The affiliate marketing industry is estimated to grow to $15 billion, 3 times what it was worth in 2015, and is expected to continue growing as eCommerce explodes in popularity. So, it would be an excellent idea to incorporate it into your marketing strategy to help expand your brand. However, before you send off emails randomly to people in hopes they represent your brand, it’s essential that you have a foundational understanding of the concept and how to use it effectively.
This article will discuss the basics of affiliate marketing and how you can implement it into your full-funnel marketing strategy. We’ll also discuss the benefits of this strategy.
Let’s get started!
Affiliate Marketing Definition
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based advertising method in which a company compensates a third party to generate traffic to their website or a specific page. This method leverages the influence of an individual for more effective marketing.
There are usually 3 parties involved in affiliate marketing:
Seller and product creators.
The affiliate or advertiser.
We will dive into each of them in the next section.
The 3 Parties Of Affiliate Marketing
Seller and product creators
The seller and product creators are the businesses or merchants with products to market. In our case, this is you and your brand. They are the ones who offer commissions to affiliates who have a significant following on their brand.
The seller and product creator can be a company such as Stiddle, which has an affiliate program that offers commissions for each customer an affiliate brings in.
If you’re interested in becoming a Stiddle affiliate, check us out!
Sometimes the merchant might not even have a product to sell but still offers a program that expands their brand. Amazon Associates Program is an excellent example of this.
The affiliate or advertiser is an individual or company that markets the seller’s product to potential consumers to persuade them that it is valuable or beneficial to them and convince them to purchase the product.
In most cases, the seller and product creators have a specific audience they want to target, AKA niche-based targeting. Niche-based targeting is an excellent method to get your target audience to act on the promotions faster.
The affiliate will receive a commission when a buyer purchases the product. Marketing is done on whichever platform the affiliate has the largest following, such as Youtube, Instagram, etc.
Sales are needed to make the affiliate marketing model work, and the consumer is the one to make that happen. In other words, the consumers are the ones to create a transaction(submit a lead form, purchase a product, etc.), so the affiliate(s) can gain a commission.
Let’s say you own a company that sells sneakers and want to increase sales. You might reach out to a popular Youtuber who gets millions of monthly views to become your affiliate. After consumers take action, the affiliate will receive a commission. Usually, a special link will be provided to the affiliate, so you know they influenced a specific consumer.
However, please remember that the consumer must know your relationship with the affiliate. The Federal Trade Commission(FTC) requires this disclosure.
There are a total of 3 types of business models for affiliate marketing: unattached, related, and involved. This model is to help distinguish the relationship between the affiliate and the product, whether or not they have used it.
Let’s take a look at each category to help you decide which one best fits your product:
Unattached: In this business model, the affiliate has no attachment to the advertised product. Typically, these affiliates are promoting any products that are not related to their niche and have no skills, knowledge, or expertise about the product or service.
An example of this will be if a gamer promotes a nutrient product on their Youtube channel.
In most cases, unattached affiliates will run PPC (pay-per-click) marketing campaigns where the affiliates get paid when consumers click on their link. While this may sound like an attractive option, most of the cost and risk will fall on the sellers and product creators since some affiliates may only care about generating income rather than investing in the customer relationship.
Related: In this business model, the affiliate may not have used the product or service, but they are related to your targeted niche audience. While they might’ve never used the product or service, the affiliate has a strong following in their niche and have some authority to speak on the product.
An example would be an athlete promoting a pair of running shoes they have never used.
Related affiliates may be willing to take on some risks, which is why the most common marketing tactic used is Pay-Per-Lead (PPL). In this model, the affiliate is paid for every lead they generate, meaning the consumers must provide some information. This may come from lead forms, free trials, or pre-purchases.
Involved: Involved affiliates are closely tied to the product or service they’re promoting and have used it themselves. This type of information makes them a trusted source of information. They have the authority to make claims on the product and can advocate for it to their following, promising them a good experience.
Examples would be beauty influencers promoting a makeup product they often use.
In this case, since the affiliate is familiar with the product, they may want to take on the most risk possible for the greatest payoff. Therefore, one of the most common marketing tactics is Pay-Per-Sale (PPS), wherein an affiliate gets paid for every sale they generate.
Full Funnel Affiliate Marketing
A full-funnel marketing strategy is a mapped-out path designed to nurture a consumer from a potential lead to a paying customer. Full-funnel affiliate marketing is designed around a concept called the buyer’s journey.
This journey consists of 3 steps: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. Let’s discuss them.
Awareness: This is the stage where potential prospects become aware that they have a problem that needs solving. During this stage, buyers will research for general information about their problem but won’t decide on a potential solution.
Consideration: During the Consideration stage, the buyer has defined the problem they’re experiencing. Using information and research from the previous stage, the buyer is now more comfortable researching potential products or companies that can resolve their issue. Remember that this isn’t the stage where they decide on any particular one.
In this stage, the consumer must become aware of the affiliate’s product and brand that they’re representing.
Decision: This is the stage where the buyer has explored all available options and decides on a particular product or service, eventually leading to a purchase. Remember, buyers have more information nowadays than ever!
Before making a purchase, they’ll compare providers and take out the ones they don’t like. This stage is where the full-funnel marketing strategy comes into play because a purchase decision is greatly influenced by the marketing associated with the product.
Affiliate Marketing Funnel
The steps of full-funnel marketing are very similar to the buyer’s journey and must be carefully tailored to create the best customer experience.
An effective marketing funnel should follow these steps:
Awareness: In this step, the affiliate marketer will create the content to bring awareness to the product or service they’re promoting. Spreading awareness can be done in various ways, such as blog posts, social media, videos, etc. Their content should pique the consumers’ interest, making them more likely to check out the promotion.
Consideration: In this step, the consumers are aware of their problem and are actively looking for a solution. The affiliate marketer should make recommendations to make the consumers aware of and consider your product and brand as their solution.
As a merchant, you can offer free trials, samples, ebooks, etc. The goal is to gather information so that you can nurture these potential customers into purchasing your product.
Decision: This step is where the buyer makes a decision. This is where you want to convince potential customers to make the purchase. Some methods you can use are providing honest testimonials, using automated email platforms to nurture them, etc. You may also want to send an email with a sales pitch to encourage them to jump on the promotion.
This phase aims to get consumers to purchase your product via your home page or the affiliate’s landing page.
Affiliate Marketing Benefits
Now that you understand the foundation of affiliate marketing, let’s dive into some benefits.
Benefit #1: High ROI
If you decide to incorporate affiliate marketing tactics into your business, we guarantee you won’t regret it. An affiliate program does not require that you have an advertising team and doesn’t require you to market the product yourself. That’s the job of your affiliate.
If you’re interested in calculating your ROI, you must divide your net income by investment cost and multiply the result by 100.
Benefit #2: Expand Your Reach And Reputation
Once you’ve found a reliable affiliate to work with, you’ll realize how beneficial it can be to expanding your reach and improving your reputation. Customers often look for recommendations from trusted sources while considering a service or product.
Affiliate marketing funnels can help turn those potential customers toward your product. If you carefully select honest and trustworthy affiliates, your brand will quickly be recognized as a reliable company with which people trust and want to do business.
Furthermore, the better your reputation, the more quickly you’ll be able to expand your reach since consumers will likely advocate your brand to their friends and families.
Benefit #3: Low Barrier Of Entry
Any business can incorporate affiliate marketing into its strategy because the barrier of entry is extremely low. You do not need any specific requirements or skills to get started. All you need is a product or service to market. As mentioned in the previous benefit, it’s the affiliate's job to create the content. Thus, you do not need to hire an advertising team.
Rather than doing all the work yourself, why not reach out to someone with an already sizeable following? Furthermore, you will be in charge of the cost, risk, and incentives! Not to mention, you can also establish a long-term relationship with the affiliates.
However, though the barrier of entry is low, we recommend putting some time into selecting the best affiliate possible, especially ones related to your industry. If you choose an unattached affiliate, you might risk someone just doing it for the income.
Affiliate Marketing Conclusion
A full-funnel affiliate marketing strategy is an innovative way for businesses to acquire new customers, generate traffic, and build trust with an audience.
A successful marketing funnel connects the product to an audience while creating a trusted link between the two. The best way to achieve this is to incorporate affiliate marketing into your strategy since it’s a very effective and low-risk investment to help expand your marketing efforts.
We hope that you find this article helpful. Follow us at Stiddle.com for more marketing blogs like these! Until next time!
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