Affiliates are not the same. Here is a look at the different types of affiliates, that will hopefully give you some idea on the types of offers and creative resources you will need to be able to offer. These will also help you understand what functionality your site requires to be able to cater for or your affiliate programme will be able to track.
These are in no particular order…
A cashback site does pretty much what it says on the tin. It gives some or all of its commission earned from selling or promoting your product to the purchaser.
There are two major players in this space in the UK – TopCashback and Quidco. Right now, if you want to list your products on a cashback site you are best going via an affiliate network.
Discount / Voucher
Again, this is a site that offers discounts or vouchers to help drive sales. But these are vouchers you will need to offer and provide. Discounts / vouchers can be a great way to drive sales if used correctly. Voucher code site tend to get less commission than other affiliate sites and part of the voucher cost is offset. Otherwise you end up pay more for that traffic. Voucher + commission. Do bear this in mind if engaging with voucher affiliates.
There are a number of specialist SEO (Search Engine Optimisers) that work on affiliate campaigns or have existing ranking sites that will promote your products or services. This can be a great way to take advantage of SEO without being very good at it yourself.
With the more and more people using social media, there are a number of affiliates that can drive traffic from social media groups and communities. Or, they understand the various advertising platforms (Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, PInterest, Instagram, YouTube) so will use their skills to drive sales to your site.
Again, you are not having to learn this stuff yourself. You can work with a select number or a limited number of affiliate partners to get the best out them.
There could be an affiliate that has a large content site or even network of sites you can work with on an affiliate basis. Moneysavingexpert is a great example of a content affiliate site. Most of their traffic comes from their content, tools and forum.
If you have ever looked at a daily newspaper online, you many have seen “Results from the Web” at the bottom of articles. These are native ads, which look like they are part of the site but are actually adverts served by Native Ad companies (such as Outbrain or Taboola). You can work directly with these companies or find a specialist affiliate that can drive traffic via these platforms.
Pay per click advertising can be fraught with risk for the untrained, so working with a few PPC specialists can be a great way to offset the risk but also gain traffic and revenue. PPC affiliates tend to build their own microsites and landing pages to drive you sales.
There is a growing army of bloggers out there, who work in a huge number of different topics and have, in some cases, sizable audiences. Most bloggers tend to work via affiliate network as it is easier for them to manage but if you have core bloggers in your industry, you might want to consider inviting a few to your programme.
In some sectors, lead generation is where it is all at, and affiliates working in this space could have a huge amount of sites, experience, and data that can drive you a good number of leads.
Last but by no means least, you can talk to a few email marketing affiliates. These companies will have data coming out of their ears and be able to send out your affiliate offers to their databases.
This does work well with lead generation campaigns but there can be scope for high ticket items too, or if you have a great customer avatar a company can target, they will be able to create segmented lists for your offers.