Ready to get your brand out there and tap into segments of your audience that you have had trouble reaching in the past? If your answer is yes, then affiliate marketing is exactly what you need to be paying attention to.

The premise is straightforward. You connect with affiliates who will promote your brand in return for compensation based on performance. As a merchant, you only pay when the affiliate can produce results in the form of lead generation or sales. It couldn’t be simpler.

Except that figuring out where to start can be a challenge.

There are multiple avenues that affiliates can use to promote your brand. The path you choose to take is entirely dependent upon your goals and what your intended market is going to best respond to. With this in mind, we’ve gathered a few examples of affiliate marketing strategies so that you can better assess which will create the best fit for your brand and your goals.

Know Your Niche

You’re going to have greater success with affiliate marketing if you put a little thought into who is going to be seeing your brand. Sure, there are some affiliate marketers who are wildly successful promoting a range of products and services. With the right team, this can work.

However, the goal is to put your brand is view of consumers who are going to click and convert. For many brands, this means focusing in on your niche market. The site howtocleananything.com is a great example of niche based affiliate marketing.

This site offers advice-filled content on how to clean pretty much everything. Seriously, from your Birkenstock straps to your belly button, they have it covered. While the advice ranges from medical care to household tips and everything in between, it’s all unified under a common theme. Practically every post contains and an affiliate link, and you know what?

It makes sense when paired with the content produced to accompany it.

This is a great example of how pairing with the right affiliate for your target market can equal huge gains in conversions and your ROI.

Gather Reviews… Lots of Them!

It doesn’t matter what your brand is, or how you’re marketing it, reviews matter. From a consumer standpoint, they often make the difference between choosing your brand or your competitor’s. In fact, more people trust reviews that they find online over those from a trusted friend or family member.

Bottom line? What consumers read about your product or service online matter. One way to use affiliate marketing is to choose affiliates that use a review platform as the base of their site. One of our favorite examples is NerdWallet.

Designed to dispense practical advice on all things financial, NerdWallet offers reviews on all types of products and services related to the financial industry.

What really makes the difference with review based affiliates is respectability. Look for affiliates that produce top quality, respectable content. You want a genuine feel from your affiliates when they’re reviewing your brand.

It’s a great idea to build a relationship with your affiliates before beginning work together. Consider offering your product or service to the affiliate for free of charge for them to use and get acquainted with before they begin promoting your product. A brand that they have personal experience with is going to come off as sincerer to your intended audience.

Affiliates That Offer Real World Value

There are two things that people are looking to get out of the content they view online. They either want to be entertained, they want the content to add significant value in their life, or both. If you are aligning yourself with an affiliate who relies on content creation, make sure that what they are producing meets the criteria for success. Some of the best content for affiliate marketing offers real world, practical advice that will keep the audience coming back for more. Let’s look at MoneySavingExpert as an example.

When you land here, the first thing you notice is that the site is jampacked with content. First, it’s all quality content that’s highly relevant to the target audience. Secondly, there’s something unusual about this site. It gets no money from advertisers. All revenue comes from affiliate links.

Stop and think about that for a minute. Affiliate links are performance based. That means this site only makes money when those links generate action. Do you think they would keep using this model if it wasn’t working for them? We’re guessing the answer to that question is no, so they must be creating major action for their affiliate merchants.

Coupon Sites, Deals and Promotions

Another way of expanding your brand’s reach through affiliate marketing is by having a presence on sites that are set up to specifically offer coupons, deals and promotions on partner brands. While this type of affiliate relationship works a bit differently, but with the right strategy it can be equally effective. For example, Nomad Coffee Club leverages this well by partnering with bloggers doing giveaways and product reviews along with promotional discounts.

Rather than using content and influence to push your brand, you are relying on the consumer’s love of a bargain. Anyone who shops around online knows that finding the best deal is part of the fun. Coupon sites help them out by connecting them to the best deal on your product or service.

You sponsor a coupon or promotion. The site posts it, along with those of other brands that they are working with. The key to making this work is realizing that your SEO strategy will need to be optimized to produce results for you on their page. Many of the most successful deal sites will assist with this process.

Wait, Did We Forget to Mention Video?

How long has it taken you to read through this article up to this point? 5 minutes maybe? Something amazing has happened in that amount of time.

Approximately 1,500 hours of YouTube content has been uploaded. Every minute, there is 300 hours’ worth of video uploaded for viewing. Now, think about what it could mean for your brand if you had a presence on some of that video content. The potential is huge.

Affiliates with a YouTube presence can promote your brand directly, or through a banner on their video. Just how successful can YouTube affiliate marketing be? Just look at this guy.

You might know him as the adorable face behind Ryan’s Toy Review, or you might know him as the $11 million affiliate guru. The premise of this affiliate marketing strategy is that a YouTube influencer / celebrity promotes your product or service in their video, in this case through reviews. The downside is that it can be more difficult to track traffic with this type of relationship, unless a link is built into the content.

The upside is that video is huge. In fact, it’s the preferred type of content for most internet users, especially those that are accessing content from their mobile device. This means that your brand gets placed in front of a larger, more engaged audience, which means more conversions and profit in your pocket.

That’s a Start, But What Else?

So, there were some great examples of different styles if affiliate marketing. But, it takes more than examples to get started. You also need some practical advice. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind, no matter what type of affiliate marketing you choose for your brand.

  1. A little research means money in your pocket. Before you start out, you need to have an idea of what your competitors are doing, and what they’re paying to make it happen. To attract the most successful affiliates, your rates need to be competitive.
  2. Speaking of rates, it’s acceptable to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Consider having a flat rate that you offer to all affiliates, including all new contracts. Then have a second compensation tier for your best performing affiliate partners.
  3. Start off on the right foot. Communication is key. If you can’t communicate readily and easily with your affiliates, then it’s probably not going to be the best working relationship for you. You want to be able to share product details, sales information, guidelines and even brainstorm on how your brand could be best promoted.
  4. Have a set of rules in place. Decide how much liberty your affiliates can take with your brand. Are you fine with them offering a discount that you didn’t approve of or using your product in a way that it wasn’t intended? Set forth all the ground rules before you get started.
  5. Have a budget in mind, but be adaptable. If you’ve reached the point where you’ve met or exceeded your affiliate marketing budget, look at what it’s done for you in terms of ROI. If you’re generating sales and a good profit, there’s no reason to stick to the exact numbers you’ve put down on paper.

 

Now’s the time to get grow your brand with affiliate marketing. Where will it take you? There’s only one way to find out. Start today and push your brand forward with affiliate marketing.

 

The author Jon Clark is the founder of Fuze SEO, a boutique digital marketing company in New York. He writes regularly providing thought leadership on SEO and social media best practices. When not working or writing, Jon enjoys documenting his travels on his travel blog 1 Way to Wanderlust. You can follow him on Twitter @jonleeclark.