Affiliate marketing, whether online or offline, is basically a relationship between the affiliate, the merchant, and the consumer. In the affiliate marketing network, there is the:
- The affiliate – the person who promotes a product or service from the merchant, and in return, gets a commission.
- The merchant is the person you partner with – the one that has a business and pays you to help them promote their business.
The affiliate works with the merchant on a contractual basis, and provides the merchant product information that they can include in their online and offline marketing to promote their product or service.
The consumer bit is pretty straightforward. It’s an individual who takes action after seeing an advertisement, be it a website banner, a showroom trailer truck, a mobile billboard, or a flyer in your postbox.
This action is clicking, contacting, subscribing, searching, or liking affiliate content to make a purchase. This act is known as a conversion. In any affiliate channel you decide to take, having an offline and online base, whether a store, retail outlet, website, or a blog, is a good way to start.
Online and Offline Affiliate Marketing Channels
This term is used for people who love building websites and owning their websites for their affiliate business. In today’s digital world, there are plenty of webmasters, all with their own website niche and various levels of expertise. The most commonly used sites are ShareASale or CJ, which partners with affiliates.
- Search Affiliates
This term is used for people that spend their own money on Facebook advertising, search engines, and other forms of online paid advertising models with the purpose of generating quality ROI for their affiliate offers, as well as for their own website. Search affiliates are very entrepreneurial and business-minded. They spend to make money, and they also love to test various capacities in expanding their affiliate marketing. A search affiliate can help a business obtain and create the right kind of audience for your website if you choose to use this form of an affiliate program.
Blogging is another kind of affiliate marketing that’s great for those who can write and want to continuously post information about a company and also reviews about new products. It’s one of the most popular options for affiliate channels. For bloggers, all they need to do is to get samples of products from merchants, try them out, and do a review (preferably a positive one), which will help spread information about these products. Credibility is a key issue with blogging, and the more people read about your reviews or content about a merchant, the higher this content will rank on the search engine.
- Mobile Vehicles
Vehicles are often advertising space that’s often overlooked. You can use your own car, your van, or any vehicle you own to prominently place a sticker with a few words of the merchant’s business and contact details to promote their products and service. The best promotional spots for mobile vehicles are the back bumper, next to the car’s brand name, and also the front windshield.
- Review Sites or Pop-Up Booths
Another popular option for affiliate marketers, review sites require affiliate marketers to build or create a website specifically to review different products in a specific niche. The common types of businesses that are perfect for review sites are cake delivery companies, restaurants, dating companies, and phone companies, taking up at least five to eight different advertisers. These advertisers are then placed on a site, and an organic search or paid search is conducted throughout all the pages that feature various reviews. The affiliate receives a percentage of the agreed-upon commission when a business is mentioned to advertisers, making the review site large and altering demography of the marketing affiliates.
- Using Classified Ads in Your Local Newspaper
Before you brush off this idea, give it a few minutes of your time. Classified ads in local newspapers are often the gateway to a very localized and specific audience. For many people, reading their morning paper with a cup of Joe is still the order of the day. Newspaper classified ads also don’t cost as much as they did before, which is another reason why you should advertise your affiliate marketing and the products you promote on them. The key here is to choose industry-specific publications, rather than going with every newspaper or magazine out there. Choose a publication that fits your audience’s demographics. Doing so will enable you to target a concentrated and qualified audience with a higher and better-quality lead generation. With classified ads, make sure your call-to-action is strong and visible to maximize conversion rates.
- Loyalty Programs
Companies that have large memberships benefit from loyalty programs. Any offers or discounts are usually promoted among the membership, and these offers commonly feature a cash-back program. There are plenty of loyalty programs in the market, and most conduct themselves on a performance-basis. As a merchant, you can select any of these loyalty portals to improve their business.
- Incentive Programs
Incentive programs have good things, as well as bad things about them. The great thing about incentive programs is that as an affiliate, you can get loads of traffic from prospective buyers, but the disadvantage here is that other affiliates can take action on your ads and can skew down the quality of leads and sales.
If you haven’t thought of using affiliate marketing as a way of expanding the reach of your business, this is a great time to do it. Both online and offline affiliate marketing channels are effective as long as it suits the kind of product and service you have. The most important detail to get right here would be, “Where do your customers hang out often?”. If your business is purely online, then using digital channels would make sense. However, if you have a store, a workshop, a showroom, or even a pop-up booth, it’s best to use both types of channels.