Affiliate marketing has been quite a popular means of growing a business in recent years. As such, it’s an understandably attractive alternative to many small business owners looking to start their first company.
The good news is, small businesses are tailor-made to benefit from affiliate marketing. The bad news is that they may have to try several different routes before setting themselves on the right track. Luckily, we’re here to show how different affiliate marketing tactics can get you there. Please read our guide to affiliate marketing to grow your small business effectively.
Affiliate Programs for Small Businesses: Are They the Right Fit for You?
Not all small businesses should go into affiliate marketing. Before launching your campaign, you must ensure that affiliate marketing is a suitable marketing strategy for you and your company.
There are several key components to keep your eye on:
- A marketable product – not all products or services are equally suited for affiliate marketing. It would be best if you verified that the quality of your product or service is top-notch, on top of it being naturally alluring to online consumers, for it to be a good candidate.
- A good grasp of your finances – you need to know exactly how much money you have at your disposal to invest in an affiliate marketing campaign. Once you do your research, make sure that you find potential affiliate partners that would be satisfied with working for your (usually) modest commission rate.
- A suitable affiliate niche – you need to discover what place this product belongs to and see whether affiliates, influencers, or any public personalities exist within this niche. If there are too few or none, affiliate marketing would be a failed investment, as there will be nobody to market your product or service.
If you’ve gone through all three of these points and still believe that your business is suited and ripe for an affiliate partnership, you should start contemplating the benefits you’d get from it.
How Small Businesses Can Benefit From Affiliate Marketing
People trust influencers and online brands more than commercials and word-of-mouth campaigns. Being at the right time and place may even help launch your small business into a billion-dollar corporation if only you know how to target the right audience through the right affiliates.
Steps to Grow Your Small Business
You’ll need to take a few basic steps to maximize your chances of success regarding affiliate marketing strategies for small businesses. Of course, they all depend on your particular business, its niche, and your small business budget.
However, provided that none of this is a direct worry for you, you should instead focus on:
Know When to Start Affiliate Marketing
Knowing when to start affiliate marketing is the most crucial step. Small businesses are in a state of rapid growth, so there can be a world of difference between the state of the brand today and tomorrow. One wrong move and one financial miscalculation can be detrimental if not thought out carefully.
Timing is your best friend when growing your small business. For this reason, pay attention to your finances and explore the affiliate landscape. Know exactly how much you can offer as a commission rate, and don’t compromise any more than you can afford.
Start Developing Affiliate Partnerships
If you’re still too small of a business and not enough of a brand to start your affiliate program, consider developing affiliate partnerships. This means contacting other small businesses like your own that operate in a similar niche.
If both brands have complementary products or services, they can start an affiliate partnership to promote each other to their mutual audiences. This can give both businesses a leg-up.
Similarly, opt for referral programs, through which your existing customers will be asked to promote your products or services to their circle of acquaintances. Both are beginner strategies that can help you quickly amass customers and set you on the path to affiliate marketing success.
Invest in an Affiliate Tracking Platform to Manage Affiliate Partners
Once you are more developed and with a larger budget, you can invest in an affiliate tracking platform to help locate potential affiliates and oversee the work of the ones you currently have. With such a program, you’ll instantly be able to manage affiliate partners and see how productive their contribution to your business is.
Set ideal revenue numbers or percentages for a given period (a few months or a year), and have clear insight into how close your business performed. Of course, you should set any such predictions or goals within realistic parameters to be feasibly achievable.
Base Affiliate Commission Rates on Clicks and Revenue
From here, once you already have your own affiliate program, whereby you employ affiliates, paying them out based on clicks and generated revenue is the smartest thing to do. In other words, affiliate commission rates for your marketers depend on how many leads and conversions they’ve brought to you. You won’t be throwing your money away while rewarding the affiliates that have deserved it. This will further motivate your affiliates to work harder to promote your brand and increase their commission rates.
Test the Waters of SEO
SEO affiliate marketing means optimizing affiliate pages and links to rank high on search engines through SEO practices. By pairing affiliate marketing strategies and SEO, you develop a powerful advertising campaign that will yield the desired results.
You can go about this by hiring a professional SEO service that will:
- Optimize the site for multiple devices;
- Create a sitemap;
- Format articles to be easily readable;
Besides this, you should pay special attention to off-page SEO, essentially marketing your business outside your website and through other social media (YouTube, Instagram, etcetera.)
Once you develop your small business into a full-blown company thanks to affiliate marketing, you’ll reap the benefits of your marketing success by reaching out to multiple well-established brands and sharing affiliates and customers.