Word of mouth marketing is still the most effective form of advertising in terms of ROI. People are heavily influenced by the opinions of their friends and family, especially when it comes to referring business.
As affiliate marketing gains popularity with brands that depend on online advertising to increase revenue, it’s important for companies to realize that they have a plethora of options. Offline affiliates, for example, benefit from the viral effect of word of mouth marketing and generate sales that can still be directly linked to their source.
The luxury of using an offline affiliate is the freedom it allows companies to partner with other entities they wouldn’t have naturally considered. Schools, hospitals, personal trainers, and even friends can act as revenue drivers with the right organization. No matter the source, the only requirement is that each of the affiliates have their own unique identifier – whether it’s a tracking link, promo code, or storefront – that indicates a sale occurred through their efforts.
Shutterfly, a well-known online photo sharing company, recently established a fundraising program that gives 13% of total sales generated back to the schools that referred them. Each school has its own storefront (or webpage) where patrons can conveniently purchase products online with the added bonus of giving back to their community. The school then raises money for different causes while Shutterfly has ultimately expanded its audience base.
Offline affiliates aren’t just useful for fundraising goals, however. Brands can partner with other companies or individuals to push a new product that might be relevant to the consumer’s needs without being in direct competition. DNA Spectrum joined forces with personal trainers, nutritionists, and other health experts to market their new product, myDNA Fitness. The product uses an individual’s genetic makeup to uncover their personalized dietary and fitness needs – giving them a roadmap to optimal health. Companies and individuals advertising myDNA Fitness earn a commission off each sale and the consumer receives an exclusive discount through the promo code they’re given. Like Shutterfly, DNA Spectrum grows their customer pool by reaching a new demographic and everyone wins.
Public speakers can act as affiliates of their own brands by marketing their books or consulting services at events they attend. While they won’t necessarily be paying out commissions to other companies, they can give attendees an identifier code or link that offers the consumer a discount and allows the public figure to track which event generates the most revenue.
The essence of affiliate marketing is to expand a brand’s reach efficiently and effectively so that overhead costs stay small and overall sales grow. Fortunately, companies can be as creative as they want to market both online and offline affiliates for maximum exposure.