3 Ways to Implement a Successful B2B Affiliate Marketing Strategy

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There’s so much to think about when you come to set up a business, it can seem a little overwhelming. From finding the right contact center software to choosing a VoIP phone system for small business, you could be forgiven for feeling a bit confused and overburdened by it all. But the rewards - both financial and in terms of personal satisfaction - of running your own company can be huge. What’s more, taking the competition on in their own backyard is a big part of the thrill of setting up for yourself.

It goes without saying, however, that startup resources are usually stretched at best. So, if you aren’t flush with cash and you don’t have some wealthy investor bankrolling your efforts, you’ll need to find new and inventive ways of stealing a march on your rivals. Certainly, the online space could make the difference between your success and failure. Ecommerce website builders will tell you that having a well-designed, reliable, and user-friendly site is crucial to reaching a huge base of potential clients and customers. Likewise, an engaging and regularly-updated presence on social media can have a significant impact.

Then, there’s the question of how you’re going to provide excellent customer support. Consumers are very savvy and, with the rise of the internet, they have a huge variety of options to choose from. SMS customer support can help you reach your customers and clients more easily, tending to their needs and requirements as and when necessary. These are the basics of setting up a business and establishing a solid customer or client base. But given the sheer level of competitiveness in whichever industry you care to name, how else can you go about drumming up publicity and boosting your profile?

B2B affiliate programs enable you to expand your business and build brand awareness. For B2C firms, it’s relatively easy to use a simple pay-for-performance approach, but if you’re in the B2B space things are likely to be a little more complicated. Nevertheless, B2B affiliate marketing is proven to deliver real results. You just need to know how to make the most effective use of it.

Get your B2B affiliate marketing strategy right and you can target segments of your desired audience, thereby drawing in new customers, as well as building a lasting sense of client loyalty. This is the foundation of sustainable success in the world of business.

Here, we’ll take a look at why B2B affiliate marketing matters and how you can use it to benefit your business. Read on to find out more.

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What’s so special about B2B affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing has long been a popular choice, thanks to its range of advantages. For a start, it offers simple and straightforward marketing solutions. But this isn’t just a matter of churning out low-value content for its own sake. As many businesses have had to learn the hard way, spammy content is actively counter-productive. We’ve already noted that consumers are an intelligent bunch who aren’t easily hoodwinked. Spamming them with low-value content is, if anything, likely to do damage to your brand and make you appear disreputable. This is most definitely to be avoided.

Affiliate marketing is, on the face of it, pretty straightforward: businesses offer would-be affiliates financial incentives in exchange for leads (either a commission on referred sales or a straightforward payment per head). As well as generating new leads and driving revenue, affiliate marketing also makes it simple to monitor ROI; a crucial metric for any business.

But it’s not just an issue of signing up loads of affiliates, higgledy-piggledy, on generous terms and hoping for the best. A scattershot approach like this is likely to prove completely ineffective. If you’re going to make B2B affiliate marketing work for your business, then, you need to deploy it in a more strategic way.

There are all sorts of ecommerce digital marketing tricks you can use to bring in more revenue, but B2B affiliate marketing cuts out much of the hassle - and the associated costs. The primary benefit of affiliate marketing is that you only pay when a lead is generated. This at least saves you from splurging money in every direction, in the hope that’ll bring in more clients and customers. But you do actually need to bring those clients in; even if you’re only paying per conversion. B2B affiliate marketing won’t do you many favors if it’s not generating the leads you need.

To help you in your efforts to generate those leads, here are some of our top tips for making the most effective use of B2B affiliate marketing.

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Top B2B affiliate marketing tips

The B2B affiliate market has changed a great deal over the last few years, as has online commerce in general. We know that affiliate marketing works, and that it can be highly effective at driving revenue - but only if it’s used in the right way. Here we’ll outline three of the best tips for getting your B2B affiliate marketing strategy right. These simple measures could mean that affiliate marketing proves transformative for your business.

1.Choose the right affiliates

As we’ve already discussed, affiliate marketing means that you’ll only pay for leads and revenue generated. If your affiliates don’t help you bring in additional clients and revenue, you won’t be paying them any money. That’s a good fallback to have, but you do want to get that revenue rolling in. This is why you need to ensure you’re working with the right affiliates. Choosing the correct partners can make all the difference when it comes to B2B marketing, whether you’re selling a VoIP phone service or any number of other B2B functions.

Choosing suitable affiliates requires serious research. Don’t expect the perfect alternatives to magically come to you - you’ll need to search them out. The bottom line is that B2B services generally appeal to specialized audiences, whereas B2C outfits might have more mass appeal. As a result, most affiliate marketers tend to be more oriented towards B2C. This is why your affiliate program needs to be especially well targeted. Look for potential partners who can help you reach the client base you need to address.

Once you have found a good prospective affiliate, make the effort to reach out to them. No doubt, most affiliate marketers regularly find themselves fielding all sorts of inquiries about partnerships, so don’t be afraid to be pushy and energetic where necessary.

2. Put sufficient resources into it

To make B2B affiliate marketing work for your business, you really need to be prepared to put the right amount of resources into the process. Of course, every penny matters - especially to small startups looking for ways to make their mark - and there are many different budgetary pressures to deal with. Again, do the research before you take any other steps. For example, when planning a mobile advertising campaign, you’d look at the relevant mobile marketing statistics. Approach affiliate marketing in the same evidence-based way.

Resources are key to making any affiliate marketing campaign deliver the right results. Unless you’re really prepared to devote the right kind of effort and support to your campaign, there’s little point embarking on one in the first place. A landing page dedicated to your affiliate program is useful, but this alone won’t be enough.

If your affiliate program is going to work, you must dedicate continual efforts to recruiting and retaining partners. We’ve noted already how customer and client loyalty is vital to succeeding in business. So it is in affiliate marketing: you need to build trust with your affiliates and stay in regular communication with them so that the arrangement benefits both parties.

It should be obvious, then, that a successful affiliate marketing campaign requires a good deal of time and effort. Before you undertake any such campaign, examine your own resources and look at how much you can afford to devote. Don’t underestimate the level of the commitment you’d have to make. But, if you can afford to make that commitment, you can reap substantial rewards.

3. Keep affiliates informed about your sales cycle

Another important point to remember with regard to B2B affiliate marketing is that you must ensure your affiliates understand your sales cycle and how it works. For B2B firms, sales cycles are usually much longer than for their B2C counterparts. Affiliates may not always appreciate this, so it’s something you need to make them aware of.

This should help provide reassurance to your affiliates even if they don’t instantly see their commissions rolling in. Again, this is all part of maintaining good, regular, and clear communications with affiliate partners. You need to be transparent and explain how your business works.

It’s also in the best interests of your affiliates to show some patience here. After all, they stand to make more money out of B2B partnerships. This is because these partnerships tend to have a longer duration, thus generating more potential commission for affiliates. To keep them on board, however, you need to explain the complexity of B2B sales cycles so that they have a better idea of what to expect.

John Allen, RingCentral US

John Allen, Director, Global SEO at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP and audio conferencing provider. He has over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs. He has written for websites such as Hubspot and Toolbox.

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