This is a featured guest post from our friends at RingCentral.
As online shopping grows in popularity, so does the presence of online businesses. This means that algorithms and marketing schemes will continue to evolve at a rapid pace. And when your chosen business process can’t ride the marketing waves, it can be difficult to stand out in a crowded digital landscape. This is why you need an affiliate marketing strategy.
Aside from knowing the benefits of affiliate marketing and how affiliate marketing generates brand awareness, you should also be looking for budget-worthy ways to sustain your marketing efforts. Whether you're starting out or you've been in the game for a while, reducing costs is a must in maintaining and improving your results.
Here are ten of our top cost-saving tips for affiliate marketers. Read on and start saving!
1. Consider niche micro-influencers
Besides attracting famous influencers to your affiliate program, why not look within your market niche? Working with micro-influencers may actually see higher quality interactions in the end. This is because their following is often both dedicated and highly engaged, even when their follower count is lower. To source new affiliate partners, research their digital presence to confirm their brand’s authenticity and their follower engagement level.
Side note: unfortunately, fraud is on the rise. So, when starting new affiliate relationships with unknown partners, ensure your business is safe from affiliate marketing fraud. With bot traffic, fake leads, URL hijacking and cookie stuffing activities, it’s wise to stay aware of potential affiliate scams.
Also, if you aren’t sure that your business is secure, check in with your company’s Cloud Architect to confirm that your cloud computing policies are up-to-date.
2. Provide value to your affiliate partners
At its core, your affiliate marketing strategy should aim to be a mutually beneficial situation between you and your affiliate partners. In other words, you want your affiliate partners to be satisfied, so you should check in with them frequently. And if they’re unhappy or demotivated, you can provide marketing resources and other tools to aid in their success.
Motivate your clients by creating marketing content for them to share with their followers.
Sometimes a little help is all your under-performing affiliates need. They'll appreciate your attentiveness, and it will continue to improve your working relationship.
3. Special offers
Everyone loves a special offer, right? Well, your customers are no different! With this in mind, you can encourage sales by offering your affiliate partners discounts and promotions. Also, consider offering additional bonuses for your highest performing affiliates. This performance marketing strategy may also entice your less active affiliates to achieve higher sales.
Consider this tactic for your next product launch. It may just be the push your business needs to boost its sales.
4. Enhance landing pages
To optimize your affiliate marketing budget, you need to create an affiliate landing page that entices users. Most of the time, when users click your affiliate’s link, they’re redirected to your website’s affiliate landing page. But, if users are presented with a haphazard landing page, they may run for the hills. In other words, you've just lost potential customers. And no one wants to experience losing sales that way.
Here are a few pointers for optimizing your landing pages:
- Ensure your site is optimized for both mobile and desktop
- Make sure your website loads quickly
- Place clear CTAs
- Include high-quality product imagery and compelling, descriptive copy
With a better landing page, you’ll enjoy higher conversion rate optimization numbers. Plus, you'll improve your customer’s experience at the same time. It’s a win-win situation for both you and your affiliate partner.
5. Advertise on social media
With affiliate marketing, you only pay when your affiliates make a sale. This means your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) for this campaign type may be lower than other methods. By using this tactic, it allows you to spend a little more on avenues like social media advertising.
If you want to reach a wider audience within your affiliate marketing budget, consider ads on social media. Social media ads are designed to precisely target your intended audience.
Social media ads use demographic data (such as likes and hobbies) to show ads to specific audiences. For a relatively low spend, you can reach your target customer with your brand’s products and services. And if you’re not sure of how to best use social media, you can take some time to review these 35 social media best practices.
6. Keyword research
To get your business seen by more customers, your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) must be top-notch. You can conduct an SEO audit of your website and digital marketing campaigns to establish the most relevant keywords for your business and industry.
When you conduct your SEO audit, take some time to also investigate your competitors' digital footprint. By doing this, you can learn which words and questions your competitors are ranking high for on the search engines. For example, if your competitors aren’t answering customer questions such as “What is cloud infrastructure?”, you have an opportunity there to demonstrate your authority in the technology field.
Using the most relevant keywords to your niche helps you rank higher on search engines like Google. This way, potential future customers can find you, which in turn promotes your brand. Keyword research for affiliate marketing helps strengthen your overall SEO efforts.
7. Custom CPAs (Cost Per Action)
Boost your affiliate budget by tailoring your commission structure. Flat-fee commissions for every affiliate partner might be the easy route, but it's not likely to be the most profitable for your business. When you’re tallying different CPAs for your affiliate partners, consider raising commissions for your top performers and decreasing commissions for low-performing partners. As a result, you can see if they up their game. If not, it might be time to find a new partner to fill their space.
Use affiliate tracking software to monitor affiliate performance for accurate data. Brutal as it sounds, optimizing your marketing strategy budget means minimizing where necessary. To sum up, it's important to only make room for the most profitable partners.
8. Competitor research
Part of optimizing your affiliate marketing strategy means staying up-to-date on your competitors. Consider both your competitors’ products and prices, as well as their commission models.
It’s best to keep your eye on the ball about market happenings. For example, businesses in the private cloud storage tech industry must be aware of other companies with equal cloud storage offerings to ensure they meet consumer demands.
It’s worth comparing similar products on the market to check that your prices are competitive. Take time to review this periodically. When your prices are favorable, your business will be more attractive to affiliate partners who want to work with you. Further, competitively priced products are great for your customers too! Knowing what your competitors are up to will keep you one step ahead in the affiliate channel strategy game.
Also, take the time to ensure your commission rates are competitive. In other words, you should be constantly comparing them with other brands in your industry. To optimize your affiliate strategy, consider offering your affiliates flexible compensation rates, based on both lower- and higher-end products. This method is a great way to keep costs in check, while still rewarding your highest performing affiliates. In short, review your affiliate marketing strategy.
Whether you’re overseeing a corporation or managing a small business, it's important to review the effectiveness of all marketing strategies, such as:
- Your target audience - are they still relevant?
- Your affiliate partners - are they still the best fit for your brand and products?
- Can you offer a bonus to your affiliate partners to drive more sales and increase awareness?
- Your revenue goals - are you hitting your target revenue?
- Are your affiliate channel strategies in line with seasonal and breakout trends?
10. Build an affiliate network
Another budget-saving technique for your affiliate business is to start your affiliate network. Although it takes time to set up, building an affiliate network may pay off in the long run. Plus, affiliate partners will see you as a much more attractive candidate to work with, as an affiliate network offers them more security.
In addition, encourage your current affiliates to bring in sub-affiliates that will boost your network numbers with modest commission rates.
Time to Optimize
In short, affiliate marketing is a cost-worthy way to market your products. And, by optimizing your affiliate marketing strategy, you can stretch your budget even further.
When put into practice, these cost-saving tactics will squeeze the most out of your affiliate marketing budget. As a result, you’ll strengthen your affiliate partner relationships, build awareness for your brand, and forge long-lasting customer connections.
In conclusion, invest in affiliate marketing, and you won’t be sorry.
Severine Hierso is an experienced EMEA Senior Product Marketing Manager for RingCentral Office, focusing on cloud-based communications solutions. She has gained extensive international experience in product marketing and research across SaaS, telecom, video conferencing, and virtual PBX phone system, while working within Sony, Cisco, Cogeco Peer 1, and Dimension Data/NTT. She has written for StevieAwards and Valuer. Her passion is for creating value and differentiation for customers and partners, ensuring a better experience for all.
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