Affiliate Marketing How-to

Unlocking affiliate marketing can drive results that you’ll love.

There are a lot of companies out there trying affiliate marketing. But like any other marketing channel, it takes time for affiliate marketing to become effective. It’s common for a company to dip its toes in the waters of affiliate marketing, see no immediate results, and shut it down too quickly. If done right, though, affiliate marketing can seriously benefit your company. We’re gonna look at an example of how Aéropostale executed a successful affiliate marketing program and glean a few key tips in the process to help get you on the right track.

Identify the right partners based on your target consumer

Naturally, when beginning any affiliate marketing program, your partner or partners need to make sense in relation to your target market. When Aéropostale was looking for a partner, it teamed up with YouTube personality Bethany Mota, whose primary audience was comprised of 15- to 24-year-old girls — a perfect fit for Aéropostale in terms of its female shopper demographic.

Create a noteworthy new product or significant promotion

A vital part of affiliate marketing is that you have something that the program is backing up or bolstering. Usually, this takes the form of a new product or big promotion going on. In Aéropostale’s case, this was a new clothing line inspired by and in collaboration YouTuber Bethany Mota. In this specific example, the affiliate marketing program is especially unique, as it’s completely intertwined with the new product line. But for your company, you could simply utilize an affiliate marketing campaign to support a pre-existing or newly developed product, service, or promotion.

Create a campaign with multiple touch points

The most effective affiliate marketing campaigns will have multiple touch points in which you can reach your customers. As long as the touch points make sense with the campaign and your target market, then each additional touch point just gives another opportunity to reach people with your offering. Aéropostale utilized YouTube (for obvious reason) as well as their own retail stores to drive awareness of the new clothing line.

Track success down to the ROI so you know the true impact

Knowing — and ultimately, understanding — the full impact of an affiliate marketing program is obviously one of the most important aspects here. Without proper measurement and analysis, it’s going to be much harder to assess how successful the campaign was. And without that data, it’s probably going to be tough to get the budget to do more affiliate marketing. In Aéropostale’s situation, they were able to measure increased store visits and online/offline sales, and they also took advantage of the analytics data provided by YouTube to look at the number of impressions, views, and CTR of the campaign’s YouTube ads. They also measured the difference in search queries on both YouTube and Google, which rose 145% and 24%, respectively. Although Aéropostale didn’t release numbers on the ROI of its campaign, based on the numbers above, it’s likely that the ROI was quite favorable.

Dave Haase
Dave Haase
Don't let his Stanford MBA fool you -- at heart, Dave's a real Indiana boy, and from time to time you can find him off-roading in his Jeep with his wife and kids. Feel free to email him with any questions related to eCommerce.