Understanding Affiliate Marketing and Affiliate Programs

Affiliate marketing can be a great way to generate online buzz about your products and services without having to pay in-house sales representative salaries. You get all the benefits of sales and influencer techniques for a theoretically lower investment. But what exactly is affiliate marketing, and how do you make it viable for your business?

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

A working affiliate marketing definition is a program in which a brand affiliate earns a commission for marketing and selling products. Affiliate marketing is a popular tactic to drive sales and generate significant online revenue. Extremely beneficial to both brands and affiliate marketers, affiliate marketing can generate high returns for the relatively small commission investment.

Affiliate marketing in the digital age is often a cash-based variation on influencer marketing. Rather than working for free products or discounts, affiliates work for a percentage-based commission for their efforts.

Types of Affiliate Marketing

There are a few types of affiliate marketing programs you should be aware of, as each one has unique benefits:

  • Pay per sale is the most common type of affiliate marketing. Affiliates get a percentage of each sale they generate, typically between 5% and 30%. Depending on the number of affiliates and the size of your average sale, this could be a good tactic for your brand.
  • Pay per lead is another common affiliate marketing program, where affiliates are responsible for generating leads through opt-ins and signups rather than taking responsibility for the full sale. Most pay per lead programs range from $1 to $100 per lead, again depending on your average sale size. This type of program can be more complex and requires more in-house support, but it’s an excellent tactic for generating qualified leads for your brand.
  • Pay per click affiliate marketing is one of the more competitive affiliate programs. Brands and product creators provide affiliates with a unique link, and affiliates are paid for every click they get on that link. On average, PPC affiliate marketing pays affiliates about $0.10 – $3 per click and requires the most investment from your internal team to convert link traffic into qualified leads.

Successful Affiliate Marketing for Business

In order to make sure that your affiliate marketing program is successful, you need to have a clear incentive for both buyers and affiliates. If your rates are low, you won’t be able to attract qualified affiliates and influencers to spread the word about your brand. If your offer isn’t interesting to the prospects your affiliates generate, the number of clicks and opt-ins doesn’t matter as they’re less likely to convert to sales.

Many affiliate programs are unsuccessful because they don’t have the infrastructure in place to manage affiliate collaboration and regularly serve content to affiliate-generated leads. A marketing automation platform can help centralize communication, generate unique affiliate links and landing pages, manage customer data, and continually market to new leads as you receive them.

SharpSpring has a well-established affiliate program in place. For more info on the SharpSpring Affiliate Program, click here.

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