Affiliate marketing dates back to the 1990s. It is one of the oldest kinds of digital marketing, and a way for organizations to multiply and spread their online presence by engaging with third-party websites. Those sites should also be running online marketing activities so that engagement can yield results by driving traffic to your website.

This typically takes the form of employing affiliate networks which work with several other sites, usually divided into segments by audience types and can offer programs such as email marketing and banner advertising.

You would come to see several payment mechanisms, which include paying affiliates every time a visitor clicks on one of your banners on their site, paying a percentage of any sale which is generated, or paying for a specific action then taken on your site such as completing a request form. Among many sites thriving on this affiliate marketing strategy, Amazon stands out as one of the best sites, which offers up to 15% on referrals and a range of ready-to-use web banners.

Check out here some fundamental affiliate marketing tips, which can increase traffic to your site, improve your online sales and drive the bottom lines.

Benefits:

1. Besides raising brand awareness and creating online buzz for your brand, affiliate marketing can contribute considerable traffic and sales in relation to ongoing digital marketing strategy and specific campaigns. Examples include using affiliate networks to promote banner advertising on third-party websites, thereby creating buzz and raising awareness, and also using contents and ads in their email communications.

2. PPC and search affiliates can bid on key phrases and words which can drive traffic to your website and also being a potential cost-efficient option to cut down the chances of competition for achieving higher rankings.

3. The risk of not starting an affiliate marketing programme is that you are leaving the field of online business competition uncontested to your competitors who may send traffic to their websites instead. Competitors already using industry-tested affiliate marketing activities could be leveraging your company’s digital marketing strategy even now.

Key consideration at the time of devising a plan for affiliate marketing is whether the programme will be self-managed or managed by networks or agencies. If self-managed, it will be pretty time-consuming and complex to manage. Instead, a programme managed by networks or agencies which will definitely incur a cost but will yield positive results.

Select correct networks, product terms and conditions, and agree upfront what the cost structure will be. Pay Per Click and Pay Per Sale can be the techniques to complete payments.


Pay Per Performance
can be another common method to complete payments. It involves paying affiliates for any actions visitors take on your site as a consequence of which affiliate’s marketing activities like banner advertising can take place. Brochure or white paper download, and subscribing to newsletter or completing Request For Information or RFI form can happen due to it.

Monitor performance of all actions by affiliate marketing constantly to ensure you achieve the best value. But, there are many risks in it also.

Risks:

a) A very vital and key risk with affiliate marketing is having your brand appear associated with content on an affiliate’s site which may go against your company’s brand value or even alongside your competitor. They can be a serious issue on news-relate affiliate sites which tend to publish a great variety of contents and don’t use contextual mapping to position banner advertising.

b) Affiliates are paid as per how many times advertising is displayed and ad creative is not compelling sufficiently for visitors to click on, you must fast lose budget without receiving any tangible results and benefits.

c) Similarly risky is paying affiliates for visitors to perform simple actions on your site, such as downloading brochure or white paper or subscribing to newsletter, especially if no information is captured about them in the end. Do your affiliates guarantee you that your visitors will return and become your customers? No, they won’t. So, it is important for you to set a solid mechanism on your site to maximize earning potential from any extra traffic generated.

Lastly, there is also the risk of click fraud, where the merchants are paying affiliates for clicks which are not genuine because they might be manipulating data. However, if managed well, affiliate marketing can yield good results, but in return of hefty expenses! As alternatives, you may look to search engine marketing and email marketing options.