Affiliate marketing is similar to influencer marketing but with one key difference. Instead of paying on a per-sponsorship basis, you only pay affiliate partners for each lead or sale they refer to your business.
This is an extremely cost-effective and low-risk way of acquiring customers.
The type of business that will see the most success with affiliate marketing is a business that sells products below $3,000. E-commerce businesses and software as a service businesses (SaaS) will see the best results. The reason for this is because these are the two most common products among affiliates.
Amazon has one of the largest affiliate programs on the planet, and there are hundreds of thousands of blogs that are already promoting products that are listed on Amazon in return for a small commission.
Software is the second extremely popular product category that affiliates like to promote.
Especially SaaS products, where customers pay a monthly recurring fee, are popular among affiliates. Affiliates love it when they can earn recurring commissions from promoting a subscription or software.
How affiliate marketing can grow your business
Consider the site SwitchBackTravel.com, which gets over 2 million visitors per month.
This site is in the outdoor and travel niche and mostly makes money from promoting other products. They promote anything from hiking boots to tents and flashlights. They research products, target popular Google search queries and then rank their articles in the top 10 search results in Google.
For example, if you search for "hiking boots" on Google, an article by SwitchBackTravel.com appears. At the time of writing this, their article is ranking in the first place in Google.
The term "hiking boots" is searched for 137,000 searches per month.
As you can imagine, the 20 hiking boots listed in this article are being sold like crazy because of this article. Consumers trust blogs like SwitchBackTravel.com when making purchasing decisions.
You can probably imagine how much money these 20 hiking boot companies are making just from this one article. And all they have to do is pay a small commission in return for each sale that SwitchBackTravel.com refers to them. Usually it's anywhere between 3-10%.
The people behind SwitchBackTravel.com are professional affiliate marketers.
They make good money from connecting consumers with brands. And the companies behind the products that are being promoted make a fortune without having to pay for advertising "out of pocket".
When it comes to affiliate marketing, there are countless professional affiliate marketers out there. What this means is that they make a full-time income from promoting products. Their job, if you will, is to write articles about products, rank these articles for search terms with buying intent (like "best hiking boots"), and then earn money every time someone purchases through their affiliate links.
This is a huge opportunity
There's affiliate sites in the golfing niche, pets, miniature painting, paintball, knitting, nutrition and pretty much any other niche you can think of. Almost any niche and industry is covered by affiliates, because they see it as an opportunity to make money. There are lots of so called "niche sites" that get a lot of monthly visitors. They're already ranking well on Google and want to promote products.
All you have to do is identify sites like this in your niche and ask them to promote your product. Remember, these are professional affiliate marketers who want to promote great products.
This is their "job".
And all they ask for is a small commission whenever one of their visitor buys from you.
Some of them might already have articles ranking for buying-intent search terms on Google, but they currently don't include your product. Maybe these websites don't know of your product and are instead promoting a competitor's product that isn't as good as yours.
One easy solution is to reach out to these blogs and authority sites and ask them to include your product in their article. They've already written the article, so all they have to do is add one more item to the list. This makes their article better and allows them to earn more since they provide consumers with more choices.
In some cases, you can even get them to list your product at the top of the article. You can do that by paying them a small fee or by simply offering a more attractive commission structure.
Most affiliate programs aren't that great. So if you can pay a little bit more than your competitors, most blog or authority site owners will be happy to list your product as high as possible in their articles. This way they can earn more money.
If a blog or authority site doesn't already have an article listing your competitors' products, you can approach them, recruit them as an affiliate and get them to promote your products.
Why is affiliate marketing so effective?
The amazing thing about affiliate marketing is that once a blog or authority site has written an article that ranks high in Google, they are likely to keep ranking high for months, years or even decades. The reason for this has to do with backlinks. Google chooses how high to rank an article based on how many other websites link to the article.
Once an article containing your product appears in the top 10 results on Google, this article will start getting a lot of links from other blogs and websites without you having to do anything.
The more backlinks the article gets, the harder it will be for any other company, website or competitor to outrank the article. This means, Google search results are self-reinforcing. Once search results are established, they tend to remain set in stone forever and become impenetrable.
This makes your customer acquisition strategy sustainable long-term.
When you run paid ads on an advertising platform like Facebook or Google your sales grind to a halt the moment you turn off the ads. You have to keep paying every day to continue getting result. This is often not sustainable long-term because advertising costs tend to increase with time.
As advertising costs increase, and ad platforms get more crowded, your ad campaigns might not be profitable anymore.
The same cannot happen with affiliate marketing. First of all, you're not paying "out of pocket" so it's very low-risk. And secondly, you can get exposure, leads and sales for months, years and decades. You can get results long after an affiliate partner has published an article that promotes your product.
This adds sustainability and longevity to your marketing efforts.
How to get bloggers and authority sites to promote your product
First of all, you need an affiliate program.
If you don't have that yet, we can help you set that up (it's easy).
Ideally, we'll take a look at your competitors' affiliate programs and pay slightly more in commissions. If your affiliate program is more attractive than that of your competitors, or if your competitors don't even have affiliate programs, bloggers and authority site owners will be happy to promote your product.
Not only that, but they're incentivized to prioritize promoting your product over other products.
If you have the best affiliate program in your niche, it's likely that affiliate marketers in your niche will focus a majority of their time, energy and effort on writing articles about your product to promote it.
Is affiliate marketing really scalable?
There are a total of around 1.9 billion websites on the Internet and it's estimated that around 600 million of them are blogs. Not all of them will be in your niche but a good amount of them will be. Or they'll be in a related niche or parent category that is relevant enough to promote your product.
As you can see, there are millions of sites like SwitchBackTravel.com in every niche.
These blogs and authority sites exist in your industry as well, it's just a matter of identifying them, reaching out to them and recruiting them to become affiliates that promote your product.
This is a low-risk and simple strategy to grow your business sustainably. Due to the sheer amount of blogs, websites and authority sites that exist today, the strategy is highly scalable as well. It's all about consistently identifying the right affiliate partners, reaching out to them and partnering with them.
They key to a scalable affiliate marketing strategy is to systematically research affiliates, approach them and onboard them. Having a team of willing, motivated and professional affiliate marketers who want to promote your product, is one of the most cost-effective, low-risk and sustainable ways to grow your business.
How much can businesses make with affiliate marketing? A million dollar case study
One of our clients has recruited over 4,000 affiliates for his product.
He sells information products that cost anywhere between $7 all the way up to $997.
A majority of his sales come from affiliates. In his case, his business generates close to $90,000 a month. Although he has to pay a portion of that revenue to his affiliates every month, his marketing and business strategy is simple and his profit margins are very high.
He doesn't have to pay for traditional advertising. That would mean he doesn't know if he gets a return and how much it will be. Instead, he recruited a team of thousands of affiliate partners eager to promote his products.
He can easily predict his cash flow on a month-to-month basis since he knows how much he'll have to pay in commissions. This allows him to have peace of mind, re-invest into his business and simply continue doing what's working. He keeps recruiting affiliates and nurtures his relationship with existing partners. On the site, he explores other strategies, including paid advertising, to continue growing his business.
To this day, he still hasn't been able to run a profitable advertising campaign on Facebook or Google. At best, he keeps breaking even or losing money. His entire business is built on affiliate marketing.
Want to explore how we can scale your business?
Many businesses understand the power of affiliate marketing but don't have the resources, manpower and team to do it consistently and at scale. Or equally as common, they don't know how to do it properly.
We've received a good number of inquiries from brands trying to partner up with us.
Most of these affiliate recruitment campaigns had one thing in common: They had flaws. Identifying, approaching and recruiting affiliates is a skill that takes time and experience.
Affiliate recruitment at scale is hard to do in-house for most companies.
This is why our agency offers a done-for-you service.
We take care of everything for you.
If you'd like to explore how affiliate marketing can help you grow your business, feel free to contact us. We usually make a first assessment to learn more about your business and product. If we feel like we can genuinely help, we'll set up a strategy session to map out a personalized plan for you.
Both of these meetings are free and there are no strings attached. In case you like the plan we come up for you and would like to get our help to execute it, we can talk about it. In that case, we'll take care of everything for you.
This includes identifying affiliates, reaching out to them in a personalized way and recruiting them to promote your product. And if you don't have an affiliate program yet, we'll advise you and help you set one up.
Ready to brainstorm?