Since online businesses don't have a location to help spread the word about their brand, they have to come up with other ways to make their product listings stand out.  But strategies like email marketing and SEO (search engine optimisation) can take a long time to work. Then there's a real chance that you'll spend a lot of money and still fail. So another option you can try is affiliate marketing. Since the price depends on how well it works, you only pay when it does. This makes it less risky than other ways to sell an eCommerce site since you only pay if it works. So, what is affiliate marketing, and why might you want to incorporate it into your marketing strategy? 

How does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate marketing is a popular method of advertising in which a marketer is paid to promote a business's goods or services. Affiliates are usually bloggers, people with a lot of followers, influencers who make content, or past shoppers. They will market the online store's goods through digital channels that get a lot of traffic, like their blog, personal website, or social media sites. Depending on the agreement's terms and conditions, they can get a fee for each sale, new lead, or click. In affiliate marketing, an advertiser (like an online brand) gives a partner (like a content creator) a reward (usually a commission) for every sale or action (like signing up for an email newsletter) that can be directly linked to their marketing efforts. Most of the time, a unique link is used to keep track of this. 

What do affiliate programs have going for them?

1. Simple to follow and measurable

The best way to work is for affiliates to get their own unique link to use when writing about your business. Cookies are used to keep track of how many times this ad link is clicked. Also, if you use affiliate marketing software like Refersion, you can easily view all the data through a dashboard. 

2. Good ROI

Affiliate marketing is easier to use than other types of mainstream digital marketing because you can start right away without having to spend a lot of money. You don't need to hire more marketing staff or buy advertising space. Even creating the content that will be used isn't always necessary. Also, if you decide to pay per sale instead of per lead or click, you'll only have to pay affiliates when they bring in actual sales. 

3. Creates social proof

Social proof is something that comes out of partner marketing. The content that influencers share helps bring in more online sales, but it also ends up being strong user-generated content.  So, even if a post didn't lead to a click or sale, your audience noticed that others trust your brand. This kind of publicity might be hard to measure but know that it's very important for your brand's reputation and consumer trust. 

4. Focus your efforts on a few items

When you set up your affiliate marketing program, you can choose to let your affiliates sell only some of your goods instead of all of them. You can focus your marketing efforts on the goods with the highest profit margins or on the ones that sell the least often. Both of these ways can be good for you. Products with high worth are often more expensive and hard to get. Since these aren't things most people buy every day, letting affiliates focus on them can help to sell more of them. On the other hand, if you have a lot of extra stock, focusing on the items with the lowest turnover rate can help you get rid of stock that's taking up valuable storage room when you're not using drop shipping. 

5. Gain brand ambassadors

In a way, your affiliates will act as representatives for your company. You can use word-of-mouth advertising to your advantage if you have a strong network of brand champions.  A global survey that looked at the most trusted ways to advertise found that personal suggestions from family and friends are still the most trusted way to advertise. In fact, almost 90% of people believe what a friend says. So having a team of people like this pushing your brand to people in their direct networks, can be very good for business.

The bottom line

Since online businesses don't have a storefront to help spread the word about their brand, they have to find other ways to make their product listings stand out. But tactics like email outreach and SEO (search engine optimisation) can take a long time to work. Then, there's the real chance that you'll spend a lot of money and still fail. Affiliate marketing is a great way to optimise specific sales channels, build your brand and track sales. It’s a calculated way to market your business, not to mention cost-effective. Making affiliate marketing a great way to build your eCommerce business in real and measurable ways. 

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