Affiliate Marketing for Ecommerce: 10 Ways to Boost Your Sales

For ecommerce business owners, it’s hard to ignore the power of affiliate marketing. By 2020, U.S. affiliate marketing spending is expected to rise to $6.8 billion.

By leveraging the power of influencers, knowing which products to promote, and creating ad campaigns to support your affiliate’s work, you’ll see a significant growth in sales. Join the 81 percent of brands utilizing affiliate marketing and implement these 10 tips to increase revenue.

Partner with a Reliable Affiliate Marketing Tool

Be connected to affiliates in your niche by using an affiliate marketing tool. Some of the more prominent affiliate marketing tools for ecommerce include Amazon, Avantlink, Clickbank, Impact Radius, Rakuten, and ShareASale. These companies play the middleman between you and the affiliates, introducing you to how affiliate marketing works and helping you launch or improve your affiliate marketing.

Build a Strong Commission Structure

Offering a solid commission will greatly increase the quality of affiliate marketers who want to work with you. An average ecommerce affiliate commission rate should be somewhere between 5 and 15 percent. Several factors play a role in what the affiliate commission should be, including:

  • Industry
  • Price and product margin.
  • Value of the affiliate partner.

If you’re just starting out, building a strong commission rate is more likely to attract quality affiliates. Another affiliate marketing trend is to check out competitors in your niche and launch your program with the strongest commissions you can afford to pay. You can also create custom commission structures for different affiliates as you aren’t locked into only using your public offering.

Since affiliate commissions are paid after the sale, you can factor in your cost of goods sold (COGS), profit margin, and affiliate commissions to generate a solid return on investment.

Find Influencers to Promote your Products

Image Source: Google.com

Find websites and affiliate bloggers whose audiences fall in line with your target market and invite them to become an affiliate. Paid products like Linkdex and AffiliateRecruitment.com can help connect you with potential affiliates whose blog or site falls in line with your needs. You can also try a basic Google search of what you would consider your target audience.

To connect with influencers, you can use cold email templates to reach out to them. Make sure to follow up and get their attention by providing competitive commission rates, free products, and other incentives to join your program.

Connect with your Affiliates Regularly

Keep open communication with your affiliates. They should know about upcoming product launches, products you’re promoting on social media, banner ads, and product feature videos. Ask what they need from you to make conversions easier. You can set a standard monthly meeting so that you talk with them regularly.

You should also provide them with the best converting landing pages, offers, and bonus incentives to entice them to promote you. If a specific affiliate is driving a ton of ecommerce orders, make sure to reward them with better commissions, exclusive deals, or free products.

Make sure to diversify the number of affiliates that you work with too. You don’t want to be too reliant on a small handful of affiliates, but have a wide range of partners so that you’re income remains steady if one decides to leave your program.

Focus on High AOV Products

Image Source: athleta.gap.com

According to recent statistics, top performing ecommerce businesses have an average order value of $82. Increase revenue by letting your affiliates know which products bring in the highest AOV, and concentrate on those products. The affiliate can promote the products and direct traffic to your site, but to generate conversions and increase your AOV with offers, follow these steps:

  • Free shipping threshold (free shipping on all orders over $50): A retail study shows 9 out of 10 online shoppers report free shipping is the top incentive to get them to make a purchase.
  • Minimum spend discount: Shoppers like to feel like they’re getting a deal. Incentivize with a discount scale. For example, get 10% off orders over $50, or get 20% off orders over $100.
  • Offer first-time buyer discount: Encourage your new customers to make their first purchase by offering a 10-20 percent off coupon when they offer their email address.

Seasonal Shopping

There were 58 $1 billion-plus days in online sales between November and December of 2017. Create a seasonal shopping promotions calendar and share it with your affiliates. Build around Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday 2017 was the largest online shopping day in U.S. history, raking in $6.59 billion. Top sellers on Cyber Monday included:

  • Video game systems.
  • Toys (collectible figurines, Hatchimals).
  • Apple AirPods.
  • Streaming devices (Google Chromecast and Roku).
  • Video games.

Concentrate your seasonal promotions calendar on items for which you have fully stocked inventory, “re-released” items (last season’s quantities you need to sell), or a new product launch. Many ecommerce merchants dedicate one week every month to a promotion, so make sure to stay on top of retail holidays and times of the year when you should be offering discounts.

Create Text and Banner Ads

Whether your promotions calendar is centered around the holidays or your business cycle, building a text and banner ad campaign to coincide with what your affiliates are promoting drives customer decision-making.

  • Users who are retargeted with banner ads are 70 percent more likely to convert.
  • Banner ads have a 33 percent higher response rate than billboards.

Create effective banner ads to complement the traffic from affiliate marketing with these four tips:

  • Have clear branding. If online shoppers can’t tell who is advertising to them, they will not click through to your site.
  • Keep it simple. Being concise with your message will stick with consumers.
  • Use animation. It’s hard to ignore motion on a screen, so if it works for your brand, incorporate animation in the banner ads.
  • Include a call-to-action. Online users will follow your lead. Give them a next step to take.

Social Media Promotion

Use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to push the products your affiliates are promoting. Surround your affiliate marketing campaign with attention-grabbing photos, product reviews, or launch videos. Be sure to share content posted from your affiliates that promotes your products.

Use Cashback & Loyalty Sites

Cashback and loyalty sites are popular with online shoppers because of coupons and cashback incentives. These loyalty sites offer customers a portion of the commission you give them for sales, so they build a loyal customer base. They also generate a huge amount of traffic and can drive significant sales to your product pages.

Leverage Coupon Sites

Coupon affiliate marketing allows you to work with several sites rather than having a one-on-one situation. You provide your promo code or affiliate link—traditionally used to track conversions so affiliates get credit for conversions—to an affiliate network that then hands it off to large coupon websites.

Try-Shopify

Your brand reach grows dramatically with coupon affiliate sites as you have the power to reach online shoppers you never would otherwise. Some of the most used coupon affiliate marketing sites include:

Keep in mind these affiliates are coupon sites, so you’ll need to offer a discount to use the service.

Affiliate Marketing for Ecommerce: Summary

Shoppers will continue to turn to the internet and influencers to guide their ecommerce purchases. Remember, affiliates are representing your brand, so make sure they align with your core values and image. Understanding which affiliate tools to trust and how to incorporate affiliate marketing into your overall sales tactics will enhance your ecommerce business and drive more sales.

Featured image by Fada

Adam Enfroy

Adam Enfroy

Adam Enfroy is the Affiliate Partnerships Manager at BigCommerce. He is passionate about leveraging the right strategic partnerships and software to scale digital growth. Adam lives in Austin, TX and writes about affiliate marketing at adamenfroy.com.