Affiliate marketing is increasingly a way in which small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are able to become marketing partners with large global brands, while at the same time potentially generating significant income.
Essentially, affiliate marketing involves promoting goods and services for other companiesand then earning a commission for every sale or sign up that comes via your efforts. However, what makes it so appealing and viable for SMEs is that affiliate marketing does not necessarily require enormous resources and there is no significant financial commitment or outlay required on your part, plus you have a large degree of independence and freedom in terms of how you go about the promotional work you take on.
Consider the example of playright.co.uk, which acts as a UK marketing affiliate to online gambling giants, while not needing a lot of resources or manpower to provide marketing services to leaders of the industry. Opportunities are growing all the time for imaginative bloggers, website owners and social media entrepreneursto make an impact in the affiliate marketing industry without the need for major backing or resources.
How does affiliate marketing work?
The aim of affiliate marketing is to generate traffic for another company’s website and in so doing earn commission on leads, sign ups or sales. The appeal for companies is that they are able to cost-effectively reach larger and more diverse audiences than would otherwise be possible through other forms of online advertising and promotion, while for marketers there is the opportunity to earn commissions which can in some cases be ongoing e.g., if you generate a new customer for an FX company via an exclusive link from your site, every time that person uses the service, you get paid a percentage. Therefore, the appeal for SMEs is obvious— a single conversion can lead to an ongoing stream of income without the need for any further time or work on your part.
There are a number of sectors that employ the affiliate marketing model, including online casinos, travel websites, online gift stores and dating sites, as well as publishers and news sites. This also means that for marketers there is the opportunity to promote multiple brands and products at the same time, increasing the potential for generating revenue.
How to get started in affiliate marketing
For SMEs or individuals who want to make a start in the world of affiliate marketing, it is not as daunting as it may at first appear.
Rather than dealing with individual companies one at a time, most fledgling marketers get into this space through specialist affiliate networks who act on behalf of many brands across a range of industries and sectors. They will provide you with a variety of marketing materials and collateral that you can then use on your site or blog, including suggestions for advertorial articles, banner and display ads, special offers and bonuses. This means that you have easy and ready access to a range of promotional materials that you can use in different ways in order to reach the widest possible audience.
Once you are equipped with ads and ideas for blog posts, your task then becomes getting them online and in front of as many eyes as possible. Affiliate marketers have any number of options open to them in this space — you can use an existing blog site, or create a new website specifically for the purpose of promotions, while electronic direct mailing is also a popular approach.
Review portals and comparison sites too are a very effective way of reaching an audience as an affiliate marketer — these enable you to promote a range of similar products on the same site, while being attractive to readers as a source of useful information.
In essence, the range of possible approaches for SMEs to affiliate marketing are only limited by your imagination. This is why it is so popular and effective, as there is great scope for innovation, and the potential as a source of revenue is in many ways unlimited.