Affiliate marketing, or “influencer marketing”, is quickly becoming the go-to marketing strategy for B2C marketing. Around 62% of consumers trust influencer recommendations, over their favorite celebrities, and social media is king in the consumer marketing space. It’s easy to find affiliate marketing agencies in the B2C marketing industry.
Despite this success, affiliate marketing has yet to build up the same traction in the B2B marketing industry. Many marketers don’t realize that the benefits of affiliate marketing can extend into the B2B space.
Affiliate marketing relies on the trust that an affiliate or partner has generated within their audience. Ideally, that will be the same audience you’re looking to target.
However, affiliate marketing is about more than just contacting a partner and asking them to push your product. You need an affiliate marketing strategy that employs a variety of marketing approaches to harness that trust, and makes the most out of your relationship with your partners. An affiliate marketing agency can help with this, but it’s important to know what to look for in a partner.
Affiliate Marketing in B2B Tech
It’s easy to assume that affiliate marketing only really performs in the B2C space, given its success. The truth is, B2B marketers have yet to realize its full potential. B2B and B2C approaches differ, and you can’t assume that what works in one industry, will work in the other. Fortunately, affiliate marketing shares similarities with many B2B marketing approaches.
Due to the lengthy sales cycles and the need to educate an audience on the solution in the tech industry – the inbound methodology is favored among marketers. The primary goal of B2B inbound marketing is to identify and discuss problems in the space, and educate buyers on the solutions. Content marketing ensures that you become a thought leader in the industry, and a trusted resource for your buyers.
Affiliate marketing can achieve similar results. Content and inbound marketing are relatively slow-paced. It can take 6-9 months to see results after the deployment of a new strategy. Affiliates can help you to reach your intended audience with the best quality content, now. Whether for lead generation, or conversions, affiliate marketing helps to expedite your content and inbound marketing efforts.
Your buyers trust your affiliate’s opinion, and this should be used to build a relationship with your target audience.
Why you Need a Partner
So you want to build an affiliate or partner program, where do you get started? Affiliate marketing is about more than just sending emails to partners and hoping they like your solution enough to sell it to their audience. You need a clear strategy for maximum success.
Firstly, you need to identify the goals, audience, and incentives for your affiliate marketing. Confirm that you’re targeting the right partners, with the right audience, and what you’re hoping they will achieve.
Once you’ve picked your potential affiliates, you need to prove your solution’s value, to both them and their audience. Ultimately, you cannot secure an agreement with every potential content creator. However, the best strategies will help you to secure relevant and valuable partnerships.
Affiliate marketing isn’t a standalone approach. Content marketing underpins a successful affiliate strategy. Therefore, building and launching an affiliate marketing program can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. You also need access to a variety of skills. This is where affiliate marketing agencies with experience working with partners, can help to produce an affiliate marketing program that achieves results.
Characteristics of an Effective Affiliate Marketing Agency
An effective affiliate marketing agency is unlikely to offer solely affiliate marketing. It should be a well-rounded agency, with experience in a variety of industries or marketing strategies. Here’s what you need to consider before forming a partnership with an affiliate marketing agency:
More Than Affiliates
As mentioned, the best affiliate marketing agencies will do more than just work with affiliates. Good quality content, email, and outbound strategies, are all key components of affiliate marketing. Your potential partners need to know they can provide value to their audience, and maintain their relationships with them. Your affiliate agency should be able to work with your partners to generate quality content that truly resonates with your audience.
Affiliate marketing can be more than just a basic lead generation or conversion tool. Your own website and SEO should also be benefitting from your affiliate program. The best affiliate marketing agency will understand the importance of backlinks and quality content, and be able to boost your SEO and inbound traffic through your partnerships.
Experience and Portfolio
While it might seem like stating the obvious, your affiliate marketing agency should have experience in affiliate marketing. As noted previously, affiliate marketing has a smaller presence in the B2B space. You can’t assume every marketing agency has a full understanding of affiliate and partner marketing. Ask to see a portfolio, examples, or testimonials from previous clients that have used their service. Ensure that their goals or audience align with yours. Their success demonstrates their understanding of your industry.
Teamwork and Communication
Ultimately, as with any other business partnership, a potential affiliate marketing agency needs to communicate well and be able to integrate with your teams. Analyze their communications during the consultation process, and learn more about their business. For instance, they should value their team, and have experience integrating with other clients. No partnership can work without good teamwork.
At Nituno, we understand the potential that affiliate marketing has in the B2B tech industry. However, it can be challenging to know how to build an effective strategy, that harnesses the power of partners. To learn more about integrating an affiliate program into your marketing, get in touch with us today.