4 Reasons Why Small Business Owners Should Try Affiliate Marketing

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Affiliate marketing is a digital marketing model in which companies reward third parties for generating sales. It’s one of the most successful forms of marketing, and one of the easiest and least expensive to begin. Affiliate marketing relies heavily on the internet (especially social media)— but it can be combined with traditional forms of marketing to help boost sales. If you’re a small business owner, here are four reasons why you should consider trying affiliate marketing as an advertising strategy.

#1: Networking Opportunities with Influencers

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to network, particularly with known influencers. Social media influencers are well-known and have a large following on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Because they have a large following, there are thousands (and even millions) of people who can promote your products, which increases your sales.

Many influencers will be happy to have you reach out to them to promote your product, especially if you offer some kind of incentive (usually a commission on the products they help sell). These influencers may or may not even use your products, in which case this type of affiliate marketing is known as unattached or related affiliate marketing. Unattached affiliate marketing means that the influencer has no connection to your product, whereas related affiliate marketing means that your product fits with the influencer’s lifestyle— whether they use your product or not.

#2: Lower Risks

The risks associated with affiliate marketing are lower than the risks associated with other types of marketing. It doesn’t cost much for you to start an affiliate program and the ROI (return on investment) is much higher than other marketing strategies. Some of the costs associated with affiliate marketing include:

  • Ad costs (if you pay to have an ad placed on a popular website)
  • Commissions paid to affiliates
  • Network startup costs

Of course, starting and running an affiliate program isn’t completely free, but the benefits (your ROI) are more likely to outweigh the costs.

#3: Increase in Website Traffic and High Conversion Rates

The statistics show that affiliate marketing is the way to go when trying to get more sales, especially when you’re an e-commerce business. Other types of businesses can try their hand at this too, but the key is to have a business website that people can visit and purchase from. No matter which affiliate marketing model you try, each one involves having a link that directs the clicker to your website to make a purchase. Clicking the link increases website traffic stats, and if your website is convincing enough to get the visitor to make a purchase, your conversion rates increase as well.

Affiliate marketing is something that you can also use in addition to SEO (search engine optimization) marketing. SEO focuses on using specific words on your website (and blog) to get your website to rank higher on search engines. Both SEO and affiliate marketing increase website traffic and possibly conversion rates.

#4: Free Advertising

…Or almost free advertising. One of the most common forms of affiliate marketing involves you giving your affiliates a custom link that takes anyone who clicks it to your website— known as involved affiliate marketing. When someone purchases through the link, the affiliate earns a small portion of the purchase for promoting your products and making a sale. You forfeit a small amount of the original price, but this marketing strategy is a more cost-effective way to get your products in front of a larger audience.

Another way to get “free advertising” of your brand is to invest in promotional items for your (individual) affiliates to “market”. Everyday items like hats, T-shirts, and cups can bear your company name and logo to help create brand awareness whenever your affiliates wear them. For best results, choose items that are most relevant to your business. For example, if you’re a lifestyle brand that promotes good health, invest in promotional golf towels, pom poms, megaphones, seat cushions, blender and water bottles, and stadium cups.

You don’t have to have a large company to try affiliate marketing— you just need to have an online portion of your business, if not a completely online (e-commerce) business. The good news is that even if big influencers aren’t interested in affiliates, many everyday social media users are. While you may not be able to reach the heights you would with big influencers, these everyday social media users may be natural salespeople, and they’ll still help you create brand awareness.