B2B affiliate marketing aims to increase leads.
When we run a business, our goal is to keep attracting people that will patronize the business. As you know, leads aren’t random potential clients. They are prospects that are most likely going to become committed customers.
This is why businesses commit a lot of effort to ensuring that they boost lead generation. Some of these efforts include sending email newsletters and even TV ads. However, we will be looking at one often neglected strategy and how to use it to boost lead generation.
This is one concept that many individuals haven’t quite understood. No wonder many businesses overlook it or use it wrongly. Let’s briefly explain the concept before we go on.
Affiliate marketing is a marketing strategy that businesses employ to have other entities to promote their business. These entities are known as publishers and they earn a commission for each lead they provide.
Interestingly, many B2C companies have made use of this strategy for several years. In recent times, B2B companies are beginning to realize how potent it is, hence, its adoption. Let’s look at some tips to help you generate more leads using this strategy.
If you have not considered starting a B2B affiliate program, you should set one up today. When you look at it critically from a business angle, it makes a lot of financial sense. Asides from this, it performs very well too. While considering the idea, here are a few tips to help you get the best of B2B affiliate marketing.
Just as you would for any business or marketing campaign, you must set a clear goal from the onset. We all know that the aim, in the end, is to boost sales. The issue here is that different businesses have different methods of generating their sales. It all boils down to the business’ sales funnel.
Certain businesses have their products on their website. Customers simply need to click on the products they want, add them to a cart, and pay. Other businesses prefer that customers fill a form, sign up for their newsletter, or put a call through. The question you must answer is, “what process do I want my customers to go through?”
Answering this question gives you a list of steps. With these, you can define the most valuable points. Now, you can determine commissions for these important points. Here’s a simple example to make this point clearer.
Let’s say that you need more emails on your list. You wouldn’t be giving commissions to your publishers for people they direct to your website. Rather, you would give them commissions for anyone that submits emails through their link. The idea behind an affiliate program is paying for the value that you need. As such, you must consider the exact “value points” in your sales funnel that you should pay for.
Since we are discussing how to boost lead generation, you should consider points like:
The question here is, “how much is this affiliate marketing program worth to you?” Your best bet is to come up with the value of a “Cost Per Action.” This refers to how much you want to spend on each value point. A typical example will be the amount that you are willing to part with for each email subscriber.
Of course, this value varies with different businesses because they have different expectations and budgets. What you should be looking at is how your CPA values impact your business. This will allow you to decide the value for each value point.
For example, you have three steps in your sales funnel, visiting your blog, email subscription, and product purchase from emails. While all these steps are valuable, the last two seem to bring in more value. Here’s how you could allot value for each of these points:
You must always seek to strike a balance between how much you are paying and your profit. If you pay publishers excessively, you’d be reducing your ROI. However, not paying enough will result in fewer leads since the incentive is poor. A lot of trial and error is expected before you achieve that balance that suits your publishers and business.
You cannot have a successful affiliate marketing campaign without the right publishers. With the wrong publishers, you are at risk of very few leads or poor-quality leads. How do you locate the right publishers?
Begin by looking within your niche. Let’s say that you run a business that meets the needs of small businesses. Using affiliates that have college interns or big-time CEOs as their audience wouldn’t work for you.
Another thing you should look at is the track record of the publisher. Do they have a good history of being affiliates with other businesses? To answer this question, you have to surf through their website to locate any past affiliate offerings. If there are any, then you are assured of the person’s experience.
The truth is that the number of affiliates in the market these days is becoming larger. This is because the idea of affiliate programs has come to stay. As such, you can’t pick the first publisher you see, you need to investigate first. Don’t forget to choose based on the goals that you set earlier in the process.
Great job, you have a few publishers to work with but your task doesn’t end here. In affiliate marketing, you must do all that you can for your publishers to succeed. If they succeed, you’d be the one enjoying the benefits as well.
One way to help them out is by sending them resources and materials describing your products or services. Ensure that they have sufficient details about the benefits that your products or services bring to the table. You should also share details about your target audience. This way, they know where to promote your business and what to say about your products or services.
Providing your publishers with top-quality media is also a welcome idea.
For example, you can give affiliates video testimonials, explainer videos along with high-quality images. All they have to do is pass these media along to their audiences. Other materials you can provide include banners and, in some cases, discount codes.
Another way to make your publishers succeed is to ensure that leads convert easily. Here’s a simple example. If one of your value points is an email subscription, the form should be one of the first things that pop up. It shouldn’t take surfing your website for 10 minutes before the form appears.
While your publishers are working hard to send you leads, you must do your part to make conversion easy. If you don’t, publishers will notice soon and move on to other businesses.
B2B affiliate marketing isn’t as difficult as you think. It yields amazing results but it is important to track yours so that you can make adjustments where necessary. Follow through with this guide and let us know where we can help.
Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo! News and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.