Affiliate marketing strategy for advertisers and publishers

A good affiliate marketing strategy can help you boost your ROI or return on investment for your affiliate marketing business. Experts say planning, developing and managing a good affiliate marketing strategy well is the key for the success of an affiliate marketing business. A good affiliate marketing strategy can drive more traffic to your website, boost your conversion rate, and establish yourself and your brand as an authority in your niche. A good affiliate marketing strategy also helps to avoid common pitfalls like being branded as spam, missed opportunities etc. It is important you plan for a good affiliate marketing strategy right from the start of your affiliate marketing business.

Affiliate marketing can be very beneficial for both advertisers and publishers or otherwise known as merchants and affiliates. The moment you start affiliate marketing business, you also need to plan and create a good affiliate marketing strategy. Having an affiliate marketing strategy in place at the start of your affiliate marketing business will make your success lot easier.

Now let us see what an affiliate marketing strategy should be like for both merchants and affiliates.

Affiliate marketing strategy for advertisers

In affiliate marketing business, advertisers are also known as merchants or sellers. Advertisers normally have a website that hosts their products and services. Website visitors can make online purchases from the merchant website. A merchant’s website provides online baskets and checkouts for this purpose.

If you are a merchant planning to benefit from affiliate marketing, you may try the below tactics as part of your affiliate marketing strategy.

Business goals

To be successful, you need to align your affiliate marketing strategy with overall goals of your business. Though your long term goals may remain stable for some time, your short term business goals keep changing with time. For example, your long term goal may be something like achieve certain number of sales over an year or to earn certain amount of revenue for the year etc. To achieve your long term business goal, you may need a series of short term goals for your business.

Your affiliate marketing strategy needs to be planned and designed around your long term and short term goals. Examples of short term goals for an affiliate marketing business include

acquire certain number of new customers in a specified time duration

increase sales revenue by certain amount in a specific time period

Obviously you need to use different tactics to achieve different affiliate marketing goals.

Understand your competitors

Every business is highly competitive these days. In affiliate marketing business, the competition can get the better of you if are not vigilant. You need to keep a close eye on your competition and use tactics to outperform your competitors. There are many things you can do to out perform your competitors.

You can try and pay more commission to affiliates than your competitors. You will get more traffic from affiliates if you offer more commission. Also your affiliates will be more loyal to you in the long run as they have chance to make more money from your affiliate program. You can reward high performing affiliates with higher commissions. This encourages all affiliates to perform better.

You need do some research and decide what kind of cookie length will be ideal for you. many merchants offer a 30 day cookie period. But you can decide what works good for you and add it to your affiliate terms and conditions.

To be successful in online internet business, you need to understand who your ideal buyer is. You need to create a buyer avatar and identify the demographics of your ideal buyers. You need to provide such helpful information to your affiliates so that they can target better.

Choose your your type as affiliates

The type of affiliates you get associated with can impact your success as a merchant. Once you open doors for affiliates to register with you, all types of affiliates may apply for your affiliate program. You may receive affiliate applications from content bloggers, video bloggers, coupon sites, individuals looking for internet income, charity websites etc. In the interest of your long term business prospects, you need to be careful in choosing your affiliates. You need to accept only those types of affiliates that fit your business background. With passing time, affiliate marketing is being subject more regulation by the legal system. At the same time, search engines also virtually regulate content on affiliate websites by refining page ranks. So you need to be careful not to accept any websites that go against law or that risk showing up in  the wrong books of search engines.

Prepare a budget and manage it well

As a merchant you need to pay commission to affiliates when they bring you sales. So you need to make a budget that caters for all business expenses including affiliate commissions. Also, to grow your business even more, you need to motivate your affiliates to always look for ways to bring in additional traffic and more sales. You may need to organise affiliate events, offer commission bonus and also employ few specialists that can train and guide your affiliates. So you need allow for additional budget exposure to cater for such additional expenses. You also need to manage your budget well to make sure it works in the face of ever changing business environment.

Be creative

As a merchant, you need to prepare and provide plenty of creative marketing material to support your affiliates. You need to produce images, banners, videos etc. that reflect your brand and promote products and services that you have to offer. You may need to employ specialists to have such creative marketing material on a regular basis. Such updates can be on a periodic basis or for special promotions and sales etc. As the affiliate marketing landscape keeps changing constantly, you need to be smart and adapt to such changes and come up with creative tactics and strategies to stay ahead of the game.

IT expertise

As affiliate marketing is an online internet business model, it goes without saying that you need to use technology to succeed. In affiliate marketing business, you will need information technology in every aspect. Be it developing your websites or creating digital marketing material, cookies, pixels etc. You will need to use technology to create all functionality that a business needs. You may need to hire IT experts to implement all affiliate marketing requirements including tracking details of every activity of visitors and affiliates.

Affiliate marketing strategy for publishers

If you are a publisher or an advertiser and want to start your affiliate marketing business, you need to design a good strategy right from the beginning.

Focus and become an authority

In affiliate marketing, nothing is more valuable than being an authority in your niche. You may find it very tempting to start affiliate marketing business in dozen different niches with as many websites. But this approach will most certainly get you pretty poor results. It is hard to succeed in affiliate marketing business when you have many things going n in different directions. What you need to succeed in affiliate marketing business is to establish yourself as a specialist or an authority in an area. To establish yourself as an authority, you need to focus in a small niche and learn how to target the right audience for your products or services. You will see far more success as an affiliate marketer by giving your 100% to 1 niche and 1 website rather than giving 10$ to 10 niches and 10 websites. Once you master affiliate marketing business in a small niche, you can of course scale your affiliate marketing business to wider niches.

Be the king of content

In affiliate marketing, an affiliate website competes with many small, medium and big websites for traffic and search engine ranking. As an affiliate, you need to keep in mind that having the best content on your affiliate website is very important. Firstly, great content is important to help search engines appreciate your value and rank you high. Secondly, helpful content will mean visitors to your website trust you more than others. As they trust you, they are more likely to click on your affiliate links and make purchases. It is true that big websites have lot of budget and have professional copy writers on their payroll. Thus they can produce great content. But being an individual, you can focus on narrow niche and all your website content can be around one small topic. Large websites however have many other topics so they leave you the opportunity to quickly come up with targeted content on a small niche. This can make you the king of content.

Build your brand

To be a trusted brand is to be a successful affiliate. You will need to gain the trust of search engines as well as website visitors. If you build your band in your niche, you will soon find that search engines as well as website visitors trust your brand. When your brand thus becomes your strength, you will see your website traffic soar. With more website traffic and strong brand value, your affiliate sales and commissions will also soar to great heights. Reliability of your website’s content, integrity of your website’s online practices and genuine value for the website visitors play a major role in building your brand. An affiliate may find it difficult to succeed without a trustworthy brand. So, you need to pay attention to your brand building tactics as part of your affiliate marketing strategy.

Include recurring income streams

As an affiliate, you are free to choose what you want to promote on your website. You can promote sales that earn a commission just once. But there are other sales that can earn you recurring income over a period of time. Examples include membership sales. It is a good idea to include sales that can earn you repeat commissions in your affiliate marketing. Having assured earnings for some time in future will help you planned run  your business with more confidence.

Aim for multiple traffic sources

As an affiliate, your sales and commissions mostly depend on the number of visitors to your website. So as an affiliate your primary aim is to get as many visitors as possible to your website. You may depend on search engines, social media. SEM, PPC email marketing etc. to drive traffic to your affiliate website. As these platforms keep changing their algorithms, your results may keep changing too. For example, you might be doing very well in SEO today but when a search engine updates algorithm, your page rank may get better or worse. You may see similar impact from other platform changes too. So, to avoid loss of traffic and revenue when one of these platforms change the way they work, you need to aim for multiple traffic sources.

Be mobile conscious

It is important that your affiliate marketing strategy includes tactics to reap benefits from mobile marketing. There are at least two strong reasons to be compatible with mobile marketing realities. Firstly, more and more online shoppers are using mobile devices for shopping online. Secondly, search engines have been favouring mobile friendly websites by ranking them high in search results. So you need to make sure your affiliate website is mobile friendly and is responsive to all screen sizes. At the same time, you need to check if the seller’s website that you promote is mobile and responsive.

Summary | Affiliate marketing strategy | Internet Income Guru

As we have seen above, having a sound affiliate marketing strategy is important for online affiliate marketing business. You may also find it very helpful to use tools for affiliate marketing. We believe the amazon code or the AZ code by Andrew Peterson is a great tool that can help you start and grow your affiliate marketing business. So, as helpful the Internet Income Guru is, we have published a clear review of the AZ code here.

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