What is Affiliate Marketing? Should You Outsource it?

Affiliate marketing is a process of earning commission by promoting products or services of another company along with your product. At first glance, the concept seems a bit off – why would you spend resources promoting another brand if you could use the same to promote yourself? But in reality, affiliate marketing, when done effectively, can lead a hard source of recurring income without a lot of effort.

Affiliate marketing is a common occurrence, and many companies widely use it. Yet, their success varies and is dependent on how effectively the marketing is strategized and executed. But let us first understand clearly the idea of affiliate marketing.

The Basics of Affiliate Marketing

Here is a simple example – Suppose you are a manufacturer of shoes. You have a store in the mall where you sell your product. One day a manufacturer of socks visits you and asks you to recommend his brand of socks to your customers. In return, he says, he will give you a 10% commission on every sale of his product that you facilitate. This is a type of affiliate marketing.

Consider these two possibilities. First is that the plan is successful and you get a new steady source of income along with your core business. You strike up similar deal with a few other manufacturers and reap the benefits of affiliate marketing. Now, imagine that you take his deal, and you recommend his brand of socks to your customers. Your customers buy them, but soon realize that they are really bad socks. As a result, not only do customers stop buying the socks and put a stop to your commission, but they also stop buying your shoes since you gave them a bad recommendation.

So we see that affiliate marketing can be a tightrope. One little slip and the whole system is liable to fall down. The idea is to create affiliate marketing strategies so that they add latent value to your product in the long run.

Here are some of the common affiliate marketing strategies that are generally employed by merchants.

  1. PPC Affiliate Marketing

The easiest way of getting into affiliate marketing is with PPC or Pay Per Click. In this model, you are completely uninvolved in the product that you are marketing. This means that you are just renting out space for an advertisement on your virtual real estate and getting paid every time a customer clicks on it. The product you are promoting does not have to do anything with your business interest. It is a simple arrangement purely based on commerce.

Sometimes this strategy can end up being pretty obtrusive and frustrating for the customer, especially if it comes in the form of unwanted and rampant pop-ups that frequent the internet. If done correctly, you might find it to be a viable strategy to earn passive income without doing much work for it.

  1. Related Affiliate Marketing

The shoes and socks example that we viewed previously is a perfect example of related affiliate marketing. Here, the product you are promoting is related to your business. It is here that you have to be a bit careful, and thus, a bit more involved with the marketing process. ‘Only promote products that you can trust’ seems to be the basic dictum here, and with good reason.

  1. Involved Affiliate Marketing

Involved affiliate marketing is when you personally trust and favor a particular brand of product that is related to your business, and you take an active part in the promotion campaign through your online real estate. Here is where affiliate marketing comes of age, so to say. You can pick a range of strategies to market the product you are promoting. You can even pair your product with it to provide schemes and discounts that would benefit both you and the other party.

Should I Outsource Affiliate Marketing?

It depends upon how much you want to get into it. Generally, companies like Flipkart, Amazon and eBay have their own affiliate marketing or partnership programs. Through these, you can redirect your customers to buy your products from your Flipkart listings (as an example), and get a percentage commission for every sale.

You need to know that generally the commission rates are more if this transaction occurs on a smartphone via the online sales platform’s app. The commission rates also differ according to the category of product that you are promoting. For example, on Amazon you would earn 4% commission on consumer electronics but a 15% commission on the sale of clothes and shoes. Read through the above links to get to know about the affiliate policies of each of these organizations.

If you really want to get into affiliate marketing, just partnering with a large online sales conglomerate is not enough. Instead, you would want to track down specific players to do business with and chalk out specific plans to execute it. In essence, one would have to treat it as another marketing plan.

But why would you want to spend so much time and resources on promoting a product that is not even yours? Hence, the solution is to simply outsource the process and only remain involved in the executive decision-making. At the end of the day, it is your business that comes first.

If you have any doubts on affiliate marketing, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading online sales solutions providers, and we are always happy to help!

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