June 7, 2022

Why Your Startup Needs an Affiliate Marketing Campaign

By Alex Cramer

There are no easy days in the jungle. Some animals want to be king, while others just want to survive, but either way, you need to be faster, stronger, or smarter than the competition if you want to make it to the end of another day.

The same is true if you’ve just launched your new business. According to the Small Business Administration, 80% of businesses fail in their first year.  That means that every choice you make for your startup has the potential to either make you the leader of the pack or a stronger competitor’s lunch. 

While any business can benefit from an affiliate marketing campaign, startups, in particular, can enjoy some powerful perks that have the potential to make you part of the 20% that lives to see year two.

Brand Awareness

One of the biggest challenges you’ll face when you launch a new business is making people aware that you even exist.

Now, there are a lot of ways to get your brand in front of an audience. You can pay for big-time celebrity endorsements, try to pull off a viral social media stunt or even buy a Super Bowl ad.

These are all different strategies that have one thing in common: they come with a big bill. A slick marketing campaign is an easy way to set money on fire with no guarantee that you’ll get any return on your investment.

Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, can be a great way to get your brand in front of your customers without having to pay exorbitant advertising rates. By building a network of publishers, influencers and review sites, you’ll be able to connect your brand directly with your customer without having to risk your entire marketing budget.

And remember, an affiliate isn’t just telling people that your brand exists, they’re telling people that they love it. They’re providing the kind of third-party validation that is vital to building the credibility that your new business needs to sell.

Additionally, if you provide your affiliates with high-quality photos and videos to use when promoting your product, their audience can reshare those assets and become unofficial brand ambassadors for your product.

Low Startup Costs

If you’re launching a new business, there are a lot of numbers to keep track of, but the one that should never be far from your mind is your burn rate, or how quickly you spend your available cash.

Your burn rate functions like the timer on a bomb in an action movie, once it gets to zero, you’re toast.

The problem is that as you staff up, invest in R&D, upgrade your offices, and do a thousand other things that are necessary to launch your business, you’re going to be spending a lot quickly.

Again, this is an area where affiliate can deliver major benefits to your brand. Because there’s such a low initial setup cost to launching an affiliate campaign, you can add an entirely new marketing channel to your sales strategy, without putting a big dent in your bottom line.

Affiliate operates on a performance basis, which means the publishers and influencers you partner with, will push your brand and not expect to get paid until they actually make a sale and you can launch your program with very low upfront investment. 

Use the Affiliate’s Marketing Expertise

Have you ever walked into a fancy marketing agency and been blown away by the beautiful offices and high-quality art on the walls? Maybe they even gave you a cappuccino with a biscotti before your meeting started. You ever wonder who pays for all that? It’s you. You’re the one paying for the Masserati in the executive parking space, or at least for its oil change.

Not to say that traditional advertising agencies can’t offer value, but your affiliates will have just as much guidance to offer you at a much lower price.

Your affiliates have likely been selling in your vertical for a long time, which means that they understand your customers and their habits. They already know important details, such as when your shoppers are most likely to buy, what kinds of deals and promotions they respond to and the sort of features that they’re looking for in a product.

By having an open and ongoing conversation with your affiliates, you can learn as much as any high-priced marketing report could ever tell you.

Remember, your affiliates are your partners. They can’t succeed unless you do, which means they should be happy to give you guidance on your sales strategy.

Is affiliate marketing a magic bullet that can solve all of your problems and guarantee the future success of your business?

Of course not. But what affiliate marketing can do is provide a high level of value at a low upfront cost that can deliver real sales for your brand.

So, while affiliate alone might not make you king of the jungle, it can definitely help your startup get to the next day.

Are you getting started in affiliate marketing or looking to improve your current program?

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