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How Affiliate Marketing Will Transform Your Blog

20 years ago, blogs were regarded as online, personal diaries—our own spaces on the Internet wherein we can share our thoughts, experiences, ideas, and many more. Then suddenly, blogging was no longer a mere writing hobby.

Today, almost anyone can blog to influence huge audiences across the world. People can now monetize their blogs and create their own names for themselves on the Internet. From ordinary people, bloggers are now treated like celebrities.

While there are thousands of blog posts published every minute on the tens of millions of blogs worldwide, with 32 million bloggers in the United States alone, there are some bloggers who are yet to promote their blogsites, products, and/or services. If you identify yourself to be one of these bloggers, you can start exposing your blog, products, or services to new sources of traffic through affiliate marketing.

Whether you want new readers or consumers, stand out in the saturated blogosphere, or you just want the world to know about your sheer writing talent, affiliate marketing could help you achieve your blogging goals.

In this article, we will discuss the ins and outs of affiliate marketing—what is it, how it works, how can you benefit from it, is affiliate marketing worth it, and how to find affiliates.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is an online sales tactic of promoting goods, products, or services of another person, company, or entity in exchange for a commission on the occurring sale. The process can be related to a real estate agent who is selling a house—if the realtor closes a sale, he gets a commission for leading a buyer to a house.

In your case, should you adapt the affiliate marketing system, the retailer (you) will reward the people (affiliates) who will help bring viewers to your blog. You can also connect with affiliates if you want to promote your products or services. Once executed well, this performance-based sales tactic can boost your blog’s traffic (and even sales).

How does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate marketing banks on the efforts of three parties to make it successful: the retailer or product creators, the affiliate or advertiser, and the consumer. Basing on this equation, one can infer that affiliate marketing is a process of spreading the responsibilities of product creation and marketing across various parties, where each party gains a share of profit according to their contribution.

Now, let’s discuss the different parties behind a successful affiliate marketing system:

1. The retailer

Also known as the product creator, seller, brand, merchant, or vendor, this party is the one that develops the good, product, or services being put out for promotion. It can be a tech company that sells smartphones, it can be a blogger who wants more visitors, and it can be a lifestyle coach who sells online courses and e-books. Although the retailer can act as an advertiser of its own product, its main goal is to gain brand awareness and/or close sales.

2. The affiliate

The affiliate, also referred to as the advertiser or publishes, can be you, an individual who runs a blog, or a company that is relevant to the brand. Simply put, the affiliate is in charge of connecting its specific audience to the retailer it is affiliated with.

The affiliate activates the marketing part of the affiliate marketing system—it starts when the affiliate starts promoting the product or service of the retailer in its page in an attempt to convince its audience that the product being promoted is beneficial for them so that they actually end up buying it. This could be easily achieved by posting a review blog about the retailer’s products or services.

3. The consumer

Also known as the buyer and customer, the consumer is the driver of the affiliate marketing system. Without the consumer, the affiliate would not earn commissions and the retailer will not make profits. Whether the consumer knows that they share a part in the affiliate marketing system or not is usually up to the affiliate.

Nowadays, affiliates tend to be more transparent by letting their consumers know about their marketing being incentivized financially, but some choose not to disclose it. The consumer will usually not pay a higher price to the affiliate, because the revenue of the affiliate is already included in the retail price of the product or service being promoted.

What are the benefits of doing affiliate marketing for your blog?

Over the years, affiliate marketing has provided opportunities for retailers to gain brand awareness and close more sales. And while most people make money through regular 9 to 5 jobs, this marketing system has enabled affiliates earn money even while sleeping. Indeed, it is a win-win situation for both parties.

Here are other benefits of doing affiliate marketing for your blog:

1. You can choose your partners

As a retailer, you have the freedom to choose who to work with. While prospective affiliates can freely sign up to your affiliate program, you have the chance to hand-pick your partners.

2. Low cost and risk

Opening an affiliate program may take some time and finance, but the whole process is much easier and cheaper compared to hiring an advertising or marketing team. Some affiliate networks can immediately help you reach a diverse range of affiliates. More than that, affiliate marketing can help you build relationships with new consumers.

3. Build brand awareness

Through affiliate marketing, you can have your blog grow its brand awareness by increasing your exposure to a new set of audiences. By partnering with affiliates, not only you are exposing your blog to people who might not have heard of you yet, but you are creating awareness among people that could possibly become your loyal followers.

4. Increase SEO ranking

Partnering with affiliates provides an excellent opportunity to increase your search traffic though various backlinks to your website via affiliate website, blogs, and social pages. Higher SEO ranking is more likely when you have higher-ranked affiliates that have socially-active audiences.

5. Improves your branding

Did you know that 92% of consumers highly depend on the recommendations of influencers, people, and brands that they look up to? Working with these affiliates strengthens your brand identity and your relationship with your target market.

6. Impressive return on investment

According to the AM Navigator data, the US affiliate marketing spend reaches $5 billion yearly, and 80% of brands in the world utilizes this kind of system. This marketing system continues to gain popularity as businesses continue to witness impressive results through their sales.

How do bloggers get affiliates?

Tapping on affiliate marketers to boost your blog or sell your products or services can be lucrative. However, finding them can be challenging.

But there’s no need to worry—there are lots of avenues you can try out. Just keep this in mind: reaching out to people and having an exceptional affiliate program is the recipe for finding the right partners. But first, you have to craft the terms of your affiliate program. Ensure that your program contains the following information:

  • Payment options
  • Payment methods
  • How to track conversions
  • Commission structure
  • Conversion cookies’ duration

Keep in mind that generous commission motivates affiliates. Experts highly recommend commissions be priced between 25% and 30%. You can also offer bonuses to those who will yield exceptional results. You should also provide all the necessary marketing materials such as banners, photos, videos, email templates, and other information to make the work easier for them.

After completing the terms of your affiliate program, you should make your affiliate program visible to your audience and prospective affiliate partners. You can do it by including a link to your affiliate program on your blog; insert it in your header or footer to increase visibility.

Aside from putting up a link on your website, there are other ways to search for your potential partners:

Tap your existing readers/customers – Starting with your existing audience can easily promote your site. Connecting with your customers presents the following perks:

  • Word-of-mouth marketing – They can easily get your message across through word-of-mouth recommendations.
  • Unique insights – Your customers can provide real-life experiences with your blog or products/services.
  • Strengthen your relationship – Rewarding your customers by doing so is a personal yet amazing way to build brand loyalty.

Reach out to niche bloggers – Collaborating with writers of niche blogs and websites is a great way to reach a specific community. These niche sites tend to be SEO-optimizes and rich in premium content, so you are sure that these sites are worth investing in.

  • Targeted community – You can yield more targeted traffic and high-quality referrals.
  • High-quality content – Niche blog and website creators value their credibility and. Therefore, you can expect them to come up with excellent marketing materials that discuss your blog or products/services.
  • More room for review – Blog posts are great avenues wherein writers can be more descriptive and in-depth about your blog or the product/service you are trying to promote.

Making cold calls – If you already have an existing network of people that promote products, and your blog or product/service fits in their niche, you can send them emails or get them on the phone. Call or write an email inviting them to join your affiliate program.

Join affiliate networks and websites – Affiliate communities such as Affiliate Marketing Ninjas on Facebook and Affiliate Marketing Group on LinkedIn. You can join these online communities for free and they give you the opportunity to learn create partnerships with prospective affiliate marketers, since they also go to these platforms to find for products or services to promote. Moreover, some affiliate networks provide tips and information for those who are new to the world of affiliate marketing, so make sure to utilize any free information you come across.

How Affiliate Marketing Will Transform Your Blog

Samples of affiliate sites or networks

These networks serve as an online marketplace for retailers to list their products or services and the commission that they are willing to pay their affiliates. The latter can browse through the listings to see what products are fit to promote on their platforms.

Here are some of the biggest affiliate networks online:

ShareASale – This Chicago-based site is one of the most widely used affiliate networks on the Internet. It features more than 4,500 affiliate programs, which were listed by both big and small retailers. ShareASale’s technology is known for its efficiency, accuracy, and their reputation as an honest business.

Pricing details: Requires a $550 one-time setup fee, with an additional of $100 minimum deposit for affiliate commissions.

2. Awin – Formerly known as Affiliate Window, this network allows more than 13,000 retailers to connect with prospective affiliates. Like ShareASale, prospective affiliates can apply to your program within the network. After which, you can start generating your affiliates’ unique links and tracking traffic and statistics.

Pricing details: Requires a $5 deposit to join the network to verify the details of your bank account. The price will be refunded as soon as your first sale is completed.

3. Amazon Associates – If you are promoting physical products, Amazon Associates is a great affiliate network that can connect you to numerous affiliates.

Pricing details: No sign-up fee.CJ Affiliate – Also known as Commission Junction, this is one of the oldest affiliate marketing networks in the world. They work with big brands such as Priceline, Overstock, and Lowe’s. As a retailer, you have the chance to handpick affiliates.

Pricing details: One-time fee of $3,000.

4. ClickBank – This affiliate network serves as an avenue for retailers that offer physical or digital products to connect with prospective affiliates in various industries. This is where retailers usually sell eBooks, membership sites, and online courses. What’s great about ClickBank is that they will manage all of your affiliate commission payments.

Pricing details: One-time activation charge of $49.95.

Affiliate marketing may sound intimidating at first, but with the right information, you can scale your blog and get your message or products into the minds of your target customers around the globe. Although most of the success of the system highly depends on the affiliate’s marketing skills, this can be an effective way to meet your blogging or income goals. Just follow the tips written on this article, keep on researching, and you will be able to reach your goals in no time.

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Build Brand Credibility Through Social Media

With the rise of digital marketing, people have started to unlock the power of social media. The customer journey has dramatically changed. Instead of heading to the brand’s website right away, people often search for them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Developing your presence on social media is no longer an option. If you want to stand out in the overcrowded digital marketing landscape and build brand credibility with your customers, you need to join the social media bandwagon. 

You must be thinking, “Is this really necessary?” A customer-centric brand that meets them at various touchpoints builds stronger relationships with the target audience and results in brand credibility and conversion. 

To foster brand trust, you should start working on your credibility and work towards being a thought leader of the select group that your audience listens to. Want to know how to cement that brand credibility? Here’s a step by step guide on how you can build a more sincere relationship with your customers. 

Share Your Brand Story

Each brand, no matter how similar, has a distinct origin story, which people love to hear. Sharing this creates an authentic vibe from your brand. So how exactly do you tell your story?

  • Find out the pain points that your customers experience in their daily life
  • Shortlist the ones you believe could be solved by your product/service
  • Create a great story and purpose for your brand 

If there’s something that people often forget is that we all know how to tell stories. It is through stories that we relate and connect.

Form A Connection

Did you know that people are unlikely to become emotionally attached to brands unless they’ve already interacted with them via social media? The key to building brand credibility with your followers is showing that you’re human. People are social beings and want to interact with other people, not companies. 

Remind your audience that they aren’t interacting with bots on your page-they’re interacting with people. Doing so will allow them to identify with your product/service, therefore, building long-lasting brand credibility and social media presence.

How do you help them relate to your brand?

  • Be conversational
  • Speak the language of your audience
  • Convey your purpose and core values

By observing what your followers are talking about on social (e.g., What do they like about your brand? What is it missing? What are they looking for), you’ll discover how to go about your social media content. Expounding on your customer’s concerns through your content also communicates that you are listening to them.

Create compelling content

Part of building that brand credibility would be by publishing educational and engaging content that solves your customers’ problems. Taking this route will allow you to position yourself as a valuable online resource of insights that they can relate to. This content strategy will inspire them to come back to you again and again for more tips and hacks that they can use. Ensure that the language you use is written in a manner that reflects your brand voice and speaks to your audience.

To engage different audience sets, you could experiment with using multiple types of content such as infographics, FB/IG takeovers, listicles, contests, and the like. Since social media platforms are always adding new features, don’t be afraid to experiment—leverage all available features to get the most out of your captured audience or followers. There’s a possibility that the best way to tell your story (and establish brand trust) is through the newly available features of the social media platform you’re using. 

If you’re on Instagram, experiment with their new feature “Reels.” They have now incentivized users to try this out by putting at the top of the explore page. This means that if you create your brand reel, you can get more organic reach and exposure to new followers.

 For your Instagram stories, you can also try out adding polls. Stickers to encourage your audience to engage with your content. It doesn’t mean all the strategies you implement will work, but it does give you a better understanding of which type of content is effective for your brand. 

Be Consistent

Just because they’re already your followers doesn’t mean they will be forever. 4 out of 5 people would unfollow brands on social media if they rarely post or create content that is irrelevant to them. For your target audience to recognize your brand, consistency is key. Being consistent on social media allows you to strengthen your brand credibility. From the tone of voice used in your messaging to your profiles’ aesthetics, you want your customers to recognize you easily. Consistently push out content that is relevant, interesting, and insightful for your audience. 

Here are some tips on how you can be consistent online.

1. Use a tone of voice your audience can relate to

Know who your target audience is first. If your target audience is millennials, then you wouldn’t use the language of baby boomers. Aim to use a tone of voice that they can relate to and understand.

2. Curate consistent content

Ever noticed feeds where you can’t seem to pinpoint what their account is about? Learn from them, and don’t be scattered in what you post online. Show your audience that you are an expert in your field, whether it’s about career coaching or fitness training. Your goal online would be to elicit a response from your audience by creating content that they can engage with. 

3. Create an editorial calendar

Adding a posting schedule to your online strategy ensures consistency when you post your content. Make sure that you schedule each day’s posts for the different channels you are in and make sure that you stick to it. You can leverage the platform analytics as well to see which time slots are optimal for your brand and audience. Being strategic in your posting schedule, allows you to maximize your organic reach and gets you the maximum engagement possible from your audience. You can even incorporate creating scheduled series such as (e.g., Factual Fridays or Webinar Wednesdays); this way, you can give your audience content that they can look forward to.

Building brand credibility can’t be done overnight. You will need to work consistently on your social media pages to establish the credibility and social media presence of your brand. 

Provide strong customer service

In today’s era of digitalization, building a customer-centric marketing strategy is vital to succeeding online. One of the most effective ways to build brand credibility among your audience would be to deliver helpful and personalized customer service. Did you know that a happy customer tells 3 people; an unhappy customer tells 10 people?

With the rise of chatbot marketing, brands have opted to automate their community management, and there is nothing wrong with this. Some concerns are better addressed through chatbots. However, the human touch will always be preferred by customers.  Brands have forgotten that customer service is a critical part of the customer’s journey, and this touchpoint can be a break or make a deal with your audience.

So how do you ensure that your customers can connect with you and receive helpful information via your social media channels? Here are tried and tested tips on building brand credibility through customer service excellence. 

1. Update your business information

Ensure that your name, address (if applicable) business number and email are the same across all your platforms. Updating your information will reassure your customers that the contact details are consistent and that they quickly connect with you. If your contact details on Facebook versus Instagram are different, there is a chance that your customer will think that you are a scam and there goes your brand credibility. 

2. Work out a schedule for community management.

Remember that a brand is nothing without its community of brand loyalists. Make sure you create a schedule internally on what time you will check your platforms for customer concerns. If you’ve noticed some brands also create an auto-reply sharing the times, they will be online for inquiries and such. If you’ve played it by ear and have a more reactive action plan, you need to rework your strategy and create a system. 

3. Listen to your customers.

Instead of waiting for them to reach out to use, listen to what they’re saying online. In this digital age, customers leverage these channels to voice out their opinion about your brand. And, how exactly do you go about this? There are multiple social listening tools available online that can help you track product mentions (both direct and indirect). Leveraging these tools gives you the advantage of addressing both positive and negative feedback which can be used to develop brand trust. It also gives your customer the impression that you care about their concerns. 

These are some of the tools you can use for social listening:

  • Google Alerts
  • Social Mention
  • Hootsuite
  • Boardreader
  • BuzzSumo

Joining your customer’s discussion helps them resolve their concerns faster. It also allows you to build on that brand credibility because it shows that you are proactive in making their experience as hassle-free and seamless as possible. Even if there was a pain point in your service or product, if you can resolve this quickly and efficiently, you can still turn those who complained into a brand advocate through excellent customer service. 

Get others to advocate your brand online

Today’s consumer has become smarter, and traditional ads no longer work on them. With everyone sharing opinions online, they are now using this to their advantage. What does this mean for you as a brand? You need to use this behavior to establish a word-of-mouth marketing strategy. This will help you foster brand trust and strengthen the relationship between you and your audience. 

Here are some ways you can get others to advocate your brand:

1. Leverage user-generated content

Did you know that consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content versus curated and polished content from brands? Encourage your satisfied customers to share photos of your product/service online with your branded hashtag. These are what you would call user-generated content (UGC), which are text, videos, or images created by people not influenced by the brands whatsoever. UGC is something brands love using in their social media channels primarily because it serves the purpose of communicating authentic feedback.

2. Post an online survey

This may sound very traditional, but we can assure you that surveys are still one of the most effective means of gathering information from your customers. Just because you are asking for their feedback does not mean they will always give you good ones. Don’t be afraid to share the results of your surveys online; consumers appreciate and value brand transparency. Showing case studies on how you listened to your customers and addressing their concerns will increase your brand trust. 

3. Collaborate with influencers

Influencers are experts in their niche, and they already have a captured audience that trusts their recommendations. Ensure that the influencer you would like to work with has an audience that resonates with your brand and values. You don’t just want to pick the one with the most followers; your efforts will deem useless if you aren’t talking to the right audience.

Always remember that trust equals an increase in visibility. If more people are talking about you (in a good way), this will positively impact your brand trust. 

Today’s digital landscape is ever-changing, and to be able to survive, you will need to foster an unformidable brand trust between you and your target audience. Consumers are now becoming smarter and pickier in trusting brands. It is more important now, more than ever, for you to create a future-proof branding strategy through social media. You’ll gain the trust of your target audience by creating a customer-centric brand strategy. 

If you’re ready to give your brand the ammo it needs to cut through all the noise of your competition, reach out to us at Brightminds.com.ph, and we’ll create an effective strategy for you.