Affiliate Marketing – Helping you grow your sales

Climbing Graph Today, many small businesses including sole traders and companies under the banner SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) are struggling to grow their revenues and profitability. For a considerable number, even maintaining last year’s numbers is a challenge. Although making the most of your existing customers is important, it is also critical to attract new customers.

Attracting New Customers to Your Business

This article examines some ways of increasing your customer base, and for each it discusses the critical factors which determine a successful outcome, and some of the downsides of the method.

Recruit extra marketing and sales staff

staffThis will apply extra effort to the marketing and sales task. The effectiveness of this approach depends on:

  • Recruiting the right calibre of person
  • The experience of the person
  • The availability of additional promotional resources and marketing funding
    which the recruited person can draw from when doing their job.
  • The ability of the marketing staff to identify prospective buyer contacts,
    and once identified, to get their attention, make them take notice of your company’s products/services and eventually place an order with you.

The downsides of this approach:

  • It could take several months from the start of the recruitment process to the point where the additional staff is in place.
  • There is a significant price to be paid, each month, for salary, expenses and overheads associated with the extra staff from the day they start.
  • It is not easy to ramp-up and ramp-down on human resources as the business conditions require.

Spend on media advertising

MegaphoneRun some ads in the print media, TV, radio etc. The effectiveness of this approach depends on:

  • Correct selection of the publishing channel.
  • Timeliness – airing the message when the target buyers are listening/viewing/reading.
  • Appropriate design of the advertisement, and the message it is communicating.

The downsides of this approach:

  • The reach may be broad, but many of the listeners/viewers may not be interested. It is difficult to target the right people.
  • The ad is very short lived. For TV/radio it is “live” for a matter of seconds, and then gone. For newspapers, it is visible on the page while that page is being read, at most a few minutes, and then discarded.
  • Usually some repetition is required, because the ad can be overlooked the first couple of times.
  • Such advertising can be very expensive, and the payment has to be made up-front, with no guarantee that it will be effective.

Pay-per-click, Pay per 1000 Impressions Online Advertising

Pay-per-click adTarget online audiences as they search the Internet or view pages containing advertisements. The effectiveness of this approach depends on:

  • Ensuring that your ad gets selected for display, and sufficiently high up the list.
  • The message conveyed by the ad is relevant and compelling enough to make the user want to click it.
  • The landing page is relevant and has a call-to-action button (e.g. “Buy now”, “Add to Basket”, “Sign up”).

The downsides of this approach:

  • It can be very hard/costly to get your ad showing in a prominent position. There can be many other businesses competing for the same keywords, thereby driving up the “bid” price per click.
  • The marketing budget can be quickly used up due to clicks on ads that never result in sales.
  • The pay-per-mille (PPM – Pay per 1000 impressions) and pay per day/week/month also involve an outlay of cash to the publisher even if the viewer fails to click on the ad.

Affiliate Marketing

partnershipThis involves a partnership between the business owner/merchant and a number of website owners, article writers, bloggers (let’s refer to them as “publishers”). The publishers agree to display ads on behalf of the business owner or, in some trackable way, include links to the business owner’s online shop, alongside the content which they write. If their readers click on such ads/links and subsequently make a purchase, the business owner pays the publisher a commission, usually a percentage of the sale. A fee can also be paid for a lead if the reader leaves their contact details or signs up for newsletter etc. on the business owner’s site. Such publishers are referred to as “affiliates” of the business owner.

The publisher/affiliate gains some extra income to support their writing/publishing activities, and the business owner gains relevant visitors who are interested in their products/services. It uses a pay-for-performance model, and so it is very attractive and cost-effective for cash-strapped businesses. The effectiveness of affiliate marketing depends on:

  • Alignment between the products/services offered by the business owner and the content produced by the publisher.
  • The message conveyed by the ad is relevant and compelling enough to make the user want to click it.
  • The landing page is relevant and has a call-to-action button (e.g. “Buy now”, “Add to Basket”, “Sign up”).

The downsides of this approach:

  • It can be hard for compatible publishers and business owners to connect.
  • It can be time consuming for the business owner to manage their affiliates/publishers, and take care of tracking the payments due to each one, issuing payments etc.
  • The lack of an independent party between the affiliate and the merchant can lead to affilites doubting whether the business owner is crediting them with all of the sales or leads which the affiliates conveyed.

Software packages exist which business owners can buy and install on their web servers to handle the sign-up and management of publishers who are acting as affiliates. Such packages, however, do not address the issue of connecting publishers and business owners, nor does it solve the problem of doubt/distrust mentioned above. These packages also require some technical skill to install, and get working. The business owner must update them them regularly to keep them operational.

The Vendexo Affiliate Network

correct tickThe Vendexo Affiliate Network is an affiliate marketing platform which overcomes the problems mentioned above.

  • It is a pay for performance system, so business owners can choose to only pay out to affiliates/publishers if the visitors they refer place an order.
  • Business owners can also choose to pay-per-click or per visit.
  • It is an affiliate platform which runs on the Vendexo servers, not a package which the business owner has to buy, install, troubleshoot, update etc.
  • Our affiliate network serves to connect affiliates and business owners. it provides tools to enable affiliates to seek out suitable businesses/products to promote on their websites, and to request to act as an affiliate for those businesses.
  • The affiliate network also provides tools to enable businesses to create advertisements in various formats which affiliates can use to promote the business.
  • The platform takes care of tracking the fees and commissions due to affiliates, and for making the payments to them. In this way it is an independent broker between affiliate and business owner requiring minimal administrative overhead by the merchant.
  • Detailed reporting is made available to affiliates and business owners via an on-line control panel. They can see graphs and tabulated data representing the clicks, visits, leads and sales and so easily measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.

This article has only scratched the surface in terms of the capability and functionality of the Vendexo Affiliate Network. To find out more about it and how it can benefit you, please contact us.

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