Affiliate marketing grows rapidly in the US every year
Well, it is great that innovation and creativity of people let us use so many solutions to promote enterprises online. But in the fast-paced economic environment none of the traditional marketing methods could ensure long-lasting business success. Nowadays, marketers are coming to the conclusion that only a blend of these methods can ensure marketing triumph for companies. And affiliate marketing is actually the one that may combine them all. We have had many forms of marketing for companies doing business online: e-mail marketing, display marketing (banners, etc.), and also SEO and SEM marketing. There have been a lot of ideas on how to promote companies and boost sales on the Internet. Many companies have grown on Internet marketing, be it Google, Amazon, not to forget thousands of companies specialising in online marketing services. Some latest forms of Internet marketing (if we look at the last couple of years) are social media marketing, mobile marketing and affiliate marketing.
What actually is affiliate marketing?
Let’s then have a look at affiliate marketing. What is it? It is a form of marketing in which a company seeks affiliates or other companies operating affiliate programmes, which will market products of this company in return for a commission. So, affiliate marketing is a branch of marketing that is based on:
- Affiliattes, people who can carry in their skills to the affiliate programme,
- Leads, people who are interested in products and services sold by affiliate programme,
- Technology and Know-How, affiliate programmes usually do their best to relay their knowledge to affiliates, and technologies that will help them reach good performance,
- Performance, affiliates are remunerated only for results, that are measured in number of valuable leads, that are later monetized, so that product is sold, and affiliates get commision,
- Marketing Competence Transfer, affiliate programmes know that it may be too hard to work out sales only under one brand, joint effort of programme and affiliates with individual skills, and ideas is needed, which is why affiliate programme companies transfer marketing competences to affiliates, they have free hand to perform marketing online, within the law and within provision of affiliate agreement.
So what is the value of affiliate marketing? The value flows from affiliates to companies operating affiliate programmes, and then to end users. End users are companies acting in very competitive industries like payday loans, insurance, auto finance, or pharmacy. Corporate rivalry in these industries is so intense that they are aware of the fact that many marketing methods are not enough to succeed, and so they need to implement new marketing strategies and methods. Surely, there are a lot of other factors leading to the development of Internet marketing, but shark companies from industries where there is a tough competition, show that marketing has still got a lot to do.
Why is affiliate marketing becoming popular?
Affiliate marketing is becoming popular because companies aim to diversify their sources of customers. They have got brick-and-mortar offices, call centers, flyers, they publish adverts on TV, on the radio and in newspapers. Apart from these traditional forms of marketing and customer acquisition they have got websites, landing pages, SEO, SEM, blogs, social media. And affiliate marketing is a form of marketing that uses all the available and legal ways of online promotion.
In marketing, like in any other form of human activity, there is something like the limit of perception and imagination of a single human mind. This affects everything the company does in the area of marketing. And it is not just because marketing is controlled by one person (although this may happen in some companies). A company is all about its brand, values, and resources, which in the face of a large market, are never sufficient to overcome pressure from the competitors. Affiliate marketing is something that we can call “a way round” that proves to be more and more efficient. The key point of the whole thing are the affiliates – people who are independent and go-ahead, and know online marketing inside out. They know the ins and outs of effective Internet marketing, realise what the websites should look like and how brands should be designed in order to attract customers and give competitive advantage to business owners. So, they bring in creativity and business mindset to the affiliate programmes and increase the range of brands to unknown limits. All this results in greater traffic, more orders from customers, so that this traffic is monetised and converted into commission. But even bright sparks will not propel the affiliate programme if it has got a glitch. The affiliates cannot work miracles if they are not supported by the company operating the programme. This is why the most important thing in this business is a well-balanced cooperation between the operator and the affiliate.
Affiliate marketing in the US catches the wave
Let’s start from some basic facts. The United States has got one of most flexible and absorptive markets in the world. The US is also full of ambitious an energetic people able to think about big things. So, businesses in the United States constitute a large and dynamic group longing to find business ideas that will not only help them survive, but also enable them to thrive at a very fast pace. No wonder that the US is the place most devoted to the evolution of marketing. Affiliate marketing is one of the epitomes of this evolution. In 2009 it made 1.9 billion dollars and, according to Forrester Research, spendings on affiliate marketing may reach 4 billion dollars in 2014. How many and which companies use this type of marketing? Thousands, and among them you can see Google, 3M, Sony, Shopko, TripAdvisor, Disney Store, and many more. The United States is simply a promising market for affiliates.
How can affiliate marketing be more valuable?
Without any doubts, affiliate marketing will be generating an increasingly higher income. This will be caused by simple market forces – ‘older’ marketing methods are no longer infallible, so demand for newly designed ones is growing. On the other hand, if we are talking about value, we should look into a single affiliate programme and review how it can generate value. It is a matter of simple and clear rules of the game. Affiliates should always know what they can expect from the affiliate programme managers. Also, it should be expected that people who do this type of work, have got good knowledge of online marketing. So, the affiliate programme operators should communicate with them on equal terms. For this reason, the programme should develop its knowledge and know-how in the same or even faster pace than the team of affiliates. If this is fully understood, such an affiliate programme may become a black pearl of the market. Another important factor is hard work which propels the entire programme, from software to order fulfilment.