You're only one person, and you're human. No matter how effectively you're able to market your brand within the scope of your organic reach, there are millions of potential customers who will never hear about your products if you're the only one handling promotions. When you're dealing with audience reach on a global scale, as afforded by the Internet, you don't need a marketing team. You need a sales army. Affiliate network programs are one way to build the army you need to reach scores of potential buyers.
What is an Affiliate?
It's hard to commit to an affiliate marketing plan when you're not quite sure what an affiliate is or what they do. Learning more about this unique and mutually beneficial partnership can help you to corner the market in your chosen area of specialty, though.
In short, an affiliate marketer is a partner who helps you to promote among an audience group which would otherwise be beyond your reach. Most of the time, effective affiliates are established web personalities with their own dedicated following, who are able to grab the attention of people who already trust their opinions.
Why Do They Want to Help?
Why would an affiliate marketer want to stake their reputation among their own hard-earned following on the products of a digital content provider? First and foremost, working as an affiliate is an earning opportunity. You share a portion of the proceeds from each sale generated by an affiliate partner.
Still, there are a number of reasons why affiliates get into the marketing business, and not all of them are about earning money. People like to be a part of something larger, especially when it comes to products they enjoy using. Most people will happily evangelize for a brand or product they believe in, and affiliate marketers are no exception. If you provide a product of great quality and connect with your affiliates on a personal level, they'll be even more eager to help you reach your sales goals. Remember, it never hurts to ask someone with whom you've forged a connection to link to you or your web store.
Setting an Affiliate Payout Amount
Affiliates might work for you because they believe in your product and have formed a connection with you on a personal level, but they still deserve a fair reward in exchange for their efforts. When you're in the process of determining your profit margins and setting an affiliate payout amount, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind.
First, as a digital content provider, your overhead costs are minimal. Your costs of production are limited, maybe even nothing, so this leaves a bit of room for higher payouts to your faithful marketing partners. In the end, it's also a good idea to consider volume. Would you rather retain 90% of the profits from ten affiliate-generated sales, or 25% of 1,000 sales generated by affiliate partners? The higher the payout amount, the bigger the incentive for your affiliate partners to aggressively market your brand.
Managing Your Army
Just like a military operation, your sales force works best when they're equipped with the tools they need to succeed. Take the time to invest in training your sales army about your products. Make them experts in what you do and how your digital goods work. Then, give them the weapons they need to go into sales battle: links, banners, discount codes and other assets.
Every member of your team is valuable, but your top producers deserve special attention. Reward your partners for generating sales, and continue fostering strong relationships. In the end, your brand and your bottom line will thank you.
You have the potential to reach buyers around the globe. How hard are you willing to work to get there? Start thinking about how you'll structure your sales army, how you'll reward your affiliates and how you'll foster sales growth through them. Draft a plan of action for your sales force, so you're ready to move to the next level when the moment arrives.