As a full-service digital marketing agency in Connecticut, affiliate programs are one of our many specialties. If you’re looking to take your brand’s advertising efforts to the next level, an affiliate marketing strategy can boost brand awareness among new audiences and generate sales for your business. As the experts in all things marketing, we will customize an affiliate program to your brand’s unique needs and goals. To experience the benefits of affiliate marketing and see a high return on your investment, consider partnering with Zero Gravity Marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
There are two sides to an affiliate marketing program – well, three if you count the customer!
An affiliate program leverages the partnered relationship between an advertiser selling products (your brand) and a publisher who promotes them (the affiliate). An affiliate marketing strategy works to mutually benefit both your brand and the affiliate, as the publisher earns a commission for marketing the advertiser's products or services on their channels.
Brands leverage (and benefit from) the affiliate’s influential status, user traffic, as well as industry and social media expertise to drive sales and generate brand awareness among new audiences. Simultaneously, the affiliate uses their influence to make money from the advertiser and increase traffic to their channels. It’s a win-win!
Why Should You Implement an Affiliate Marketing Program?
Aside from generating new leads and sales for your business, why should your brand invest in an affiliate marketing program? An affiliate program provides:
- A low-risk way to drive sales. Payments only have to be made to publishers when there is an actual conversion from a consumer, which makes an affiliate strategy a great program for brands on a budget!
- Targeted traffic. The affiliates you partner with are approved by you and strategically recommended by our team. This ensures that the users directed to your website will actually find your products and services useful. If the affiliate resonates with your brand, their audience likely will too!
- Low start-up and ongoing costs. Most of the affiliates’ marketing efforts will occur on their personal platforms. It's unlike Pay-Per-Click (PPC), where you actually have to pay for every click that leads to your website. As a result, you’ll pay lower fees for ongoing affiliate platform usage and any paid placements for higher-tiered affiliates. This is one of the reasons why affiliate programs are becoming a more popular marketing method.
- Flexibility. Affiliate programs can be as big or small as you want them to be, so you can scale your efforts based on progress and performance.
- A reputation boost. An affiliate program allows your brand to build a reliable network with trustworthy and valuable affiliates that positively promote your products or services. This boosts your brand’s reputation among its community of loyal followers. Plus, if they don't make sales, they don't get paid!
Our Approach to Affiliate Programs
If brands do not already have an established affiliate marketing program in place, our team will begin first with a discovery phase to align your business and marketing goals, program budget, and key performance indicators (KPIs) for success metrics. From there, our team will recommend an affiliate advertising program that works to meet your unique needs.
Next, we move into the launch plan phase, where we’ll run through every component needed to set your affiliate program up for success. These include implementing landing page recommendations for your website (for affiliates to sign up with), identifying desired affiliate groups to work with, establishing commissions, and developing creative assets to provide to publishers (including text and banner creative). We can also assist with how to announce and market your affiliate program launch on your channels – such as email and SMS – to jumpstart the program.
With your program live, our team will work to research evergreen and niche affiliates that align with your target audiences, products or services, and campaign initiatives to continue growing your program. We will also utilize search engine optimization (SEO) insights to work with high-DA bloggers and both recruit and manage affiliate relationships, adjust commission increases and decreases, and implement placement approvals based on performance.
While your affiliate program is live, we will conduct ongoing performance optimizations – such as creating activation campaigns to drive revenue with existing affiliate partners and strategizing on unique offers and communication opportunities – to help your brand get the most out of your ongoing efforts and investments. Last but not least, our team will conduct monthly reporting through Google Analytics and platform dashboards on KPIs and affiliate performance. We'll also make recommendations to A/B testing banner creative, copy, and promotions.
With our full-service affiliate efforts, we accommodate clients who require complete management services!
A few industry leaders who sport top-notch affiliate marketing programs are Amazon (with a commission rate between 1% and 20%), Wirecutter, and Shopify (which provides resources to support affiliates’ content development and referral traffic’s conversion rate).
Revenue sharing often blurs the line between affiliate and influencer marketing, but just because both approaches can involve creator commissions doesn’t mean the compensation models work the same. An affiliate works with a brand to sell its products and services in exchange for a commission. Influencers generally focus on longer-term KPIs and can be paid through commissions, product gifting, flat rate fees, or a combination of all three.
Affiliate networks exist to act as a platform to connect publishers to advertisers. A few examples you may have heard of include ShareASale, CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction), Awin, Rakuten Marketing, and Pepperjam.
Every publisher has a unique publisher ID, which is used in tracking cookies to record which publisher generates what sales. This activity can then be viewed within the affiliate network dashboard. Additionally, we can provide publishers with unique URLs and promo codes to track individual performance and returns.