For starters, find affiliates likely to attract consumers interested in your products, says Kim Giroux of marketing firm Zog Digital. And they don’t have to be online. Radio personalities, for example, can offer promo codes that drive shoppers to retail web sites.
Few marketing options available to retailers are as effective at converting sales as strategic affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing allows retailers to recruit tens of thousands of people to push consumers toward their web site for a fee based on converted sales.
Word-of-mouth referrals, like those that come from third-party affiliate web sites, have a higher conversion rate than a brand’s own advertising, because consumers don’t see a third party as having the same bias as a retailer. A study conducted by Forrester Research, Inc. found that few consumers think that coupons and other offers being promoted on other web sites degrade a web site’s brand. Econsultancy says 30% of affiliates are now sending at least 20,000 visitors a month to merchants’ websites.
1. Screen Affiliate Networks
A study done by Rakuten found that 74% of online buyers research two to three non-retailer web sites before completing a purchase decision. So, it is important for retailers to place product information and promotions with multiple strategic affiliate websites.
The most important part of any retailer’s affiliate marketing strategy is to find the best partners. Because there are thousands of potential partners with varying degrees of effectiveness, price and visibility, choosing the right one takes research. Retailers should target affiliates that have the most views for their specific product, ones that are willing to put in the most work to promote that product, and ones that are cost effective in the long run.
Retailers should screen affiliate partners by looking at various factors to determine the partner’s credibility and likelihood for success. The history of a web site and quality of site content can help quickly identify if the affiliate partner is a good match for the program.
2. Cultivate Relationships
A single affiliate with a nurtured relationship has the ability to drive more sales for retailers than a larger number of partners. Retailers can incentivize affiliate web sites through the use of customized payment agreements which are usually in the form of a standard dollar amount per conversion or a percentage of the purchase. Retailers can also offer to extend cookie lengths for affiliates, allowing weeks between a clicked link and a sales to be counted as a conversion for the affiliate. In return, affiliates have the ability to give brands more prominence on the site, which creates visibility and potentially more new customers.
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