Several years ago on my photography site I was approached by a company who sold a software product for photographers. They wanted to run a banner ad campaign on my site to promote a new product.
Their product was a quality one from a source I trusted and it was relevant to our readers so I sold them a banner ad that would run in the sidebar of my blog for the duration of a month for the cost of $2000.
The month ran it’s course and I emailed my contact at the company to see if they’d like to renew the ad. They didn’t.
It turns out that the banner ad had not driven enough sales for them to justify running the ad again (from what I know the sales generated from the ad made the company about $1000 – so given they paid $2000 it was a loss).
A year later noticed that they’d released a new product so I emailed them to ask if they’d like to try another ad campaign – potentially something in a different position on the site or even a competition/giveaway to give them a different type of exposure.
They said now but mentioned that they now had an affiliate program and would be willing to give me a review copy of the software for me to review. The commission on this $100 product was 30%.
I signed up for the affiliate program – wrote a post that gave a fair review of the product and posted it onto the blog. I pushed traffic to that post in our weekly newsletter and via social media and we ended up selling around 300 copies of the software over the coming weeks – making a total of $9000 in commission.
A Win/Win/Win for All Parties
While affiliate campaigns are not always going to have this result – I think this is a great example of how affiliate marketing can actually be a Win for everyone.
It was a Win for Me
Obviously I was happy with this affiliate campaign. While it took a little more work to review and write a post than to put a banner ad in our sidebar the increase in earnings from $2000 to $9000 was great for the bottom line of my business.
It was a Win for the Brand
The beauty of an affiliate program when you’re the manufacturing a product is that you only pay out when you generate a sale. The risk is pretty much non-existent for the company.
Rather than making a loss of $1000 they generated $30,000 in sales and took 70% of that. It also would have brought them new customers that they could promote to in future.
It was a Win for My Readers
The other party in any affiliate promotion is the reader. I like to think that they also won in this campaign because instead of seeing a banner ad that was all ‘marketing’ from the company they had the opportunity to read a fair review of the product.
I go out of my way in these kinds of reviews to show the pros and cons of products and help readers to make an informed decision.
In this case we had a number of readers email to say that they’d seen products from this company being advertised previously but seeing a review had helped them to make a decision if it was something that would help them.
When Affiliate Marketing Works Best
Of course affiliate marketing isn’t ‘easy’ money.
While the above story might seem rather ‘seamless’ and an easy it is important to note that the result was only possible after several years of building up:
- Traffic to the site
- Trust/relationship with readers
The other factors at play were:
- A high quality product
- A product from a reputable source
- A relevant product that matched the needs of our readership