Non-Traditonal Revenue Streams
If one were to take a look at a typical bricks and mortar business that is doing reasonably well for itself, one may be lead to believe that all is right with the world as far as sales and the maximisation of revenue is concerned. However, despite the fact that your local Acme store is benefiting favourably from shifting it’s physical products or services, there may be an area of revenue that is being overlooked. Notwithstanding any success in traditional selling methods, if such a business chooses not to include Affiliate Sales as part of the revenue plan it may well be in danger of leaving money on the table.
Affiliate sales are the sales of products or services not generated by one’s own fair hand. Rather they are a type of commission paid out to online marketers who drive traffic to the website or online store of the product or service being promoted.
Affiliate traffic is sent to the target website by way of an affiliate link, which is a URL that essentially does two things:
- Directs your website visitor to the website of the product or service that you are promoting
- Acts as a tracking code for your sales, should the visitor end up purchasing the product or service that you have promoted
When a visitor to your site clicks this link they get sent from your website to the landing page of the product or service. After arriving at the vendor’s website, they will be presented with the opportunity to purchase said item. If they elect to follow your recommendation and make a purchase, you (the affiliate) will receive a commission for that sale.
This system of generating revenue is a complete business model for some people who make their living on the internet. However most bricks and mortar businesses may not have the time, understanding or the capacity to investigate this avenue, even though they may already possess a fair chunk of the requirements needed to launch a successful side business in affiliate sales.
In order generate some success with this tactic, the affiliate website must have gained the trust of a large enough volume of customers who are responsive it’s recommendations.
How Would This Work?
For example, say you are the proprietor of a busy salon and in between the blue rinses and highlights you are fielding a lot of questions from your clients on how to treat head lice in their children.
These questions are coming from people that Know Like and Trust you and who are looking to you to advise them on the best product that they can buy to solve their problem.
You, as the resident expert, are aware of a great product that you use yourself and are happy to tell them about it.
If your customer base is responsive and acts on your advice, you could be in the position of becoming an affiliate for the solution in question.
Should you decide to join a suitable affiliate program, you will be given a unique link to place on your website which you can promote either in store or online via Facebook or Google Advertising.
When your customers buy through your link you receive a commission.
Hold on to your Affiliate Hat
Before you go tearing off and paste your website with a multitude of affiliate URLs for a host of products that would not be out of place at a flea market, there are a few things to take into consideration.
You will have to declare that the links on your site are there to generate revenue for yourself by stating that you are an affiliate for the product that you are raving about. Also, you should only run promotions for goods and services that either you use yourself or would have no qualms in putting your name to.
As a trusted advisor to your customers, you should have a generous amount of knowledge or experience in the item that you are selling. Even if, as in most cases, the buyer (your visitor) will deal directly with the vendor (the producer) and not you (the affiliate) when making their purchase.
It is also a good idea to make sure that the vendor offers the same duty of care to it’s customers that you provide in your store.
This undertaking ensures that you act with integrity and that you protect your customers by only promoting items of real value to them.
Now, if your customers buy through your link, there will be no extra cost to them.
In fact, if you become a successful merchant, you may be able to offer your customers special deals if they buy through you. It is not uncommon for top affiliates to negotiate discounts for their customers from the owners of the products that they are promoting.
Affiliate as an Alternative?
Affiliate selling has been around for a long time on the internet , but perhaps it has not been on the radar of traditional business to the same extent. To some the practice may seem a little shady, but the important thing to remember is that you are promoting goods and services that your customers need, and that these are things that they have asked you about.
In a successful bricks and mortar business, affiliate sales may not be seen as the main revenue source, but it may be something that can be introduced as secondary revenue stream.
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