Affiliate referral programs can be both a source of new business leads and incoming revenue if you have an existing customer base that’s ready to try your product or service recommendations. Deciding to participate in affiliate referral programs is not an easy one for most small business owners as there are many pros and cons to consider. It’s important as a business owner to thoroughly evaluate all parts of an affiliate referral program before starting to market the opportunity to businesses and individuals that may want to participate.
The following are key points to keep in mind when deciding whether an affiliate referral program is the right strategy for your business.
- Develop a sales force of individuals that are willing to market your products and services
- Increase brand awareness in your industry through actions taken by participating affiliate referral partners
- Quickly expand market reach, including internationally
- Partner with affiliate marketing companies like Commission Junction for online marketing
- Develop tiered referral commissions to reward top affiliate partners to increase motivation of sales force
- Affiliate referral programs can be started and stopped with fewer issues than formal business partnerships
- Loss of control over marketing of products or services
- Potential for affiliate to go off message when selling products or services resulting in an over promise under deliver situation that no business owner enjoys resolving
- Pay referral commission between 10% – 50%
- Difficult to gauge the potential success a new partner will have and the impact incurred from an increase in sales, product shipments, customer service requests
If your business sells a physical product, the pros far outweigh the cons and your business will likely gain tremendously from evaluating and implementing this marketing strategy. Service based businesses however; should consider the affiliate model more carefully. Be cautious not to move forward too quickly as the costs associated with referral fees can be high and the program could place an unexpected strain on your existing support team they are not equipped to handle if you’ve not taken the time to set it up properly.
Overall affiliate referral programs can be an excellent method to educate the market and industry at large about your business and the products or services you offer. Most individuals and businesses making money from affiliate programs will have an excellent online marketing presence they can leverage when promoting and selling your offerings.
Affiliate referrals are a good way to get your business engaged with other companies in your industry that have existing customer bases and are marketing to your target customers. The best participants in your business affiliate referral program may ultimately become your strongest channel to new customers which makes this a strategy worth considering.
Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture Marketing firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture relationships by creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
Discover more Joint Venture Marketing Strategies join his free report on Joint Venture Marketing.