Last month, we introduced the topic of affiliate marketing and explained what it is, the potential benefits and pitfalls, and some statistics and predictions about the future of the marketing technique (spoiler alert: it’s bright). 

Hosting Tribunal says that the affiliate marketing sector is currently worth $12 billion, and growing rapidly, and that “well-crafted affiliate marketing programs can boost revenue by a staggering 30%.” Paige Wiese, affiliate marketing expert (and Tree Ring Digital’s CEO) said that when it’s well done (that seems to be a theme), you can “reduce your marketing budget by letting others do the marketing for you.”

As promised, here’s our follow-up – a more advanced primer on how affiliate marketing can work for your business. It’s a subject Tree Ring Digital knows a lot about, and we’ve seen it used well…and not so well. 

Quick Refresher: What is Affiliate Marketing?

According to Investopedia, “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.” 

In our last blog about affiliate marketing, we used the hypothetical examples of Mary, owner of “Mary’s Marvelous Widgets, ” who has asked  “Will the Widget Wizard” to be an affiliate marketer – which means she’s asking him to put  banner ads, text ads, or links  on his blog, website, etc., that recommend Mary’s Marvelous Widgets in exchange for a percentage (usually 5 – 10% of the sales gleaned from the affiliation). Will thinks that’s a great idea…so what happens next? A lot. And it can either be a major headache and time waster with a sporadic, small monetary return for Will and a few, basically untrackable sales for Mary, or it can be a steady stream of income for Will and a constant source of extra sales for Mary. It all depends on how the affiliate marketing program is set up. 

Make Affiliate Marketing Work for You

“Not only do you have to really work with those power partners and offer them the tools necessary to promote your offering, but you have to have a trackable way to reward them,” Wiese says. 

In order to craft a lucrative affiliate marketing program, you have to answer a lot of questions before you even begin: How do we track the affiliates’ referrals? How much are their payouts, and how do they get it? What artwork will accompany the link to my site? Where do they find the artwork? How do they get it onto their site? Those are just a few questions that need to be answered well in advance of signing up any affiliate marketers. 

“You need to create the portal connected to the eCommerce platform or online learning platform, whatever it is that you’re selling. Set that portal up so that it starts tracking sales,” Wiese explains. “Brand consistency and trust is crucial in building a successful affiliate marketing program, as well.”  It can take some time and effort to set up correctly, but if it’s done well, an affiliate marketing program can reap big rewards.  

Tree Ring Digital: Affiliate Marketing Experts

The moral of the story is I think it’s a very good approach, if done appropriately, and if it makes sense,” Wiese says about affiliate marketing. 

Want to learn more about how affiliate marketing can be a solid way to increase the revenue of your business? Call Tree Ring, the affiliate marketing experts, for a no-obligation conversation about the possibilities.