Digital Marketing 101: Affiliate Marketing

Think you know everything about affiliate marketing? Maybe not. Here’s what you need to know!

Have you ever wondered what happens when you make a purchase after clicking a coupon ad on a blog? Chances are the ad was placed there by the brand through an affiliate network, and the author of the blog will receive a commission from the sale. Affiliate marketing is a form of marketing that can date back over 20 years and it continues to grow today.

The two largest parties involved are the publishers and advertisers.
• Publishers post and promote the ad/coupon/promotion.
• Advertisers are either asking to have their ads placed or are contacted by publishers who would like to place their ad.

The placements of these ads can vary by location depending on the value of the ad to the publisher. Typically there is a standard payout that is offered to the publishers as an incentive to post, whether that is a percentage of sales or a dollar amount is up to the advertiser. If the advertiser wants to make an effort to try to have a better placement with the ad, they may offer exclusive promotions increasing the value towards both the customer and in return the publisher.

Steps to getting your brand launched on an affiliate network:
1. Placing a pixel as a tracking device
2. Designing banners along with text links
3. Creating the various terms and conditions

Once your program is launched and live on an affiliate network, the next job is to invite publishers to join. In the beginning, to gain traction, it is best to reach out to big name sites where your ad has the possibility to be viewed by the largest pool of potential customers. Next, it is then important to reach out to more niche websites where you believe your target market will be accustomed to browsing. There are over a dozen different types of publishers ranging from what most would think to be the most common, the coupon website, to personal websites and blogs.

Some bigger companies may be more hesitant about the idea of joining affiliate networks because publishers operate with a percent of sales. At first this may seem a bit daunting to the brand but, in the long run, the exposure and customer loyalty that will develop thru these programs will exceed this risk. Affiliate marketing gives power to the advertiser in determining which publisher sites to use that would best elevate their brand. Ultimately, this form of marketing is a great tool to be used whether your brand is just starting up or at maturity to help with further growth and exposure.

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