Affiliate Versus Multi-Level Marketing: Similarity and Differences
The basic difference between Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) and Affiliate Marketing lies in how the money is being made by those who participate in these sorts of marketing.
In both instances, we’re talking about a non-salaried workforce, but that’s the only resemblance. The rest of the setup is really so different that they aren’t even related.
Multi-Level Marketing and Affiliate Marketing
In MLM, the workforce is urged to sign up new distributors who are given a percentage of their recruits’ sales. In affiliate marketing, on the other hand, the marketer’s payment is tied to their own sales performance. Affiliates aren’t paid according to how well their referral does. They have a vested interest in giving you targeted users, as they are paid on a performance basis.
The main focus of an affiliate program is consistently on driving business to the company, concentrating on referring incremental sales. The focus of an MLM scheme is mainly to keep on recruiting new salespeople. Affiliates focus on driving leads, sales, or other desired actions. MLM marketers concentrate on increasing their network of salespeople.
Affiliate marketing and MLMs are quite different. The biggest difference between them is you have more power when you’re an affiliate marketer.
You get to pick the products you’re going to market and sell. You’re the one who gets to determine how you’re going to promote these products, how you’re going to build your website, etc.
With MLM, you’ll only be marketing the products that are available in the business, regardless if you have experience with it or not. Additionally, you’re sort of depending on how many folks you can recruit to advertise and sell on your behalf.
These are the reasons why most people prefer affiliate marketing. They want to have complete control of their business and the money they get.
Affiliate marketing is better since it’s about helping others. Before you begin earning in this business, you have to assist your target audience.
How to Get Affiliate Management Experts to Manage Your Program Without Overpaying (Part I)
What can affiliate management experts bring to the table? Their knowledge is second to none in their sector and they can be a valuable asset to your thriving online business. With that being said, how can you get an affiliate management company to oversee your program without overpaying?
First, it’s vital to note, you get what you pay for. You can’t expect to have an affiliate management specialist manage your program for below his or her worth. The best affiliate management agencies tend to handle many programs at a time. Your aim is to get your program to their list!
Next, it’s crucial to realize how affiliate managers are paid. There are several compensation models out there, but the three most well-known ones are:
- Monthly retainer + performance bonus
- Flat monthly fee
- Performance-based compensation
It’s suggested going with the first of the above three. It provides for the affiliate manager’s motivation to keep developing your affiliate marketing program. As the merchant, you will want to concur with the manager on the precise compensation model to use as well as negotiate to be sure you’re not overpaying.
When the time comes to discuss the affiliate manager’s compensation, it’s first vital that you layout what job-related to your affiliate program you want the professional to be responsible more. More jobs might cost more, but it will make it so you don’t have to worry at all about your affiliate program and you’ll realize that it’s in good hands.
Assuming you want the affiliate management specialist to oversee each facet of your affiliate program. You want to negotiate the lowest possible fee that you can. In order to do this, try offering a big performance bonus to further entice the affiliate management expert.
The performance bonus is usually a percentage of revenue or a percentage of affiliate payouts. This way, the merchant can compute their margins and never lose money on the bonus part of the compensation. It’s a real win-win for both sides because if sales are growing then everyone is earning more.
Using Affiliate Program Analytics to Optimize Its Performance (Part IV)
How Analytics Can Help Optimize an Affiliate Program’s Performance
As you probably realize by now, there are many ways to market your affiliate program. There are also numerous ways to activate, recruit, and motivate affiliates, many types of creatives, etc. All of them necessitate some sort of investment (money, time, energy, etc.) but not all of them propel results.
An important part of effectively managing an affiliate program is to detect which choices offer the best results and apply them. Since there are no general rules, the only way to do that is through trial and error or split testing and analytics.
Split Testing and Analytics
Split testing means testing two different solutions to gage which one propels better results. In the context of directing an affiliate marketing program, the solutions tested could be:
Affiliate program landing pages – You can produce two or more landing pages for your program and watch impressions and conversion rates to decide which one produces lower bounce rates and changes more visitors into affiliates.
Affiliate networks listings – Operating your program on many affiliate networks at the same time can be pricey, tiresome, and not really effective. Split testing can help you decide which network is best for your specific program.
Affiliate tracking software – You can select between network-based, in-house, and uniting affiliate tracking solutions. Testing is an effective way to figure out which software and option work best for you.
Affiliate recruitment methods – When it comes to affiliate recruitment, a few methods and platforms deliver better results than others. You should try a number of them or all of them and examine results to detect the best ones for you.
Affiliate emails – Affiliate communication is critical to program success. It’s already been established that affiliates like email as a communication channel. Though, there are several ways to write an email to your affiliates. If you don’t know what they would desire, you can test a few templates and watch the responses to them.
Top New Affiliate Marketing Trends (Part II)
The top trend will be to begin collecting email addresses and advertising offers on the back end.
Lead gen is a good fit for this model considering its evergreen and whitehat by nature.
Invest in Quality Automation since having detailed stats gives you all the necessary and, above all, correct information. Having a tracking system lets you use the data to your advantage.
Most of all, having an automated system will have you working smarter, not harder.
Paying attention to clients
Offering great service is based on the relationships you develop over time. Nurturing your relationships and answering to feedback keep your services in check. Developing new trends and producing great features follows from really listening to your advertisers and publishers. This is one trend that won’t go out of style.
Mobile will continue to win the battle against desktop
Even with a few negative tendencies, all marketing professionals think push will be the hottest ad format. With native ad networks getting way stricter in compliance, you could see a mass migration to push advertising. With that being said, pop volumes will probably decline, which should result in an enhancement of their quality.
Despite its problems, it believed that Facebook will stay at the top for affiliate traffic sources.
In the future, one of the biggest trends will be to convert current users via desktop and mobile into customers and new leads.
This can be done with the use of remarketing, by showing cross-promotion ads to these users on whatever platform or device that first triggered the cookie.
The key here is to show quick and simple landing pages via mobile, and more optimized and detailed campaigns via desktop. The aim is to be sure your marketing is working for you on each medium.
Using Affiliate Program Analytics to Optimize Its Performance (Part III)
This metric is critical to gauging the success of your affiliate program. For instance, traffic that fails to transform could indicate affiliate fraud. Sometimes, affiliates make untrue promises or force clicks to move traffic to merchant websites.
While in theory, traffic denotes sales potential and exposure. In practice, you do not want your brand linked with deceitful practices and activities. By monitoring traffic, you could spot bad affiliates and take steps to discipline them or bar them from your program.
Traffic failing to convert could also signal problems with your own merchant website. Perhaps it loads gradually, and visitors don’t wait for it. Maybe the conversion failure is because of poor quality graphics and content, problematic checkout process, or high costs.
Also, it could be because of affiliate mistakes. It is the program manager’s task to push affiliates to performance. If you fail, affiliates who don’t see results will ultimately stop marketing you.
Besides traffic, you also want to watch impressions, specifically interactions with your content and feedback on your services and products. Bad impressions could harm your reputation. Positive ones can translate into more sales and/or leads as well as exposure. Your aim is to create positive impressions. You can pursue this goal on three different levels, by:
- Enhancing your website
- Perfecting your merchant offer
- Rewarding good affiliates, enlisting more of them and deterring and penalizing affiliate fraud.
Checking traffic and impressions will also help you gauge the effectiveness of your optimization and enhancement efforts.
When it comes to sales, you want to pay particular attention to transaction origins and transaction figures (new and existing customers). Your obvious aim is to urge affiliates to push a high volume of transactions and/or leads and send new business to you.
Using Affiliate Program Analytics to Optimize Its Performance (Part II)
Another initial pillar of affiliate marketing program success is affiliate activation. Those affiliates who join your program but do not endorse your services or products are gold mines that you want to use and make productive.
To measure the efficiency of your campaigns, you can follow and analyze the number of new and earlier stagnant affiliates that you’re able to activate over specific time periods.
Eventually, forever remember that the number of recruited affiliates is almost irrelevant until they are active participants in your affiliate program. That is why affiliate activation is as critical as affiliate recruitment.
Affiliate Activity Index
You already understand by now that having many affiliates enrolled in your program is no assurance of success. You need to engage affiliates, to see them vigorously market your products, brand, and/or services. Stagnant affiliates are useless to your program if you don’t successfully activate them.
As you take steps to make that happen, you can examine their effectiveness by looking at the number of active affiliates vs. the complete number of affiliates at various time intervals. If you do your job right, the dissimilarity between the two values will with any luck decrease.
But just having affiliates endorsing your products as services isn’t enough. How they do it and what outcomes they drive matters too. Some of them may just display your links on their websites. Others could refer to traffic that doesn’t convert. Also, you will have affiliates that produce leads and/or sales.
Affiliates active into your program but who see no results regardless of the lack of results is their fault or your own, will at some point stop marketing you. That makes enhancing conversion a shared responsibility for merchants and their affiliates.
Tracing the activity of your affiliates can aid you in detecting conversion problems and solve them, so as to have more active affiliates that push leads and/or sales, not just traffic. Also, it can give the examples you need to encourage and guide affiliates who don’t see results to enhance their performance.
Using Affiliate Program Analytics to Optimize Its Performance (Part I)
Do you think that once you begin your affiliate program, recruit affiliates into it, and begin seeing them activate, you can rest easy and let sales fly?
Though affiliate program success is not that simple to achieve, and part of moving it involves observing and analyzing your affiliate program analytics. Affiliate program success has five foundational pillars:
We’ve already talked about the first four pillars on other occasions. So, in this article, we will focus on optimization. It includes analyzing, measuring, and taking measures to enhance program performance.
There are many metrics and chief performance indicators that you can and should watch to assess program performance and management effectiveness. Below are some of the most important ones to focus on.
Key Performance Indicators to Monitor and Analyze
As mentioned above, recruiting new affiliates is chief to program performance. But not all affiliates are the same. Some of them operate quality websites and have a marketing approach alike or related to yours. These are the ones you want to concentrate on. To recognize them and discover which recruitment strategies work best, you have to look at:
- The number of newly recruited affiliates over a specific period (weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.)
- The particulars of the websites your newly recruited affiliates run (traffic rank, niche, demographics, etc.)
- Affiliate type (content, video, coupon, cashback, paid search affiliates, etc.)
These metrics will let you assess and enhance the success of your affiliate recruitment campaigns. For instance, they will let you gage which recruitment technique brings about the biggest number of suitable affiliates. This way, over time, you can concentrate on those processes and avoid using resources in other recruitment procedures that bring you little or bad-quality affiliates.
Scenarios When to Consider an Affiliate Management Company (Part II)
This scenario is the opposite of the last, but still, a really good reason to consider an affiliate management agency. Maybe your affiliate program is going well but you need an individual to keep an eye on the day-to-day management.
Some agencies have maintenance packages for this and you can rest assured knowing that new applications are being vetted and consistent communication is taking place between your affiliates and your company. This is also a great choice if you find that you get a good number of incoming questions about your affiliate program. It would also be the agency’s task to field these messages and to give support.
In this scenario, your affiliate program is doing good, but activity has died and you feel it has bigger potential. This is a good indicator to think about hiring an OPM to see if they can bring life to your program and find some new partners that will help the program thrive.
Agencies are very familiar with aggressive affiliate recruitment campaigns and usually possess several tools to help them tackle this at a greater efficiency than you could on your own. This brings up our next indicator.
Stagnation is one reason to increase recruiting, but the fact is that an affiliate manager must always include affiliate recruitment as part of their daily management of their affiliate program(s). If you don’t believe you’re dedicating enough time to vigorously recruiting for your affiliate program, that’s a good indicator to work with an affiliate management company.
Many OPMs have packages that just include affiliate recruitment. This is a good choice for an advertiser who already has a team or in-house manager but doesn’t have the time or energy dedicated to recruitment.
Many vendors find that they just can’t do everything themselves, and it’s difficult to find and hire good team members. When it comes to affiliate program management, there are plenty of pieces that can be outsourced to an agency because of bandwidth. A well-known one is affiliate recruitment.
OPMs can help and they’re happy to partner with you and create something that is custom-made to your program and business’s needs.
Scenarios When to Consider an Affiliate Management Company (Part I)
When moving through the e-commerce world, it’s always nice to have professionals in your corner. In this article, the discussion will be when is the time is right to begin to consider an affiliate management company.
As an e-commerce company owner, you might want to really consider turning to an affiliate management company.
The first scenario is an affiliate program’s launch. This is the stage where you don’t yet have an affiliate program in place, but you feel that your online business is ready to create an affiliate program to keep growing. This is a good time to speak with an affiliate management company.
Affiliate management companies, also called OPMs and affiliate management agencies, initiate programs for merchants all the time. They’ve been through the procedure many times and frequently have current relationships in place with affiliate networks that could be a possible discount for you. If you’re about to launch an affiliate program, before diving in yourself, really reach out to some OPMs and see what they can give you and how they can help.
Another scenario when it might be time to get the help of an OPM is when you have just launched your affiliate program, but you need someone to get it to take off. When a program is first launched, it’s vital to have an affiliate manager who examines applications and talks with your new affiliate base.
This doesn’t even include active outreach and the enlistment of affiliates into the program. You’ll want a dedicated team member handling these tasks and remaining organized with follow-ups to be sure your banners and links are being placed by affiliates and you start seeing some traffic coming in from your affiliate partners.
Over the first couple of weeks, you should begin to see some affiliates get active and drive some sales. Then, over the next couple of months, your program should begin to pick up and grow.
How to Be an Affiliate Marketer Without a Website (Part II)
If you’ve got a clout on social media, you can use your influence by endorsing services or products that are of relevance to your followers and fans. Be it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest, you can really make money from affiliate links without having a website. Be sure to disclose that you might be paid.
Provided the affiliate program’s rules permit it, paid advertising can be a good way to benefit from affiliate marketing without having a website.
From paid search ads on search engines to paid ads on Instagram and other places, there are lots of prospects to consider.
Being the marketing medium that’s second-to-none in retention rates, videos are a winner. You don’t have to have a website to run a Vimeo or YouTube channel. You might always include affiliate links under the video itself. Numerous top affiliates use this approach very successfully.
Yes, that’s correct! There are many ways you can monetize your offline efforts with affiliate marketing. Actually, affiliate marketing offers a lot of good technologies to bridge the online-offline gap, supporting more intricate marketing arrangements. One case would be using a distinct coupon code in a local newspaper. The code will be linked to your affiliate account and working just as a trackable “link”. Another instance would be using a toll-free phone number and plugging it into your audio content, regardless if it’s a radio commercial or podcast.
Retargeting is a method of online marketing that supports getting an ad in front of website abandoners. There are many affiliates out there who (without marketing brands on a website of any kind) provide retargeting of brands’ site abandoners on a performance basis. These brands would pay them only when a conversion occurs.