As with any business, VOD services are constantly looking for creative and out-of-the-box channels to acquire new paying subscribers.
One easy way to acquire customers is through affiliate marketing.
More than 81% of brands are harnessing the power of affiliate marketing to source customers from publishers and creators.
As success continues for brands and affiliates alike, this number is only expected to grow.
In this post, we’ll highlight the 3 ways you can grow your VOD business with affiliate marketing.
Before we begin, let’s review the affiliate marketing basics and how exactly it all works.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Affiliate marketing is a way to capitalize on the traffic that publishers and content creators are generating to their sites and profiles.
The tactic can generate long-term growth for a business while rewarding the partner for their channel activation.
There are two parties involved in affiliate marketing agreements: advertisers and content creators.
Advertisers (or brands) are seeking to get their product or service in front of the eyes of their target customers. Publishers and content creators who have built niche, targeted followings are great partners to promote your brand.
That’s where affiliate marketing starts. Advertisers partner with these content creators and offer a percentage of each sale that they drive to the company’s website.
Brands will provide custom links or special codes to the content creators to track the sales they generate.
Brands love this method because it is effective, low-cost and easy to set up. Publishers and content creators like affiliate marketing, because they get an added revenue source and can start monetizing their audience as another way to make money online.
In many ways, affiliates are like a third-party sales team that can leverage their audience to grow your own subscriber base and increase purchases. Best of all, after the affiliate agreement is in place, you’ll continue to grow your customer base over time. Affiliate platforms make it easy to create and sign online contracts to outline all expectations and agreed-upon terms before diving in.
Maintaining Ethical Affiliate Partnerships
Honesty and transparency are some of the keys to affiliate marketing success.
Brands need to ensure that their partners are alerting their subscribers and communities that they might receive a commission if someone purchases through an affiliate link on their site.
Since the affiliate is paid, they should be transparent about their relationship with the brand they are representing.
An easy way for content creators and publishers to do this is to have an affiliate disclaimer somewhere visible on their site.
For example, in my guide on turning a blog into a full-time business, you will see at the top of the post a disclaimer related to affiliate links:
By clicking on the link, it opens a dedicated web page that highlighted the relationship he has with the brands he was reviewing.
This level of visibility is appreciated by both the brands as well as their followers.
They deserve to know if the publisher is receiving any kickbacks to ensure they aren’t being misled simply for monetary gain.
Now that we have some legal issues out of the way, let’s move on to seeing if affiliate marketing is right for you.
How Do You Know if Affiliate Marketing is Right For Your VOD Business?
If your VOD business is booming, you might think you’re too busy to add an affiliate marketing program. However, an influx of customers and traffic is a good sign that you’re ready.
The most successful affiliate marketing programs are tied to sites with increasing traffic. As more visitors come to your site, they will click on your affiliate links, driving that entirely new source of revenue for your company.
By targeting a niche audience in your VOD business, you can improve your SEO and attract a specific segment of relevant customers that will be lucrative for affiliate marketing.
Managing Your Affiliate Business
Affiliate marketing can increase your revenue but only if you put in the work.
There are a couple of different arrangements for VOD business owners that don’t want to manage the affiliate relationships on their own.
First, they can hire an affiliate manager. This person would set up the partnerships between the advertisers and the company, add the affiliate links to the site, track conversions and optimize for growth.
It’s always beneficial to have someone solely on your team dedicated to affiliate marketing. However, paying for an entire employee’s salary and benefits may get costly and cut into your revenue stream.
Another option is to outsource your affiliate marketing to an affiliate management company. There are companies like All Inclusive Marketing (AIM) or Acceleration Partners that can help take over the hassle of affiliate marketing and ensure you earn and collect the revenue you deserve.
How Do You Create An Affiliate Program For Your VOD Business?
To get your affiliate program started, plan to partner with an affiliate marketing software. Two popular ones include Rewardful and Refersion.
Rewardful does the tracking for you, ensuring you are getting paid what you deserve. The platform works well with Stripe and has a direct integration with Uscreen.
Brands can set up Rewardful to manage their affiliate partners by adding two lines of code and snippet to their Stripe checkout. Then they can set the commission structure and give partners a custom link to publish on their site. Reports focusing on the total number of clicks, conversions and net revenue can be generated.
In order to sync Rewardful to your Uscreen account, connect your Stripe account to Rewardful. Next, copy the Rewardful API key under the Code Integration heading.
Next, go to Settings > Integrations in Uscreen. Select Connect and paste in your Rewardful API key.
Finally, click Confirm Installation in Rewardful and you’re all set!
Once you’ve reached this step, you’re ready to start creating custom links for your affiliate partners and grow your business.
Refersion touts that the software helps companies set up their affiliate marketing programs in seven minutes or less. With Refersion, you can create custom affiliate registration pages and find new affiliates with their post-purchase channel promotions.
Refersion supports tracking by SKU, coupon code and email for hyper-accurate analysis and in-depth reporting. Uscreen integrates directly with Refersion, making it easy to launch an affiliate program for your VOD in just a few clicks.
In Refersion, head to the Tracking page in your Settings navigation panel. Click Add Tracking.
Select Refersion API Tracking.
Finally, head to Settings > Integrations and click Connect under Refersion. Add the keys and subdomain in from your Refersion account. Click Connect.
Now, you’re ready to go! Refersion is set up and your affiliate program is ready to go live.
How Much Should I Pay My Affiliates?
There are many different ways to pay your affiliates. First, the average affiliate rate is somewhere between 5%-30%, depending on your industry.
To assess where you’d fall on that scale, you need to calculate your margins. How much can you afford to spend to acquire a customer?
By calculating your customer acquisition cost (CAC), you will have the baseline of what you pay to reach customers through other channels. Your commission should be lower than this cost to ensure the partnership is economical.
However, it must be high enough to encourage affiliates to do your marketing for you. Consider adding in bonuses for their first sale, tiered structures and other rewards to incentivize them to activate their fanbase.
How Do You Find and Recruit Good Affiliates?
The success of your affiliate marketing program relies on the strength of your affiliates. Who is promoting your VOD Business? Do they have an engaged, loyal following?
All good affiliates have a lot in common. You should look for partners with:
- Monthly blog traffic
- High engagement rates
- Niche and audience alignment
- Following or subscriber size
One method for locating good affiliates is to utilize an influencer marketing platform or agency to find influencers with steady traffic and engagement rates.
Once you find a potential affiliate that checks off all those boxes, reach out to them. Make sure your outreach is personalized and you have a strong, enticing offer.
Discuss what to look for in good affiliates (monthly blog traffic, niche and audience alignment, YouTube audience size for YouTubers, or podcast stats for those who host their own podcast).
You can create and share an affiliate registration page, making it easy for new affiliates to sign up for your program. It’s a good idea to link to this page in the footer of your website.
Verb shared their custom page with potential affiliates in outreach emails and on their social media channels.
By making it easy for affiliates to sign up, you will increase your conversion rate and bring in more partners.
Another great way to promote your affiliate program, is to get listed on top resource pages and directories for affiliate programs around your niche.
You can find these pages by using Google and searching for “Best [Your Niche] affiliate programs“. Once you have a list of relevant pages where your affiliate program can be mentioned or listed, you can reach out to the website and pitch your program to them. For example, Uscreen’s affiliate program has been mentioned and featured on many directories including the APDB directory.
How Do You Empower Your Affiliates to Successfully Promote You?
Once affiliates join your program, you have to empower them with tools and resources to start promoting you and generating sales.
If you position them for success, your business will benefit in the long-term.
Some of the most popular ways to energize your affiliates are by providing welcome kits, email updates, text links and bonuses.
Welcome Kits can be physical or digital items that are sent directly to the affiliate. Perhaps you have promotional items that can be delivered to the affiliate’s residence.
Your affiliate may be encouraged to take photos of the gift and share it on their social media account, generating additional exposure for your business.
Digital welcome kits are a low-cost option that is also effective. These can include welcome graphics featuring the affiliate site’s owner as well as a handful of other promotional materials that the affiliate can share directly on their own channels.
Reach out and send company updates by email. It’s simple but can have a dramatic effect on your affiliates’ success. This makes them feel more like they are a part of the team.
By bringing them closer to your business, your affiliates will be more knowledgeable and excited to sell for you.
Don’t think custom URLs for their websites and social profiles are all that affiliates need from you. Many publishers are building communities through direct conversations.
Create shortened custom URLs that affiliates can share directly via text to subscribers and fans that communicate with them on mobile devices.
Everyone likes a little more cash for good work, right? Add in bonuses at special milestones or when affiliates recruit more affiliates for you.
Ask your affiliates to create content about your business and promote it or reward them for generating a sale in their first month of signing as a partner.
Structured bonuses cause affiliates to become more incentivized and invested in helping your business succeed.
How Do I Take My Affiliate Program to the Next Level?
Ready to level up? There is a lot you can do to take your affiliate program from good to great.
First, narrow in on your high-performers. These are your affiliates that are generating the most revenue for you. Next, find a way to gamify your affiliate program. This can include offering new rewards for different levels or highlighting those doing well in a leaderboard.
Tesla offers a leaderboard to showcase their customers with the most referrals in the region.
You should also continue to check in regularly with your affiliates and listen to what they have to say. They might make suggestions that you can implement to improve your program.
This can be done via email, phone calls with top affiliates, and live chat. Your affiliates will appreciate the chance to learn more about the business and ask you questions in an open line of communication.
Being in regular communication with your affiliates, showcasing product updates, and gamifying sales can make your affiliate programs one of the best.
Affiliate marketing programs can be a viable way for brands to increase their revenue and grow their VOD business.
If you are in a niche industry, affiliate marketing can be a lucrative way to source customers at a nominal price.
All you need to do is use a platform like Rewardful or Refersion to keep track of the sales driven by your affiliates. In addition, you could even hire an affiliate marketing manager to oversee the entire process for you.
Businesses need affiliates with increasing levels of monthly traffic, high engagement rates and engaged audiences.
They should provide these affiliates with welcome kits, email updates, text links and bonuses to ensure they have everything they need and are incentivized to sell.
By launching your own affiliate program, you’ll convert more customers and increase sales while your affiliates do the work.