1. You choose what you pay for
Perhaps the biggest advantage of affiliate marketing over pay-per-plick (PPC) or even search engine optimisation (SEO) is that you can choose a program type that only pays for results, whether they be in the form of sales or qualified leads.
With PPC advertising you generally pay to get a visitor to your site. If you fail to convert that visitor you still pay for the visit.
With SEO, you could be paying for many months before you see results, while the results from affiliate marketing can be almost instantaneous.
2. You can tailor your program
With cost-per-acquisition or cost-per-lead affiliate programs you pay for results, but if you prefer you can create a cost-per-click campaign with affiliate marketing and pay for traffic too.
The beauty is that you can mix and match across all types of programs to get differently targeted traffic from different types of affiliates, and to make your program accessible for the many different genres of affiliates that are out there.
3. You control the marketing collateral
You provide the text or images for your affiliates to use on their websites, and in the case of static and flash banners you can change them at will. The updated version will instantly be displayed on your affiliate’s site, so you can use these types of ads to promote special events or sales very easily, without your affiliates needing to do anything at all.
4. You incentivise your affiliates the way that suits you
Since you can vary the amount of commission you offer for different advertisement types, (text or image or flash), you can gain maximum exposure on your affiliate’s website or blog by structuring your program in such a way that a large banner ad will give your affiliate more commission.
You can also pay different commission rates on different products, so you can encourage your affiliates to push particular items or services.
And by having a tiered commission structure you can motivate your affiliates to send more traffic and ultimately more sales and leads your way. (In this case, the percentage of commission they earn increases in line with the amount of traffic they generate for you).
5. You get additional sales funnels
By employing a product feed, your affiliates can feature your individual products on their site and customers can see you wares and decide to buy even before they land on your own website.
6. You get your own tribe of passionate advocates
If you communicate with and manage your affiliates well you’ll have a motivated online sales force that are as passionate about your products or services as you are, and this can be very powerful indeed.
As with all things in life, affiliate marketing is not all positive. In my next article I’ll explore the disadvantages and look at ways to minimise the impact they can have on your program.
Do you have an affiliate program? What works for you and what doesn’t? How do you motivate your affiliates?