Ewa Dudek, CEO of the affiliate network of webePartners, in an interview with Justyna Bakalarska, author of the book “Value Marketing”, talks about the most important things about affiliation and how to use affiliate marketing to increase online sales.


What tools should you use to increase the sales in your online shop? How to choose the right ones?

The ideal solution – from the perspective of the owner of the online store – are the tools and methods of promotion, for which he pays when the effect is achieved; in this case the sales are completed. Affiliate marketing offers such opportunities and therefore conquers the hearts of advertisers.

The Internet is the most measurable medium. Thanks to tracking and analytical systems, we can assess the effectiveness of each, even the smallest operation in the network. We can precisely reach target groups, analyze and then evaluate the potential and commitment of each group. Therefore, not only the methods of running marketing campaigns change dynamically, but so do the methods of their settlement. Performance marketing assures the advertiser that he will pay only for those activities, which provide him with measurable effects.

Besides the tools, the strategy is also very important, when selling online – what place should affiliate marketing take up here?

Affiliate marketing, thanks to the tools it makes provides, directly affects the increase of online sales. It is a value in itself. However, the greatest value that it gives – which advertisers often forget about – is a network of diverse publishers.

The model of such internet advertising is implemented mainly through affiliate networks, that is, networks that bring together hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of affiliates (publishers). Affiliate activities consist of building our own network of publishers, who undertake independent cooperation with the advertiser. Thanks to this, we can work out with them the most effective areas of activities, which gives a systematic increase in sales, as well as the implementation of non-standard sales and promotional campaigns.

Affiliate marketing is a strategic activity. Cooperation with publishers is undertaken as part of a partnership program. Running a partnership program makes sense in a long-term perspective, ultimately throughout the entire time of the existence of online business. The affiliate program grows with the company, because the network of publishers joining the program, is systematically growing and they are promoting the advertiser’s offer.

What are the differences between performance marketing and affiliate marketing?

Performance marketing achieves goals and delivers specific, countable effects. Basically, any type of marketing is supposed to accomplish the set goals, but not always their implementation is fully measurable and countable. Results in performance marketing have to be measurable and only such are accounted for. The advertiser decides, what effect – meaning: what kind of a reaction to the ad – he wants to receive from users and what he wants to achieve through the campaign: whether only increase the number of visits to his website, the reaction in the form of filling out the form or leaving contact details, or is he interested only in the sale of the service or product. When a goal is defined, the type of action and tools are selected to achieve this goal. So every marketing campaign that accounts for the achieved results, is performance marketing.
When it comes to affiliate marketing, it is one of the activities that implements the principles of performance marketing, that is, provides measurable effects. What distinguishes affiliation is the fact that the goals are realized in cooperation with affiliates, that is publishers of various websites that engage in the “for effect” model within the advertiser’s partner program.
The second very important thing is that affiliation is not used to implement short campaigns and achieve quick results. As I have already mentioned, this is a
long-term activity, which systematically affects the growth of sales along with the increasing involvement of publishers.

What goals can we achieve through the affiliate marketing?

As part of an affiliation, usually the most difficult goals are accomplished: from obtaining full contact details of potential clients, to selling services and products in the online store. In order to achieve them, you need to, very precisely, reach the target groups with the advertising. Thanks to this, the conversions achieved are high, which translates into real profits for advertisers.
Affiliate marketing is primarily about connecting advertisers with relevant publishers. Affiliate networks are specialized in this. They cooperate with various publishers, know their ranges, target groups and, based on their experience, they can determine which publishers generate the most shares in specific product or service categories.
It should always be remembered that the most important factor in affiliation is the publisher. His ability to encourage his own group of recipients to a specific action determines, whether cooperation will bring benefits to each of the parties. This publisher takes on the risk of acting. If he does not provide a specific effect, he will not receive a salary, and thus the advertiser will not increase sales. The efficiency model is one of the most difficult models of cooperation, but with the right combination of publishers and advertisers, it is profitable for everyone.

In which areas of activity can you use affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a collaboration with publishers, that is, websites/ users that generate results based on their own business models. The publishers are: industry thematic websites (eg fashion, lifestyle), price comparison websites, discount and cashback websites, bloggers, vloggers, YouTubers, owners of mailing databases, webmasters, re-targeting systems and, finally, active social media users. With each type of publisher, you can work out an area of action that, using the right tools, will be the most effective for the advertiser.

Skillful presentation of products directly affects the sales here, as opposed to the intrusive call for purchase, which we consciously avoid in affiliation. So it is safe to say that affiliate marketing is a product marketing.

What does it look like in practice?

For example, thematic websites build communities around specific interests (eg fashion, sport, technology) and present products from this category in various combinations. The user is not attacked with advertisements, on the contrary – he gets what he is looking for right now: the most beautiful creation for the chosen occasion, the most comfortable shoes for going to the mountains, the latest smartphone model. Website users are not aware that this is, in fact, an advertisement. Similarly, there are influencers, who recommend products from the industry in which they have earned the reputation of specialists. In affiliate marketing, they do not focus on the promotion of the brand itself, but its offer.

The same applies to discount websites, where internet users are looking for promotions and discount codes. They get there consciously in search of the best offers. And this is the main goal of affiliate marketing – to reach users with the products they are looking for. Present the advertisement in such a way that the user does not realize, he just acted under its influence.

The relationship of performance marketing and image building – how should the distribution of brand activities look like – should something prevail?

It all depends on the stage of building the image, which the brand is on and what is most important to it at the moment. It is ideal to care for an even distribution of these activities. However, in a situation where there is no sale, it is difficult to think about purely image-related activities. In such a situation, it seems obvious to focus on appropriate performance activities.

Although, by definition, performance marketing is to be transformed into sales as quickly as possible, rather than focus on the image, it strongly influences building process of the brand’s image. In order for the performance to be effective, you should reach the users with the ad precisely. Therefore, industry-specific thematic websites and specialists in their categories are involved in the performance campaign. They have smaller ranges than large, multi-thematic websites, but they are a faithful group of recipients for whom their opinion on a given topic is important, when making their own decisions. In this approach to performance marketing, cooperating with influencers has a big impact on building the brand image.

Where to start working on affiliate marketing?

It starts with opening the affiliate program. Most store platforms have a built-in affiliate program module, so it’s very simple from a technical point of view. In terms of the program, you should specify billing rates with the publishers and what effects should be provided (sales, contact lead or other action) in order to receive payment. Knowing the terms of the program, the publishers decide whether they will cooperate on the proposed conditions.

However, you should be aware that the mere fact of starting the program will not cause an automatic wave of applications to the program. The process of obtaining publishers is arduous, long-lasting and thus expensive. Then, when publishers are successfully engaged to promote the offer under the program, you must support each stage of cooperation and account for each publisher separately.
A sensible solution is to contact the affiliate network, which professionally deals with running the partnership programs.

At present, Polish networks gather from several to over ten thousand publishers, depending on the industry, which the network dedicates its services to. By launching the program on an affiliate platform, the advertiser is immediately connected to the publishers relevant to them. In addition, networks are constantly acquiring new services for cooperation, which allows for constant development of the partner program.

As part of working with the network, the advertiser receives a program supervisor who solves possible problems and questions flowing from the publishers, and also suggests which tools to use to increase sales through cooperation with publishers. Regarding billing, the advertiser receives a combined invoice once a month and does not have to worry about paying for each publisher separately.

How to choose the right affiliate network?

There are several models of accounting in performance marketing, however, in the context of sales, the two basic ones are Cost Per Sale and Cost Per Lead. It is important for an advertiser to work with a network that has a clearly defined business model, consistent with the goal they want to achieve.

So, if the advertiser runs an online store and wants to increase sales in exchange for a sales commission (the Cost Per Sale model), then he should choose a network that specializes in this model. In this case, the affiliate network focuses on acquiring for cooperation publishers, who have experience in cooperation in CPS or have the potential to achieve results in this model. However, if the advertiser is interested in acquiring new contacts of potential clients (the Cost Per Lead model), he should establish cooperation with a network that has at least several programs in this model in its portfolio. He then has the certainty that the network has publishers, who can deliver results in his preferred model.

To sum it up, before we start working with the chosen network, we need to make sure that the network runs programs in the industry in which we operate.

 

Interview by: Justyna Baklarska

 

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Journalism, Creative Writing and English graduate, who develops her passion for the professional keyboard tapping through master's studies in the field of media creation and... through webePartners, where, with a help of good coffee and chocolate (a necessary condition!), I bring you a content about making money online.

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Data publikacji: 28.11.2019