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In the middle of a global crisis it’s understandable that many people are concerned about their businesses and how it will be affected in future. It could be that people are now looking at different revenue streams in order to generate income or attempting to adapt their business to the current environment which can come with a host of new challenges.

Those familiar with affiliate marketing will know that when times are bad, it can be one of the best ways to boost sales because of the way affiliates get remunerated, on performance.

Here I have listed some of the reasons why affiliate marketing a good investment for brands and how business owners can use it to increase customer engagement and brand loyalty during these trying times.

Affiliates are agile; find the riches in the niches

The beauty about being an affiliate is that you don’t need to stick to any one niche.  Once you have mastered the skill of affiliate marketing, you can adopt your strategy to whatever sector is more relevant at any given time.  For example, there are certain sectors that are unfortunately taking a hit just now such as travel, tourism and entertainment.  If you have an affiliate marketing campaign for one of those industries, it can easily be adjusted to another niche such as online retail. The same target persona that was investing in travel will be spending on essential items right now.

Affiliates will be tuning into these trends right now and looking for programmes that offer incentives on items that are being sought right now. Affiliate marketers need to understand this - and position their program brand accordingly to ensure affiliates are aware of what they offer and make it easy to switch and onboard them.

Commission is paid only on performance or delivery

Affiliate marketing is all about performance. The top sales generators get the most personal account management and better deals too.  For brands it’s important to diversify now from being so reliant on top traffic generators. You want to go find the riches in the niches. To do this you need to be working with a lot of affiliates and switching up your old tactics to drive new customers to your site.  The beauty of it is that you’ll be able to get the brand exposure without paying anything upfront. During these turbulent times you need to be seen - everywhere. 

Affiliates can help you do it cost effectively because the remuneration model is paid for on delivery.

Affiliates continuously look for new traffic sources & provide transparent reporting

One of the biggest advantages of affiliate marketing in that there is lots of potential in terms of diversifying acquisition traffic sources. Traffic can be gained from PPC, SEO, Social Media and also via collaborations with other businesses. As affiliate marketing is always evolving, there is an agility to leverage this within your own digital mix, faster than what you could probably pivot in a bigger corporate environment.

Basically you need to use your affiliates now to push the boundaries and find access points to lots more customers. If one of your usual or particular traffic source becomes compromised – then there is the option to use affiliates risk free - to explore others.

Data and insight is critical to any online business.

Affiliate programs offer the benefit of fully transparent traffic analysis and in some cases depending on the platform you use can give you detailed insight to customer behaviour in a live setting. Reactions to brand campaigns, offers and messaging can be reviewed faster as affiliates spread it over a higher and wider reach. This means you can constantly improve your advertising copy, your campaign targeting and your ROI on budget spend because you can access the data immediately in your program management platform. 

In summary, affiliate marketing offers your business a risk averse opportunity to leverage your brand and budget when the going gets tough.

We are in an ever-evolving world, where we need to be able to adapt digital strategy regularly.  The coronavirus has been a huge reminder for us all that being agile is critical to business success to get us through harder times. 

Affiliate marketing allows you to do that better than most other marketing channels. It’s essential that you analyse your current market, review traffic sources and explore new niches by working with your affiliate partners together to help see you through the challenging times.

Lee-Ann Johnstone, CEO, Field Digital