The concept of affiliate networking is a significant marketing idea in the world of digital marketing. Over the past two decades, brands across the globe have resorted to more intense use of this low-cost strategy to advertise their products and services.
The unique or distinguishing factor that has set online affiliate marketing ahead of online advertising schemes is its high efficiency to cost ratio. According to recent studies, about 81% of brands rely on affiliate links to drive sales.
In today's fast-paced and continually evolving digital marketplace, any online marketer or brand that is yet to leverage the immense benefits of affiliate networks to generate leads and drive sales may be missing out on a large scale. That is how relevant affiliate marketing is.
The concept of affiliate marketing was introduced by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts, in 1989. Since then, the idea has grown to become one of the most popular and most profitable online marketing strategies, exceeding other models such as cost per impression, cost per click, cost per action, and pay per sale, and email marketing, by performance.
Moreover, it is a performance-based marketing model, so each party involved in the affiliate network would most likely want to push out ads that will bring in results.
The Nature of Affiliate Networks
The main backbone of online affiliate marketing is the strength of the individual brands that make up the network. An affiliate network is typically a group of associated or affiliated brands that offer complementary or compatible products or services, such that they often pass sales leads.
An affiliate network is practically made up of merchants or marketers who are looking to get new clients, publishers, or websites owners - though may not have a product of their own - who advertise the products and services of the merchants, and the consumers who visit or read the target websites.
All the marketing efforts are mainly designed to get the consumers to part with their dollars in exchange for the services they receive. Each company within the affiliate can either act as a marketer or publisher.
Affiliated companies may not necessarily be in the same industry, but the idea is to cross-sell the services or products of the other party. Sometimes, this includes offering cross-promotional deals that encourage potential clients to consider patronizing the other brands.
The advertising company that`s interested in acquiring new clients will pay other members of its affiliate network for every sale lead that they ring in. Payment is usually based on an agreed action taken by the prospective clients, such as filling out a consultation form online, subscribing to an email list, clicking on links, making actual purchases, and so on.
The structure of online affiliate networks (which is the most versatile affiliate networking community) depends on a system of link sharing to function. Within the affiliate network, marketers rely on the richer network of publishers (other brands) to gain exposure for their products, which they would otherwise not be able to amass on their own.
Sometimes, the exposure increased cuts into industries outside of their marketing reach but promises returns on investment for the advertising party.
The most exciting part of the whole mix is that publishers are always willing to advertise content from other members of the affiliate. They often handle the design and cost of the adverts as the quality of adverts they publish would mean increased leads to the advertisers’ websites.
In return, they get paid for their effort. The marketer receives visibility and acquires sales lead while the publisher makes extra cash from the process. This form of advertising is relatively low compared to other conventional methods, which is why small businesses are very open to it.
This is why it is so important to have a good content marketing strategy. Here is a list of good content marketing agencies.
Affiliate marketing has grown in popularity over the years and is now an industry worth over $12 billion, according to recent research. Besides, it makes up for up to 15% of the total revenue generated from digital marketing efforts globally.
Advantages Of Online Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate networks are relatively easy to join. As a marketer or brand owner looking to grow online visibility, here are some reasons to consider joining an affiliate networking group.
They`re Easy To Track
A good marketing strategy should be trackable. There ought to be a way to track the performance of ads to know the number of impressions and sales leads that result from the ads. This helps the marketers ascertain which publishers are more effective in generating sales as well as which industry or market to concentrate more on i.e., which affiliates work and which do not.
Affiliate marketing programs allow marketers to view click-through rates or site views whenever customers view an affiliate web page. In essence, it is quite easy to monitor the performance of ads on affiliate websites. Currently, a lot of affiliate programs exist in the online affiliate marketing industry. Marketers now have a lot of choices to pick from.
Affiliate Marketing Is Cost Effective
Besides giving access to monitoring the interactions of site visitors with ads on affiliate sites, marketers are happy to propagate their brands through affiliate networks because of the cheaper rates they offer. Because a commission is paid based on the number of clicks or conversions achieved, it means that marketers only get to pay for measurable results as compared to billboards and digital ads that cost a lot and are not 100% measurable.
In case you want to explore new markets, you also do not need to spend too much creating whole marketing campaigns.
Affiliates Increase Your Visibility, And May Boost Your Reputation
As you would expect, an affiliate network comprises different brands in different niches and sometimes, totally different industries. This means that an affiliate marketer has a higher chance for visibility across several markets; in order words, a larger audience is guaranteed.
Meanwhile, as you create backlinks on trusted blogs and reputable websites, your brand's reputation grows. These websites will promote your products, thereby building public confidence in your brand`s offerings. This is arguably a very effective method to build the online presence of any brand.
People generally give more credibility to third party endorsements than promotional deals from websites that market themselves. Perhaps, this is why they are a successful strategy and are very popular among marketers.
So, as marketers gain leads, conversions, and sales, they also build a reputation for the brands they represent. Bloggers and online influencers who do not have any product in particular to sell will find this kind of opportunity a golden one.
With access to a highly rewarding affiliate network, they get the chance to promote other people’s products and services within their posts and make some good money while at it.
If you are overwhelmed by marketing strategy and in implementing solid affiliate marketing campaigns that will produce results. You can always hire a digital marketing agency to handle all the work for you.
Another unique advantage of affiliate marketing is the fact that it is performance-based. Commissions are only paid to publishers when the expected actions are recorded. This makes for easy measurement of the progress of the ads and makes affiliate marketing to stand out as an effective and cost-friendly marketing strategy.
Unlike traditional methods of advertising, marketers have the opportunity to monitor the performance of their ads in real-time. On the other hand, publishers of these ads are careful not to allow a drop in traffic or impressions. This means that without an active intervention from the marketers, their advertisements are given the very best push.
Obviously, as the ads perform well on the publishers` websites, their pay-outs will continue to increase. Consequently, trusted website owners and bloggers will be glad to promote saleable products.
Access To Global Markets
The great thing about building links with reputable websites is that you gain access to their audience. Such sites have an international audience who trust in their content and their opinion. This is an excellent opportunity to take a local brand International.
Not a lot of small businesses or even large firms can afford such a massive advertisement. This is particularly favorable to companies and influencers who need to take their content to a foreign audience.
It Does Not Require Full Marketing Campaigns
Regardless of your level of experience in online marketing or affiliate networking, you can still see ads within the network. Usually, there is no need to run full marketing campaigns as there experts within the organization. All you have to do is sit back and monitor the performance of the ads on affiliates' web pages.
The bottom line remains that affiliate marketing is strategic, result-oriented, and practically easy to implement. Joining an affiliate marketing network is highly rewarding, and all that is required is getting accepted into s viable system.
There are many network marketing programs available online today, from which one can choose. It’s a versatile and fast-growing industry, when even thoroughly evaluated accounts for up to 15% of market share for digital advertising.
Since content marketing is a huge part of affiliate marketing, here is a list of top content marketing agencies that we feel are best suited for building an affiliate marketing strategy.