Affiliate marketing is becoming an established marketing technique, complementing and sometimes replacing other types of online and offline marketing as an important channel to market.

It extends reach, allowing you to sell your goods and services via a wide range of websites, without the need for a marketing budget. Last year, affiliates generated around £2.16bn in sales for UK-based merchants.

Here's why we think you need an affiliate strategy:

  1. Brand exposure
    Raise perceptions of your brand through exposure on quality third party websites. This is a free benefit for merchants, since they do not pay for advertising.
  2. Drive revenue
    Well-run affiliate programmes, with proactive affiliate managers, can generate terrific returns for merchants. It is important to liaise with affiliates on a regular basis, making life as easy as possible for them. You also need to identify and engage your best performing affiliates, to ensure that they get the best out of their efforts. 
  3. Inform marketing activities
    Learn from affiliates about what is working in terms of pricing, offers, products, propositions, landing pages … and what is not. For example, you can watch the best performing affiliates to see how they write their Google ads for the best response. These skilled practitioners can help you improve other areas of your business.
  4. Reduce costs/financial risks
    Affiliates offer merchants a virtual sales force without the need to worry about staff salaries, overheads, sick pay etc. The CPA (cost per action) performance model is very cost effective in this respect.
  5. Measurability and accountability
    Affiliate networks have lots of tools to help you track your campaigns. Combine this information with your web analytics and sales data to see the big picture and measure ROI.

For more, see our Affililate Marketing Business Case,which provides you with a framework for an internal presentation and / or argument for a usability budget. Note that there are five other internet business cases to check out, to help you persuade the boss...

Graham Charlton

Published 9 May, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (3)

Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy, Centaur Marketing

Anyone interested in Brand Exposure and Affiliate Marketing should read Andrew Girdwood's excellent posting on this.

about 11 years ago



I've been running a reasonably successful affiliate marketing campaign, but don't really think I (or anyone for that matter), can do it effectively without their own product. Best getting others working for you I guess.

about 11 years ago


Jess Luthi

Great post!
"Measurability and accountability
Affiliate networks have lots of tools to help you track your campaigns. Combine this information with your web analytics and sales data to see the big picture and measure ROI." They most certainly do and for even more transparancy, the merchant should have their own in-house web analytics, and clever merchants will be able match customer ID with affiliate ID and then everything can be measured for example, life time value of a new customer sent by an affiliate, geographical data and so on. Andrews article is a superb read.

about 11 years ago

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