Affiliate marketing is another example of how online stores can stretch small in-house teams to promote their products. If you’ve never heard of affiliate marketing, you might be missing out on a huge opportunity to gain more exposure for your brand without having to pay upfront.
According to Wikipedia, “Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate's own marketing efforts.” Essentially, affiliates produce web content that links to your business’ products. You track where sales are coming from, and every time a sale is made as a result of an affiliate’s link, you pay them a percentage of the sale or some other pre-discussed fee.
The strategy is beneficial for businesses looking to drive more customers and more sales using a variety of online channels. On a basic level, you’re paying an external marketer on a results-oriented basis to spread the word about your product.
There are plenty of different software platforms on the market if you’d like to start your own affiliate marketing program, including ShareASale, a popular affiliate network. Once you’ve joined a network, you’ll need to build a toolbox of marketing resources for your affiliates to make it as easy as possible to sell.
Publicizing your new affiliate program should start with current customers. Try incorporating the announcement into your newsletter, or send out a separate email dedicated to the announcement. Share the information via your blog and other social media. A press release is another great way to get some traction and drive partners into your affiliate network.