Affiliate programs – how to increase sales in return for a commission
Why, when operating in e-commerce, you need to go for affiliate programs? Because, thanks to partner programs, you easily increase sales and pay only for the results.
Affiliate programs are a way to increase online sales and build a network of virtual traders (publishers) in return for a commission on sales. It is one of the most effective ways of promotion and safe, because you pay when you earn yourself.
Affiliate programs – what is it?
Affiliate programs are virtual places on the network that allow advertisers to collaborate with publishers in the Cost Per Sale (commission on sales) or Cost Per Lead (fixed rate for providing a specific action) model. It is an affiliate marketing tool in which efficiency billing models are the primary factor that distinguishes affiliation from other online marketing activities.
In the case of an e-commerce affiliate program, advertisers are online stores, publishers, all services, and websites that want to promote these stores in return for a commission on sales. The affiliate network, through the affiliate system, allows each party involved to earn on this cooperation.
Affiliate programs – benefits
- Advertisers can make their offers available to an unlimited number of publishers
- publishers get access to affiliate programs and all the tools to promote products on their own platforms
- the affiliate system provides all technical facilities and support to ensure that cooperation runs smoothly and to the benefit of each party.
Affiliate programs – Poland vs. The West
The growth potential of affiliate activities in Poland is very large.
In the USA, already 80% online sellers use affiliation. For comparison, in our country it oscillates around 10%!
Of course, this state of affairs is not surprising. In the United States affiliation has been going on for more or less 30 years! The first partner programs were established there at the end of the 1980s. In Poland, the first partner programs for e-commerce started to be launched around 2010.
Amazon‘s affiliate program was launched in July 1996 and continues today. Anyone who recommends products from Amazon through affiliate links receives commissions for selling the products that follow these referrals.
Jeff Bezos, founder, and president of Amazon decided to try out the possibilities offered by remuneration for sales made thanks to referrals in his new marketing strategy. It was still a novelty, so many people were wary of Amazon’s idea. However, it quickly turned out to be a very simple and effective solution. Affiliates (online publishers) did not have to do anything more than post affiliate links to products on their sites. Commissions motivated them to continue. In this way, affiliation has become one of the pillars of internet marketing in the US.
Affiliate programs – how does it work and who is making money on it?
Thanks to partner programs, every party involved in cooperation can earn money:
Advertiser – because they sell more thanks to the recommendations of publishers
Publisher – because they can earn a commission from sales on recommending products, without having to have these products
Affiliate network – because it earns commissions on sales, thanks to providing the system for the cooperation of Advertisers with Publishers
WebePartners is an affiliate network that dedicates its activities to e-commerce, i.e., online stores. If an online store wants to advertise its products on other websites, in return for a commission on sales, it must start an affiliate program. By running such a program, the store becomes an advertiser.
Advertisers, by creating their own affiliate programs, create a field for cooperation with online publishers with whom they settle accounts in any pre-established model (CPC, CPS, CPL). The biggest advantage of affiliate programs is that online stores can settle accounts with publishers in the Cost Per Sale model, i.e., commission on sales.
Who are the publishers in affiliate programs?
Anyone who works online to a large or smaller extent. So, we have: owners of thematic websites, bloggers, influencers, Youtubers, social media users (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pineterest), discount websites, search engines and price comparison engines, as well as owners of legal mailing databases. On their platforms, they recommend products as part of partner programs, thanks to which stores earn more and receive sales commissions.
Affiliate programs – a constantly growing network of publishers
The two main entities of the affiliate program are the advertiser with his online store and the group of publishers, i.e., all kinds of websites promoting his offer.
For the partnership program to be effective, they must closely cooperate with each other through the platform made available to them via the network. This cooperation is based to a large extent on mutual trust. The advertiser trusts that their publishers will promote the offer of their store on their websites in an ethical manner. Also, that they will update campaigns and select promotion channels for their audience, and publishers know that they will be rewarded for their actions on the terms that are clearly specified in the regulations of the affiliate program. This close cooperation and reciprocity of relationship brings mutual benefit in the form of building a network of committed publishers.
Over time, the advertiser will have a group of trusted websites. Knowing their needs and requirements, as well as having detailed information about the recipients of the offer, they will be able to provide effective and convertible advertising for a long time.
Affiliate programs – growing audience from various sources
The spectrum of publishers’ activities, as well as the variety of topics on their websites, is really huge. Apart from the pages related to the industry of the advertised store, there is nothing to prevent the service unrelated to the offer at first glance, from advertising it as well. All it takes is a little creativity and imagination for the advertiser’s products to fit the subject of the blog. And the diversity of the partners equals the diversity of their readers. Therefore, the store’s offer reaches a large number of recipients at the same time!
Affiliate programs – growing brand awareness and image building
The more people see a store advertisement, the more often it appears on websites, the greater the number of readers who will remember it. Some of these ad audiences or those reading recommended posts will also visit the target page. Knowledge about the existence of the brand and its products begins to increase among people who regularly use Internet resources. Consistent ads and creations that the advertiser makes available to their publishers begin to create a certain image of the brand in the eyes of the readers. This is how image building begins.
Dear advertiser, keep in mind that the measure of your success in the affiliate program is not only rising sales bars. Your trust in publishers and consistency of actions will lead you to a dedicated staff of virtual traders. They, through their actions, will contribute to the increase of readers’ awareness. Thus – will lead to building the image of your brand.
Affiliate programs – what is the purpose?
The main goal of affiliate programs is to increase sales in the advertiser’s website/ online store, thanks to the recommendations of publishers.
Thus, the promotion of the advertiser’s offer, as part of the affiliate program, is to reach Internet users, i.e., potential customers of the advertiser. The better the publishers match this promotion to their audience; the more profits will flow to both publishers and advertisers. Thanks to publishers’ recommendations, users click on banners, product widgets or affiliate links. Then, they go to the advertiser’s website/ store and make a purchase there. As a result, the user buys the product they are looking for, the publisher earns a commission on their purchases, and the advertiser earns more as they increase sales.
Affiliate programs – long-term cooperation, not a quick campaign
Affiliate programs is not a quick campaign, but a long-term cooperation based on building your own network of publishers. We have to remember all the time that affiliate marketing, i.e., efficiency marketing, where we pay only for sales results, is ideal from the advertiser’s perspective, but also the most difficult from the publisher’s perspective. Therefore, it can sometimes take months for an advertiser to attract so many potential partners to the program that a strong network of publishers will be created. Then, they will take on the entire risk of failure. But once that is done, the benefits of having your own publisher network cannot be overestimated.
The affiliate network is constantly working to attract new publishers to affiliate programs.
The same can and should be done by any advertiser, regardless of the activities carried out by the network. Of course, the most valuable publishers are content creators, for example bloggers. Social media users are also creating an ever-larger group. You do not need to have a website to become a publisher. All you need is a fanpage on Facebook, an Instagram account or a YouTube channel. We already have several thousand publishers in webePartners, and new ones register every day! In our database you can find both well-known bloggers and Youtubers. As well, as very well-known thematic, discount, cashback and price comparison websites.
The publisher in partner programs not only joins the program. They also must start actively working in it to be able to earn on such cooperation. We enable publishers to use various tools to promote affiliate programs, and affiliate links are the simplest. Thanks to affiliate links, publishers can effectively promote selected products from online stores. They recommend those that are best suited to their audience. In addition to affiliate links, publishers can use product widgets, banners, and xml files.
Affiliate programs – accounting
We distinguish many billing models as part of affiliate programs, but in e-commerce activities, the CPS model, i.e., Cost Per Sale, is definitely the most popular. This means that the advertiser pays the publisher a commission for successful transactions, i.e., when the goods have been paid for and received by the buyer.
This model is safe for advertisers because it is the publisher who assumes the risk of campaign failure. It should be remembered that the affiliate program must offer conditions and the amount of commission attractive enough for the publisher to be willing to take such a risk.
When is the best time to start with affiliate programs?
Affiliate programs are a long-term element of your marketing strategy, so launching them quickly is a good solution. Of course, satisfactory results will not come overnight, so patience and regular activities in obtaining the most effective publishers are very important. With the proper involvement of the advertiser and the affiliate network, joint activities quickly bring the expected results.
Affiliate programs – how to start?
To start your own affiliate program in webePartners, please contact us to receive an offer and sign a contract. The agreement between the network and the advertiser specifies mutual obligations and terms of remuneration of publishers: the amount of commission in partner programs (always determined independently by the advertiser) or the lifetime of cookies. After signing the contract, the advertiser implements the sales tracking code in their online store, sends us a dynamically generated xml file and the affiliate program can start.
Terms of affiliate programs
The most important thing is that the cooperation between advertisers and publishers is mutually beneficial. This is a basic issue that an advertiser should remember at every stage of cooperation, not only in the process of acquiring publishers for the affiliate program. A high commission is the first argument to encourage publishers to cooperate. But not only the amount of the commission is the determinant of the attractiveness of the affiliate program. It is simply one of the most important information for a potential publisher. Here are some other important indicators:
- value of the shopping cart – from the publisher’s perspective, the more expensive the products in the store or the greater their number in an average shopping cart, the better. Then, even with a lower commission it is easier to achieve satisfactory profits.
- intuitive purchasing process – this is a very important factor, because if the purchasing process is too complicated, the ratio of incomplete orders increases, i.e., sales conversion decreases. This has a very negative impact on the profits from conducted activities
- aesthetic appearance of the store’s website and – in the times of YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, where image and beautiful frames reign, publishers pay great attention to what the website they promote looks like. The first impression is of great importance when making purchasing decisions
- cookie lifetime – the time for which the commission is charged to the publisher, from the first visit to the advertiser’s website
- type of assortment and prices of products in the store – even the most beautiful store with the best products, but at non-competitive prices, can scare the top publishers away.
Once the affiliate program is launched, the publisher network creation process begins.
The advertiser has a lot of freedom when building it. They can send invitations to publishers on their own thanks to the affiliate marketplace function available in the advertiser’s panel. It also verifies those publishers who have volunteered to participate in the program or were invited by the affiliate network. During the cooperation, the advertiser has access to full data and statistics from the publishers’ activities, can provide banners and discount codes and optimize cooperation with publishers at every stage. Thanks to the comprehensive cooperation with publishers, affiliate programs have a significant impact on revenues in online stores.
Affiliate programs – How can publishers promote advertisers’ offers?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions from publishers. Publishers can promote products from affiliate programs wherever it is possible to place an advertising banner, product widget or affiliate link! While banners and widgets have limitations as to where they can be published (they only work on their own websites), affiliate links can also be published on external websites and systems, such as: social media, other people’s blogs (in the form of comments), any instant messaging, in e-mails, etc. Thanks to this, the possibility of reaching many people through various forms of communication (photos, videos, text) has significantly increased over the last few years.
Affiliate programs in practice
An affiliate program is effectively a network of virtual publishers who promote an advertiser on a variety of online platforms.
Bloggers become influencers by building their personal brand. With the loyalty and sympathy of their users, they can achieve great success. Bloggers have a very highly concentrated audience, characterized by trust and loyalty to the creator. Blogs strongly shape the opinions of their readers, even if their subject matter is mainly lifestyle. Bloggers, taking care of their readers and not wanting to lose their trust, carefully select the content they convey. They pay particular attention to quality, not quantity. The qualitative approach perfectly reflects the essence of the Cost Per Sale model. Recommended products from affiliate programs are precisely selected for the group of recipients, which translates into high engagement and high sales conversion in the advertiser’s store thanks to affiliate links.
Depending on the publisher, everyone finds their own way to achieve the best results in promoting products from affiliate programs.
Let’s take the example of bloggers. It usually looks like they prepare entries about selected products and then add affiliate links to the entry. Thanks to this, when the reader clicks on the affiliate link, goes to the store, and purchases a product, the transaction will be counted by the affiliate tracking system and the publisher will be assigned the appropriate commission. For the advertiser, this is a double benefit. On one hand it increases sales in the store, on the other hand, their products are promoted on popular blogs and websites, so they also receive image benefits!
2. Thematic websites
The topics covered by websites and their graphic design are very diverse and it is impossible to give all examples. Thematic websites can contain serious articles, be strongly opinion-forming, but they can also contain light, lifestyle texts or consist only of a collection of funny memes. These websites have a strictly defined group of recipients to whom they direct their content. Thematic websites willingly take part in partner programs, selecting products that their recipients are potentially interested in. The better the selected group of products, the greater the success.
But what if the website covers many topics and cannot be pigeonholed in one topic? It’s also a great option! Thanks to its diversity, such a website can show the power of products from many categories at the same time and reach many different recipients. Thanks to this solution, a person who has not been interested in a similar assortment so far, can find a given store and product. In this case, rotating product widgets are a very good solution, thanks to which you can show many products in one creation.
3. Search and product comparison engines
Thanks to search and product comparison engines, the enormity of offers that are available on the Internet can be finally grasped and organized. Thanks to comparison websites, products can be sorted in various ways: by price, popularity, manufacturer, brand, and even color or size. Product comparison sites are becoming more and more accurate and compare more and more parameters to make shopping fun and relieve users of the enormous amount of work involved.
Thanks to xml files, which contain the full offers of online stores and are available to publishers in the affiliate network, product comparison and search engines can also effectively cooperate in partner programs. For the advertiser, displaying the offer in such places has only advantages – the assortment of their store will reach a very wide range of recipients, because due to the popularity of this method of searching for offers by Internet users, comparison websites achieve very high viewing results. The number of views during the day reaches as high as millions of views. Thanks to the partner program in the Cost Per Sale model, the advertiser does not pay for viewing the offer, but for real sales!
4. Discount codes or coupon services
Discount codes are by far one of the most important elements of internet marketing in ecommerce. Paper coupons cut from newspapers efficiently moved to the online world. They benefit both publishers and their users. Discount codes are gaining popularity especially before specific events of the year, such as Christmas, Black Friday or Back to School. During this time, it is worth planning your publications in advance to include them in blog entries or in social media.
Discount codes greatly support the development of partner programs. Most of all, they motivate publishers to act. All publishers are eager to give their recipients discount codes. Although, undoubtedly, they use coupon services most effectively. Pages with discount coupons and promotions are visited by customers who are already interested in buying but are still looking for a better price offer in the online market.
Affiliate programs – the benefits of working with an affiliate network
1. Promotion costs settled solely for the effects of sales
No costs for the campaign when there is no sale is the greatest advantage of your own affiliate program. The advertiser can act without the stress of incurring financial outlays for activities that do not translate into sales. The affiliate program is a guarantee of return from investment in marketing.
2. A large number of publishers in one place, a constantly growing network cooperating in the “for effect” model
Bloggers, thematic and discount websites, price comparison websites … there are thousands of them, new ones register every day and all are available in one place, ready to promote the online store! By launching the affiliate program, the advertiser receives unlimited access to a virtual staff of traders who, after accepting the program, will start its active promotion. The advertiser does not have to spend time looking for publishers to cooperate with, because the affiliate network takes care of it.
3. Promotion on many websites at the same time
Virtual traders, i.e., publishers, advertise products and services using the tools available in the affiliate network. That is why the store’s offer appears simultaneously in the product search engine, on the blog, in social media, and the provided discount code appears in the largest discount websites.
4. Increase in incoming traffic and increase in sales, statistics, and settlements available in one place
The statistics of campaigns run by all publishers are constantly available in the advertiser’s panel. It contains detailed data on the traffic generated by publishers and the transactions that are carried out thanks to this. You can analyze the activities of publishers collectively and broken down into each publisher. Campaigns can be optimized at any time during their duration. At the end of the billing period, a collective invoice is issued, so you don’t have to bill each publisher directly.
5. Constant contact and care of the Affiliate Manager, support in the development of the affiliate program
If an advertiser wants to invite a specific publisher who is not yet registered in the affiliate network, all they have to do is contact their Affiliate Manager. They will arrange for the publisher to join the affiliate program. The Affiliate Manager also makes sure that publishers are well connected with the affiliate programs. Those, that are most suitable for them and vice versa. This is the basic key to success in partnership cooperation. The Affiliate Manager also indicates which activities can increase conversion in a specific case. Also, with whom it is worth establishing cooperation, what activities to implement to make the affiliate program even more effective.
6. Minimum formalities and collective settlement with publishers (one invoice)
By starting cooperation with a selected publisher, the advertiser does not have to sign a contract and establish terms of cooperation each time. Everything happens in the affiliate system provided by the affiliate network and is navigated by Affiliate Managers. The advertiser settles accounts with publishers on the basis of a collective invoice, once a month.
The best affiliate programs at webePartners
We very much invite you to watch the interview with Ewa Dudek, CEO of webePartners, in which she tells how she built her online business, how affiliate programs work and why it is an industry that has been developing dynamically in Poland for 5 years. When the webePartners network was established in 2010, virtually no one heard about affiliation and partner programs. That is why the beginnings were tough, as Ewa mentions in an interview. What kept her from giving up and pursuing her goal? It’s definitely worth a listen.
During 10 years of operation, we have launched over 1,500 partner programs at webePartners.
We specialize in partner programs for online stores. We have cooperated and worked with brands such as: Cropp, House, Meble Vox, Magnat, Śnieżka, Castorama and Answear. At the same time, our offer includes several hundred partner programs from various fields. Among fashion stores, we can boast of brands such as Orsay, cosmetics – Triny, entertainment – Tania Książka, and electronics – Bestcena. We work not only with large brands, but also with smaller, niche ones.
Thanks to this, we guarantee that both advertisers and publishers will find the right partner for cooperation. We have affiliate programs from all possible product categories. Those are: fashion, health and beauty, home and garden, for children, electronics, books and gadgets, sports and recreation. As a result, in our database of virtual products intended for sale, we have over 3 million items. That is why every publisher will find a product with us that they can recommend and earn money on their recommendations.
Since we mainly launch affiliate programs for online stores, we rely primarily on the CPS model, i.e., Cost Per Sale. This means that advertisers only bill for finalized transactions. This is the “safest model” for them because they do not bear any risk of the activities carried out by the publishers. If the transaction, initiated by the publisher, is ultimately unsuccessful, the advertiser does not have to pay a commission for it. For online stores that haven’t heard of affiliation before, this may seem unlikely, but there’s no catch here. 🙂
If you are interested in other issues related to affiliate programs, be sure to read:
Affiliate marketing – a good strategy to achieve systematic sales growth