The internet has certainly come a long way from the days of old, when it existed primarily as an information exchange cloud. Today, it is estimated that approximately 90% of the many millions of internet users go online to search for products and services, and therefore are a ripe customer base ready for the picking.
With the billions of websites out there, however, competition is certainly stiff and you need all possible resources at your availability to get ahead of your competitors. While traditional means of marketing will get you a small sprinkling of web traffic, what really counts towards success is when you can drive a large customer base towards your product, consistently. One of the best ways in which you, as a business owner, can tap into this vast reservoir of customers and drive more traffic to your website is by smart affiliate marketing.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Put in simple terms, affiliate marketing is a form of internet marketing that allows you to join hands with other businesses to help you get visitors or sales on a performance-based system. These businesses, known as affiliates, make money by either generating traffic to your website, or generate sales and leads for a commission.
In understanding what is affiliate marketing, not to be forgotten are the four key players that are at the heart of the system – the first is you, the merchant. The next is the network that builds programs to promote your business and also handles payments. The third player is the actual affiliate that markets your product. And last of all is the customer. Depending on the affiliate you choose to work with, the commission payment models and offers vary. The bottom-line, however, remains the same – increased revenue and a larger customer base. So, having considered what is affiliate marketing, you need to know how it really can help you.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work To Help Your Business?
A successful marketing strategy is at the heart of the success of every business, irrespective of whether it is online or offline. Affiliates are generally well-acquainted with the intricacies of internet marketing and can use their vast experience and credibility to drive traffic to your website. In most cases, they have been around for quite a while and have their own loyal customer base that value their input and are more likely to become your customers as well.
For example, let’s assume that a popular company, which we will call “Company A”, deals with shoes, while your company deals with high quality handbags and accessories. Now, many customers who opt for a good pair of shoes would also be interested in getting a handbag that goes well with it. If “Company A” was to recommend your products to their customers, then “Company A” would be acting as an affiliate for you. You would either pay “Company A” for the number of people they refer to your products or you might choose to pay them for each sale that is closed from their referral. This is a win-win situation, because “Company A” adds to their earnings by the commission thus received, and you get more web traffic or customers who are looking precisely for your products. This being the case, apart from considering what is affiliate marketing, you need to choose the right affiliate so that you see good results.
Which Affiliate Marketing Platform Will You Choose?
Of course, there are quite a few free web traffic sources that you might be tempted to consider. After all, don’t all of us just love the word ‘free’? However, keep in mind that what comes ‘free’ isn’t always what you need to increase web traffic and get your business ahead. Time has proven that some of the most credible systems are the paid ones that understand completely what is affiliate marketing, and they give you more than your money’s worth. Consider some of the most popular affiliate systems in place today.
- Google Adwords – Google is one of the most versatile platforms on the Internet, and it’s gigantic search engine is completely complemented by its affiliate marketing system, Adwords. As we saw at the start, 90% of people are online, looking for products and services. Google uses Adwords to reach out to these visitors by targeting what they search for online. In other words, these are ready-to-buy customers, and if you know what keywords people are searching for, making the best of Adwords is a breeze.
- Facebook Ads – Facebook has certainly evolved a lot, from its inception. With a growing number of people going social and considering it to be the ‘norm’ to have a Facebook page, your customer base is just out there for the plucking. Facebook users provide a great deal of personal information that can effectively be used to help drive targeted paid traffic to your website. You can narrow down to the exact type of customer you are looking for, based on age, gender, occupation and so on, and you can also target your competitors’ customer base. In short, as an affiliate, Facebook Ads is soon to give Google a run for their money.
- Outbrain Amplify – You might not have heard much about this affiliate system, but a great number of successful website owners certainly have, to the point that this company has beaten Facebook and Google on a comScore list for unique visitors. Unlike Facebook and Google, Outbrain Amplify uses posts, videos, reviews and articles to funnel paid traffic to your site. They do offer a cost-per-click system of bidding and customizable targeting. A great way in which Outbrain Amplify can be used to its maximum potential is in conjunction with Google Adwords or Facebook Ads – Outbrain Amplify drives targeted traffic to your website, and you can take it forward by retargeting them with Ads.
- LinkedIn Ads – If you are looking at affiliate marketing in the B2B market, then LinkedIn Ads is a great choice. Targeting job titles and functions, they allow you to further granularize your requirements and reach out to the right customer base. While the cost per click and targeting is a bit more expensive on LinkedIn, it is the perfect platform for B2B marketers who are looking atexpanding their business.
- Twitter Ads – This is probably one of the coolest options for targeting, and if you are looking at affiliate marketing that is tailored by interests, keywords and even followers. Of course, these services certainly come at a higher price, but if this is where much of your audience hangs out, this affiliate is worth every cent you invest.
- Paid traffic from RealTrafficSource.com – cheap, targeted and scalable web traffic solution. Target by category and geo location. A steady flow of traffic and visitors to almost any landing page.
While these affiliate marketers have some of the most popular programs, not to be ignored are many of the smaller players who also give you your money’s worth. Remember that a customer’s journey over the Internet varies by the moment, and the best way in which you can drive organic and sustainable traffic to your website is by a mix of different affiliate programs that complement each other.
Having understood what is affiliate marketing and how it can benefit your business, it is time to get out there and get started with building your customer base and driving traffic to your website. The internet is a goldmine for those who want to use it to the fullest. Are you one of those who will find success? Well, success is in your hands when you choose the right affiliate marketing platform for your business.