Grow Your Brand with Strategic Partnerships

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing for B2B and B2C

Affiliate marketing is a partnership between a brand and a content creator where the creator promotes a brand and links back to that brand’s website. When a customer makes a purchase using that creator’s link, the content creator is given a commission for helping that business make a sale.

Affiliate programs generally utilize content creators (not necessarily influencers) from social media, bloggers, industry experts, and even their own customers. 

Is Affiliate Marketing Right For Me?

Whether or not affiliate marketing will work for your business depends on both your revenue and your industry. 

Here are a few key questions to ask yourself when deciding if affiliate marketing is a good strategy for your company:

  • Can you afford to pay affiliates a commission every time they help your business make a sale? (The average affiliate commission rate is between 5–30%).
  • Can you find quality affiliates?
  • Do you have high profit margins?
  • Have your competitors established affiliate programs?
  • Do you have high customer retention?
  • Do you have a solid idea of who your target audience is and what content creators they trust?

Affiliate programs work well for subscription services and e-commerce websites. However, they can work for many other types of businesses, including B2B. If you want to see if your competitors are running affiliate programs, simply Google “(competitor name) affiliate program.”

How to Create an Affiliate Program

Now that you’ve done your homework, it’s time to start setting up your affiliate program. First things first: you must determine what product you’re going to promote with your affiliate program. You’ll want to pick a few products that have a higher margin. Then, decide what commission rate these products will have. For example, will you pay a 10% commission per sale? Or a flat amount every time there’s a purchase? Commission rates vary by industry and market, but generally, they run from 5-30%. (Make sure you run your commission by your accounting department to make sure that it makes sense for your business.)

Once you’ve established your rates, it’s time to find an affiliate management tool. There are plenty of tools out there, such as affiliate marketing plugins for WordPress. Programs like these allow you to track link clicks so you can determine who’s making sales versus who isn’t. Look for the best tool for your company and industry; there are multiple versions out there.

Finally, recruit quality affiliates (we’ll go into more detail on this later for both B2B and B2C, so sit tight!) and create guidelines and content for them. Let them know what they can and can’t post, and give them resources and tools to succeed. 

Some of these resources could include:

  • Best practices for promoting affiliate links
  • Upcoming promotions and sales
  • Graphics, videos, etc. that affiliates can use to easily promote your product
  • Do’s and don’t for your brand (i.e. no swearing)

Affiliate Marketing for B2C

B2C businesses are where a majority of affiliate business exists, as 81.4% of affiliates promote B2C products or services

If you’re looking to create a B2C affiliate marketing program, you will want to start by finding the right affiliates. For B2C businesses,  look for affiliates on social media, bloggers, or existing customers who have a following. Generally, for B2C affiliates, you can post an open application on your website for individuals to apply to be an affiliate.

When choosing your affiliates, look into how well their audience aligns with your brand and how much their audience trusts them. After all, if they’re going to be an ambassador for your brand, you don’t want to find out that they engage in unethical or off-brand behavior.

Once you’ve recruited some affiliates, set goals, or key performance indicators (KPIs) for your program.

Some KPIs you could use:

  • Total affiliate sales
  • Affiliate link clicks
  • Revenue generated by affiliates
  • Affiliate conversion rate

Establish a timeframe for these KPIs, such as quarterly or monthly, and review them regularly. Keep the 80/20 rule in mind (80% of sales will be from your top 20% of affiliates). These top-performing affiliates are worth reviewing in detail to see what they do well so you can incorporate these strategies into your affiliate program resources.

Affiliate Marketing for B2B

Managing affiliate marketing for B2B businesses is a little more complicated than it is for B2C. When it comes to making a purchase, B2B businesses typically do a lot more research and thinking before committing to a purchase than B2C customers. Consequently, it’s important to be more strategic about B2B affiliate marketing.

Rather than using social media personalities as affiliates, you’ll want to find niche experts within your industry, respected bloggers, or existing customers. Instead of using open applications, it’s better to reach out to potential affiliates who may be a good fit based on their reputation and brand trust. Educate affiliates on the B2B customer journey, so they know exactly how they fit into your affiliate strategy and how they can best market your products and services.

Once you’ve found affiliates, set them up with affiliate links that lead to your main landing pages. This way, your landing page can describe more specific features that would be more complex for affiliates to do. 

Next, you’ll want to set KPIs. Important note: these KPIs will be different from the B2C ones. 

B2B KPIs may include:

  • Quarterly revenue
  • Conversion rate
  • Total number of quality leads generated
  • Sales made from affiliate links

These metrics can all be tracked through your affiliate software of choice. Keep track of your data and what is and isn’t working for your affiliate program to determine what needs to be adjusted.

Ready to Launch an Affiliate Program?

You’ve come to the right place. From branding and content to strategy and execution, our team at Top Fox excels at all things marketing. Reach out and we’ll create an affiliate program customized for your B2B or B2C business!

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