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Using Affiliate Marketing to create Brand Awareness – Startups

Written by Ant Lynch on . Posted in Uncategorized

Just Starting Out

If you’re a new brand just entering the online world the chances are you will not have much natural search for your brand. You will not have much traffic coming into your site from any of the main marketing sources, and ultimately sales will be thin on the ground.

It’s tough to get the point across as to just how powerful affiliate marketing can be to a new brand. Many new startup businesses online measure success by looking at sales only. We all know that sales is obviously the main metric to judge success, but you businesses need to realise that unless you have an ultra-niche product or service, then competition in the online world is fierce.

By starting an affiliate program early in your online adventure you can create massive brand awareness.Opening up your brand to the world of cashback, voucher code, content driven, loyalty, email experts and many more you open your brand up to a whole new world of customers.

The UK super affiliates as they are known can boast of customer bases in excess of 5 million.If your brand could get exposure to even 1% of that base then you will be creating brand awareness. With growing brand awareness comes more natural search. With more natural search comes more free traffic to your site. With more traffic to your site should lead to increased sales.

Affiliate marketing - brand awareness So when considering using the affiliate channel, don’t just think of it as a sales driver. In the long term if your brand grows then the affiliate channel should become a valuable driver of sales for you, but to grow brand awareness at a minimal cost is priceless, and this is what the affiliate channel can offer.

Simply put you can advertise your products or services to millions of customers by simply setting up a program.



What are the costs involved?

Starting an affiliate program can cost you anything from £0 – £5000. It all depends on what affiliate network you decide to go with. All the major UK affiliate networks have strengths and weaknesses. The larger more developed affiliate platforms will command a higher price.

The beauty of running an affiliate program is the way you pay affiliates. The most common commission model is CPA (cost per acquisition). This means you only pay an affiliate if they have completed a sale. This is what makes the channel so cost effective.

So if you want to get great brand exposure and you are new to the online world, considering an affiliate program to grow your brand awareness just might be a good avenue for you to choose.

Other relevant articlesStart an affiliate program – Infograph

7 Ways to improve your affiliate program

Written by Ant Lynch on . Posted in Affiliate program advice



Affiliate Program Improvements

Affiliate programs are an important digital channel for any serious online business. It opens you up to a wide array of marketing expertise and audiences you would never be able to get to. Growing your affiliate program is not an easy task so we have put together 7 tips for you to improve your program.

1. Voucher Codes – Keep your voucher codes fresh and test test test! Create different types of behavior in each of your vouchers and see which one is most receptive. This could be creating a voucher to encourage more spending (spend £35 and get free delivery) or give away a free item to encourage the sale (buy 2 get 1 free).

Once you know what works best for you then plan similar voucher codes for future offerings. Communicate your codes out on a regular basis to keep reminding the affiliates about your brand.


2. Validation time period – by decreasing your validation period you improve affiliate cash flow. Affiliates love this and are more likely to push your products and services. If you can get away with reducing the validation time without impacting your returns period then I would advise you to do so and shout about it to your affiliates.


3. Top 3 affiliates – You should be in regular contact with at least your top 10 affiliates on a weekly or monthly basis. Narrow this down even further and really concentrate hard in building a relationship with your top 3 affiliates. Give these top 3 affiliates priority on exclusive voucher codes, special cashback rates and commission increases.

Start to build up the relationship by adding them on Skype, Linkedin and plan meetings at trade events. Striking up a good relationship with your big hitter will be priceless over the lifetime of your program.


4. Help, Help Help! – The more you can help your affiliates the more receptive and likely they will be in pushing your products and services. They may want bespoke banners, exclusive voucher codes, or a piece of content writing, Give them what they want and you will be rewarded with a more loyal affiliate.


5. Share program knowledge – Let your smaller affiliates know what the bigger affiliates are doing to create sales. My sharing this information your affiliates will be on the right path to produce your program more sales, It will also give your lesser affiliates a bit more optimism towards your program. Any techniques that are working for your program should be shared.


6. Setting cookies – Your cookies need to be fair, most programs run a 30 day cookie period, can you offer more? Can you offer 60 days? The longer the cookie period on your program the more appealing your program will become for the affiliate. This then also creates a perception that you are doing more to make sure the affiliate receives commission for their work.


7. Commissions – stagger your commission payments so your top affiliates are rewarded more than others. If you tier your commission structure this will also create an incentive for smaller affiliates to hit bigger targets. Example 1-10 sales = £10, 11 – 20 sales = £15, 21 sales plus = £20. This again will also maintain the loyalty of your top affiliates.


Why You Should Consider Affiliate Marketing

Written by Ant Lynch on . Posted in What is affiliate marketing



Quick & Cheap

Affiliate marketing is considered one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to drive online revenue for online businesses. It is a strong advertising tool for any brand online as it provides affiliates and the merchant with a strong incentive to sell products. The affiliate marketing arena has grown rapidly over the last 10 years and we now see more and more online brands embracing this marketing avenue simply because it is so cost effective.

Low cost entry to the market

Most marketing channels have some sort of fixed set up cost that is deemed expensive especially if you are a startup or new to the online world. Cost per click needs to have a hefty budget to make it pay, the same with remarketing, and SEO. They all have high costs attached to it. With affiliate marketing the only cost attached to it would be your set up cost to the network. Once you are set up your only costs will be paying out commission on successful sales.



Only Pay for Sales

As mentioned above the one main benefit of running an affiliate program is you only pay out on successful completed sales. This is a huge benefit to your brand as you know affiliates will strive to drive good quality traffic to make sure they get the sale. Poor quality traffic will inevitably not convert so you will never pay out a commission.



Free Traffic


One huge benefit of running your own affiliate program is the amount of free traffic it can generate. By running your own affiliate program you open yourself up to a huge audience base. You could be dealing with sites that have customer bases of five million plus. Great brand awareness for you.



Effective Use of Marketing Budget

With affiliates being a performance based Marketing Avenue it is a great way to get the most out of your marketing budget. By only paying for good quality traffic that converts in to a sale you really do minimize any risk on your marketing spend. Even when not making a sale if your program is driving good traffic it still presents an excellent opportunity to get huge brand awareness for free.



Easy to Track

One great benefit you get by signing up with an affiliate network is the tracking platform they provide. Affiliate networks invest heavily in their platforms to make it as easy as possible for you to track your clicks and sales.

Affiliate networks allow you to clearly see which affiliate is sending traffic to your site, and which affiliates are making sales, with a wide range of different affiliate types, being able to see what affiliate type works well for your program you will be able to build your affiliate marketing strategy around them. It will also show you which type of marketing tool works best for you. This could be banner ads, link placements or data feeds.



Exposure

Exposure is the key element of any affiliate marketing strategy, and through the affiliate marketing channel you can gain massive exposure and promote your products and services to a whole new audience you were not able to tap in to before.

This huge brand exposure to new prospective customers will only have positive effects on your website traffic. Just looking at the benefits we have highlighted here in this article, it is clear that the affiliate marketing channel is a serious and must have channel to your online marketing mix. It is cost effective and allows you to open up your brand to a whole new world of customer.



What is an Affiliate Program?

Written by Ant Lynch on . Posted in What is affiliate marketing

what is affiliate marketing A Simple Explanation

Affiliate programs are a way for businesses to sell their products by harnessing the power of other websites.

To do this is simple. You provide a website (the affiliate) with marketing material such as banners to help sell your products, the affiliate then puts a unique tracking link within the banners so when it is clicked the program owner can see where the customer and sale has come from.

Once a sale has been successfully completed the program owner then pays the website normally a percentage of the sale or a set fee.

What are affiliate sites

Affiliate sites drive traffic and sales to a wide range of affiliate services and brands. You get all types of different sites driving different types of traffic such as content site and blogs, cashback sites, and voucher code sites. Some examples are listed below:

quidco.com
vouchercodes.co.uk
sidestreetstyle.com

How Can I Start My Own Affiliate Program?

Starting an affiliate program is not straight forward. You have to take into account a number of factors such as your competition within the affiliate space, your pricing, what you can afford to pay affiliates, and what affiliate network you need to sign up with.

If you can compete within the marketplace you then need to select an appropriate affiliate network for your brand, products or services. Each network are stronger in certain areas so be sure to do your research on each of them. Some of the top UK affiliate networks in the UK are listed below:

www.affiliatewindow.com
www.affili.net
www.webgains.com

What else do I need to know?

Find out how to recruit the right affiliates for your program here

Recruiting Affiliates for your Program

Written by Ant Lynch on . Posted in Affiliate Recruitment

affiliate recruitment When starting an affiliate program one of the most important parts of making it a success lies in recruiting the right affiliates.

This guide outlines the most successful ways to recruit the right affiliates to your program, plus it also identifies some potential pitfalls you may encounter along the way.

Where to find affiliates

Finding the right affiliates for your program is not an easy task. You need to really route down and identify the keywords that you want to target. Once you have got your list of keywords, start to search these keywords in all the major search engines.

Have a look on the first page of organic search results and identify any potential affiliate targets. Look for contact details on all the sites you identify as affiliate targets and build up a list. Other possible affiliate targets can be identified by searching:

• Blogger Networks
• Affiliate Networks
• Niche Forums
• Conferences
• Social Media

As well as the above there is an abundance of main stream affiliate sites available to showcase your products and services. Shopping comparison sites, cashback sites, voucher code sites, email marketers. You need to continually search for these types of companies to compile a good affiliate contact list.

Vetting potential affiliates

Vetting your affiliates is essential for a number of important reasons. The first thing you need to do is take a look at the site and make sure the content is relevant to the product or service you are offering. Does the site have a good traffic source?

Check free statistic sites like Alexa to see how much traffic the site is currently receiving. How will the site drive sales? Paid search? Banners? Content? Are they already active within the affiliate space? If so what are they advertising? Are they advertising competitors?

Factors that affect affiliate choice

Affiliates need a reason to join your affiliate program. Below is a list of factors that affiliates take in to account before considering joining an affiliate program. This list is ranked with the most important being number one. As you can see commission is a massive influence. Make sure you are competitive within your niche when it comes to paying commission.

What are your competitors paying? Can you match or beat them? Affiliate Networks? Some of the top affiliates that advertised lots of brands like to only deal with a handful of networks to limit administration. These are normally the top performing networks, so you need to do your homework and make sure these affiliates are with the network you sign up to.

1. Commission
2. Product & Service relevancy
3. Affiliate Network / Tracking Platform
4. Brand Awareness
5. Merchant Reputation
6. Affiliate Program Reputation
7. Cookie Duration
8. Payment Terms and Methods
9. Marketing Terms & Conditions
10. Earnings Per Click

Challenges you may encounter

You will come across a number of problems when trying to recruit affiliates. Do not feel despondent if a majority of the affiliates you contact do not get in touch with you. From every 100 affiliates contacted if you get 20 reply you have done very well.

One of the biggest problems is getting an affiliate to respond. You need to make your communication as strong as possible to entice them to open it and take further action. The bigger affiliates will receive hundreds of emails a day so there is a good chance your email will be discarded without even being looked at.

Blogs you may find do not want to join your program. They might want you to pay an advertising fee up front.

Start an affiliate program – Infograph

Written by Ant Lynch on . Posted in Starting an affiliate program



Starting an affiliate program is not a simple task. Their are lots of key elements that have to be considered before you rush in and set up the program. Below we have put together an infograph that shows the steps needed to ensure your affiliate program set up goes smoothly and that all the important desicions have been considered and made.



starting an affiliate program

To read more about setting up an affiliate program click here

Expert Affiliate Marketing Management

Written by Ant Lynch on . Posted in Affiliate program advice



Why outsourcing may be the best option

Outsourcing your affiliate program can be a great decision for your business, especially if you do not have the in house expertise to take your program forward. By seeking the expertise of an experienced affiliate management team you give your affiliate program the best chance to succeed. With a proactive affiliate marketing management approach an experience affiliate management team can really help your program in the following areas:



Set Up Advice

It is key that when setting up your affiliate marketing program you know what to look for. There is an abundance of affiliate networks available to you and getting the wrong network for your products or services could be costly. Some networks are stronger in certain areas such as finance, fashion, technology. With an experienced affiliate management team in place you can have comfort that the right choice will be made.

Pricing can be an area where it is possible you may get stung. With an experienced affiliate team behind your program you can be sure the best prices will be negotiated with the networks. Once your program is set up it will need to be advertised to the right audience. A good sound knowledge of where to advertise your affiliate program is a must. The correct affiliate forums, directories and blogs will all help in spreading the word of your affiliate program to the best affiliates.



Recruitment

Getting your recruitment strategy right is essential and the one thing that could make the difference in your affiliate program being a success or failure. Knowing and having relationships with all of the UK super affiliates will give your program the kick start it needs. With vast experience in developing highly targeted bespoke recruitment strategies you can be sure an experienced affiliate management team will get the correct affiliates signed up to your program.



Ongoing Management

Once your affiliate program is set up and you have recruited the right affiliates to your program you then need to have proactive ongoing management. This can include a number of duties such as general admin plus vetting/approving new affiliates.

Incentivising and getting the best out of your affiliates will always be an ongoing process that your program will need to mature in to a successful affiliate offering. This can include commission management and bonuses, voucher code management and creating the right voucher behavior, communicating with affiliates on a regular basis to see what extra exposure you can get and much more. With an experienced affiliate team behind your program you can have confidence you program will get the best start possible in the affiliate marketing space.