The Local Marketing Stack
Zone 6 • Difficulty: • Sugg. D.I.Y. Monthly Budget: $40+
Affiliate marketing is essentially a referral program taken to the next level.
A referral bounty, open to all
Let’s say you offer existing customers a gift card for a future purchase if they refer a friend or family member that becomes a new customer of your business. An affiliate program would take the cash value of that gift card and offer it as a bounty to anyone who refers any customer to your business. The affiliate usually receives a particular coupon code that they pass along or market to their audience, and then receives the agreed-upon bounty for any redemptions of that code.
Done well, affiliate programs can be a win-win-win for the business, the affiliate, and the customer and cost very little out-of-pocket to set up. You get more customers from someone else doing your marketing, the affiliate makes a few bucks for his or her service, and the customer saves money on his or her purchase.
Beware of fraud
Without a carefully-designed program or careful vetting of affiliates, though, the potential for abuse is high–either through cannibalization of existing customers or fraudulent behavior on the part of the affiliate.
Take into account the time cost of setup
Running your affiliate program through a major network can help minimize the risk of fraud, but it also becomes more time-consuming to set up and may require additional ongoing resources to review data about the customers referred by your affiliates to ensure that the program is financially sustainable for you.