Also known as a publisher, the affiliate can be either an individual or a company that markets the seller’s product in an appealing way to potential consumers. In other words, the affiliate promotes the product to persuade consumers that it is valuable or beneficial to them and convince them to purchase the product. If the consumer does end up buying the product, the affiliate receives a portion of the revenue made.
In 2002 the European Union (EU) introduced the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications. Article 13 of the Directive prohibits the use of personal email addresses for marketing purposes. The Directive establishes the opt-in regime, where unsolicited emails may be sent only with prior agreement of the recipient; this does not apply to business email addresses.
Steven Macdonald is a digital marketer based in Tallinn, Estonia. Steven has been creating blog content writing since 2010 and has appeared as a featured writer for Content Marketing Institute, Marketing Profs and Smart Insights. Since working with SuperOffice, he has led the growth from 0 to 2 million visitors per year. You can connect with Steven on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Kathleen: Oh, that's neat. Yeah, one of the reasons I was really interested to talk with you, is that I haven't really spoken with anyone in depth about affiliate or referral marketing in this podcast. Which, when I started thinking about it, it was kind of surprising to me because what I'm focused on is inbound marketing, which is naturally attracting the right customers as opposed to going out and spamming them and trying to get in front of them.
Use your real email signature: Just like using a real reply-to email address, you want to use real contact information within the email and the best way to do that is to include your contact details in the email signature. Giving your readers the opportunity to contact you or connect with you online is a great way to be personal and build a relationship with them.
1. New vs. existing customers. New customers traditionally have higher lifetime value than existing ones. This is because every new customer grows your customer base. And once you own the customers, you pay less to convert them on future purchases. Customers who have purchased from you already know your product, value your service, and presumably trust you. It costs more to acquire a new customer because you have to build that credibility and trust.
So many brands and companies build their audiences on Facebook and Google+, which is fine, but we don’t own those names – Facebook and Google do. If we are thinking like real media companies, the asset is in the audience. Getting an email address is the first critical step to figuring out who my reader is and, hopefully in the future, my customer of some sort. If our goal is to drive sales or keep customers happy in some way, we first need to get them as part of our audience. If I have one regret as a business owner, it’s not focusing on building our email list earlier in the process.
If you want to uncover more merchants who partner directly with affiliates, just keep your eyes open. When you see affiliate links, do a quick search to see if the related merchant runs their own program. (We came up with the list above by reviewing a few of the bigger affiliate marketing blogs and investigating the most prominent affiliate links on those sites.)
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