Affiliate Marketing: What Is It? What brands can benefit from it?
If you are in a selling business and you haven’t heard about affiliate marketing, move towards your computer and read carefully. Today’s world is about earning. It’s foolish to ignore modern marketing directions believing that you can still stay competitive applying only traditional marketing techniques. E-commerce is not only a cute presentation of products on a website. It is much more about promoting these products to customers by all means. In this article we will not touch upon such popular marketing techniques as SEO, PPC, SMM, email marketing, etc. Instead, we would like to shed some light on a less know, yet profitable affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is a marketing program of promoting other people’s products on your websites in return for a commission for each sale. It can sometimes be called partner marketing. You may have probably seen “affiliate link” or “sponsored post” tags on some websites – such websites are affiliate marketing sites. So whether familiar or not, you have crossed roads with affiliate marketing before.
E-commerce websites and brands can significantly benefit from the affiliate marketing program. And that is what we at Weby do as part of our cohesive marketing strategy to promote brands and increase sales.
Let’s go into some theory to better understand how affiliate marketing works. There are normally three parties of an affiliate marketing system. There is one extra party that is not a mandatory component but deserves to be mentioned as it makes affiliate cooperation much easier.
So in the classical system there are:
The Merchant – a.k.a the creator, the seller, the brand, the retailer, the advertiser or the vendor – the party which sells the product.
The Affiliate – a.k.a the affiliate marketer, the publisher – the party which advertises the product of the merchant on their sites. The affiliate may be another e-commerce website, a coupon provider, a blog, a social media account, a YouTube channel, a Twitch account, an Amazon associate, etc. The affiliate earns a certain commission from the Merchant upon each sale. The commission amount varies depending on the agreement terms but usually is set as a certain percentage of the sold cost.
The Consumer – the customer who buys the product. The consumer is by far the most important party of the affiliate ecosystem as without sales there’s no profit for the merchant and no commission for the affiliate.
The fourth party which has appeared as a result of cooperation between affiliates and merchants but now takes top positions in the affiliate system is the Affiliate Network. Affiliate networks work as intermediaries between the affiliate and the merchant. A network makes it easier for the merchant to recruit affiliates and for affiliates to offer their placements to the merchant. Quite often affiliate networks fulfill the payment exchange between the parties securing the stability of commissions and payouts and acts as a mediator in communication.
Here are some examples of the most prominent affiliate networks: Amazon Associates, AvantLink, LinkConnector, CJ Affiliate, Affiliate Future, ClickBank, ShareASale, FlexOffers.
E-commerce affiliate marketing
At Weby, we combine both methods of affiliate marketing. We work with affiliates through several affiliate networks, as well as partner with individual niche websites and influencers directly to promote products that we carry.
Affiliate marketing is a CPA marketing model, which stands for cost per action or acquisition. In a merchant – affiliate relationship the ‘A’ can be anything they agree on – sale, lead, click, install. In e-commerce the action is defined by the sale. So when an actual sale happens through an affiliate’s promotion, the affiliate gets the commission.
The thing about online sites working with affiliates is that when you have a wide inventory it is not very rewarding to offer single products to an individual affiliate. It requires too many efforts to select, check availability, offer an item to an affiliate, wait for conversion, ask the affiliate to terminate the promotion if the product is out-of-stock, etc. So it’s preferable to choose a partner site which can upload product datafeeds regularly and let affiliates choose themselves what to advertise to their audiences. A datafeed is a list of products with some specific fields which vary from network to network but usually bear the most important product info, e.g. name, SKU, category, buy link, image.
Our team leverages all affiliate working schemes to drive better results. We utilize product feeds for all of our inventory and offer affiliates individual products/product groups for a definite period of promotion, e.g. Black Friday special sales, Father’s Day specials, etc.
One more thing that we treat with special care is choosing an affiliate marketplace and affiliates inside the network.
Before engaging with an affiliate either directly or through an affiliate network we perform a thorough check of all the related metrics: reach, value, performance and content quality, reviews and affiliate reputation.
After the recruitment, we measure performance of each channel and each campaign and make necessary adjustments to the partnership to make it beneficial for us, the affiliate and the brands we sell.
As an online retailer it is our duty and also our interest to attract as many high-converting affiliates as possible and to provide content that will be warmly welcomed (purchased) by a final consumer.
Our promotional efforts are not limited by choosing an affiliate. We need to offer products that will catch both affiliate’s and customer’s attention. That is why we dedicate a lot of our work to SEO optimization of each product detail page to make them as useful and appealing as possible.
How do brands benefit from the affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a great addition to more common and complex marketing tools. It can not drive high revenue alone but can be a great way to fit in the marketing strategy of an e-commerce website and brands they are promoting.
Affiliate marketing is an indisputable advantage for all parties involved. Online retailers generate revenue, brands get more sales, increase brand recognition and awareness, affiliate platforms and affiliates earn their commissions. Win-win-win.
That’s why if you choose Weby as your 3P partner, we’ll make sure to leverage all promotional methods for your benefit.