If there was a way to hire professionally-trained salespeople that knew your products inside and out and could relate to your customers like none of your other employees could—would you hire them?
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The answer is yes…a loud, confident “Where can I sign up?!”.
Well, it’s easier than you might think to sign up for this kind of program. You don’t need to hire any salespeople or put together an onboarding program. All you need to do is realize that your best salespeople are right under your nose.
They’re using your product as you read this.
It’s your customers.
With an affiliate marketing program, you can have your customers become your brand advocates and promoters. They’ll happily talk to their friends, family, and online audience about your products. All you need to do is give them an incentive to show why buying your products or services is the best way to solve their problem.
Affiliate marketing is special. It’s the marketing that takes the least amount of energy (and money) to get started and is highly accessible to all businesses, even the newbies.
Stop thinking about creating an affiliate marketing program and start building it out.
Because it’ll take a week (at most!) to build it before you can hit publish and turn your customers into raving fans of your business.
Here are the 5 reasons you need to start affiliate marketing, so you can hop off the fence and into the world of referrals.
#1: It’s the easiest type of marketing to bootstrap
Unlike paid ads or content marketing, your affiliate program can be entirely bootstrapped. You don’t need to pay someone to write your content and turn it into cute social media graphics. You don’t need to add your credit card information to Facebook Ads Manager. There are no credit cards and (at the beginning) no hires necessary for creating an affiliate program.
All you need is your incentive.
Your incentive is what you’ll offer your customers in return for referrals. Referrals are new customers that say they found your business through their friend or a thought leader they follow online. Incentives can be cash, discounts, exclusive content, merchandise, or free trips to visit your office (we offer a free trip to our Austin headquarters for DM Insider subscribers!).
#2: Building your affiliate program takes less than a week
Try getting on the first page of Google in a week. If you do—email us because your marketing genius needs to be shared with the world. With affiliate marketing, you’re able to hit publish on this part of your marketing strategy faster than any other strategy available. SEO takes months to create content and see results, organic social content takes editorial calendars and resources, and paid ads require a minimum 7-day test period.
Your affiliate program can be live by the end of the week.
All you need to get started is a system (or an affiliate software) based on your incentive. If you have a marketing agency, you can create your own system to manually handle your affiliate program and payout your affiliates. If you plan on having hundreds, thousands, or more affiliates, you’ll need software that can keep track of each affiliate’s referrals.
#3: Success doesn’t equal a huge customer base
With affiliate marketing, you don’t need to have a million-person following to see results. You can have 10 customers to your $3,000 program—3 of which bring in more customers and make you $9,000. If you pay them each $250, you just profited $8,250 AND you didn’t even need to do any other work than deliver a great program to those initial customers.
Affiliate marketing doesn’t require thousands of customers.
A lucrative affiliate marketing program can happen on a small scale, with less than a dozen happy affiliates who consistently talk about your products. As your program matures, you’ll tap into that beautiful compound effect that brings in dozens of customers from your affiliates. That could equal just as much (or more) income than you’re making right now. All from *just* your affiliate marketing.
#4: It adds to your current marketing strategy
There’s a reason most companies dabble in a few types of marketing. They like to post organic content, but they also have paid ads. They pay attention to SEO and they send a weekly newsletter. Affiliate marketing is a low-cost way to add another type of marketing to your strategy, without running the risk of draining precious resources (time and money).
It’s an easy add-on to what you’re already doing.
The barrier to entry for affiliate marketing is low, which makes it the perfect add-on for businesses that: 1) don’t have the budget, or 2) don’t have the time for another marketing strategy. It can fit pretty seamlessly into what you’re already doing without running the risk of taking too much time or money away from your other marketing efforts.
#5: Customers are already talking about your products
In the Customer Value Journey, the last two stages are dedicated to happy customers talking about your products. These stages are called Advocate and Promote because they’re the stages where your customers become brand advocates and promoters. They happily talk about your products to their friends, family, and online audience. But, it’s up to you to incentivize them to take those conversations a little more seriously.
Affiliate marketing fits perfectly into the Customer Value Journey.
It’s woven into the CVJ in a way that makes it an obvious choice for all businesses. It’s rare to say a marketing strategy can work well for everyone, but affiliate marketing is the exception. Your customers are already talking about your products—you may as well give them a way to get a kickback for it.
Affiliate Marketing Is For Every Business
From new businesses to established businesses, affiliate marketing fits in. That’s because it’s part of the Customer Value Journey, the journey someone takes from finding out your company exists to becoming a raving fan of your products and services. When someone becomes a brand advocate or promoter, they can sell your products better than anybody on your sales team can.
And any great business owner and marketer knows this is an opportunity to pay attention to.
You need to start affiliate marketing because:
We hope you’re asking, “Where can I sign up?!”. If so, step one is figuring out what you can offer your customer in return for their referral.
The next 4 steps to setting up your affiliate marketing program are outlined here.
This content was originally published here.