What is affiliate marketing? Pros and cons

  • Today we are going to share with you a detailed explanation of what affiliate marketing is. We will also understand how it can help you enhance your business. Pay attention!

  • What is affiliate marketing? Where should we start? How to start it up? Does it really worth it? Let's try to clear all the doubts and open up a new channel to enhance your eCommerce sales. 
  • What is affiliate marketing?

  • Nearly anyone, even those just landed on digital marketing,knows the main acquisition channels: SEO, SEM, SocialAds... but affiliate marketing is often secondary as a strategy. 

    Affiliate marketing is to generate traffic or, ideally, sales of the products we sell as merchants using a network of users(members or publishers), who a trade agreement is reached with. They carry out the acquisition using their own means. 

    In general, this network of users consists of websites that already have traffic and communities behind that support them on social networks and blogs. 
  • Each affiliate has of an unique ID added as a parameter to the links he shares. By this, a conversion track can be done and, according to the periodicity and percentage on the agreed sale, the payment will be made
  • Pros and cons of affiliate marketing de afiliación in eCommerce

  • On paper and being practical, all seem advantages. The main are: 
  • #1 – Acquisition to success

  • There are few pure acquisition to CPA models like this. If the affiliate sells, is paid, and if not... well, nothing happens, you are not investing. It is not the same as a campaign of any other type in which you are already paying only for click or impression. 
  • #2 – The client is yours

  • It does not matter which media it comes from or who is serving as a cannel for the conversion. At the end, what remains is that the customer has purchased on your eCommerce, and thereafter becomes part of your database, so you can start strategies for customer loyalty and generating recurrence. Obviously, the affiliate is only paid if the conversion occurs through his link. 
  • #3 – It does not need big investment

  • It may seem somewhat technically difficult to assemble, but on the market there are plenty of solutions prepared to implement it in a very short time. Affiliate programs ready to get out of the box, like the well-known Awin or Post Affiliate Pro, which has a monthly cost starting at $97 with unlimited number of members.
  • When someone reads this list of advantages, thinks that it has come up with the perfect solution. Indeed, affiliate marketing is a cheap way of getting customers/leads and can be very effective, but there are also some issues that you must consider: 
  • #1 – Affiliate´s unsteadiness

  • When a publisher is very successful at a particular niche, it maybe becoming an important asset of your online acquisition.What happens is that the transparency towards the customer,together with to prospecting over it, are not, at first, linked to our brand or our online store. 

    At any time he can choose jump to another competitor and take the traffic with their respective clients with him. Migration is as simple as changing the links. 
  • #2 – Loss of control

  • Not so much at the level of numbers: that is further measured and followed if a good platform is used. We are talking about another thing: about branding and brand image. Such strategies are closely related to the ability of prescription of a certain medium, or even a personal level. 

    The links are usually placed in a contextual manner, aligned with the rest published by that media or person, his own brand positioning and editorial line. What I mean tos ay is that if someone has a very controversial blog due to his opinions but of high-traffic, we are linking our brand to its.
  • #3 – Affiliates have no exclusive rights

  • What is the problem with this? They can be promoting our products and those of the competition at the same time. 

    While in other strategies, such as PPC or Display, we already know about it and no one will be surprised to see on a media ads from different competing brands. However, in the affiliate marketing, personal or editorial recommendations are very important

    Would you trust someone who recommends one of your products and another of your competition, at the same time? That is a risk you are exposed to. 
  • #4 – Tailored development is expensive

  • We have already mentioned that there are plenty of platforms at a reasonable cost that allow you to start selling through affiliate marketing. The problem comes when you have a specific need or simply want to have full control over the process. 

    Develop a tailored solution involves many hours, resources and qualified staff if internally done. If it is outsourced happens exactly the same: you will have to pay for it. 
  • The truth is that affiliate marketing goes a long way. That is why we let you know that we will post a second part of this post soon, explaining how to get started on it and what platforms exist. We will wait for you to continue learning!

  • Images | Fotolia.

Miguel Nicolás

Miguel Nicolás O'Shea is a life-long copywriter (more than 15 years working in agencies) and a specialist in Search Marketing (SEO and PPC). From now on, he will contribute with his online marketing experience to Oleoshop, publishing regularly.

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