By Michael Auger
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing that allows you to extend your sales reach through avenues that do not usually require upfront expenses. Typically, affiliate marketing only requires a payout to affiliates when certain criteria have been met, such as a fee for every sale or lead they bring to your website. Traditional advertising methods like pay per click, Google AdWords and direct mail pieces require payment upfront for any campaigns. For independent retailers, affiliate marketing can be a valuable addition to an existing marketing plan to reach new customers.
Use affiliate tracking
Affiliate marketing can seem complex, but it is not. In the most basic form, it comes down to having other websites push traffic or visitors to your online store. Having an ecommerce platform that easily integrates with affiliate tracking is key. Using affiliate tracking software like iDev Affiliate, Post Affiliate Pro 4 or HasOffers Affiliate Tracking, in conjunction with your online store, allows for easy tracking and payment to those entities that send potential customers your way.
Determine affiliate requirements
Depending on your specific industry, certain advertising methods will be more effective than others, but including affiliate marketing is always a good idea. As the merchant, you can determine what offers you want to make available to your affiliates. Maybe you will reward them for merely sending traffic and visitors to your site, because you know you can convert site visitors into customers. Some online retailers take a different tack and add a secondary requirement that affiliates not only send traffic and visitors to their site, but those visitors must complete a transaction. Which method works best for specific online retailers depends on a few variables, including industry and current ability to convert site visitors.
Fine-tune your campaign
As with all advertising methods, affiliate marketing will require fine-tuning over time. Establishing a baseline and then measuring data against that baseline is crucial for any type of campaign. As an online retailer, you should already have an idea of your site conversion rate. If you do not, you should find out the rate as soon as possible. Compare affiliate traffic conversion rate to non-affiliate traffic conversion rate, and make necessary adjustments to produce desired results from your affiliates. Marketing your online store does not happen by itself. Affiliate marketing is a great option to include in your marketing mix. To read about another marketing tactic, click here.