An affiliate program is an organized system that enables affiliate partners to drive traffic to your properties through tracked links and earn a cut when that traffic converts. Affiliates come in many different forms and they can include influencers, content creators, publications, membership associations, and technology vendors.
In an affiliate program, an online merchant pays affiliates to send them traffic. There is a payout to the affiliate for that traffic, and then if the traffic buys the product, the affiliate receives a commission. An affiliate program is a cost-effective marketing strategy that works for both B2B and B2C brands.
Example: Lisa runs a popular software blog. Loop, a software brand, pays Lisa to place an affiliate link on her blog. When someone buys Loop's software through the link, Lisa gets a payout. Yay!
Affiliate tracking is technology used to track the traffic, referrals, and/or sales that come through a specific partner. The purpose of affiliate tracking is so that a company knows which affiliates drive favorable business outcomes (in other words, attribution), and can reward these individuals accordingly. UTM links are the most common mechanism for affiliate tracking.
Affiliate tracking can also be achieved using promo codes. For example, if an influencer can offer his or her audience 10% off a 1-year software subscription with the promo code PERCY10, this allows the company to track precisely how many sales Percy drives. This then enables the company to determine which partnerships are most lucrative and invest in building these relationships and enabling them to do their best work.
Example: Through affiliate tracking, Partner Marketing Manager Lisa identified five partners who were driving 60% of PekoeCorp’s partner-sourced sales each year. She decided to send them each a gift basket of PekoeCorp swag, fancy chocolates, and red wine.
In business, an alliance occurs between two companies that work together on mutually beneficial projects. These agreements are also called strategic alliances, and they usually involve cooperation in the development, creation, marketing, and sale of products or services or other objectives.
Alliances can either be joint ventures, equity strategic alliances, or non-equity strategic alliances. Joint ventures occur when two parent companies launch a child company together. Equity strategic alliances are created when a company purchases equity in the other. Non-equity strategic alliances are when two companies combine their resources and capabilities to reach set goals together.
Example: The well-known partnership between Starbucks and Barnes&Noble is an example of a strategic alliance. By placing Starbucks stores inside Barnes&Noble stores, each company shares the cost of the space while providing complementary services to customers.
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