Affiliate Marketing: Is it Right for My Business?

After working with many types of customers, from big business and small, I often hear, “I don’t know if the size of my business or the type of product or service I sell is right for affiliate marketing. I don’t know if it will work…”

While I can’t guarantee that Affiliate Marketing is right for every business out there, I believe there are a ton of companies that can start using affiliate marketing today to bring in more customers.

So how do you get started? Let’s go over the basics:

Affiliate Marketing 101

The Wikipedia definition of Affiliate Marketing is, “an internet-based marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts”. In its most basic form, A “Refer a Friend” campaign is essentially affiliate marketing.

To understand affiliate marketing a little further, you must be equipped with the common types of affiliate payments out there; how you can reward your affiliates for bringing in more customers.

CPA: (Cost per Acquisition)
This is usually done as a flat rate. For example: If an affiliate marketer brings in 1 customer, they get paid a flat rate of $25.

CPS: (Cost Per Sale)
Probably the most common, this model relies on a percentage of the sale referred, as the payout to the affiliate. For example, If a customer was referred by an Affiliate Marketer, and that customer paid $25 for the product or service (Let’s say the CPS is 10%), then the Affiliate Marketer would be paid $2.50.

Probably the easiest for small businesses, offering your affiliate program to just your customer base and giving them credits or percentage off your services or goods.

How Do I Get Started?
There are so many tools depending on how much you want to invest in Affiliate Marketing. Let’s assume that you just want to get off the ground with some basics. Here is some starting points to get your program setup:

Join a Network
This is by far, the easiest way to jump right in. Just be cautious; some of these networks have high costs to join. I’d check out ShareASale or LinkShare. These networks expose your program to affiliate marketers in a network and allow you to manage it all from one place.

Site themes or WordPress Plugins
If you’re running your business website off of WordPress, there might be an easy way to add an affiliate program by just installing a plugin. Check out these plugins here.

Coupon Codes or Credits
If starting a whole new affiliate marketing channel scares you, Figure out a way you can hand out unique coupon codes to select customers. Ask those customers to share these with potential leads. A simple form field on your site will allow you to see who used the coupon code and who, as a customer, should be credited for their affiliate marketing.

After getting setup with one of the above solutions, you will want to track your affiliate’s progress. This alone will make sure that your Affiliate Marketing channel is showing a consistent activity of bringing in customers.

What Affiliate Marketing strategies have you used to grow your business? Let us know in the comments!