Digital Age Expertise: Effective Affiliate Marketing

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The product or service you sell is only a piece of the puzzle, it’s all about generating traffic and offering value.

Sometimes the marketing and sales structure surrounding that keystone product or service is the determinant of your business success.  Marketing techniques in the digital age are constantly evolving, and affiliate marketing is one that’s increasing in popularity.

By generating a large number of affiliates, marketers realize a greater return, thereby increasing the bottom line. While that may seem like a simple concept, many fail their first few times around.

There are several questions to ask before heading down the road of affiliate marketing.  To start: “Is it useful?”  Followed closely by “Will visitors return?” Let me answer those for you.

Take a Look Around

There are several examples of affiliate marketing sites that are innovative and interesting. Many of them began with a simple idea and expanded into empires that have loyal followers because they continue to provide useful ideas, information and sources.  In short, they offer value.

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One of the best is allkids.co.uk, which was launched in 1999 as an online information source. There was no intent (at the time) for this site to become a profit center. Today, It’s a prime source of information for kids products and services, up-to-date, and ever-changing.  It is also a huge source or revenue for those who sell their products through them.

There are several lessons to be learned from this site. First, there was a need. Second, the site met that need, built on that foundation, and stayed relevant.  Third, the site is attractive, simple and easy to navigate.  It does not “shout,” but it is viewed as authoritative and trustworthy.

Another site that is worth visiting is Osoyou.com. It’s visually exciting, fun, hip, and always new. It directs the user easily to merchants, offers great deals, and generates sales for its participants.

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By employing key social marketing tools and a subtle sense of urgency, the site allows users to “experience” their potential purchases. It takes the traditional shopping site in a great new direction.

Does It All Seem Daunting?

Keeping up with social media, new campaigns, worldwide trends, instantaneous effects, and all the associated concerns of business management is often overwhelming. Affiliate marketing sites often assist by curating available options for online choices. Sites such as VirtualHosting.com provides resources business owners, and likewise benefits the affiliates by offering honest and fair appraisals in one place.

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Occasionally, a personal story leads to success for an affiliate marketing site. Alex’s Coupons was launched 1999 by a father on a personal mission to raise cash for Christmas presents for his daughter who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. The campaign raised $400. As people read the story however, and began using the site, it morphed into a “cause” and now, more than a decade later, the site is active.

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It still offers good coupon deals, and has donated thousands of dollars to childhood cancer causes and numerous other charities.  The story is told through a link on the site, and recounts the founder’s very personal journey, not only through childhood illness but through business setbacks as well.

Formulas Differ for Effective Sites

Another visually appealing site that also offers a unique take on the affiliate marketing is mydeco.com It puts the consumer at the controls with the ability to utilize links and product information to visualize specific looks in specific rooms of their homes. It also provides news and information to designers and homeowners. The site offers tips and advice, and promises new information and bargain each time you return. What could be more enticing?

Because of the way the menu board is organized, visitors can use it as a catalogue, simply “flipping the pages” to view available products in a single category or clicking on a specific product offerings.

My Deco, because of its somewhat unique set-up and options, is the epitome of what unique, effective affiliate marketing is all about — it engages users, encourages multiple ways of using the available information and almost brings visitors back.  Finally, borrowing from social media marketing, My Deco allows visitors to “follow” specific affiliates or to request personal notification of future sales and price adjustments.

One Site Does — Most

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A sixth site worth looking at is Bargainist. Everybody loves saving money, and by visiting this site, that’s what you can do. According to its “About Us” page, it’s updated several times a day with coupons, freebies and tips from hundreds of sources. You could spend a lot of time of this site, but you’ll always save money because it’s so simple and it doesn’t appear gimmicky.  It’s straightforward and easy to use.  Again, it delivers.

And that’s exactly what good affiliate marketing sites are designed to do.

Carolyn.H is a blogger who absolutely loves to write about business and marketing related topics – when she isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking and she often hosts dinner parties for herself and friends.

About the author

Carolyn Hamilton