If you’re like many savvy business owners, you’ve invested in various forms of marketing.
Depending on your target market this could be print, direct mail, social media or search engine marketing. However it’s common for business owners to overlook less conventional strategies such as affiliate marketing and joint ventures.
This can be a great strategy for broadening exposure to new audiences and boosting revenue with very low cost and risk.
At its core, affiliate marketing simply means paying another company for its promotional services and/or endorsement.
In perhaps the most common form of affiliate marketing, one business pays another – the affiliate, a commission for sales that result from the marketing efforts of the affiliate.
There are numerous advantages to affiliate marketing. Because affiliates are usually paid a percentage of the sale, startup costs are minimal and returns are measurable.
Furthermore, a business can earn brand recognition and legitimacy through its relationship with an affiliate partner that has a positive reputation.
Affiliate partnerships can also facilitate business growth through networking, and many affiliate partnerships involve mutual promotion, strengthening the appeal of both partners to their respective target markets.
Choosing an affiliate with a good reputation is important for two reasons.
Firstly you want to ensure the customer experience is excellent and that the affiliate is not just doing or saying anything just to get their sales commission – leaving you to deal with customers who’ve been mislead.
Secondly, ensuring that advertising for your products is truthful is a legal requirement.
Companies that use affiliates to market their products or services must ensure that the affiliate is not engaging in deceptive practices, such as fake testimonials and misleading claims. Failure to do so can bring charges from the regulatory authorities.
Joint ventures are similar to affiliate marketing in nature but differ in format and time required.
In a joint venture, instead of one company promoting another, both companies work together, pooling their assets for a specific promotion.
Joint ventures take time to establish, and potential partners should be vetted carefully. But the returns for small businesses can be worth the investment.
Joint venture partners with complementary resources and skill sets may garner more exposure and greater profits together than alone. In addition, their exposure to risk may be diminished.
As with affiliate marketing, one company’s positive reputation may enhance the other’s standing in the marketplace.
Social networking, word-of-mouth and even customer surveys are all good means of exploring potential partners for a joint venture.
The Perks of Partnership
Whichever kind of marketing relationship a business chooses, there should be benefits as long as its partner’s reputation and practices are sound.
At the very least, a joint venture or affiliate marketing partnership will likely generate increased customer exposure and a wider professional network.
And, as in the world of sports, it doesn’t matter who scores as long as the team wins.
This guest post was provided by Dean Vella who writes for University Alliance on topics pertaining to the subjects of internet marketing and online social media courses.