Hayes December 18, 2020
Affiliate Marketing Success: 9 Must-Follow Affiliate Marketing Tips For Beginners
E-commerce marketing is a broad phenomenon. The process revolves around testing, tweaking, and ensuring your message gets through to your target audience.
Starting your e-commerce business in 2020-21 isn’t as easy as it may sound. Affiliate marketing is a relatively untapped marketing channel used by over 81% of brands these days.
If you’re planning to dip your toe into the affiliate marketing stream, you have come to the right place. In this comprehensive Affiliate Marketing for Beginner’s guide, we’ll be highlighting nine must-follow Affiliate Marketing Success tips to help you get started.
But before that, first, have a quick look at what affiliate marketing is and how it works.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Simply put, affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing channel where the brands reward their affiliates for bringing more business.
The concept revolves around revenue sharing – If you’re an e-commerce store owner, you can offer affiliate marketers a financial incentive to promote your product.
On the other hand, if you’re a marketer, you can promote a valuable product and earn money from it by working as an affiliate marketer.
“Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.” (Source: Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income)
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Affiliate marketing, as explained in the previous section, works by distributing responsibilities of product creation and marketing across different channels. The affiliate marketing process rewards each party according to their contribution to the marketing process.
People Involved In Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate/Publisher: An affiliate or a publisher can either be an individual or a company that engagingly promotes the merchant’s product to potential buyers. The responsibility of an affiliate is to promote the offer and convince customers to purchase the product.
The Merchant: The merchant or a brand is a business that markets its product through an affiliate marketer. Many brands prefer to promote their products and services through affiliate marketers because they only have to pay a commission if there’s conversion.
Whether the customer knows it or not, they’re an integral part of an affiliate marketing program. When a customer buys a promoted product, both affiliates and a merchant earn revenue.
An affiliate network, also known as a commission junction, acts as an intermediary between an affiliate and the merchant. It enables an affiliate to discover profitable affiliate programs that are suitable for their websites.
How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?
At this point, you must have a clear understanding of what affiliate marketing is and how it works in an e-commerce marketing space.
Now You must be wondering how an affiliate gets paid after they successfully link a consumer to the merchant.
The affiliate can get paid in different ways.
Pay Per Sale Affiliate Programs
The standard affiliate marketing structure is called Pay Per Scale. The brand pays the marketer a certain percentage of the sale price of the affiliate product after a customer purchases it.
Pay Per Lead Affiliate Programs
Pay Per Lead Affiliate Programs, on the other hand, compensates the marketers based on lead conversions. This structure is relatively more complex and requires an affiliate to encourage customers to visit the merchant’s store and complete the buying process.
Pay Per Click
This affiliate marketing structure requires the affiliate to redirect buyers from their platform to visit the brand’s official website to make a purchase. In other words, the affiliates working for this specific program are paid on the amount of web traffic they send to the merchant’s site.
Benefits Of Affiliate Marketing
Make Money While You Sleep
Sounds interesting, right?
Affiliate marketing is different from your 9 to 5 job in the sense that it doesn’t require you to attend meetings, report progress, and sit in front of your computer for hours to complete tasks. You can make money while you sleep.
No Customer Support
Brands that directly sell products to customers will also have to deal with customer feedback and complaints.
Thanks to the flexible affiliate marketing structure, you’ll never need to worry about customer satisfaction. Once you have encouraged buyers to purchase products, the customer handling will be the concern of the company itself and not the marketers.
Studies show that customers spend more amount following a marketer’s recommendations compared to buying products randomly.
Generally, brands need both start-up finances and cash flows to finance their products. With an affiliate marketing structure, you can start immediately without thinking about the start-up cost or affiliate program fees.
Affiliate marketing enables marketers to set their goals and work at their own pace. You can choose your favorite affiliate marketing programs and select the products that inspire you.
With other jobs, you get a fixed salary. Affiliate marketing allows affiliates to fix their targets. Since it’s a performance-based structure, you’ll get from it what you put into it.
9 Must-Follow Affiliate Marketing Tips For Beginners
1. Offer An Attractive Commission
Make sure you offer a market-competitive commission rate to your affiliate partners. This rate can either be on a flat rate basis or a percentage of each sale. We’d recommend you carefully observe what your competitors are offering to their affiliates.
The average commission rate is between 5% and 30%. If you’re a new business, you may consider offering a premium commission rate to your marketers so that your brand gets recognition amongst potential affiliates.
You don’t have to stick to a single commission rate for all the partners. You can offer different rates to different affiliates depending upon how well they’re promoting your products on their platform.
2. Recommend Products You’re Familiar With
Affiliate marketing is a process that helps build trust and credibility. If you’re recommending products that you haven’t used before, then you may lose the trust of your loyal customers.
You must include a note stating you’re only ‘recommending’ the product. Remember, the more genuine recommendations you make, the more likely your customers will revisit your store for valuable suggestions.
3. Offer Detailed Affiliate Guidelines
Without proper guidance, do not expect marketers to promote your products the way you like. You have to make your affiliate partners aware of your brand voice and tone.
Be specific about your instructions on how your brand’s logo should be displayed on the affiliate’s website.
Don’t forget to ask your affiliates to send the end product for your review before it’s finally published for the users.
One of the ways you can provide instructions to your affiliate partners is by sending them a welcome email containing information about your most successful products, branding guidelines, and a few tips on how to market your products.
Apart from that, you can also integrate online tools, such as Google Alert, to keep an eye on the progress of your affiliate program.
4. Promote Products From Different Brands
Diversification is key to a successful affiliate marketing program. If you promote only one brand’s products, you’ll lose an opportunity to receive better commissions.
Ideally, you should work in collaboration with different merchants and promote a wide range of products.
Diversifying your affiliate marketing strategy will allow you to enjoy better commissions and generate a stream of passive income for yourself.
5. Test And Optimize Your Conversion Rates
Creating an effective affiliate marketing strategy isn’t enough. It’s an ongoing process that demands you to constantly test and optimize your conversion rates.
Having a web page where you’re marketing any specific products through affiliate links and having roughly 3000 visitors per month at a 1.5% conversion rate (with 75 referrals).
If your goal is to attain, say, 150 referrals, you can either pay more attention to getting 3000 more visitors or increasing your conversion rate to 3%.
If you choose to get more organic traffic to your promotion page, then you have to spend your time and resources on building strong domain authority. But it’s easier to increase your conversion ratio by 1.5% more. The choice is yours.
No, that doesn’t mean that achieving this milestone is easier. After all, conversion optimization is a tedious process. But, it is more achievable and long-lasting. Plus, you’ll get far better results in a significantly shorter period.
6. Focus On High AOV Products
Another proven affiliate marketing tip for beginners is that you should focus on high AOV products to improve affiliate earnings per click.
10% commission on $500 is better than a 10% commission on $100.
Instead of letting your affiliates choose what they promote, make sure you tell them which of your high ticket products they should advertise.
Incentivize your deals by following a few practical marketing strategies. For instance:
- You should consider offering a Free shipping offer throughout the year as more than 90% of online shoppers prefer buying from websites that offer a free delivery offer (if offering free shipping isn’t currently an option, then you can set cart goals to persuade customers to make more purchases to get a free shipping offer as a reward)
- You can also offer a 10%-15% flat discount to your first customer. Doing so will build trust and you’ll gain a customer for life
- BOGO deals and ‘Buy More Save More Discount’ kind of deals will also trigger urgency and encourage customers to buy more
7. Focus On Your Traffic Sources
Market research is another critical factor that needs your consideration. Find out the sources of your web traffic and know about the demographics of your target audience.
This will enable you to personalize your offers and you can make the best product suggestions. Do not limit your research and also focus on people who’re visiting your page.
There are many tools available online, including Google Analytics, that can help you keep track of key metrics like bounce rate, time, age, gender, buyer preferences, and more. By using these tools you can better focus on future strategies, CRO optimization, and overall strong ROI.
8. Optimize Your Website For Mobile
The trend of using mobile phones is on the rise. Today, more than 3-billion people use smartphones.
Without a mobile-friendly website, your customers will quickly move to other websites that offer an overall better user experience.
Besides the mobile responsive website, you must also ensure the right navigation and quick access to information on your website.
Keep in mind, the only way to survive in today’s aggressive e-commerce world is to create out-of-the-box solutions that can keep your visitors and buyers happy and satisfied. So you must leave no stone unturned to achieve this goal.
9. Monitor Your Affiliate Marketing Programs
Did you know only 10% of e-commerce affiliate programs drive 90% conversions?
Here, the key is to know more about your target audience and consistently monitor your affiliate programs so that you can make the right changes.
You can use affiliate tracking software to analyze progress. Make sure you gain insight into where affiliates are embedding your product links.
With these tracking tools, you can keep an eye on the individual performance of each affiliate. Also, you can analyze key metrics, including clicks, sales, and overall revenue.
Take immediate action if you observe that your conversion rates are too low. This indicates that your affiliate partner could be in a different industry and your brand message isn’t reaching your target audience.
(Pro tip: Many times affiliates implement strategies to artificially raise your conversion rate so that they can earn higher commissions. Take immediate action if you think the conversion rate is too high or unrealistic.)
By constantly analyzing your affiliate marketing programs, you can pinpoint affiliates who’re contributing to your brand’s success. Also, you would be able to identify those who’re just wasting your time and money.
Have you partnered with any affiliate for your brand yet? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below. We’d love to hear back.