Affiliate Marketing has traditionally been a B2C marketing channel. This makes sense given that affiliate messaging has historically been largely promotional in nature. That messaging has catered to smaller impulsive buying decisions (consumer products) that do not require much, if any, due diligence.
However, few businesses that plan to stay in business long make purchasing decisions on the fly without any type of research and comparison of options in the market. This is especially true in SingleHop’s industry concerning infrastructure and a business’s e-commerce connectivity. In general, business executives and owners take more time to research options, check references, review case studies, and make decisions smartly on items that impact their business performance/growth.
This extended amount of time in the B2B purchasing funnel dictates the buying cycle length and amount of time they will be exposed to various digital marketing efforts. Marketers who have a background in digital marketing (inbound) channels such as Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Display and Retargeting (off traffic sent from all marketing channels) understand that there are multiple touch points across attribution while decisions are dynamically being made. The more cost effective strategies with the highest ROI a marketer can utilize to “connect the dots” from first touch to last touch, the more effective the entire marketing effort across channels will be.
Enter affiliate marketing for B2B.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most cost effective ways to promote and brand a business. A business effectively negotiates compensation to “lease” advertising space on a web-site, but only “pays rent” for results. This might sound like display advertising at face value, but with affiliate marketing there are no costs for CPM (impressions) paid up front. Advertisers pay publishers (affiliates) only for valid sales/accounts started. In short, you pay for results not brand exposure alone.
The data we have collected over years of affiliate marketing in our space also suggests that beyond the face value, affiliate touches (clicks on banners or text links from affiliates) frequently fall in between first touch and last touch on conversion paths in multi-channel funnels. This is before view through data for “eyes on your brand” is even considered.
Of course, the goal is to get your affiliate base to perform and convert as often as possible to drive revenue. But whether or not affiliate traffic converts regularly, it does play a part in the exposure of your brand for people or businesses looking to purchase your product over a longer B2B buying cycle. What does this mean? Affiliate traffic ultimately impacts the path to conversion (eCommerce sale) and the revenue your site drives in business at a low cost. Does your business utilize affiliate marketing? Do you cater to the B2C or B2B market? If so, what has been most and least effective?