Improving Your Channel Sales Results with Affiliate Partnerships
As the world speeds up, marketing gets more confusing. These days, it can be hard to figure out where your time and effort should go so you see the best return on your investment.
If your business’s marketing strategy is focused on an efficient and talented sales team only, you may do very well; however, you’re still limited by the amount of working hours in a day. If you want to scale, you need to look outside of your team to other options.
Channel selling is a powerful marketing method that uses third parties to sell your products and services. This can include:
- Value-added providers
- Independent retailers
- Affiliate partnerships
By using these third parties to sell your products, you find a way to increase your sales without adding hours to your team’s schedule. There are several other less talked about channel sales options that businesses find success with, but we suggest starting with affiliate marketing.
According to Pat Flynn, “Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products.” Many businesses use affiliate partnerships to get their products and services out to a broader interest, generating more sales and only losing a small portion of that sale to the affiliate. To help you get started with affiliate marketing, we’ve laid out best practices so you can try it out at your business.
What Is an Affiliate?
An affiliate is someone who has built up a significant audience or platform through blogging, vlogs, social media, or business ownership. This person then markets your product or service to their audience, providing links or coupon codes for their audience to purchase through them.
Then, just like pay-per-click, the affiliate gets a commission for the lead when the lead makes a purchase through them. Affiliates already have a well-defined personal brand, so knowing what affiliates align with your products and services will help you find the right marketers for your business.
Outline a Commission Structure
The first step to working with affiliates is to build a commission structure and outline requirements. Having a well-defined structure to start with allows you to rapidly expand your affiliate network as it grows.
Your commission structure should outline:
- How much each linked purchase is worth
- How commission earning is determined
- How the affiliate should talk about your products
- How often they will need to share your products and services, and the required length of the ad
This structure can be sent to any new affiliate candidates so both parties can make informed decisions about the marketing partnership. As with any relationship, business or personal, creating clear expectations resolves confusion and removes roadblocks in the future, setting you both up for a positive business transaction.
Find Out Who’s Already Talking About Your Products
Now that you’ve outlined your commission structure and requirements, it’s time to go out and find your affiliates. We’d suggest starting with an in-depth Google search of your own product names and keywords. Even if you’re a niche brand, there’s a chance that someone out there is already sharing your product with their audience for free.
Those people are a great place to start when looking for affiliates because if they already love your product, they’d also love to be paid to promote it. Find out if there are any well-known bloggers, vloggers, or even other businesses promoting your product without your knowledge and loop them into your affiliate marketing.
Connect with Bloggers with Complementary Interests
Once you’ve researched who’s already promoting your products or services, look for people who cover subjects that your products could fit into. How-to mechanic micro-influencers, for example, use many tools and interact with many products for each blog or episode. If you sell automotive parts or supplies, these people would make a great affiliate opportunity!
Consider reaching out to any influencer that you could see organically promoting your product in at least 10% of their natural content. These influencers have an audience that trusts their opinion and will take their advice, even when a product is being promoted.
Offer Free Samples to Get the Ball Rolling
If you want someone to promote your product to their audiences, they need to know that what you’re offering is a quality product or service. You can offer a free sample to any potential affiliates who have never interacted with your product or service.
Give the software reviewer a free trial of your application, invite the foodie to your restaurant for a free dinner, or offer a free landing page design to the business looking for a website update. This way, if they like it, they can honestly share about your product or service with genuine enthusiasm to their audience.
The Importance of Organic Affiliate Links
Finally, remember the importance of organic content with affiliate links.
Organic content is content posted without paid promotion. According to SocialMediaToday, “This includes posting status updates, links, and images with captions for your audience. The purpose of organic social media is to build a community of loyal followers and customers through posting relevant content, and interacting with those who interact with your brand.”
The right affiliates can easily work your product name and links into their content and fulfill the marketing agreement in a natural manner. Review the influencer’s other work to see if they’re capable of promoting products and services, including using keyword integration, in a smooth and natural manner. This is the best possible method to market a product or service while retaining audience trust and building demand.
Grow Your Business with Affiliate Partnerships
Affiliate outreach is an important part of channel sales, especially if your sales team is maxed out. The key is to build a network of affiliates so you can grow your sales team without hiring additional staff or expanding hours. You can drastically expand your reach using third-party influencers whose audiences align with your products as affiliates for your products.
The best part is that you can trust your affiliates to know their own audience and how to best share about your products and services. Whether they market your business daily or monthly, you know the promotion is going to an audience that’s more likely to follow-through on a purchase since they trust the influencer.
Growing your business can feel overwhelming, but when you know the tricks of the trade, it gets a lot easier. If you could use even more help getting your business on the fast track to success, book a 15-minute call with our team to see how we can help!