As a business owner, you have likely heard the words “affiliate marketing” tossed around now and again. What exactly is affiliate marketing? It’s a form of marketing in which companies can get financial rewards for directing customers to businesses that they recommend. In other words, businesses can make money by promoting other businesses or the products that they sell. Getting involved in affiliate marketing can be a lucrative move for many businesses, but there are several important things to keep in mind to maximize your chances of making money through this form of marketing, while keeping your customers happy and satisfied.
Imagine the following scenario: a friend recommends a product that she thinks you would find useful. “It works great!” she tells you, and says that the company provides excellent customer service. Intrigued, you take a closer look at the product, and decide to buy it. Within several days, however, it falls apart due to poor craftsmanship, and your attempts to get it replaced are in vain. You would likely be frustrated with the situation, and probably a little frustrated with your friend. Don’t let this scenario become a reality for your customers who purchase items from your affiliates! It’s important to only endorse companies or products that you can truly stand behind. Products should be top notch, and companies should provide excellent service. Otherwise, you may lose the support of your customers, and that will translate into a lose of revenue for your company, not to mention a hit to your reputation.
Although your natural inclination may be to hide the fact that you have a financial incentive to promote certain businesses or products, resist this temptation. If your customers find out from a source other than you that you are making money from recommending businesses or products, their trust in you will plummet. So be up front about what you’re doing. You don’t need to have a long, drawn out explanation, and certainly you don’t need to disclose how much money you’re making from affiliate marketing! But you do need to have a statement or two about affiliate marketing on your website. Keep it short and sweet; many bloggers have a disclosure statement at the end of posts in which they recommend products or companies, or will have a more general statement in their “about me’ section.
How will you know which businesses or products to promote? This will vary widely and will depend on who your target audience is. Only promote those products that seem like a natural fit with the needs and desires of your customers; this will make affiliate marketing a more seamless fit with your website.
Affiliate marketing, when done right, can offer tremendous opportunities to businesses. Your customers are consumers, after all, so why not profit from recommending those products that you like from companies that you trust? Putting a little bit of thought and planning into your affiliate marketing strategy can have big payoffs for you financially.