Peanut butter and jelly. Holmes and Watson. Some things just go together. Now, it’s time to add direct-to-consumer (DTC) retailers and affiliate marketers to the list.
If you’re a retailer looking to expand your reach, improve your return on investment, and inspire new interest in your products, affiliate marketing is worth a look and here are five reasons why.
1. Affiliate marketing is a proven ROI-booster
Let’s start with the money. To give you an idea of how lucrative affiliate marketing can be for retailers, companies like Amazon and Walmart reportedly earn 40% of their $100 billion annual sales via their two million affiliates. Additionally, the average order value of sales driven by affiliate marketing is 21% higher than other channels, and it can help increase annual customer revenue by up to 58%. Not surprising, seeing as 38% of marketers say affiliate marketing is one of their top customer acquisition channels.
Sounds like a no brainer, right?
2. Affiliates connect brands to new audiences and m-commerce
If part of you is hesitant to leave the far-reaching audiences of the duopoly, you’re not alone. But that same hesitation on the part of other marketers may prove to be a boon for your business. Yes, most affiliates will have a smaller audience than Facebook and Google but their smaller audiences allow marketers to tap into new niches of highly passionate, engaged, and targeted followers. And many of these niches are found on mobile, even though they may not seem like niches at all.
Take Instagram influencers, for example. These affiliates are popular with Millenials and Gen Z, the next generation of customers, and provide a direct path for marketers to highly-sought-after and highly-specific mobile consumers. That can lead to big payoffs for brands, as a recent survey found Instagram to be a major factor in the purchase funnel:
83% of respondents said Instagram helps them discover new products and services
81% of respondents said Instagram helps them research products or services
80% of respondents said Instagram helps them decide whether to buy a product or service
For brands willing to take the leap, affiliate marketing can help them break into the mobile sphere and connect with new audiences. With the right partners, setting up a mobile partner program isn’t as hard as it may seem.
3. Affiliate marketing for DTC retailers is low-risk, high-reward
The beauty of affiliate marketing is that it’s based on return on investment. In most models, affiliates don’t get paid until they successfully refer a new customer to you.
For example, shoe retailer Zappos offers 7% commission per sale, luxury consignment shop The RealReal offers 5% commission per sale plus a $50 cash bonus for each new customer, and DTC watch company MVMT offers 10% commission per sale. So for retailers looking to minimize their risk, or only pay out of money they’re making, affiliate marketing makes perfect sense.
4. Relying on just Facebook and Google is a risky strategy
First of all, it’s no secret that Facebook and Google are where just about everyone is advertising. That means dealing with more competition, having to stand out in a sea of similar ads, navigating consumers’ inevitable ad fatigue and blindness, and putting your business success in the hands of walled gardens.
Not to mention, Facebook and Google come under more scrutiny every year for privacy issues, ad manipulation, and user mistrust. This is a trend that is, unfortunately, likely to continue in the coming years as technology gets more sophisticated. Another challenge of advertising through the duopoly is that their once keyed-in targeting features are becoming more limited due to new privacy restrictions like those found in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.
In other words? It’s worth looking for a few other baskets to put your eggs in.
5. Affiliates can unearth new insights about customers
Finally, affiliates are often experts in their market. They know what resonates with their audiences, what tone of voice to use to engage them, what time of day they’re online, and what kind of content they go crazy for. As a retailer, you can learn even more about your customers from the affiliates who know them best. You’d be in good company; in 2017, 81% of brands were already using affiliate marketing programs, and the channel is only expected to grow in popularity.
You can also lean on affiliate partners to help with your marketing materials. Once you have a program going, give your affiliates some messaging guidelines, then allow them to add their own unique flavor to advertising. This can take some of the heavy lifting off your shoulders while still bringing in the results you seek. Try letting affiliates do their thing, reward them when a new lead, customer, or sale comes through, and continually monitor and refine your best partnerships.
Finding your affiliate marketing bliss
Ready to dip your toes in the water of affiliate marketing, or up your game by adding a sophisticated platform to manage, measure, and optimise your retail campaigns? Check out more articles on affiliate marketing, or start a free trial of the TUNE Partner Marketing Platform today.