It always feels nice to see Affiliates signing up for your program. It gives you the slight excitement of knowing that some of these guys you approve could have the potential to be your top performing Affiliate, and help you achieve your forecasted conversions. For some of the well known brands the no of Affiliate Sign Ups they receive in a day could go well into the few dozens, and for some of the newer brands it could be a significant number but relatively lower than the bigger brands.
In either case you’re happy and you go ahead and approve your Affiliates. After a while you start assessing the numbers. You start by looking at the No of Conversions & Leads, and you’re not very happy with the figures that your report is showing you for most of your Affiliates. You then compare those numbers with the no of clicks those Affiliates have delivered to your website; the click traffic might be astoundingly high, but the corresponding result isn’t appealing.
You then decide to export your approved Affiliate list for research, and then realize you don’t have the right types of Affiliates in your Program.
The Right Types Of Affiliates
What do I mean by the right types of Affiliates? These are those publishers that fit like a perfect jig saw puzzle piece in between your business i.e. the product or service your offer, and your Customer who is deriving value out of what you provide. Most Affiliate Programs initially always get the wrong types of Affiliates signing up with them, and this can be harmful.
For instance, you might find a lot of your current Customers eager to set up an Affiliate account with you, inorder to incentivize themselves for the two or three people they know would be interested in your service. Your Customers can prove to be good evangelists, but if they’re signing up on your Affiliate Program just to make a few Dollars, then that’s a waste of your Affiliate Managers time in approving transactions and expending the funds available in your Affiliate budget.
Similarly Adware & Toolbar Affiliates, Trademark Violators & Content Hijackers prove to be counterproductive for your Affiliate Program.
So let me list down some of the different type of Affiliates that you should focus on; and if on your program, can help your business build traction and achieve the conversions and targets estimated.
The Different Types Of Affiliates You Should Focus On
1) Content Affiliates – these are Affiliates that either use their Blog, or any other platform through which they disseminate content, and promote the value of your service. A content Affiliate is the best type of Affiliate to recruit since they can connect with users naturally while trying to explain how your Product or Service could offer/or be a solution to the readers problem or need.
This works well since statistics show that apart from impulse buying, a majority of people make their purchases based on recommendations and experiences shared by friends, family, or experts of a given category. These experts are normally Bloggers who specialize in a certain niche or topic. They manage to connect with their audience better because they give an unbiased review (most of the times) on a particular product or service. Also before a potential user of your service decides to make a purchase off your website, more often than not, they’re researching about it on a Blog.
Also be very careful about the type of content Affiliates that you approve. It won’t benefit you to recruit ANY type of Affiliate that carries content. For instance, if you’re in the business of offering unique & quirky India centric gifts like HappilyUnmarried, then it would be absolutely irrelevant for you to have a content Affiliate that Blogs about DTH services or Online Exams; regardless of him having traffic in the thousands. Moreover the unconnected backlink will affect your ranking.
I have done a separate article that lists down 6 tools to recruit the best Content Affiliates.
Who does it work for Best – any type of business whether B2B or B2C can derive immense value through Content Marketing; and having multiple Content Affiliates only amplify your gain.
2) Comparison Websites – these are the websites that a user ideally goes to when they are ever so confused about the Product or Service they wish to purchase, and seek out information in the form of a comparison.
For instance, a user is interested in purchasing a Google Nexus 6; but then they also heard a friend talk about the cool features the IPhone 6 Plus has to offer. Now the potential buyer can choose to pit both these products against each other by using services such as Pricebaba or 91mobiles. They are presented with essential information related to the product of interest, and they also get served with data related to the best possible price they can purchase their phone of choice at.
This in today’s time isn’t just restricted to Mobile Phones or Electronics, businesses like Policybazaar and Bankbazaar are helping users choose between the best insurance policies and loans available respectively.
Most of these guys have a brilliant e-mail list to which they keep sending out occasional emails about relevant offers & details. Imagine the amount of traction you could build through that.
Who Does It Work For Best – these types of Affiliates are primarily a lot more favorable for B2C based companies since it’s used more often by Customers. You just need to look out for the right type of Comparison Affiliate in your niche
3) Social Media Affiliates – these are Affiliates that have a strong authority on a specific topic, category or niche, and their followers attach with them on Social Channels because of their interest in being updated with information as the topic authority keeps coming up with it.
From a business perspective, you should choose your Social Media Affiliate based on your research and understanding of how a majority of your Customers would enjoy digesting information related to your Product or Service.
For instance, Sherry Shroff is an avid Fashion Blogger that uses YouTube as her conduit to offer information on the latest in Fashion to her audience. Her channel consists of 36,000+ Subscribers who get regular video updates on recommendations and suggestions from her. Anusha Hajela who owns a popular Fashion Blog, Bombay Bubble, connects with her audience through some of the popular Social Channels; Instagram, for obvious reasons, has her highest following which is at about 7,000+.
On the food side you have guys like Adarsh Munjal aka The Big Bhookad who has a strong Twitter following of 8,000+ and Shaheen Peerbhai aka The Purple Foodie that has a follower-ship of 10,000+ on Facebook. Both of them serenade their audience through relishing food recipes.
Connecting with a Social Affiliate gives you the opportunity to have the value of your product presented to thousands of people through a medium of their liking, and advocates that could vouch for what you offer.
Who Does It Work For Best: these Affiliates preferably do well once again for a B2C business, barring a few exceptions. This is primarily because information pertinent to consumer based products can be comprehended easily through Social Media and usually wouldn’t require multiple touch points.
4) Coupons & Cash Back Affiliates – Indians love a good bargain, and in the online world that is now very much possible through the use of Online Coupons & Vouchers. Statistics shows that 85% Online Shoppers in India use a Coupon before completing their purchase.
Websites like CouponDunia, Cashkaro and Pennyful offer some of the best deals in India having partnered with 1000s of online retail stores. It’s important to understand that Coupon/Deal Websites are different from Cashback Websites. Coupon Websites can offer their user a Coupon with which the user on redemption receives a discount on the product or service being purchased. While with Cashback websites the user also receives a certain amount of Cashback along with the discount on the product.
With traffic in the millions on some of these websites, it helps build awareness and generate user acquisition with the inclusion of a Coupon for some of your popular Products & Services. Also with a strong follower base on Social Channels, you have the opportunity to have your offers reach out to a larger base through virtue of virality.
Who Does It Work For Best: these types of Affiliates work well for both B2B and B2C businesses. If you’re an Online or Offline Business and care to lure customers through attractive discounts, then this is the place to showcase your offers at.
5) PPC Affiliates – not too many Affiliates resort to this method given the risk involved, but there are some who run paid advertisements on prominent search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo or even Facebook to drive traffic to some of their Affiliate offers.
This isn’t an option considered by too many Affiliates since it involves a higher cost and the chances of returns through the Paid Advertising medium could be slim. However, it’s also important to set policies to not allow your Affiliate to bid on your branded keywords as that could raise the paid advertising cost for your business.
Who Does It Work For Best: works well for both B2B and B2C based businesses, but it’s essential to keep an eye out on branded keyword bidding
Conclusion – Selecting the right types of Affiliates can help you raise the conversion bar for your Affiliate Program. I have done a separate article that offers Tips & Suggestion on how you can Recruit Quality Affiliates for your program, and those Quality Affiliates include the above. Always remember that before recruiting your Affiliate think about your user, put some thought on where your user researches more about services like you, where do they hang out more online, and how do they enjoy getting information related to your Product or Service. This will certainly help you build a stellar Affiliate army.
What type of Affiliates do you have on board, and how are they working out for you?