When the book “The World is Flat” first hit the bookstands back in 2005, many who read it came to have a better understanding of what it means to run a business in the global economy. Regardless of your view of the book, it did prompt us marketers to look more carefully and closely at the way we perceived and pursued new markets.
Certainly we’ve all heard about the companies that expanded into new markets and successfully increased sales, elevated brand awareness and continued to thrive.
While the Internet has been the driving force that allows companies to compete on a more level playing field, especially when it comes to e-commerce, there are still many factors to consider when a company tries to enter new markets.
Along with navigating trade barriers and possessing a deep understanding of the competitive landscape, one of the most critical factors impacting success in new markets is localized knowledge for marketing purposes. More specifically, you need the kind of local information that typically only a person in the country would have about the marketplace, the competition, the culture, and the nuances of doing business in certain regions.
As we know, hiring staff and opening offices is an expensive and risky undertaking for companies looking to enter new markets. And while all the market research and competitive analysis may point to indicators of success in a new territory, there’s still a significant amount of risk involved. For these reasons, the affiliate marketing channel can be one of the the most cost-effective ways to have a marketing presence in a new geography.
Here are six reasons why an affiliate marketing strategy can be the most effective way to enter new markets.
- Local knowledge: Successful affiliates for a particular regional market have already figured out what works. That means marketing copy, creative and offer strategy. Affiliates are also typically working on a CPA or cost-per-action basis so they are not getting paid on impressions or clicks but actual sales. They will tell you what works because they don’t make money unless you make money.
- Hyper local online traction: While we embrace the global economy, there has been an increased focus on hyper-local markets. Of course, we won’t abandon our marketing efforts to reach the masses but there is a greater awareness among marketers that presenting customized offers to specific sub-groups of people based on their particular interests is a winning strategy. In the future, affiliates that can drive local traffic will be an important part of any offline-to-online strategy.
- SEO expertise: Affiliates often live and breathe SEO and are able to boost awareness of brands through their marketing efforts based on key terms. In some instances, their content shows up higher in search engine results than the brands themselves. Additionally, their understanding of local dialects and interests can further augment your SEO efforts. This expertise may not be immediately apparent to someone outside the region, or even the neighborhood for that matter.
- Low overhead: With an Internet connection, affiliate marketers are ready to go to work for your brand even before you are ready to invest in marketing staff on the ground.
- Low risk: Affiliates enable you to dip your toe in the water and test your marketing strategy in new areas with very little risk especially in a CPA model. This is especially appealing to companies that are still uncertain about the feasibility of succeeding in a specific market.
- Commission driven: Since it’s a pay-for-performance based model, you pay only for results and you control the commission rates which you can make as competitive as your budget allows.
While there are proven benefits to working with an affiliate to enter new markets, there are also critical factors to consider before jumping on board with this business model. More specifically, you could manage the program yourself or you could align with a performance marketing network which will provide you with greater scale and open the door to established affiliate relationships.
An established network can manage the entire process from vetting publishers, providing strategic marketing counsel, tracking performance, and paying commissions. If you start out managing publisher relationships directly you will quickly appreciate the help that a network can provide.
If you are considering expanding into new markets, performance marketing can be one of the most cost effective and efficient paths to success. It can provide you with local marketing presence while at the same time allowing you to control your brand and try new local marketing strategies.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.