Small Businesses’ Keys to Affiliate Marketing Success
Affiliate marketing can make a lot of big businesses and big names bigger – but can it do the same for small businesses and its owners? The answer, of course, is that it’s possible, provided that one maps out a good and effective strategy for managing one’s affiliate marketing efforts.
Particularly poised for success in affiliate marketing are small businesses that meet a broad range of customers’ needs, have plenty of gross margins available in their price structures, and enjoy good brand reputation. “Poised” is the keyword – success doesn’t happen automatically, or overnight. There are keys to affiliate marketing management that these kinds of small businesses – and many others – will certainly benefit from.
Leverage the affiliate networks
The great thing about affiliate networks is that they house partners, marketers, online publishers, bloggers, and affiliates who can all dedicate themselves to growing your business, and who can then become your online sales force. Signing up with an affiliate network allows you the freedom of having someone else handle all the time-consuming tasks – of building and maintaining that sales force – which, as a small business owner, you might not otherwise be able to do.
Sites like ShareASale and LinkShare, for example, allow you to expand your reach without doing all the dirty work of recruiting your affiliates. Not only do you gain access to hoards of affiliates who fit your business perfectly; you also get to leverage today’s top affiliate marketing tools and technologies to keep building your network – and keep growing your business.
Make your commission structure attractive
Don’t give potential affiliates the impression that just because you’re a small business, you don’t – can’t – think big. Lure them in with an attractive commission structure; chances are you’ll be luring in the most credible, hardest-working, and highest-performing affiliates in your industry. An attractive commission structure not only rewards affiliates handsomely; it also motivates them effectively.
Choose your affiliates wisely
It’s wise to build a network of affiliates, advertisers, and marketers who all know what it takes to sell your products and services. Sure, it’s tempting to keep signing up anyone and everyone. But it will only work if your affiliates know how to connect with your customers and prospects, as well as how to fit your products into the niches in which they specialize.
Coach your affiliates
There are plenty of standard advertising methods out there on the Web, but what might prove to be more valuable – and more effective in increasing your sales – is coaching your affiliates on how to market your products best. Because you own the business, you will know more than any of your affiliates about what you can offer to prospects – which thus calls for a more personalized method of marketing. Things like a positive personal testimonial, for example, are more likely to catch the attention of your affiliates’ visitors and readers.
Communicate with your affiliates
Just because you’ve recruited them doesn’t mean you stop communicating with them. It’s almost like college sports: you take the time to talk to and take care of the people who are responsible for making your program successful – and you come up with programs to sustain and nurture your top performers. Your affiliates are, essentially, your sales partners, and it helps to make them feel they’re a big part of your business. Regular newsletters and personalized E-mail messages are great ways of keeping in touch, and instilling in your affiliates a sense of belonging and motivation in your own online community.