Upon searching the internet for “affiliate marketing,” you’ll mainly find blogs and articles written by actual affiliate marketers, for people who want to break into the industry. Not many are specifically intended for businesses owners looking into whether it’s an effective means of promotion. This one is.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is an arrangement in which a business pays an external website (usually a blog or other publication) for referrals, which will ideally generate website traffic or sales.
It’s similar to influencer marketing in that it relies on one party with a loyal online following to essentially endorse a product or service. However, affiliates provide links and PPC ads that direct to your website from their own, while influencers are typically social media-based.
Pros and Cons of Affiliate Programs
Potential Increase in Traffic and Sales
Affiliate marketing is meant to send traffic to your website, which will turn into sales. The right affiliate will help boost your business’ revenue.
Access to a New Audience
Many affiliate websites have active, engaged audiences that trust their recommendations. By marketing with them, it allows you to capitalize on the fact that if the affiliate recommends your products or services, their audience will most likely have a positive impression of your brand.
Affiliate programs typically charge you per click or per sale. This ensures that you only pay when you actually gain something from the affiliate, rather than forking over a huge upfront fee while running the risk that the campaign is unsuccessful.
Don’t Expect Instant Results
As you research affiliate programs, you’ll probably notice that many promise instant upticks in website traffic and lead generation. Don’t fall for it.
Like other marketing methods, affiliate promotion takes a while to gain traction. Not everyone who’s directed to your website is going to immediately make a purchase and become a lifelong customer.
If instant gratification is what you’re looking for, you won’t likely find it with affiliate marketing.
You may Compete for Search Engine Recognition
There’s a possibility that affiliates with SEO authority may eventually outrank your website on search engine results pages. This will negatively affect your organic website traffic.
You can’t Control the Message
Of course, not all affiliate marketers use sketchy marketing tactics like blackhat SEO, false advertising and email spamming. But some certainly do. You’ll have to do extensive research and monitor your affiliate closely to ensure they’re not distorting your brand’s image, which can be expensive and time-consuming.