Affiliate Marketing to increase revenue or as a customer acquisition strategy is not as easy as it may sound. Talk to one of the sales reps for any of the major affiliate networks online, and they'll lead you to believe that all it takes a setting up an account, creating some banners and creative collateral, and sit back and watch the new sales stream in. Those same reps probably are not focusing much on explaining to you that you'll need to invest anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars JUST to get started. They probably also are not jumping up and down to make sure you understand that even if you do not make a single sale, you'll still be paying monthly "service fees" to them on top of their responsibilities. Let's go over some Affiliate Marketing tips to help you increase your revenue and get more customers!
1. If it were easy, every business would be a multi-million dollar brand!
Re-read that sentence and understand it. There are no quick fixes to online marketing! ESPecially when it comes to Affiliate Marketing where you're responsible for managing and monitoring 100's if not 1000's of Affiliate Webmasters. Affiliate Marketing requires effort and attention. There are no "set it and forget it" methods.
2. If you can not convert your current website traffic into customers, Affiliate Marketing will not help.
Affiliate webmasters are traffic sources. They are simply displaying your banner ads or text links to their audience of consumers. Once that consumer clicks through to your website, it's YOUR JOB to convert them to a sale! Over my decade of experience I've worked with countless Brands and business owners who do not seem to understand this simple concept! Your website is your brand's "home." This is where all of your online traffic is routed to. You as the business owner are responsible for knowing what the conversion rate is of your website, what it's best selling items are, which landing pages are the most effective, and who your target customer is. If you're armed with this information, congratulations! You just might be ready to pursue Affiliate Marketing.
3. An object in motion, stays in motion …
Let's assume that you've done your research, consulted with an Affiliate Marketing professional, and feel like you're ready to invest in growing your online revenue through affiliate marketing. Those big affiliate networks that I mentioned about can be very valuable resources. First you must understand how affiliate marketing works from the mindset of one of the affiliate webmasters!
Affiliate webmasters want to make money. Period. Those that survived all of the changes to affiliate marketing over the years, are generally pretty savvy online marketing pros themselves. The first thing they are going to do is look at your selling statistics. They want to know when your last commissionable sale was, what your EPC (sales per 100 orders), and what your return rate is. The problem is that if you're just getting started, you do not have much of any information available.
TIP: Pad the stats. Create an affiliate webmaster account for yourself within the same network that you are a merchant. Sign up to your own program. Now let's assume for example that you regularly send out newsletters with special offers to your customers via Email Marketing. Instead of just directing customers directly to your website, funnel them through your newly created affiliate webmaster account. Now when potential affiliates are vetting your stats to see if they want to promote you, at least you have some statistic data that may entice them.
4. Keep your eye on the ball.
Brand dilution is one of the biggest problems I've seen over the years from business owners who do not really understand how affiliate webmasters do their job. You will need to have specific restrictions and guidelines set in your account that outlines what affiliate webmasters are allowed to do online when promoting your business. For example, if you do not specify SEM guidelines, they may actually be bidding against you to advertise your own product. Or they could be creating fake Social Media profiles to promote your Brand. Even worse, they could have spamming email lists with your Brand or domain name! All of these things need to be closely monitored to insure that your brand or business name is not being misrepresented. Contact a qualified online Brand Management Expert for advice if you have any questions. Even a quick phone call could save you hassles down the road!
5. The best way to grow Affiliate Marketing is to grow your own Affiliates.
There are millions of blog owners and social media activists that do not even know what affiliate marketing is! These are the younger generation of webmasters and bloggers that may have first been introduced to the online world far after affiliate marketing had it heyday! Find those people, and start to forge a relationship with them. YOU become the expert in online marketing and affiliate marketing in their eye, and trust me, their loyalty will lie with you! You are effectively creating your own little army of online brand ambassadors.