Working with Online Affiliates Boosts Trade for Small Firms

From: BHP Information Solutions Ltd
Published: Thu Aug 27 2009

Affiliate marketing can be a win-win for small firms that want to increase sales online, according to marketing experts.

Affiliate marketing is about making an agreement with other websites to promote your goods or services online – or vice-versa. Working with affiliates can significantly boost traffic to websites, but firms only have to pay on results, making it a very attractive proposition for small businesses that want to grow their business.

"Affiliate marketing is like having an extension of yourself or your marketing team," says Tina Judic, managing director at Spring Digital and expert contributor to Marketing Donut, the specialist marketing website for small firms.

"It’s all very well having a website but you have to drive traffic to it," she adds. "You have one marketing budget to acquire new business and you need to determine how best to spend this, from offline advertising to search engine marketing. By using affiliates, you can get access to a new sales team and can benefit from their market and, importantly, conversion expertise. What makes this a great solution is that you only pay for results."

There are many ways of finding the right affiliates to work with — from simply contacting likely partners direct or using agencies and networks to get access to third parties. "It’s worth being open to working with a number of affiliates and getting the best offer you can out to them. If your sales team has access to the right collateral and has a great bonus package then they will do wonders for you. The same applies to affiliates," says Judic. "If you find a partner that is bringing in hundreds of sales for you, you can develop the relationship further."

One of the main benefits of affiliate marketing is that it enables you to broaden your customer base. "It’s about getting in front of an audience that you may not otherwise reach," explains Lucy Whittington, director at Inspired Business Marketing and expert contributor to Marketing Donut. "Hotels, for instance, could use a number of affiliates such as car hire firms, flight companies or travel insurers that share the same target market. Once successfully up and running, affiliate programmes can generate between ten and 30 per cent of total sales."
Managing an affiliate programme can be time-consuming, however. "You’ll have to think about managing each affiliate account, keeping on top of individual agreements, updating promotions and ads, recruiting new affiliates when necessary and make sure no-one is misrepresenting you online," says Whittington.

Further information:
Become a Marketing Donut expert by visiting the BHP Information Solutions website
Register for Marketing Donut here
Find out more about Spring Digital here
Find out more about Inspired Business Marketing here

Mick Dickinson
BHP Information Solutions Ltd
Bristol, UK
Tel: 0044 (0)117 904 2224
Mob: 0044 (0)7816 680 266
Company: BHP Information Solutions Ltd
Contact Name: Mick Dickinson
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 0044 (0)117 904 2224

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