Affiliate marketing is one the biggest things to hit the marketing world in the past couple of decades. Many brands as far-ranging as multinational retailers like Amazon to casino gaming websites like Slotplanet.com have found plenty of success in using this innovative marketing method.
But what is affiliate marketing, and how can you use it to make your own business grow? Our quick guide to affiliate marketing will tell you all you need to know about this exciting marketing phenomenon.
Affiliate marketing basics
Affiliate marketing is a process whereby a merchant will pay an affiliate site for directing potential customers to their services or products. This process of paying affiliates for referring customers to a business is a fairly new concept and it only took off through the arrival of internet technologies in the 1990s.
However, the affiliate marketing industry has now grown to become a multi-billion dollar business, and there are now many intermediary parties who now specialise in building links between affiliates and the merchants.
But whilst the process of affiliate marketing has become more complex, the underlying role of affiliates directing customers towards a particular product or service has remained the same. And just like internal marketing, it can take a certain amount of skill to get right.
Examples of affiliate marketing
The internet is filled with successful examples of affiliate marketing that range from price comparison websites for car insurance, to loyalty sites that give you points for purchases.
Many people have noted that Amazon's affiliate program is one of the most striking examples of this kind of marketing. By giving an affiliate partner money every time that a shopper uses an affiliate link, it has helped the brand become a world-beater.
What are the advantages of affiliate marketing over other methods?
The key thing to remember about affiliate marketing is that it is much less confrontational than traditional blanket marketing methods. As the potential customer is making an active choice in choosing to find out more about something that's related to your business, it gives you a much greater chance of converting that action into an actual purchase.
In addition to this, affiliate marketing means that you can get your brand's message to reach into areas that may have previously been inaccessible. Above all, it's about making marketing feel much more human - surely something many commerce bots could learn a few things from.
The explosion in mobile marketing means there are now more channels than ever to expand your affiliate marketing adventure. Mobile SEO has also become increasingly important in recent years, particularly with the recent Mobile First Update by Google.
Does affiliate marketing have any limitations?
Like any other marketing method, it's clear that affiliate marketing is not a failsafe option. Many affiliate marketing plans have fallen apart as a result of the affiliates not being sensitive enough to the product or service that they are promoting.
In addition to this, many affiliate programs can also be surprisingly expensive which can eat away at the profit margin for many small to medium level businesses. And just like many other internet phenomena, affiliate marketing has been subject to many unscrupulous scams. So read this quick guide to discover the key things to look out for in any suspicious affiliate marketing deal.