What is an affiliate program?
Get ready to jump into the thriving $21.1 billion global influencer market with an affiliate program. An affiliate program is a structured system where a business rewards external partners, or affiliates, for directing customers to their products or services. You may also hear affiliates called referral partners or influencers.
An affiliate program is a performance-based marketing strategy where a company pays pre-set commissions for successful referrals, but it can be so much more. From building buzz to driving sales, it can be a key differentiator for your business. Imagine you’re a cybersecurity company with a cutting-edge antivirus software. You might create an affiliate program that works like this:
- Cybersecurity thought leaders, tech consultants, and complementary businesses sign up to become your affiliates
- You provide each affiliate with unique tracking links to share with their audiences
- Affiliates promote your software on their platforms, like blog posts, social media, podcasts, speaking events, newsletters, or direct recommendations
- When a customer clicks an affiliate’s unique link and makes a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission
An affiliate program is a win-win partnership: affiliates earn money for successful referrals, and your business benefits from increased sales and wider customer reach. It also allows you to leverage the credibility and audience reach of your affiliates, effectively expanding your sales force without additional headcount.
By setting up, managing, and continuously optimizing an affiliate program, you’re embracing a powerful partnerships strategy that can drive incredible growth.