While there are dozens of types of marketing within the online realm that companies may consider investing in based on their goals. From influencer marketing to digital social media ads, and to email marketing, there is one that stands out uniquely due to its mutually beneficial model. Affiliate marketing not only allows for companies and professionals to benefit from exposure, but it helps support bloggers and online influencers. Affiliate marketing allows for posters to get a percentage of revenue in exchange for sharing a link or post. Marketing professionals have promoted this as a more financially smart way to make use of a smaller budget. Carlsbad CEO of Managed Benefits Services, Krishen Iyer recommends and uses affiliate marketing for his clients within the health and dental insurance sectors as a way to help grow clientele.
As a self-made consultant and entrepreneur, Krishen Iyer works directly with affiliate marketing and believes it to be a valuable way for bloggers and companies to collaborate on projects and find common ground. Bloggers and influencers make a percentage of sales in exchange for the post being created and shared to a following of potential customers.
What Exactly is Affiliate Marketing?
You may wonder how people who own and manage their own websites and blogs that don’t offer products make money.
Most of these blogs and sites have page banners or links within blog posts, which are often features of affiliate marketing. This type of marketing typically involves a website or a blog author posting a link to another company’s website or product in order to earn a commission from a sale. This allows for potential readers to connect and for blog owners to make some extra money.
For example, someone may search for tips about tips on how to buy the right hiking boots. They then find a blog post centered on this topic. Blog writers know that people who search for this niche topic are likely looking to buy a specific product, so situations like this provide room for affiliate links. The blog owner in this instance may provide a link to one or for a variety of pairs of shoes from a specific company. When readers click the links and purchase products, the poster gets a percentage of the sale. The structure of affiliate links tends to vary as some merchants pay the blog owner for driving traffic or per generated click.
In most cases, affiliate marketing accounts are paid out at minimum balance thresholds, and payout totals can vary based on traffic during a period. A fashion blogger affiliated with Free People may make twice as much on Cyber Monday than she would during the first week of February. Many people who are affiliates have accounts with a multitude of companies to expand their income potential. With blogging, writers may also add links in a post without mentioning the name of the affiliate.
In other instances, a company may choose for its website to be embedded in the post; or writers may create a post that includes information about a company to promote its products. Affiliate marketing is not just for independent bloggers and small websites. Big sites such as the Huffington Post and Internet Movie Database use affiliate marketing too.
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing
A recent report from Forrester Consulting showed that nearly 85 percent of online publishers were using affiliate marketing. In 2016, affiliate marketing sales totaled about $4.8 billion. By 2020, that figure is expected to reach $7 billion. One of the biggest benefits of this form of marketing is that people can earn money while they sleep.
Affiliate marketing does not require for the blog poster to be present or working. It is a form of income that works when readers click on the link. One of billionaire Warren Buffett’s most valuable pieces of advice to entrepreneurs is to find a way to earn money while they sleep. He is quoted, “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” Krishen Iyer encourages people to maximize their marketing strategies to help them earn money at all hours.
1. Forming Valuable Partnerships
While merchants may reap the rewards of the higher revenue overall, affiliates are also able to enjoy some of the financial rewards for simply sharing links in the first place. This structure can save merchants some money on what otherwise may be spent on traditional marketing.
For blog owners or website administrators, there is still the task of using smart marketing tactics to ensure that affiliate links reach a larger audience. For merchants, this is also a major benefit because affiliates have a stronger incentive to spread the word about the brand or product. Today, affiliates have the benefit of social media. Since high-quality content has the potential to go viral, merchants may not have to spend a large amount of money on traditional advertising or boosting of their own content.
For example, a popular person on Instagram may share an affiliate link in an Instagram story for a lower rate than the cost of a traditional ad. In addition, some affiliates may choose to post links in Facebook groups which can help boost traffic toward the merchant’s site or product.
When affiliate marketing was new and had a different structure, affiliates were not properly rewarded. They were upset that they had to pay site maintenance fees to just lose viewers to bigger merchants. After they received a percentage of each sale, they had more incentive to keep going and to work harder. Today, merchants who utilize this powerful type of marketing see new customers that they may not otherwise reach.
When a merchant pays an affiliate based on sales, they are rewarding affiliates for verified purchases. This is more beneficial than spending an entire budget on campaigns or ads because it gives a variable percentage of conversions back to the affiliate. Companies that have larger budgets may also pay affiliates based on site traffic. Although, these companies also set affiliate requirements to ensure that most site traffic brings stronger conversion potential.
2. Relevant Site Content
With many companies offering affiliate programs, bloggers and site owners who have specific purposes or cover specific topics have more options. Similarly, merchants have a wide variety of advertising outlets available due to the number of bloggers and website administrators who are willing to promote affiliate content. For example, a merchant who sells furniture may have several types of affiliate links on a wide range of platforms ranging anywhere from antique blogs to DIY blogs.
Even people who run blogs with focused content can find plenty of options. For instance, a person who authors a blog about German Shepherds may have affiliate accounts with a dog food company, a pet supply store, a pet medication provider, and a grooming company. Merchants need to make sure that links are sponsored on sites that attract their target market. For affiliates, the key to success is to choose merchants with products that appeal to their site followers or blog readers.
For the benefit of both parties, Krishen Iyer encourages affiliates and merchants to avoid partnerships that do not attract the same market. As an entrepreneur who works to assist the marketing efforts of health and dental insurance companies, Iyer has worked with fitness and health blog authors on behalf of his clients.
3. Tracking Profits and Progress is Easier than Ever
Similarly to other forms of digital and online marketing, Affiliate marketing is easy to track. Most merchants have dashboards or central places where they can directly track affiliate sales and commissions. There also may be summaries of important performance metrics such as click-through rates and related page views Tracking these metrics is important. This is critical to developing a smart affiliate marketing strategy because it allows users to see what links are building engagement and which are not.
Krishen Iyer analyzes these performance metrics carefully for his clients. With this data, he is able to see where there can be an improvement made. This also makes it easier to develop and modify strategies for his clients and their goals. One major perk of affiliate marketing is the ease of viewing some of this analytics
These metrics allow for bloggers to see which links are getting the most engagement. As different markets grow or evolve, marketers must keep up with trends and modify their strategies or tactics accordingly. These tactics are everchanging but are essential to be a leader in any market today.
4. Affiliate Marketing is a Better Way to Save
Every site differs on the fees and rates users are required to pay. Regardless of the fees associated, performance-based marketing allows for money to be saved in advertisement allocation. Marketing is centered around growing ROI.
With advertising, it’s crucial for merchants to consider what the payout may be in return. Is the amount paid for an advertisement going to be worth the investment? Performance-based marketing reduces the risk of having a bad return of investment.
In return, bloggers often get to negotiate the lines on which they would like to host the affiliate link. A blogger who writes about animals may want to choose the lines in which they discuss a type of dog food on their blog. Will there be a whole post dedicated to the dog food, or will there just be one link mentioned in a post talking about German Shepherds?
A blogger may also have guidelines on what can be written. Will he or she write the post, or will the company have a writer do it? This freedom allows for a more direct opportunity for both parties to benefit financially on a greater scale than advertising.
5. Online Exposure
By having affiliates, a company’s product or service gains exposure for the online world to see. In addition, some affiliates are people who run websites or blogs that reflect a passion of theirs. They may run informational niche sites because they want to help their readers achieve a goal or learn more about a subject. Others may have a small business that they are trying to promote, and know that linking to big companies can be a beneficial part of marketing. Using affiliate links helps them spread the word. The motivation to make sales and to generate blog traffic from the merchant’s end is also a huge benefit.
For merchants, the exposure boost may help them reach new markets. For example, a vacuum company that mostly targets married men and women between the ages of 30 and 60 may have a few affiliates who run popular blogs with a wider audience.
Imagine that one of the affiliates has a massive blog following of people between the ages of 20 and 60. She makes a post about saving money on dorm room purchases and provides a link to a budget-friendly vacuum. After this, the company may see greater site traffic or a greater sales influx from young people.
The ideal strategy is for marketers and affiliates to stay focused on their targeted audience. With more exposure to the company’s target market, a company has an easier time building its brand and portraying its intended image. If it can leave a lasting impression with visitors who come from affiliate links, it is more likely to make sales.
From online reviews on neutral sites to tagged social media posts from individual people, there are plenty of ways for companies to grow freely through the recommendations of impressed customers. With today’s everchanging market Iyer says, “Tech companies must remain focused on creating products and services designed to foster valuable connections between parties.” Affiliate marketing is just one way in which this mutually beneficial model is becoming more common.
This Form of Marketing is More Convenient
As Krishen Iyer pointed out, paying for conversions rather than ads is one of the best and safest investments for marketing. Companies often spend a considerable amount of time on researching, planning and executing marketing campaigns.
Small companies may only have one or two people who handle marketing. In some instances, those people may be managers of other non-marketing tasks as well. Taking away a portion of their research and planning work gives them more time to focus on higher-yield tasks. In the end, investing in online affiliate marketing can be a dual financial benefit for some of these smaller companies.
In addition, merchants may benefit from potential customers who come to the website or to a product page via an affiliate link because they already have some information about the product. This also allows for potential customers to spend less time on the site. Ultimately, affiliate links are beneficial because there is not an advertising expense associated with each site visitor who does not make a purchase.
Affiliate Marketing is a fantastic investment for smaller companies with lower budgets. It also allows for bloggers and aspiring influencers to make money in exchange for doing what they love. Smaller businesses are all too often passion projects for individuals who are also working full time. Supporting bloggers and writers with an online following can help generate trust between a merchant and new potential customers.
Krishen Iyer: a Marketing Success
Krishen Iyer is the founder and CEO of Managed Benefits Services, a marketing company that focuses on providing lead generation, online marketing, and consulting services. Iyer works with medical and dental insurance companies to help them accomplish their goals and increase their revenues.
His drive to curate business in this niche market has paid off well as Managed Benefits has grown rapidly since it’s creation in 2016.
Krishen Iyer achieved a Bachelors degree in Public Administration from San Diego State University in 2004. In 2008, he became the CEO of Name My Premium Insurance, which was part of the on the Inc 5000 list in 2015. After his time at NMP, he realized there was a gap between insurance companies and their customers. As a result, Iyer sought out to bridge that gap by utilizing effective marketing strategies. Krishen Iyer then founded Managed Benefits Services. MBS utilizes a quality analytical process in order to generate leads that have the best chance of becoming customers for a client. Even if a company is targeting a niche market, MBS can provide leads to potentially increase sales.
Krishen Iyer’s strong attention to detail, dedication to client needs, and ambition has helped drive his company’s success. In a recent interview with Ideamensch, he stressed the importance of utilizing communication when trying to get ideas across. He also elaborated on the model that MBS aims to follow. As tech and marketing companies continue to grow in today’s age, there is an increasing need for new companies to accommodate these changes. He stated, “In our case, we connect and provide lead-generation and sales companies with firms looking for specific marketing solutions, which is a service benefiting both parties. I believe that this model can be easily applied to any number of industries.
In addition to helping his customers, the husband and father of two also invests in real estate and enjoys soccer and chess.