Affiliate Marketing – Case Study
Affiliate marketing is performance based online marketing. It is one of the most efficient and fastest growing areas of online marketing but still remains low profile and often understated. It delivers a steady stream of results without the hype of social media or impact of a viral campaign. The process requires building a network of third party websites which direct customers to your website to complete the purchase, rather like a virtual sales force. Affiliates come in the form of loyalty, cash back, voucher codes, comparison, true content and email. The affiliate process consists of the affiliate company, the affiliate network and the client company.
The Affiliate Process
The affiliate network acts like a virtual sales force with many sites directing customers to the client company’s website these sites have to be recruited on a weekly basis through SEO, PPC, network, forum and contacting affiliates directly. It also plays a part in the up selling of new products, requires tracking and billing or carefully planned commission. Examples of affiliate networks include www.affiliatewindow.com.
Affiliate sites vary from voucher sites such as www.myvouchercodes.co.uk to comparison sites such as www.ciao.com, content sites reviewing the product and by e-newsletters. These sites are given incentives to achieve goals; relationships must be built in order for the client company’s products to be favoured by the affiliate and remain in a good position. This also requires creativity by the client company in terms of commission and special offers for consumers, the client company should work with the affiliate to spot opportunities for the campaign and suggestions to increase conversion. Payment of commission should be on time to keep a strong relationship with affiliate companies.
The client has to supply guidelines for the campaign in a creative way and nurture its relationship to keep its products in a favoured position. To be successful, it is important to carry out monthly reports pointing out aspects of the campaign which have gone well and parts which haven’t performed as well as expected, also useful for coming up with solutions and opportunities for the campaign ahead. Training is also essential for the campaign to achieve the best results and keeping up to date with affiliate marketing. The client can either go to a website directly and sign up for their affiliate program or join an affiliate network such as affiliate window.
To run a successful affiliate campaign, it is important to build a good, strong relationship with affiliates. This will help to build up trust from customers in your brand, speeding up word of mouth and increasing reach so more people will book with you rather than another company.
Being flexible with commission values, depending on the level of sales expected will incentivise traffic, especially at times when sales are slowing down, higher commission will make affiliates work harder for you. Paying commission within the deadline will also help your relationship with the affiliate sites.
Discount codes are important for incentivising customers to buy from your product or service when you want them to rather than shop around, a successful promotion will give them the push to go for it. Exclusive codes will work even better and give maximum exposure on key affiliates. Competitions and giveaways are another way of incentivising customers to attract customers to buy from you; a higher perceived prize value will be more attractive to consumers and therefore give an advantage over competitors. They will bring more opportunities to negotiate for features and coverage. In addition to encouraging larger affiliates who have the ability to drive high volume to win such incentives to go further than what they are already doing.
A lot of research has to be put into the affiliate programme and niche market to be successful. Affiliate campaigns work best when combined with Search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) campaigns and support from email marketing.
How an Affiliate Campaign Can Help You
An example of a client HitSearch has run affiliate campaigns for successfully is Chums, a clothing retailer. Sales revenue increased by 68% in one year through the combined search engine optimisation, pay per click and affiliate campaign. Affiliate marketing was a major part of the campaign bringing in £8000 of revenue in one month.
Affiliate campaigns are well suited for travel, retail, and service industries that have a timely research process or large sales volumes. Affiliates act as free publicity for your website, a network of websites directing customers to purchase from your site is a welcome asset to sales for all businesses.