Data-driven marketing and the choice for affiliate marketing

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Every business goes online: B2C and B2B. There you can clearly measure and compare all costs and benefits, so that you can use your marketing better and better. Here at Bloeise you will find an explanation about Adwords and Facebook Ads. But one important branch of sport is being tackled today for the first time: affiliate marketing. Hereby you use a network of different websites that ensure traffic to your site, leads and sales. The great thing is: you only pay for results. But there are also a few snags under the grass. In this blog you will learn exactly what affiliate marketing is and we will look at our own practical example: my site Unlimited 4g.com. 

Data-driven marketing is the way to do your marketing today. It means that you collect and analyze all data as much as possible. Like, for example, you use Google Analytics to measure your website goals and improve conversion. You want to measure every contact with your potential customer, so that you can immediately see if it made sense and was worth the money. Affiliate marketing does exactly that: it gives you clear results per step in the customer process. If you only want to pay for real results, then you go for it performance based: based on performance.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a form of performance based online marketing. As an advertiser, you reward affiliates (publishers) for the generated clicks, leads, or sales that a publisher has delivered. To do this, publishers place banners, links and content on their website to attract their own audience and to refer them to the advertiser. Comparison sites, newsletters and cashback sites are typical examples of publishers, but the travel blogger or the beauty blogger can also be a publisher.

Affiliate networks

spider web with water balls - network

Trust is an important point in affiliate marketing. The affiliate traffic that you pay for as an advertiser must, of course, yield something for you. Conversely, as a publisher, you do want to receive compensation for all those leads that you send, and do not hear that it was nothing. That is why many advertisers and publishers work with intermediaries. Affiliate networks such as Daisycon, Tradetracker and Awin (formerly Zanox) record all clicks and ensure correct financial settlement. A typical 30% reimbursement is required for this. Affiliate networks offer advertisers one interface in which they can offer banners, links and content per campaign to a large group of publishers.

Affiliate marketing is clearly explained in this video:

Why affiliate marketing? What do you get out of it?

The why question is important for advertisers to ask with every marketing tool. For publishers themselves, it is also a question to ask, because there are several sources of income that you can bet on.

Why affiliate marketing for advertisers?

  • You only pay for results
  • You can choose which publishers do and do not suit you
  • You can bet on the beginning of the funnel (clicks), the middle (leads) and the end (sales)
  • If you choose leads or sales, you will still get traffic and brand awareness
  • You engage external parties and you can easily monitor and optimize all your results live

Why affiliate marketing for publishers?

  • You convert your website traffic into revenue without providing a service or product yourself
  • The entry costs are very low, you don't even need a website. For example, you can also provide affiliate traffic from Twitter or Facebook
  • If you have completely adapted your website to affiliate marketing and the Google traffic is focused on your target group, you can earn money without further efforts.

Points to consider when choosing affiliate marketing

Of course, the above reasons sound perfect. But there are a number of points for attention. From my experience as an advertiser (for VVV Texel, via Daisycon, Tradetracker and direct) and as a publisher (for Onbeperkt4g.com via Daisycon and Aweb) a number of key issues that you should know:

Advertisers

It is not: fire & forget. After setting up a campaign you have to do more than just wait and see. You must select publishers that really suit you, approach them proactively and make a specific offer and update your campaign material. It pays to build a bond with your publishers. For example, offer the top publishers a great day out. And consult with your affiliate network: what can you do to get more results? They have the experience and know what works. With every campaign or promotion you do, you will also have to offer banners (different sizes), links and texts to your publishers. You don't add it. It is an additional function, that of affiliate marketer. Extra tip: do not wait too long to approve sales. That is greatly appreciated by publishers.

Publisher

A website is just like a house: it is never finished. Google loses interest in your website if no new content is added. And what is already there, visitors must really know how to fascinate. Google sees this in figures such as the time on the website, and whether you continue to click in the search results after visiting your site. Quality counts. The use of Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and email marketing is often restricted by advertisers. That is logical with Adwords and Facebook Ads, because otherwise you will bid against each other in the ad auctions and nobody deserves anything. And you can't just pick up some texts and pictures: you have to offer a concept. A reason for your audience to hear your story.

Case study: Unlimited4g.com and Daisycon

Daisycon affiliate marketing - case Unlimited4g.com

On Onbeperkt4g.com I write "Geenstijliaans": somewhat smart with street language, but also sharp on the content.

So how does that work in practice? First take a look at Unlimited4g.com. (and also take an Unlimited 4G data subscription! :-)) This site was created by Koen Reus, who I know again through Smeders where he works and that built my website. He saw the product, unlimited 4G subscription from Robin Mobile, noticed that the Unlimited4g.com domain was free and an affiliate program was available. It is useful with websites and WordPress, but not with words or link building. So together we decided as a publisher to set up the site in June 2015:

  • HTTPS because better for Google position, and optimized for speed with the W3C Total Cache plugin for WordPress;
  • Blogging and guest blogging for regularly new content;
  • Tone and style in the Geenstijlian style: sharp and smart, but also on the content and relevant;
  • Link page to exchange links and link building;
  • MailMunch for catching newsletter readers and occasionally sending an email with a new offer;
  • Koen's company Tycoon receives all its income business account, I invoice him half afterwards.

We were number 1 for some time on the keyword 'Unlimited 4G' in Google. Until T-Mobile and Tele2 and KPN also started to move in the market of unlimited 4G subscriptions. And we not only had to create new product pages, but also had additional competition, including from the famous Bellen.com. With extra guest blogging and link building we are back at the top positions.

The choice for Daisycon

We immediately opted for this as a publisher Daisycon. Koen and I both had good experiences, and they have the largest selection of campaigns and clear reports. Payout is, after agreement of advertiser, nice and quick. Our Channel Manager at the time, Ramon Bekker, immediately arranged an increased fee for us at Robin Mobile when they saw that we were focusing on that. (“This is partly due to your beautiful ode to Robin Mobile on the website 😉”) He also explained to us that our choice for the ready-to-use comparison tool would have no (negative) effect on our SEO ranking, because the links are all no-follow.

Affiliate marketing in your online marketing mix

Affiliate marketing offers marketers an interesting addition to their online marketing mix. Costs are typically lower than with Google Adwords and you ensure branding and revenue on websites where your brand would otherwise never reach. Affiliate marketing typically comes on top of it. And where Google Adwords only works with pay per click, with affiliate marketing you can also opt for pay per sales. Just give it the attention it needs, especially in the beginning when your first campaign goes live. Make sure you think about any restrictions, such as advertising on Google or Facebook. And invest in the relationship with your publishers, because that will only benefit you. A good affiliate network helps you as an advertiser on your way with practical tips, so that you immediately make a flying start.

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