Affiliate Marketing Part II: The Right Publisher for Your Campaign

In Part I of our Affiliate Marketing discussion, we went over the basics—what affiliate marketing is and what affiliate publishers can do for advertisers. But there are so many options, and so now we need to take a look at what type of affiliate advertising will best meet your goals.

Finding the Right Forum

Affiliate marketing can be done in a ton of places—blogs, discussion forums, social media, TV or print media. To choose the right forum for your campaign, it’s important to think about the audience you want to reach and what type of information they are most responsive to. These are some of the online options that let you connect with buyers with different needs:

1.  Content-focused publishers. If you want to reach an audience based on an interest niche, blogs and content-focused websites can be a good source for reaching interested and dedicated readers.

2.  Review-based sites and comparison forums. If your product has a strong competitive advantage or you want to focus on differentiating the product, review sites will reach readers who want that type of research, possibly with the added push of a personal recommendation.

3.  Coupon sites. Want to reach people who are looking for a good deal? Get buyers excited to try your product by making special offers through coupon sites.

4.  Social media partners. Reach out to an audience by creating buzz with social media partners, who can generate likes, follows and even reviews.

5.  Loyalty programs. Partner with sites that offer cashback and other rewards to reach an audience by offering that added incentive to buy.

Thinking about Affiliate Publisher Pay

Part of finding the right partner is working with your budget. Publishers work on different pay agreements, so you’ll need to research which partner fits your budget as well as your audience.

1.  Pay per click (PPC) affiliate marketing. Each time a reader clicks on a link, the advertiser will pay for the click. Clicks don’t necessarily mean revenue, so make sure you have a plan to stay within budget when using PPC. For more tips on planning for PPC, check out Elements of E-Commerce: Paid Digital Marketing Using Pay Per Click.

2.  Cost per action or cost per lead (CPA/CPL). With CPA, payment is not made until some step beyond the reader clicking the link is completed—maybe the reader has to buy a product, or sign up for a newsletter. When the reader does that triggering action, the advertiser pays the publisher.

3.  Cost per impression (CPI). Here, the advertiser pays a publisher for a certain number of times that the publisher’s page is viewed. Again, this doesn’t tie payment to any earned revenue, but that may not matter if the goal of your campaign is increasing the visibility of your product.

Entering the Right Partnership

If the point of an affiliate marketing campaign is to a get an audience to think of you because of your alignment with your affiliate publisher, the best partner is one that feels like an extension of your company. Here are a few things to consider before you decide that you want any of these partners talking about you:

⋅  Will you be able to reach the broad or niche audience you need with this partner?

⋅  What is the affiliate publisher’s brand and is it one that resonates with your buyers?

⋅  Is the publisher following regulations and not using bots to drive traffic?

Wading through all of these options doesn’t have to be something you do on your own. Get in touch and let us help you find the right affiliates and shape a campaign that’s fitted to your goals.

Elements of E-Commerce | Affiliate Marketing Basics

Welcome to Thanx Media’s “Elements of E-Commerce” blog series. Follow along as we wade through the nuts and bolts of e-commerce technologies that you need to know.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing uses a third-party website (or other platform) to give buyers information about products and/or links to actually buy the product. Think a blog that talks about coffee and has links scattered throughout its posts to coffee-related products for sale. An advertiser pays the third-party when a reader connects to a product via the third-party website’s link.

Why do companies want to partner with affiliates? The goal here is to reach a demographic interested in the company’s product by way of connection with a source trusted by those consumers. We know that buyers are about 70% more likely to trust a recommendation or social media referral than traditional advertising. Affiliate marketing gets at least one step closer to that recommendation: a buyer can feel more personally aligned with a product that shows up on a website she knows and likes than she will with a generic search result ad. And some affiliate marketers will actually offer product recommendations.

Understanding How to Connect with Affiliate Sites and What They Will Do

Companies can start affiliate marketing campaigns in two main ways:

Advertiser-Publisher. Familiar with a cool website that’s a good fit for your brand? You can connect directly with blog authors, consumer review sites, or partners in other forums (known as the “publishers”) that are a good fit to promote your products and that you know offer affiliate advertising.

Advertiser-Network-Publisher. You can also use an affiliate network to identify the affiliates that fit best. These networks gather information about which websites and forums offer affiliate advertising and the types of audiences they reach.

Different publishers offer different forms of advertising:

1.  Unattached (or indirect) affiliate marketing is generally a link on the publisher’s website or social media feed to products and offers. Along the lines of banner ads, unattached affiliate marketing doesn’t relate directly to the publisher’s content. Some publishers will just sell you space for links and ads to show up alongside whatever else they are displaying. The publisher doesn’t offer any analysis or recommendation, but this arrangement does give your product visibility to a popular publisher’s dedicated audience.

2.  Related (sometimes called direct) affiliate marketing is a link to a product or offer that is related to the publisher’s audience or content. We can go back to the idea of the coffee blog here. The coffee blogger may be willing to sell space in-between paragraphs of her blog posts for links to products and offers that are coffee-related. In this form the publisher is not necessarily discussing the product, but the advertiser can reach a targeted demographic.

3.  Involved affiliate marketing is a recommendation and a link to products and offers. Some publishers will test your product and personally recommend the product to their followers, alongside a link to buy.

What are the forums that will work best for your affiliate marketing campaign and how do you plan your budget? Come back for Part II of our Affiliate Marketing discussion for more on planning your campaign.