As soon as the Internet appeared, it made a genuine mercantile revolution – people from all over the world came together to form a single enormous market. The problem, however, mostly consisted of how to reach all these people the right way. This led to the launch of numerous digital marketing campaigns, but even this wasn’t enough. What was required to get digital retail over the top was the individual initiative, which is what gave birth to affiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
The way affiliate marketing works is quite simple: it’s basically individuals and companies using their websites to link towards other people’s products. Most commonly, they are paid a commission for every sale that came through their link. While this may sound as a run-of-the-mill advertising, its advantage is quite transparent. John Wannamaker once said that one half of the money he invests in marketing is wasted, but he can never know for sure which part. Well, with affiliate marketing, you never have to ask this question. What you pay your affiliates is a percentage of the sale, so if they fail to bring in any results, they literally cost you nothing.
To make things even better, you are the one in charge of setting the height of the commission. While higher commissions cost you more, they also motivate your affiliates to invest more effort. All in all, this can be a double-edged sword if you are not careful and knowledgeable enough.
What to Look out for
Anyone who decides to go with affiliate marketing needs to know what rogue affiliates are. Make no mistake, even if your product/service is the best out there, with affiliate marketing you are not directly in charge of its advertising. Now, some people will instantly recognize its potential and make a great effort to portray your offering in the best possible light, but others will just look for a way to make some quick cash. The latter ones will invest minimum effort to make your link look organic and consequently harm your brand by surrounding it with spammy content. This is why you may want to check the affiliate history of your future partner before you decide to do business together.
Getting the Grip of Things
Like in any other business niche, there are a lot of things you need to familiarize with in relation to affiliate marketing before you can make some serious money. For example, you need to learn how to track your buyers, host your landing pages, drive traffic your way and later on even learn how to outsource. In time, you will learn that running your sales through affiliate is in fact one of the most efficient ways to do so, since it significantly unburdens you.
Choose the Right Network
Like in any similar situation, you will mostly depend on the tools you use, and the first thing you want to look for is a reliable affiliate network. There will be a lot of things to consider, like payment methods, information tracking, speed and accuracy. Personal experiences of people and businesses who used them vary, but seeing how most review lists show the same top results, feel free to start using any of them. Another great idea is to look at what the top-dogs in the affiliate industry are doing and simply follow their example.
To answer the question from the beginning: is affiliate marketing a viable sales channel? It most definitely appears to be so. As we already mentioned, the expenses you pay in form of commissions are in direct correlation to your sales, which probably fixes the greatest problem of modern marketing (ensuring consistent ROI). However, the success of this process will be determined by the quality of your product/service and the relationship you have with the affiliates.