How to grow your affiliate marketing strategy
Congratulations! If you’re reading this, I have reason to believe your affiliate marketing strategy is already paying off. Now you’re ready to showcase your skills by learning how to grow your affiliate marketing as a core revenue-driving channel.
It can be daunting to scale something that’s already working – as the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But failing to scale your marketing doesn’t halt progress; it’s actually one of the three biggest business killers, according to The Growth Institute.
By following a few simple steps, you’ll learn to successfully increase affiliate sales and grow partner affiliate marketing schemes. And importantly, how to confidently experiment with your strategy to turn those dashboards greener than they’ve ever been before.
The types of scaling marketing budgets
Scaling any marketing channel isn’t purely about more in = more out. We have risks to consider, a changing macro-environment, and shifting business priorities.
Optimise existing return
You can scale a channel through things other than monetary spending. By investing more in creative or strategy, you can see a greater return on investment without directly increasing your budget. Being smarter with your current setup also leads you to some growth hacking affiliate marketing techniques that will rocket your ROI.
New spend in the current channel
This involves spending more in the current channel you’re using by investing more through increased frequency or pure spend. This is the most popular way to scale affiliate marketing for businesses.
New spend on new channels
You can also put the new spend into a complementary channel to your existing affiliate strategy. Such as adding blogging influencers to your already successful Instagram influencer strategy. The equivalent here would be not adding to your Facebook ads but investing the new spend in Google ads.
How to scale your affiliate marketing strategy
1.Find what’s working and driving profit
You don’t want to scale a channel that isn’t working. But it’s easy to be misinformed by varying attribution windows and silent leaky buckets.
Work with someone else in your team or an external consultant to dive deep into your existing strategy and find the cash cows vs the lazy dogs. If it sounds like we’ve just slipped into a petting zoo, we haven’t.
These concepts are two of four in the Growth-Share Matrix. Based on the matrix, channels that return a lot of revenue for a low amount of effort/spend are Cash Cows and great options to invest in. However, a smarter strategy is to use the high return to invest in Stars, which also returns extremely well but provides less profit for reinvestment.
Comparatively, Lazy Dogs cost little and return little, signifying something may be wrong. Finally, Question Marks cost a lot of resources and yield very little, leading to, as the name suggests, a lot of questions as to why you’re investing in this campaign at all.
Consider product lifecycles, affiliate market trends, and YoY results to give you a clear picture of what is actually working & driving profit or at least growth.
2.Increase your investment in the same channel for a fast return
This is the best option for limited budgets. If a channel and strategy are already working for you, invest initial spending into the same strategy to prove that it can grow. Often a channel may work well for us for a time when in reality, we’re close to exhausting that specific approach or market.
It’s wise to use those funds to invest in better strategy and creative support for existing affiliate channels. Doing so will improve valuable statistics beyond impressions, such as the click-through rate and conversion rate leading to a stronger and more efficient return.
3.Invest in a similar strategy across different channels or influencers
Once your channel is appropriately growing, look to spread your risk safely. Find similar opportunities within the same channel or near-identical channels to invest in. This way you can up your revenue in a likely-guaranteed fashion while ensuring if your first channels begin to fail, your new ones are likely to keep working.
For example, if an influencer has a scandal or a referral site you use begins to lose traction, you’ll still have other influencers or referring websites.
4. Invest in new channels
Invest in new affiliate channels to reach new audiences and markets and potentially skyrocket your return. New affiliate channels such as price comparison portals or partnered content can be a riskier investment. You have no guarantee your target market will respond the same way in the new environment or that they are even there at all. But as we pointed out, doing so will open new revenue streams and re-risk your overall strategy if another channel completely collapses (See the IOS Facebook Ad disaster of 2021).
Pick new channels based on known audience habits and only invest experimental amounts you are willing to lose. There are substantially more affiliate channels than ‘influencers’ from partner marketing to comparison sites. You can even try out performance affiliate channels like Tyviso that are entirely risk-free, as you don’t pay unless they work for your brand.
5.Create a strong measure and scale loop
In true full-circle fashion, we’re back to step 1, but to build on it. We’re seeing more affiliate marketing industry growth – 10.1% annual increase in fact – than ever before. Creating a fast and effective feedback loop will help you to adjust your strategy to make the most of the influencer and referral market. Use live dashboards with benchmarked KPIs instead of deep-dive reporting every time you want to scale. These markers will enable you to quickly respond to over or underperforming channels.
So, you affiliate marketing wonder. Are you ready to start scaling your strategy? All your need to do is research, double down, begin to grow, take a leap of (informed) faith, and finally measure & repeat. Easy right?
We’ll leave you with an insider tip. While you’re completing steps 1 & 2, keep a list of all of the new channels you come across, like Tyviso. That way, you have time to ask industry peers about them, and you won’t be left asking, “What’s the one with the squiggly logo and colours called again”.