Affiliate marketing has been around since the mid 1990’s and Amazon.com is generally credited with pioneering the concept in 1996.
Performance driven, affiliate marketing can create substantial revenue streams for both advertisers (or merchants) and affiliates (or publishers).
Traditional marketing was always based on the merchant promoting their own products or for re-sellers taking on a small part of the promotion for their particular locations.
Affiliate marketing changed all that.
Merchants could mow recruit affiliates to promote their products and reward these affiliates purely on a performance basis.
Re-sellers and affiliates were no longer constrained by any geographical limitations or even by any constraints placed on the products they could promote.
Affiliates could now promote anything, regardless of any possible regulatory framework.
For example, products in the financial markets are governed by strict oversight, meaning traditional re-sellers would have to comply with this regulatory framework. Not so for affiliates however.
This performance based relationship puts merchants in a very enviable position. Companies can expand their client base and revenues without any excessive start-up costs.
Affiliates are paid purely on results.
Yes, the reward for a successful affiliate is extremely lucrative but this comes out of profits generated from the affiliate’s own efforts.
With the increased competition in practically any on-line marketplace, merchants who do not take advantage of the affiliate model soon lag behind their competitors.
This isn’t only related to the direct revenue attributable to their affiliates. It has to do with the concept of branding as a whole.
Search engines have become much more sophisticated in their evaluation of websites and the ranking algorithms are much more complex.
One of the strongest ranking signals used to be the number of incoming links a website had. Back-links are of course still a strong signal in ranking algorithms but today the signal is all about relevance and buzz.
With affiliates, the relevance is assured as your publishers will have their own website related to the main topic of your product.
Not only will your affiliates drive traffic and sales to your brand but the back-links from their websites to yours will improve your overall search engine ranking.
Your website will appear higher up in the search results, meaning more organic traffic and direct sales.
The affiliate however also improves the “buzz” factor. Everybody has a Facebook and a Twitter account nowadays.
Your affiliates will of course be posting about the products they promote on their social media accounts. This is turn creates the “buzz” about your brand and increases the amount of social signals being created around your product.
Search engines today are all about community. Brands that create a community around them are rewarded with higher rankings in the search results which means more traffic and more sales.
Developing your affiliate program also develops the community around your brand. More traffic, more sales, more revenue. If there’s a down-side, it’s very difficult to find.
Some of the biggest brands in the world of e-commerce rely on their affiliate programs for a substantial percentage of their sales and revenue.
Amazon.com, the grandfather of affiliate programs would never have reached the penetration they have today without their affiliates with the latest figures putting Amazon affiliate sales at over 40% of their total sales. Little wonder Amazon looks after their publishers.
Whatever your product, there are affiliates who would promote it and drive sales to your brand. The trick is finding the right affiliate and creating the right program.
That’s where we come in.