Why SMBs Should Never Ignore Affiliate Marketing


Affiliate marketing is great for small businesses – you’ll never pay more than you can afford based on your profit margins and since all business is performance-driven – you’ll never pay unless you make a sale.

Ahead of an exciting PerformanceIN release this week, we spoke to Seth Rubin, Managing Director of Grow, TradeDoubler’s SME business. He told us about Grow and the usefulness of these products for the SME market.

What’s the best way to recruit new partners for my stores affiliate program?

What we tend to forget is that most micro / SME type businesses entering the affiliate world assume the channel is very similar to other marketing channels; they assume they can just sign up and out of nowhere the network partners will start generating sales for them.

They are often poorly sold because they are unaware of the work involved in launching and running their programs. Likewise, experienced and established brands are looking to migrate / create mature programs where they focus a lot on affiliate recruiting, working closely with their network partners to build substantial (often unnecessary) affiliate bases.

For me, start-up and SMB brands should look to convert-type affiliates first and in doing so generate sales for their programs early on. Therefore, the best way to recruit new partners is to first identify a handful of partners that you want to work with initially and contact them directly. Grow provides automated suggestions and a message center on the platform that encourages one-on-one communication between affiliates and advertisers and facilitates that initial recruiting effort.

Do I authorize the discount code and cashback sites on my new affiliate program up front?

Absoutely. While just signing up on their sites is unlikely to deliver the expected volumes that most small businesses, without established brands, would assume, there is certainly a benefit to partnering with these incentive sites. Some markets are better than others in this regard, for example the average UK consumer is quite savvy, often finding their product and then looking for an incentive to buy from a specific store.

Additionally, once you are listed on these sites, you can then engage with the affiliate to run additional campaigns or close rentals that will create more exposure for your brand and ultimately promote of your business to their large user bases, driving more traffic. and sales of your program.

What is the mistake that small businesses often make when embarking on affiliate marketing?

I think the biggest mistake is that they often underestimate the amount of work it takes to run a successful affiliate program. I don’t know where it came from or why they think it’s like a set and forget type activity when it really is the opposite.

People who work in small businesses, where resources are limited, are usually good enough to wear multiple hats, but are also generally very time-poor. Thus, they often cannot focus on their affiliate programs, which usually add to their already stacked workload.

One of the biggest operational mistakes I see on a regular basis is that a merchant creates a really strong voucher code and sets it as generic for all publishers. They assume that because they have such a big discount they will generate more sales – sure, it could, but it’s not very tactical and probably won’t add much incrementality to their numbers.

There’s also this myth, especially for a startup brand, that the more publishers it has, the more sales it generates. So brands will spend the little time they have reaching out to as many publishers as possible and trying to get them all on board at the same time. Yes, there is no denying that a diverse affiliate portfolio is beneficial and that the ultimate goal, the first step should be to meet and onboard the best publishers who will immediately generate sales for you and who have the experience and the resources to get you started quickly. .

Can you give an example of a small business that you think has made great strides through affiliate marketing?

One of the coolest things I’ve seen about Grow is the use of influencer marketing for small, unique product brands. We have a client who sells women’s sportswear and only uses influencers to promote their products. They have about 20 of them in their books that generate ridiculous sales for them on a pure CPA basis.

Another very successful program that started out with nothing is the one that runs on Grow which resells email services. They have built a very successful affiliate program using our product and platform and have a well established and diverse publisher base that is growing each month and providing them with new and ongoing opportunities.

The third example that comes to mind is a mask maker who was initially launched with us at the height of the pandemic and has successfully grown their business using affiliate marketing across all of their channels – by doing taking the risk to its affiliates but rewarding them with fantastic CPAs. They were so successful in the UK that they just launched with us in the US as well.

What advice can you give to avoid fraudulent transactions?

Know your affiliates – start working with established and known partners you trust and keep a close eye on your sales activity. They are well-known brands in their own right and do a lot, too, to prevent this kind of thing. This is essential to prevent unwanted activity on your program and allows you to report anything wrong with your network and the affiliates in question as soon as it happens.

I think fraud is less prevalent than it was, say 10 years ago, and as an industry networks have a lot better things to do with this sort of thing. We are also very lucky at Grow because our reporting and transaction modeling is so good that any anomalies are detected very quickly and dealt with almost instantly.

Grow has a lot of unique features and innovations that you won’t find in other small business offerings. While other networks essentially offer a small business / self-service SLA in addition to their existing platforms, the Grow platform was designed for small and small businesses and the tools and automation that power it. are the key to its popularity (and success). It is therefore difficult to identify a single, most popular, characteristic of the product.

What I think is that our integrated messaging system is very popular. It is so widely used; we see thousands of conversations happening every day in all of our markets, allowing our advertisers to work more closely with their affiliate partners. Cutting out the middleman and enabling such communication between parties is key to any self-service platform – after all, what good is the use of sending mass communications to all of your affiliates if their needs and opportunities are all different.

There is something exciting to come – this week, PerformanceIN will be releasing something new with the sole purpose of helping small businesses get started in affiliate marketing. Keep your eyes open and Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date.


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