Much has changed since the outbreak of the Coronavirus. B2B online affiliate marketing also needs to rethink its strategy. As absurd as it may seem, now it’s B2B companies’ time to focus even more on their affiliate marketing strategies.
And change them.
Because now it is particularly important to be prepared not only during the crisis but also for the time afterward. We asked seven of our departments what can be done now.
- B2B companies have to change their affiliate marketing strategies
- A lot can be achieved with B2B online marketing even in a crisis
- Ideal for this: Measures from lead generation to content optimization
- Newly conceived online affiliate marketing measures now offer the potential for B2Bs
Use lead generation strategically now.
Lead generation is even more important in times of economic downturn. Anyone who now reduces affiliate marketing costs and thus loses leads risks a leak in the so-called sales funnel during economic recovery and upswing.
Demand is currently (temporarily) decreasing in various B2B sectors. However, it is postponed to a later date. And then it is important to have enough leads for sales.
Even after the crisis, companies should be present in the minds of buyers, influencers, and decision-makers.
Lead generation is one of the most important measures for B2B companies and is considered a decisive metric. But it’s not just about gaining contact details from potential corporate customers.
Establishing and maintaining new customers is just as important.
Reminder advertising for brand maintenance and lead generation is, therefore, the order of the day. Used strategically, lead generation via various online channels has a short, medium, and long-term effect. The following measures are particularly suitable for this: Search engine optimization (SEO), Google Ads (SEA), social media, website optimization, email marketing, and content optimization.
Be found with SEO despite the crisis.
Inevitably, life is currently almost exclusively online. This applies to private life, but also to everyday work. Customers and interests also move on online channels in the B2B sector. To be found quickly and easily via search engines is currently indispensable. Now is the best time to look at and optimize previous SEO measures.
The website should be optimized for search engines, both technically and in terms of content. Because such SEO measures largely determine the ranking on the results pages. This is the only way to move into the focus of users and to assert oneself against competitors.
More and more users will get used to this digital restructuring, albeit by necessity. Presumably, the use of online channels will continue to increase even after the crisis. Many dealers and companies also recognize this. Therefore, you should act now and use this crisis as an opportunity not to lose your digital connection in the post-Corona period.
Google Ads ensure visibility.
Reduced budgets also affect Google Ads’ actions. In the PPC channels, it is clearly obvious what to do first: Lower the budget and wait until the corona issue levels off. What sounds sensible at first has no lasting effect. Simply reducing the budget will not produce long-term positive results. It makes more sense to readjust the Google Ads strategy.
The focus is now even more than usual on the visibility of your company. Because it is especially important in times of crisis for customers to know that a company is available to them.
This can be achieved with simple adjustments to Google Ads. For example, with a redesigned banner in the display network or a reformulated ad text in the search network. For example, formulations like these are helpful: “Despite working from home, we are always available for you” or “We are there for you even in difficult times.” This creates trust and security, informs, and promotes a positive corporate image.
Social media acts as a direct line to the target group.
The Corona crisis is helping social media channels, in particular, to soar to new heights. In times of exit restrictions and home offices, social media is ideal for the outside world. Are there also suitable opportunities and possibilities for B2B companies?
The answer is: absolutely. Because of companies, there are employees and potential customers who are now more often and longer on social platforms. Right now, these can be achieved particularly well through targeted social media affiliate marketing.
The demand in some B2B sectors is declining. Still, those who show presence on social networks in crisis times will be remembered by existing and potential customers. You should definitely go into current events: How is your company dealing with the crisis? How do you master current challenges? By showing that you are there for your customers, you present yourself as a reliable business partner.
Therefore, social media marketing is an ideal instrument for retaining existing customers and winning new ones for you, especially in times of crisis.
Optimized websites as a guarantee for better user guidance
The flagship for your company is your website or landing page. The website is indispensable for anyone who wants to provide their customers with current and relevant information. Communicate important information there, such as the availability of goods or delivery times. A FAQ area that is appropriate to the situation can now also be useful.
In order to be able to contact you as a customer quickly, if necessary, you should make sure that he also has the opportunity to do so. This does not only apply to the establishment of contact, but to all information and offers that you make available online. Make sure that the user and, therefore, your customer can get the information they want quickly and easily.
Check whether the available options for contacting you are practicable and sufficient. At the moment, it makes sense to adapt existing contact offers to the situation and e.g., B. to enable the integration of live chats. As part of an optimal usability and user experience, the target group and their changing requirements and needs should always be considered.
Effective crisis communication with mailings
Communication is one of the most important factors in times of crisis. It can be used very effectively in email marketing. Many B2Bs are currently reducing budgets and pausing projects. The dialogue with customers, partners, and employees should, however, continue. This works very easily, for example, with a newsletter.
Mailings allow you to provide your recipients with information. But they also have another effect. They convey security. You can continue to send newsletters, but adapt the content, where necessary, to the current situation.
Besides, use factual company information mailings to inform you how you can be reached soon, how projects will be handled, and also stress that things will continue to run as usual if nothing has changed. Pay attention to a positive address and increase trust by showing how you, as a company, react to the circumstances in these times.
Content optimization creates security and offers new offers.
In times like these, new doors are also opening up for content formats. Crisis-oriented, open, and transparent communication is particularly important now. Now and for the time after the crisis.
At the moment, customers primarily want to know what changes are taking place, what they can expect from your company in the future, and how things will continue. All of this primarily transports textual content. But it does more than just convey objective information. It can now also convey security and create trust. This is exactly the key to solid customer relationships.
But now there is also the chance to offer new content formats. (Working) life is happening online and at home. Companies can now expand their online offering. Live videos are perfect for an expert chat on various topics. Online training courses give your customers the chance to be trained by you in the home office.
There are many options for content. Whether as a new content format, as crisis communication, or on various channels such as social media, Google Ads, and your website. Textual content conveys factual information and security and continues to generate leads. Different content formats ensure that your company is and remains present.
All content forms must be adapted to the current situation. Only in this way is it credible and fits the requirements of your target group.
Conclusion – Affiliate Marketing in Corona Times
Right now, it makes sense for B2Bs to adapt their own measures in B2B affiliate marketing to the current situation. Be it in crisis communication via various channels, in lead generation, or through new online offers. This pays off in the long term after the crisis and opens new doors for B2B companies and customers alike.
Time to think about how we are going to approach target-setting differently.
The summer period, a good time for managers to take stock. And? Are the numbers in red, or are they in green? Should adjustments be made, and if so, how? Most results-oriented managers do not turn their backs on that challenge.
They know the value of “affiliate target-setting,” calling the team to account for their responsibilities to achieve agreed goals. The team meeting for August is already planned. But what if addressing and settling the team on affiliate targets turns out to be the mistake of the year afterward?
53 reasons not to target
Focus on affiliate targets. In order to achieve the CEO’s ambitious goal, Ford was forced to make risky design choices with the Ford Pinto in the late 1960s. The petrol tank was placed directly behind the rear axle, and the number of damage claims from possible victims weighed against the cost of redesigning the car. The design was maintained with 53 fatalities and many injuries as a result…
Goals Gone Wild
The positive effects of goal setting within companies have been extensively described in recent years. Still, relatively little attention has been paid to the systematic adverse effects of target setting. At least four researchers associated with the Harvard Business Review claim that in the article “Goals Gone Wild” (pdf download). They mentioned, among other things, these 3 mistakes when managing affiliate targets:
- Blind through tunnel vision. The account manager had only one goal in mind. This customer visit would seal his annual affiliate target, now or never. The meeting was prepared down to the last detail. A beautiful PowerPoint presentation would seduce the customer with “an offer he couldn’t refuse.” As he waited at the reception, he couldn’t help but smile, fantasizing about his triumphant return to the office in two hours.
- The customer was also prepared down to the last detail and immediately brought up a serious complaint. Deliberately, the account manager was not put off: “Uhh, I can’t imagine our people making that mistake! Anyway, let’s discuss more important things, like this PowerPoint that I made especially for you….”
- The result is easy to guess. A fanatical focus on one goal makes people blind to their work’s success factors, such as customer focus. And let anyone who brushes this trap away with a “That doesn’t apply to me!” feel challenged to watch the video “The Monkey Business Illusion” on youtube.
- Can’t see the forest for the trees. Average handling time, first-time fix, net promoter score, average waiting time, telephone etiquette. These are just a few balls that the average customer service representative has to keep high during the conversation with you. At the same time, you grumblingly notice that very little empathy is shown.
- Research shows that employees with too many goals will automatically limit themselves to one goal in complex situations. And they often opt for the easier to achieve quantitative goals (talk time, script), at the expense of more complex qualitative goals (Net Promotor Score). Important Question: What is the main objective with which you want your team to go into the field?
- Short term politics. Quarterly Goals, Monthly Goals, Week Goals, Day Goals. The shorter the period, the greater the team’s focus, and the greater the chance of success, it turns out. Unfortunately, this formula applies mainly to routine work and not tackling and creatively solving complex problems. Ask two groups of people to solve a complex puzzle, 1 group with time stress and 1 group without time stress, and the last group turns out to be significantly faster. Dan Pink has a wonderful speech about this on Ted.com. Why is this important? Because our work is becoming less and less routine in nature and increasingly requires creative solutions to complex problems.
Specific and ambitious goals generally yield better results than motivating a team with “Do your best!”. That is beyond dispute. Goal setting and monitoring works as a powerful medicine against persistent ailments in your team, such as de-motivation, frivolity, and laziness.
But powerful drugs sometimes have powerful side effects. Where things go wrong is when generic goals are imposed on a large group of people, without regard to the nature of the employees, the effect on customers, and the company’s long-term interests.
Therefore, the setting of the charities should be done more like the way a doctor prescribes the medication: First, a thorough analysis per patient and then the right medicine, in the right dose, for the right period.
Affiliate targeting – conclusion
In other words, the meeting for August can remain on the agenda! And instead of re-dictating annual goals to the team, this is a great time to invite the team to brainstorm important questions together:
- Which goals motivate you to achieve the best result for everyone?
- What else do you need to achieve those goals?
- How can I help you with that?
And then continue to take this medicine monthly for at least 1 year.
Simplicity really works. How to keep strategy translation and KPIs simple.
During this period, many affiliate businesses are busy drawing up and finalizing plans for next year. The goals and strategy have been determined, and now it comes down to making this meaning for everyone within the affiliate business. One of the most common techniques for this is making a strategy map with KPIs, whether or not linked to a model.
A good strategy map tells ‘the story’ of the company. A story that makes clear what is important and in which the KPI’s scores indicate how you are doing on these important things. That story only motivates when people who read/hear it:
- Understanding (head);
- Wanting to go for it (heart) and
- Understand what they have to do there (hands).
In short: a story that unambiguously connects your goals and strategy with people’s actions that take place within the affiliate business. “Hey, that’s about me !!”
That sounds quite complex. And that is exactly what many businesses (or the hired consultants) make of it. Google “strategy map,” and you will get pages full of strategy maps like this one:
Very complicated strategy maps packed with KPIs as an impressive result of months of hard work behind closed doors. In almost all cases, ‘the story’ of the company disappears completely, with the result that such strategy maps lose their credibility. Nobody cares about it anymore, let alone people do something with it!
It can be different. Based on the belief that simplicity really works, you can also keep strategy translation small and simple. And it looks like this:
This is a real situation of an existing, quite large company. Only the name and industry have been changed. Over a period of more than 6 months, this company has managed and improved its performance based on these 5 KPIs.
Were more KPIs possibly relevant? Did the MT also look at other figures and reports? Sure! Only the focus remained on these 5 as they told Flash’s most current strategy story. The online market performance was on the MT table every week, and the performance in this market had to increase.
The figure above is a ‘KPI train’, and it tells a mini strategy story. A KPI train has 4 features:
- It connects strategic objectives that are currently current with actions within the company;
- It makes an explicit connection between Result and Process indicators;
- It is the link to the customer (you are viewing Customer-to-Customer processes);
- It is the link to the people who work within the processes.
It is beyond the scope of this article to go into detail about Flash’s strategy. The elaboration below examines the link between result and process indicators in the case of Flash.
Growing in the online market was the single most important strategic goal for Flash. It was the only way to achieve the desired profit level. Hence the 2 results KPIs in the boxes’ Ultimate goal’ and ‘Growth goal’.
This is, of course, not enough. Because you cannot steer a company on the basis of financial KPIs alone. Immediately the question follows: What exactly does Flash have to do to grow online sales?
You then need more information: information from the Customer-to-Customer processes related to the spot market. These indicators are the second part of the KPI train. And this second part is the most important part of the KPI train because it touches the ‘moments of truth’ for result improvement:
- As mentioned, the process KPIs form the connection to both the customer and the people within the business;
- And it is in the employee-customer and employer-employee interaction where the actual performance takes place;
- So if you as a business really take performance improvement seriously, you must have information about the quality and results of these interactions;
- Without this information, performance management and, therefore, performance improvement is impossible!
- Flash’s customer-to-customer processes have been analyzed based on the following question:
Where do we need to excel to get the necessary online sales from the market in the Customer-to-Customer process?
- The answer was at both the start and the very end of the process and translated into two process indicators for Sales and one for the administration.
Flash has started this with great success. For the first time, management, sales, and administration sat at one table to discuss how they could do things better in the online market. On that table were simple reports in which the scores and affiliate trends of the KPIs were made visible. After a somewhat awkward start, the results quickly turned in the right direction.
The general director summarized the process nicely:
- “I now have 100% more insight, with only 20% of the data that I had to dig through before! The story behind the data is always immediately clear to us!”
The salespeople were also pleased with this way of working:
- “It is simply very nice to immediately see the effect of the work you are doing every day. And especially when you see that things are getting better. That motivates enormously! “
And that is exactly the intention!
It is, therefore, possible: to manage a company based on 5 KPIs. The KPIs must connect the current objectives strategy, customers, and people.
And keep it simple even if it is difficult because: Simplicity really works!
For many businesses, the market in which they operate is becoming increasingly dynamic and faces increasing challenges. Demanding customers, shorter lead times, and a massive increase in technological developments, among other things, have ensured that the attention for performance management software has expanded enormously in recent years.
However, performance management is a broad subject. You often see that businesses think too lightly about it. Please provide a list of KPIs, communicate this to the administration, make their bonus dependent on it, and people will manage. Nothing could be further from the truth, and you often see disappointing results. Setting up good performance management is, therefore, not easy.
Performance management can only succeed if the correct preconditions have been met.
- There must be a clear link between formulated KPIs and the organizational objectives. Often this link is missing, with the risk that people are not steering in the right direction.
- A useful decomposition of processes is important in order to be able to do a good translation from strategic goals to operational objectives.
- Make sure you don’t have too many KPIs that make businesses micro-manage. This indicates a lack of focus.
- The introduction of Performance management requires a different way of leadership. Managers must be willing and able to steer based on the insights obtained. It requires a change in managers’ behavior in which addressing people about their responsibilities is of great importance.
- Ensure that the preconditions (rewards, responsibilities, etc.) are properly fulfilled for managers to fulfill their role properly.
- Good and sufficient communication about the implementation of Performance management is necessary. The business’s employees must be sufficiently informed because otherwise, resistance may be perceived as threatening as a possible consequence.
- The setup Performance management system must be sufficiently flexible. Inevitable business changes and adjustments in business goals must be easy to process if people want to continue to manage in the long term.
- Performance management is, therefore, more than just managing based on a few numbers. Performance management is acting on business questions that play a role within the company. Good Performance management must ensure that an organization
- Can respond quickly to questions from the market
- Ensures the required transparency
- Manages the realization of the strategy
Performance management is, therefore, more than drawing up a few KPIs. If businesses actually want to implement performance management and control performance, the preconditions are also important!
What is the right mix of tools to measure affiliate marketing performance?
Despite all the advanced tools, just think of automation’s possibilities, there is a strong need to see at a glance how the organization is doing. The more complex organizations and the more complicated the management task for management, the greater the need for simple tools to measure actual performance.
Measuring affiliate marketing performance is a prerequisite for providing feedback on the progress of processes. Feedback is needed to control and improve processes. Therein lies, of course, the practical importance. This contribution concerns an exploration of the possibilities. Building up and working with (a set of) indicators is important. This is a practical aid for managers who need compact information about their organization’s state of affairs.
Why is feedback a management principle?
Feedback, or feedback, derives its value only when it is part of a feedback loop. This feedback loop, also known as a feedback loop, makes it possible to take corrective action and verify whether the correction is effective. Therefore, feedback is the assessment of the current performance of a process on information from an early or previous stage of the process.
Feedback is, therefore, necessary to be able to control processes. From a technical point of view, it is often necessary to install several feedback loops one after the other before the desired degree of control is reached. Control need not be limited to production processes. It can also be applied more widely; in this way, design and preparatory processes with feedback can also be better controlled. Organizing feedback is actually a fundamental management principle.
Feedback can be easily integrated into reporting relationships.
Feedback is important at every aggregation level in the organization. Besides providing feedback in the organization’s breadth, vertical loops, i.e., construct cascades of feedback throughout the organization. After all, what is the means for a certain level of the organization is the goal for the next lower level. Feedback can, therefore, be easily integrated into reporting relationships. This makes it important for those who hold leadership or power in the organization.
To properly allocate responsibilities, for example, in the case of delegation and mandate, it is necessary to agree on how to report on the use of that power. It is about giving an account of the assigned responsibility. This is especially the case in vertical relationships. Feedback is, therefore, an instrument for controlling authority relationships.
Feedback can also be applied to continuous performance improvement programs.
Feedback has another application. Organizing feedback loops is an important part of programs for continuous improvement of existing affiliate marketing performance. Feedback is applied to the learning theory. Feedback should be specific, relevant, concise, and prompt. It is about finding the best, and most obvious are areas for improvement.
The entire organization is usually involved in these programs. They focus on increasing the satisfaction of both the internal and the external customer. This is necessary in order to stay ahead of the competition. Here we do not so much look at the vertical relationships, but do everything to optimize the horizontal process flow. This leads to the bottlenecking of progress and improving quality.
- Feedback of information about the delivered performance: provides a vertical reporting relationship with concrete information
- is the basis for process control and corrective action
- is used for process improvement and prevention action.
The informal feedback instruments
At this point, we would like to point out – perhaps unnecessarily – an important informal instrument. These are the expectations of the leader, whether expressed or not. The employee notices how his boss reacts to his affiliate marketing performance, or (unfortunately) does not respond. The saying goes that the master’s eye makes the horse fat. Some leaders manipulate: they speak out (at least not in advance) what is being watched, gaining additional influence through the created uncertainty. The way in which the leader gives feedback is very important. This also applies to the way in which he uses more informal feedback instruments.
Which formal instruments can be used to measure performance?
Measuring performance and giving feedback about it can already be very important for management for several reasons. Traditionally, ‘control’ from vertical relationships has been a well-known example of performance measurement. However, it will have become clear that feedback is more than just control. It also has an important horizontal component: process control and improvement. This horizontal approach is currently receiving a lot of attention. Numerous instruments have been developed for this, one of which, working with indicators or key figures, is central to this.
In large companies, the need for optimize and measure affiliate marketing performance assessment is growing. Consideration is given in advance about which matters feedback is given. It is also clear in advance what level of detail will be used. This is one of the most important elements of organizing feedback. The more and better you organize, the more explicit you can be in advance, and you know better what tools are needed. In practice, four types of instruments are distinguished, each of which is capable of providing feedback.
- inspections; checks
- This is understood to mean the usual checks and measuring points that are applied during the daily process execution to see whether the process or the product meets the specifications.
- This is a periodic and scheduled evaluation by independent persons that is carried out according to a set procedure and with checklists to determine whether a system (e.g., a quality system) has been developed, documented, and installed in accordance with the requirements set on site.
- This tool is used for design assessment. It takes place at an early stage of the design process to optimize suitability for manufacture and use. It is a formal, written, systematic investigation to evaluate the design requirements and to determine whether the design is seafront and complies with it.
- and… indicators
- These are cues collected at predetermined points in the process. The intention is to use these indicators to assess the performance of the process. Examples of indications are the percentage of failure, hours needed for rework, the percentage of B-quality, the percentage of rejected parts, machine downtime, average waiting time at the counter, etc. The characteristic of these indications is that they are indicative. They indicate the existence of a problem and not so much the cause.
There are, therefore, four types of instruments available to meet the need for feedback. With each of these instruments, at least in part, the realization of the effects intended by management can be made visible. Feedback using indicators is just one of these tools. It is this variant that manages to lock up a lot of information in a single clue.
There is now a great need for this. This does not alter the fact that before starting to work with indicators, it must be checked whether the same information can not be obtained better with other instruments. Even if this is not the case, harmonization, or the right mix of instruments in a total information framework must still be pursued.
What is the right mix of instruments to measure affiliate marketing performance?
The choice of instruments depends on a number of factors. The most important, of course, is the actual information requirement. It’s just about finding that tool that can at least provide the data you need. When several instruments can now meet the same need, additional considerations are made.
- the time required to design the instrument
- construction and maintenance costs of the instrument
- timeliness with which the results are obtained
- (after all, it is necessary that the indication comes at a time when intervention can still have an effect)
- the character of the instrument (anticipatory; guiding or correcting; controlling)
- the style of the organization
- The ability to fulfill the conditions of existence of the instrument.
In many cases, the same considerations also apply to the weighing up between one option and the other within a type of instrument. So the trade-off of one check against another, or one indicator against another. The list of factors can also be used to assess existing information systems for their suitability for continued existence.
A critical review often leads to the conclusion that traditional systems are no longer always adequate. We mainly refer to the long processing times of the source data. Moreover, the incorporation of all kinds of information wishes in the past has contributed to the information ultimately delivered being (too) late or insufficiently specific.
Who takes the initiative for a measurement system with indicators?
In the first place, they are interested managers and executives who want to improve their information system because they strive for a better organization’s performance. The horizontal information flow (information about the status of processes) is therefore central. But it can also be managers who strive for greater control. This is more in line with the vertical approach mentioned above. This involves the use of indicators to give concrete substance to a reporting relationship. For example, quality management by objectives is based on this philosophy.
What steps are needed to get started in practice?
In general, an approach that leads to an indicator in three steps is sufficient.
- Determine the so-called preferred search fields. It is also referred to as the performance areas. A search field is an even broad indication of the subject to be viewed. For an organization, the search fields are linked to the strategy and the strategic success conditions. For a department, they are linked to the department’s objectives.
- Subsequently, it is determined – very precisely – which type of information is most meaningful.
- Then it is provided with a target or norm value. Only then is the indicator of a fact.
Using the outlined approach, it is possible to generate maximum information with a minimum of effort.
This introduction to affiliate marketing will teach you everything you need to know to start an online business idea. In this article, we will introduce you to the concept of affiliate marketing and discuss why a small business might need an affiliate program. We will teach you what affiliate marketing is and what it means to join a top affiliate network.
First, we will go over the free affiliate software that is used to create a self-hosted affiliate program. We’ll show you the benefits of affiliate marketing and why people prefer self-hosting affiliate programs to self-hosting affiliate programs over their traditional partners.
If you are not entirely focused on affiliate marketing, but want to add additional revenue to your online efforts, you can add an affiliate link if it makes sense to you. If I have missed any affiliate programs that you believe will help your affiliate generate passive revenue through affiliate marketing, please do not hesitate to mention them in the comments below.
I think that your website visitors and your social media followers can and must benefit from this. If you participate in an affiliate marketing program and select the product you wish to sell, the seller will provide you with an “affiliate code.” Choose the partner marketer of your choice for your company or for one of the partners in your program that you can use to promote your product with your support.
When you start an affiliate program, you should host your own affiliate programs or join affiliate networks. If you are looking for a web or hosting partner, let me know which program works best for you and which one you should join. The higher you pay, the better, but if you’re looking for a low-cost, high-level way to join partner companies hosted on the web, take them.
The first way to use affiliate marketing is for your company to offer affiliates to other companies. As you can see, using affiliate software or a self-hosted affiliate program is a better choice if you want to have more control over the affiliate marketing process. The ability to make a profit from affiliates depends greatly on which affiliates marketing program you work with. If you are willing to make money from affiliate marketing, I encourage you to join the LiveChat affiliate program, which is one of the best affiliate programs available.
Join Dreamhost and benefit from the conversion of your web hosting affiliate program into the industry’s highest. Join an affiliate marketing program with a major provider to generate additional revenue and monetize your blog. Affiliate marketing can be combined with other marketing strategies, such as blogging.
If you are already familiar with the affiliate marketing standards and blog about this topic, you can try a web hosting affiliate program. Commission Factory provides affiliates with everything you need to grow your online affiliate marketing business in Australia. If you are interested in becoming a hosting partner, there are some great affiliate programs for you.
Whether you’re creating a website or blog, making YouTube videos, or building an audience on social media, you can use affiliate marketing to monetize your content. If you want to create an entire affiliate marketing page, sell affiliate products to your email list, add affiliate links to your content, etc.
Although you may not have to sell services or products to earn a commission constantly, there are still some benefits when you use an affiliate marketing program. Here are some of the benefits of affiliates marketing programs through which you can earn profits.
Whether you are a blogger or digital marketer, hoping to earn a side income or monetize your blog or website, affiliate marketing offers benefits and revenue potential for everyone. First, in terms of your own benefits, you should have the ability to create a stable and even growing source of income. There are many different ways to do business through online marketing, but one of them is to make your business part of the affiliate marketing program for your website or blog through affiliate marketing programs.
S Reseller Hosting for Affiliate Marketing is a great way to generate additional revenue and start your business with little or no investment. Success in web hosting affiliate marketing is not an easy task, but it is worth it for many reasons.
For this reason, we have put together some of the best products and companies to help you make the most money as an affiliate marketer. In this guide, you will learn how to build a profitable affiliate marketing business by selling other people’s products.
Now that you know what affiliate marketing is let’s discuss how to start your profitable affiliate marketing business in 6 easy steps. Once you know the basic definition of affiliate marketing, it’s time for you to learn the basics of affiliate advertising and how to create your own affiliate marketing plan in 5 easy steps!
Are you starting your own affiliate marketing business? That is not just anything, and there is quite a bit involved. Okay, registering with the Chamber of Commerce is one thing; it is done in no time. But actually starting an affiliate marketing business is all that comes before and after.
Ensure that you get customers that money is made. It is no secret that 40% of the companies that register with the Chamber of Commerce no longer exist after three years. In this article, I will help you avoid that scenario and tell you everything involved in starting your own business. I also take you through the process based on one example; one of my private companies.
Why do you want to start your own affiliate marketing business?
Everything starts with the ‘Why,’ Simon Sinek would say. Why do you want to do something? Only later will you look at how you will do that and what you are actually going to do. But of course that often goes the other way with real entrepreneurship. You have probably seen an opportunity in the market, or you simply have something that you really like and want to turn it into a company. Whether it is an eshop, a catering company, or a door-to-door hairdresser, it can literally be anything.
In any case, it is important to ask yourself why you actually want to start that company. Starting your own affiliate marketing business is a difficult road from which you only reap the benefits after a while. Many people do not get through the first period because it often turns out to be more difficult than expected. Having a realistic view can help to avoid disappointment. So take a look at how you can correctly estimate your chances.
For example, I was on holiday to Ibiza with a friend. We brought such an air lounger from the Action to relax on the beach. When we were there, many people came to us and asked where we had bought it. We found out that this product was not yet available at all in Ibiza. And so a new business idea was born, selling air loungers in Ibiza!
Market research is essential and can also be a lot of fun.
Before you register at all, you will first be able to see whether what you want to do is desirable. See if there is a chance of success. Of course, that can never be said with certainty, but it can often be said with certainty when something has no chance of success at all—certainly an important step to do some market research. Don’t think too hard about that, either.
You can do market research by talking to your network and asking what they think of your idea. You can launch a survey on Facebook or just address random people on the street. You can also visit your competitors’ websites at this stage to find out what they are offering.
For the air loungers I mentioned earlier, I decided to do some market research through my friends on Facebook. I asked what they thought of the product and what they thought people would pay for it in Ibiza. That way, I could reason whether it was a good plan to buy them. I also used the same network to make choices for the logo, the product, and even found my logistics partner. Sharing is caring.
Share and learn from others.
During your market research, don’t be afraid to reveal your idea. Many people always act secretive when they start an affiliate marketing business. But the truth is, if you’re one of those types, you’re not going to learn anything about the market. Openness is essential. An idea is a start, but not yet a business. It is only a company if something is done with that idea.
Research yourself before starting your own affiliate marketing business
A final part of the research mainly concerns yourself. Find out what your strengths and weaknesses are and prepare yourself for risks in the future. Also, look at your network and financial resources and map this out. This gives you an overview of the chaos, and you may just end up on the part of your network that you had not yet thought would help you further.
Now gather and analyze all the results of your market research and your research. Does this match your assumptions, and is there a chance of success? Then we can proceed to the next step. We can register the company.
With the air loungers, which eventually became Ibiza Loungers, I came to the conclusion that I knew a lot about marketing, sales, and design (logo, etc.) but simply NOTHING about import. From this, I could conclude that a logistics party was needed to advise me. If you don’t investigate yourself, you will only find out later in the process, and that is a huge waste because it will cost you money.
Starting your own business starts at the Chamber of Commerce.
You will register with the Chamber of Commerce. This can be done quite easily. That is why many people who only have an idea do that too. You make an appointment online at the Chamber of Commerce and suggest your company name.
It may be useful to check the trade register beforehand to see if someone is not already registered with the same name because then you can forget about it. Your company name must be unique and should not be confused with competitor company names. That would be unfair.
Is your company name already listed? Then invent a new one, that should be fine.
Legal form for your company
When starting your own affiliate marketing business and registering in the trade register, you will also have to choose a legal form. When you start your first affiliate marketing business, this is most likely a sole proprietorship. Other legal forms such as VOF, BV, NV, or a Foundation are less common in a start-up company but are interesting. However, you will have to read a lot more and be well informed before you start.
In 2017, of the 1.6 million registered companies, more than 1 million were one-person businesses. So the great majority.
Starters day own company
When registering, you will have a chat with someone from the Chamber of Commerce. He will ask you why you want to start your own affiliate marketing business and ensure that you fall into the right category. It will also invite you to attend a starter day where you will learn more about taxes and entrepreneurship. Be sure to do this. These days are the start of your professional network and help you to understand the affiliate marketing business. Starting your own business is difficult enough, so support for each other is welcome.
After registering with the Chamber of Commerce, you must submit your VAT return every quarter (in case of a sole proprietorship). Look for a few tutorials and screen the website of the tax authorities. Then it should be all work. Would you rather outsource that accounting? I have a friend who is an accountant, does a top job;). Now on to the interesting part of starting your own business!
Get started with actually starting your own business.
I can talk about it long or short, but I have seen so many times that people in my area wanted to start their own business, but the idea was not converted into an activity. The reason for this was often that it got stuck with fear of the rules and legislation. When it feels like it would be too difficult to implement or the risks it entails.
The reality is often that you will indeed fail if you start your own business. That cannot be prevented. You start on something new, and then mistakes are made. The most important thing is to accept that and estimate in advance. When you do that, you accept the mistakes and realize that we all have to start somewhere. Only then do you actually get to work instead of always remaining an unrealized idea?
The first steps as an entrepreneur
Now is the time to start doing affiliate marketing business! Here it obviously differs enormously per company how this is worked out. In general, you can say that you first have to get customers before the money is made. Or there must first be something to sell. But assuming you have already arranged the latter, now is the time for business because those customers do not come naturally.
Do you already have a logo, business cards, website, linked-in profile, press release, Facebook page, or folders? It’s time to take your ‘brand’ out into the world. Shout it from the rooftops and let everyone know you’ve started a business. This will no doubt help you with your first customers. In many cases, those first customers are acquaintances of acquaintances.
Make sure everyone knows about it, and you’ve started!
For the Ibiza Loungers, we made a logo, printed t-shirts, and caps, and had our own beach flags made. We wanted to make sure everyone would see us at the Ibiza beach sale. Now it was time to sell!
Conclusion starting your own business
I have already started (and stopped) several companies myself. I fell hard a few times (read this story), but got up just a little more often. And that is entrepreneurship. The way is not always clear, but when you start, you will find out automatically. Sometimes it is the process of trial and error in which you learn the most and can achieve the most. This means that starting your own business is not for everyone. After all, not everyone can motivate or discipline themselves enough to go through that process.
And just to recap, the steps to take into account when starting your own business are the following.
- Put the why, how and what on paper
- Share your plans
- Research the market
- Examine yourself
- Choose a legal form
- Register with the Chamber of Commerce
- Visit a starters day
- Provide visibility
- Find customers
- Business through trial and error
Good luck with starting your own business!
What is content marketing? It seems such a simple question, but an answer cannot be given entirely unilaterally. That first word, content, is a collective term. Affiliate marketing, too, by the way. With content marketing, I managed to attract 25,000 visitors a month to this website. Every month and I don’t have to pay for that. Not to mention the turnover that all those people generate. In this article, I discuss what content marketing is and how you apply it successfully.
What is content marketing?
So let’s break down the concept into content and marketing. Content can be a web text, article, infographic, video, vlog, case study, blog, e-book, webinar, statistics, review, or news story.
If you thought that content marketing always comes out in the form of a blog article, then you are wrong. The word ‘marketing’ means that we use the content for marketing a product or service. We, therefore, use the content instead of, or in addition to, advertisements.
In practice, content marketing comes down to a blog on someone’s website or a YouTube channel full of instructional videos. In almost all cases, it concerns free, accessible content to reach as many people as possible. The goal is to help, advise, and bind the potential customer by providing free content.
Content marketing example
If we had to put content marketing in a marketing funnel, it would be somewhere at the beginning. To explain that, I give you an example below.
“Imagine you sell hairbrushes. Then your content marketing strategy could look like this. You have an article or a video explaining how to get tangles out of the hair. In it, you give all the useful free tips. When a potential customer suffers from tangles, they search on Google ‘How do I get tangles out of my hair?’.
Your article or video on how to remove tangles will then be found. The potential customer reads the article or watches the video and finds the tips useful. Then he finds out that you not only have good content but also sells brushes (gosh, what a coincidence!). Because the potential customer is grateful for your tips and feels connected by reading or watching, they decide to buy from you.”
The above example is how content marketing is applied in most cases. That is also the case on this website. I provide all the free information that I know is valuable to my website visitors. If they then want to know more, they can proceed to purchase a product or register on my mailing list.
For whom is content marketing (not) interesting?
Not every company can apply content marketing. But for 99% of the cases, content marketing is applicable and effective. With content marketing, you can show in an accessible way that you are the expert in what you do. In many cases, setting up is relatively cheap, and not applying it is, therefore, a shame. Many entrepreneurs find it difficult to figure out how content marketing can be applied within their company. Therefore, below are four specific examples of how this can be done.
Example 1: From funeral chapel to dormer
A company that sells dormer windows offers an e-book on its website called: “How do you ensure that your dormer window does not become a funeral chapel?”. Website visitors can download this e-book free of charge in exchange for their email address. After reading the e-book, they will be followed up by email. Super smart because, in this way, you split a big decision (buying a dormer) into small steps. The e-book also helps to inform the potential customer, who most likely has no understanding of dormer windows.
Example 2: Flower arrangement videos
A company that sells flowers has a YouTube channel with a weekly video about flower arranging. Those interested will find these videos and become connected with the woman who gives the free flower arrangement tutorial videos. They then no longer buy their flowers from the local florist, but from ‘the woman they know from the videos’.
Example 3: Blogs about depression in the workplace
A company that offers to coach employees struggling with depression has blogs online with topics such as “Ten Ways to Deal With Depression in the Workplace”. Employers find these blogs in their search via Google. They find the information useful and then turn to this coach to help them further.
Example 4: Press release about birth announcements
A company that sells birth announcements makes a press release about the most common baby names of that year. They send this press release to newspapers and are published with their name—a good way for such a company to build brand awareness without having to pay for it.
Don’t forget the call-to-action
Depending on your business, you can see which content marketing strategy fits best. If you want to start with content marketing yourself, you must include the ‘Return On Investment ‘. When I looked back at how I started with content marketing, I saw that I got a lot of website visitors, and only a single customer came out. I was then able to learn that, no matter how much you give away for free, you do well to ask people if you can help them further actively.
You do this by placing calls-to-actions. You can do this by asking if someone wants more information if they want to subscribe to your mailing list or directly refer this person to your sales page. In any case, always make sure that there is the next step around your content. This naturally leads to a higher return.
Why content marketing has so many benefits
Besides the fact that content marketing is free or relatively cheap compared to advertisements, there are even more advantages. Of course, by sharing free content, you will come across as an authority in your field to your potential customer. But not only your potential customer will see you as an authority. Google does that too. And that has the significant advantage that when you share more content, Google will place your entire website higher in Google (including your sales pages). Content marketing is, therefore, the best way to work on your SEO / ranking.
Outsource content marketing
Now that you have a clear idea of what content marketing content is, you can get started. If you don’t like it yourself, you can also outsource your content marketing. Self blog I for multiple companies, and get massive results there (often 1000% more website visitors).
Content marketing is downright trendy, and that sometimes requires creative solutions. What works great in one market won’t work elsewhere. Do you have no idea where to start? Read more posts on our blog.
Focus on the essentials with key performance indicators. Developing KPIs is not easy. There you are. You have to determine suitable indicators or adapt to the existing ones. How you should approach, that is much less. As soon as you delve into the problem, more and more questions arise.
How do I find suitable KPIs?
How do I know if existing indicators are still useful? When does it make sense to work with key performance indicators, and when is it useless or even counterproductive? And what degrees of freedom do I have when developing a performance measurement system such as a Balanced Scorecard?
These are not easy questions, and there is not always an unambiguous answer. In this article for ManagementSite, we discuss several common problems and how to tackle them based on some real cases from our practice.
Placing your own accents within a larger whole
A subsidiary of an American multinational has developed a series of KPIs in recent years. Management somewhat euphemistically called this their ‘Balanced Scorecard’.
But in fact, it was nothing more than a patchwork of numbers that had once proved useful. It concerned more than 80 indicators that were kept on six different PCs in all kinds of spreadsheets. There was actually no ‘system’ for dealing systematically with those indicators. Some indicators had even fallen into disrepair and were no longer properly tracked.
The usefulness of others was increasingly questioned. On the other hand, no indicators were available for certain, strategically important activities and developments.
The management team, therefore, decided to build a new system from scratch. The starting point was the question: what is essential to know whether you are doing well as a company? We initially focused on the indicators that each management team member should be aware of and which should also be regularly discussed in the management committee.
First, we critically examined all quantitative information that had to be passed on to America’s parent company. Every month it concerned dozens of figures, mainly of a financial nature.
We could use two figures as KPI: the headcount and the total turnover per quarter.
Based on the other figures, we created five additional key performance indicators that captured its essence.
We also developed our ‘own’ mission, vision, and strategy for the subsidiary. Of course, this local strategic framework was consistent with that of the parent company, but was much more specific and had its own emphasis. And above all: it lent itself well to attach a number of specific indicators, for example, about its own innovation capacity and about the contribution to the group’s European turnover.
This exercise yielded sixteen indicators, mainly related to activities and results that should evolve in the coming years.
2 questions to all services and departments about KPI’s
The third source of indicators resulted from the bottom-up approach. We asked the same two questions to all services and departments – production, sales, administration:
(1) “On what basis will you be able to say within a few years that the effectiveness and efficiency of your service/department have improved?”; and
(2) “How can you prove that you have met set goals and externally imposed requirements?” Based on these questions’ answers, the number of key indicators was determined for each service and department. The number varied between two and eight. This also formed the core of their own dashboard for each group. Some of these key performance indicators (for sales and production) were also included in the executive committee’s set of indicators.
KPI – Examples of Key Performance Indicators
End result: a dashboard of 28 indicators for the executive committee. Of these, 11 are discussed monthly, 13 per quarter, and 4 once a year. The four executive committee members now have a joint overview of all important developments in the company.
Common insight has grown, and the management team comes to joint decisions more quickly. In addition to the common indicators, each board member also has his ‘own’ set.
This consists of the indicators of the services and departments that report to him. This has resulted in a coherent system in which all critical aspects of business operations are covered with a reasonable measurement effort.
Building a barrier against the abundance of information
Some time ago, there was some grumbling within the board of directors of a large university of applied sciences about a large number of figures the governing body was confronted within just about every meeting. At meetings, agenda items were lined up with full pages of tables on student numbers, details of income and expenditure, lists of projects, etc. Once a year followed the annual report, peat of 150 pages chock-full of data.
In fact, the board members were inundated with information that they could not always properly interpret. Therefore, the board of directors asked the management to compile a dashboard that would contain a maximum of 20 indicators, focusing on the strategic challenges of the university college. The administration asked a project group to work on this.
In the working group, we quickly established that our assignment was anything but obvious. A limitation to 20 indicators meant that choices had to be made about what was a priority and what was not. It implied that not all important aspects of a particular theme could be covered with indicators. Take the theme of ‘internationalization’.
Before that, six indicators had already existed in the university college for a long time. But there was only room for two in the dashboard. Which one to choose? That was not an easy discussion, but in the end, we settled it.
The working group also discovered another problem: in the different services and departments, there were already a lot of figures and indicators in use, but often with slightly different definitions and calculation methods.
That is why those figures could not simply be compared with each other. So there was not only a need for focus at the highest level, but also for more coherence and mutual comparability of data at the lower levels in the company.
The exercise eventually took a whole year. In the end, we succeeded in clocking down on 23 indicators, slightly higher than the number that had been set by the board of directors. But the qualitative objective was achieved: a clear set of indicators that were very relevant to the management level of the university college.
We were guided by a number of principles in the development of the dashboard with KPIs.
What to consider when choosing Key Performance Indicators?
- First and foremost: make a clear distinction between indicators for the board of directors and the other (additional) indicators for internal use. In practice, this led to several mutually consistent sets of indicators in the university college. If you want an example of key performance indicators, many indicators at the board of directors level are an aggregation of the indicators used at the level of the training courses. The calculations for both types of indicators are now done in exactly the same way (and even by the same person).
- A second important principle was to establish the regularity with which the indicators should be discussed. After all, not all indicators need to be discussed at every meeting of the board of directors. In addition, some can only be calculated once or twice a year. Our exercise resulted from the 23 indicators, 15 are calculated and discussed only once a year, and most others, only 2 or 3 times. By dividing the annual key performance indicators’ discussion over several meetings, only 5 to 8 indicators are covered at each meeting. This leads to meaningful discussions and also ensures that all indicators are thoroughly discussed at least once a year.
- The third principle: always compare each indicator value with previous values and present this time series graphically. This place facilitates a discussion of the trend evolution: Are we on track? Is the trend going in the right direction (and if not, why not)? Does it look like we will meet our medium-term goal? This principle’s application required that past values had to be (re) calculated retroactively for all new indicators. That was not an easy job; for some indicators, it was also not possible due to lack of data. But the effort was worth it and was greatly appreciated by the board of directors.
- The fourth principle was that the dashboards of the services and departments should always contain the relevant KPIs from the set for the board of directors (usually after ‘disaggregation’: if the indicator at board level contains a total value for the entire university college, then the departmental indicator is the departmental total). Dashboards for services and departments can also contain specific indicators; that are even encouraged. By implementing this principle, all related indicators are calculated identically. This has resulted in more transparency and even less discussion about the redistribution of resources between the programs.
The fact that many KPIs from the board of directors’ dashboard are already available ‘disaggregated’ provides an additional advantage in practice. Suppose questions arise about certain evolutions, e.g., the increase in absenteeism. In that case, it is often sufficient to look at the lower levels’ indicators to determine whether this is a general problem or whether it is mainly situated in certain services.
The system has been in operation for about one year now. Not only the board of directors reaps the benefits. The development of the dashboard has also led to more focus on strategic issues and more transparency in the operation of the university of applied sciences.
Avoid long lists of KPIs.
We conclude this contribution with a common problem: indicators that relate to short-term realizations. It concerns many examples of key performance indicators, the start-up or completion of (mutually different) activities, the production of (each time different) outputs, the launch of (different) initiatives, etc. Businesses or services in which these types of activities are central and have to develop KPIs tend to determine one or more key performance indicators for each of those activities.
This leads to endless lists of indicators, which are often both trivial and virtually worthless once the activity has been completed. There are companies, especially in the public sector, where hundreds of such indicators have been introduced “Because we simply need to have KPIs for our activities.” It is then (rightly!) Complained that there are far too many indicators and that they provide little insight.
If you are confronted with dozens or hundreds of activities and need to develop an insightful set of KPIs for them, don’t fall into the trap of creating an indicator for each of those activities. The operationally engaged people in those activities do not need an indicator that is trivial to them.
Those directly responsible also know that an activity has been completed. And those a little further from the operational does not care about long lists of binary indicators.
Then what can you do? In such situations, the most meaningful approach seems to be to work with ‘meta-indicators’. The key is to group related activities and then indicate how many of them have been realized that meet a certain common criterion (timely, flawless, according to specifications, etc.). Suppose you have to deliver nine different reports within the year.
You could create two KPIs for each report separately, one that indicates whether the report is ready on time and a second that indicates whether any further corrections were needed. This method creates no less than indicators.
A better alternative appears to be two meta-indicators, which then lead to indicator values such as ‘7 of the 9 reports were ready on time’ and ‘8 of the 9 reports did not require any subsequent corrections’.
Meta-indicators, therefore, provide a general picture of a situation. They have the added advantage that they also last for several years (“Last year we reached our target for 10 out of 12 campaigns, but this year it is only so for 7 out of 11″). If negative trends are observed, it is possible to zoom in on those groups and activities that cause less good overall results.
Conclusion KPI – key performance indicators
Targeted implementation of indicators in your business can deliver real added value: better insight, greater internal cohesion, and faster and better decisions. But when used inappropriately, it causes annoyance, bureaucracy, and even perverse and evasive behavior.
So work in a focused way and always keep focusing on the essentials: what information we need to make good decisions or be sufficiently sure that we are evolving in the desired direction.