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Modern small business owners operate in a climate rich with marketing opportunities. In the past, advertising and promotions were limited to a few platforms, such as print media, radio, TV, billboards, and a number of additional low-impact methods for spreading the word about goods and services.In stark contrast, striking out in the information age gives entrepreneurs a much wider palette for conducting marketing campaigns.

Advances in technology and shifts in the way people digest information have forever altered the consumer landscape. Though the changes complicate matters for marketers, who must now account for many more modes of contact than they once did, the evolution of business marketing has also created prime opportunities for entrepreneurs. Among the promotional alternatives available for modern sellers, affiliate marketing can be an efficient way to close sales and build your brand. 

A Little Help from Your Friends

Business leaders with something to say can now share via more channels than ever before. And with a vast number of communications connections linking consumers, the modern audience plays a prominent role in promotion. Customers have always shared reviews and experiences by word of mouth, but the flow of information was once limited by the means available for spreading it. Those limitations have largely been lifted for modern marketers, dramatically
reshaping how businesses reach their customers.

Affiliate marketing is one way business owners cut through the chatter, reaching their audiences with help from external partners, willing to promote sales.

The more people you can get talking about your business, the better chance you have of reaching listeners, eager to spend money supporting your brand. Despite your best marketing efforts, you may experience a problem plaguing
many modern sellers: people talk about everything these days, diluting the impact of your message. Affiliate marketing is a flexible promotions strategy you can use to spread the word more efficiently, getting out your brand messages
to the people most likely to buy.

An affiliate marketing campaign partners your business with bloggers, influencers, organizations, and other website owners willing to market your products and drive traffic to your site. These affiliates are then paid a commission for each conversion. In effect, your affiliates act as a commission-only sales team, bringing business your way, for a fee.

Embracing the Benefits of Affiliate Arrangements

Effective small business marketing is a multi-pronged effort. Within a comprehensive framework for promoting their ventures, a vast majority of business owners polled identified affiliates as an important part of their overall marketing strategies. In addition to backing its theoretical value, spending is also on the rise among affiliate marketing devotees. The industry is expected to represent nearly $7 billion by 2020.

Your small business marketing returns may improve with a boost from affiliate marketing. Some of the advantages of working with affiliates include these gains:

  • Payments Are Made After Sales Close – Small business owners like commission structures, because the sales team doesn’t get paid until they close a deal. Commission compensation gives operators greater cash flow flexibility, and allows businesses to expand their reach, without substantial up-front investment. Maintaining an affiliate network puts boots on the ground, promoting your business, without the customary costs of staffing a sales team.
  • Affiliate Marketing Scales Easily – The high cost of traditional marketing is disadvantageous. It’s easy to sink a lot of money into a strategy, only to find it doesn’t produce the desired results. By the time you recognize you’re barking up the wrong tree, it’s often too late to recoup your investment. Affiliate marketing solves the problem, because it scales easily, enabling you to wade in slowly. With real time feedback (sales) showing how you’re doing, you can tweak your
    affiliate network, expand it, or take other measures to improve your marketing performance.
  • Affiliates Definitely Drive Sales – A substantial share of buyers encounter affiliates during the sales process. And affiliate marketing now drives just as many ecommerce sales as email does. That means a cost-effective affiliate strategy is a powerful force you can use to build revenue. According to one marketing report, nearly three-fourths of consumers who are already on the path to a purchase still slow down long enough to visit three related, nonretail sites before following through with the purchase. Each site they visit represents a chance to connect through affiliate channels.
  • Better Brand Discovery – Affiliate marketing was once valued only for providing additional avenues by which to sell. With the growth of online content publishing and consumers’ increased savvy sourcing purchases, an unanticipated benefit adds further value to affiliate campaigns. In addition to driving sales referrals, it turns out the cost-effective marketing strategy also does a good job building brand awareness. If you’re not active with affiliates, you may not be giving customers enough opportunities to discover your brand.
  • Strong ROI – Measuring return on investment is one way to evaluate the efficacy of marketing campaigns. Though isolating cause and effect relationships and arriving at meaningful figures can sometimes be elusive in the world of
    marketing, affiliate programs are some of the easiest promotions to track. With real-time access to tracking data, you know exactly when links are clicked and when people visit your website. Along with sales performance, you can also track other types of conversions, such as the number of times visitors fill out forms
    or sign up for email updates.

Business stakeholders have countless opportunities to make contact with consumers, but they must measure their efforts carefully, or risk pouring promotional resources down the drain. Affiliate marketing can help sellers and service providers make money in today’s crowded promotions environment – without spending too much to convert. If you haven’t explored the value of this cost-effective strategy, you may be missing opportunities to connect with your audience.

sprout-fundingThe Sprout Funding blog offers tips, reports, insights and other ideas to help small business owners learn and grow. Have a question for our team? Email us at: info@getsproutfunding.com, and tell us how we can help you.
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