Guide

Marketing on a tight budget

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a powerful internet marketing tool that offers partners or affiliates a commission on any customers they bring to your site. This is normally done on a cost-per-click basis, as paying pennies per click can be cheap.

Other options include:

  • pay-per-lead - which can result in higher quality leads for contacting the customer yourself and making your own sales
  • pay-per-sale - where affiliates and your website make the sales for you (useful if you have a product that sells easily through your website)

Affiliate marketing can be a powerful way of:

  • boosting your web sales
  • improving your online brand reach
  • finding customers in a new country, as visitors who arrive from a similar site are much more likely to be interested in your products

Affiliate programs are becoming more and more competitive. Affiliates will constantly measure you and your program against other affiliate programs, so it is essential to research the competition.

How to set up an affiliate marketing program

To attract people who may stop at a website for only a few seconds, your site needs an effective design and interesting content. Adding fresh content is the way to do this - ideally every day, or at least once or twice a week.

Building links is also important. You can do this by putting a link to someone else's site on yours and them doing the same, or by posting to other sites with useful information, as either a guest content provider or a blog commenter. The challenge is to post links to affiliates who offer a product connected to your site.

Then you can add advertisers - these partnerships are how you make your money as an affiliate marketer, so choose them wisely.

You also need to create a call to action - content on your site that gets your visitors to do what you want, ie click on your advertiser's links. Examples of calls to action include:

  • clicking on a banner ad
  • ordering a project
  • filling out a lead generation form to get information

There are several benefits to affiliate marketing, for example:

  • its cost-effectiveness
  • it can be a long-term investment
  • it is less risky, as there are no up-front costs for advertising on your affiliate websites
  • you don't need extra marketing staff
  • you never lose money - you only pay when an advertisement succeeds
  • you can track where your customers come from and how much they spend
  • you can determine the most successful locations for your advertising