In the 19th Century, a New York entrepreneur lost faith in newspaper advertising, which was all he had available at the time to advertise his business. He started promoting specials on a pair of billboards hanging over a person’s neck, and giving him a pile of flyers to dish out to likely prospects. He gave him a dollar for anyone who brought a flyer back to his store, and purchased something.
The Sandwich Board Gig
By now, you may be wondering what this has to do with affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is the internet version of a billboard, because it markets though third parties, and it pays for leads that turn to sales.
That New York entrepreneur was an unpraised genius. He turned his back on shotgun advertising in mass media, and paid a man for sending him genuine business. This meant his marketing costs came out of sales, and not from overheads. He also had a wonderful A/B testing medium, his billboards had copy on both sides, and he could swap them around to see what worked best.
How Affiliate Advertising Works
Let’s imagine we decide to start selling a particular brand of hiking boots on our accommodation blog. We set up an internet shop where people can order different designs of hiking boots, which we promote by describing how they help us climb the local mountains on various hikes. Are you wondering where the stockroom is? Well you shouldn’t, because there isn’t one. We just have a ‘special offer’ to share.
When a user clicks on the link, they go to a unique page on the hiking boot manufacturer’s website. This confirms the lead comes from us. If they buy a pair of boots, the manufacturer sends us an agreed percentage of sale value. Can you see the connection to the sandwich board now? The boot company is paying us to spread his message.
The Dangers You Should Know
Some start-ups with fashion goods advertise in journals like TIME magazine, because this creates the illusion that they are in the pound seats already. Advertising on end-of-range portals could create the opposite effect, as could our sandwich board man if he became angry with people who would not take the flyer.
The company we keep and the marketing channels we use are the basis of what people think about us. An affiliate marketer may come to us of their own accord or it may be someone we approach; it is generally better to reach out ourselves and snipe a few really good ones that align with our services and quality of business.
One important point is that we should not be in competition with each other. Affiliate marketing works best under circumstances where partners trust each other, and affiliates are promptly paid. An affiliate partnership can bring great benefits to both companies so if you can do with some more business, start making a list of your potential affiliates today.