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Affiliate is the key to unlocking the full funnel for SMEs 

Karl Wood – UK Commercial Partnerships Director at Webgains

“Affiliates are built to convert” 

A common statement, and certainly one that holds a lot of weight. Traditional affiliate models, such as Voucher and Cashback, are built to convert at the end of a transaction journey, rewarding publishers with a percentage of the basket value, and the end users with a discount. However, the more I have worked with SME businesses over the years, the more I have come to believe that affiliate networks make for an exceptional environment for building cost-effective, and creative consumer funnels. 

In this short article, I am going to talk about a few reasons why advertisers and service providers alike should be looking to affiliate networks in 2019 to widen their customer base.

  1. Take a seat at the top table 

It is no secret that one of the most significant benefits for an SME when joining a well-established affiliate network is the expertise, relationships and many years of trend data that can be used to help your business grow. I have seen first-hand the strength a network recommendation can hold when pushing to onboard an SME client to an established and exclusive platforms such as rewardStyle or LYST.  When an affiliate network takes you on as a client, they are backing both their own ability to grow your business as well as putting confidence in your brand and product. The confidence is reflected on the affiliates, and the opportunity to join the biggest market brands on top publisher sites is drastically increased.

2. Combining channels to cut costs but not performance 

Affiliate is known to be the most risk-free digital marketing channel, and this is thanks to the low monthly fees, and of course, the cost-per-acquisition payment model. You only pay when the product is purchased, and the publisher is incentivised to promote you in the most optimal and innovative way. This, in turn, ensures their commission, and warrant growth of the mutually beneficial relationship.  

With all of this in mind, it should be obvious for SMEs to look at opportunities of moving other channel costs into the network. For example, some leading search and display agencies utilise affiliate networks to offer their best in class solutions on a CPA-only basis. The agencies maintain close relationships with networks and foster mutual understanding, that clients brought into the network are credible and present a real business opportunity.  

This is closely tied with the previous point about partaking in marketing campaigns utilised by the market-leading brands. The door to working with some of the best agencies and service providers in the world opens, as the initial cost hurdles are removed. 

3. Limitations on tracking and payment are a tale of the past 

Although CPA is still the standard payment method for 99% of relationships that run via affiliate networks, it is worth understanding that some partnerships simply cannot grow solely through CPA. Some clients may lack the initial brand awareness required to offer a return on investment via commission. Those need to still take the CPM/CPC/CPI/etc. costs into account. Why go via a network in such circumstances? 

A combination of the two points above is my answer. The relationships held by the network lead to conversations that are otherwise “off the table”. Also, in many cases, the rates which you can secure are discounted via the network, as they have negotiated preferred partnership schemes and other exclusivity clauses. Using the tracking and payment methods preferred by the provider is simple and paying them via the affiliate network has never been easier. 

And, last but not least, the data collected by the network has factual, performance-based grounding for the recommendations and projections. The odds of achieving your requested R.O.I. are drastically improved.

4. Benefits of thinking “partners first”  

At Webgains, we like to take a “partner first” approach to all of our relationships. Be it a Voucher affiliate that we have worked with for years, or maybe an influencer directory that we have just started promoting, our open-minded approach to business allows us to offer our clients holistic and enterprise changing advice.  

If you are an advertiser, a service provider or an affiliate looking to learn more and join us, drop me a line at kwood@webgains.com   

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