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B2B Affiliate Marketing: Benefits & Best Practices in 2024

Affiliate marketing is an important element for a company’s marketing strategy as it is one of the best ways to nourish demand and lead generation by creating organic traffic for the company website. By 2022, affiliate marketing spending has reached 8.2 billion dollars in the US market, projected to increase in the following years (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Affiliate marketing spending in the United States

Source: Statista

In this article, we explain what is a B2B affiliate marketing program, by providing its benefits and best practices.

What is B2B affiliate marketing?

B2B affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing strategy where businesses partner with other businesses to promote their products or services. In this arrangement, the affiliate promotes and refers customers to the merchant in exchange for a commission or other financial incentive.

In B2B affiliate marketing work, you collaborate with reputable content creators, such as influential industry analysts and social media influencers, to promote your business through their channels. These content creators, called affiliates, include links to your website within their content.

When someone clicks on an affiliate’s link and converts—either by becoming a qualified lead or making a purchase—you provide a commission to the affiliate partner responsible for the conversion. By paying affiliates for each sale, you incentivize affiliates to contribute to your brand’s growth and expansion.

What are the benefits of implementing a B2B affiliate marketing program?

1- Cost-effective marketing

Most affiliate programs operate on a performance-based model, meaning you only pay a commission when a specific action, such as a sale or lead generation, occurs. This makes it a cost-effective marketing strategy compared to traditional advertising, where you pay upfront without guaranteed results.

2- Increased brand exposure

Partnering with affiliates who have a strong presence in your industry can help increase your brand exposure. Affiliate marketers can introduce your products or services to their audience, expanding your reach and potential customer base by their referral program.

3- Enhanced credibility and trust

When respected industry influencers or experts promote your products or services, it can improve your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness. Potential customers may be more likely to consider your offerings if they are endorsed by someone they already trust.

4- New customer acquisition

Affiliate marketing efforts can help attract new customers who may not have otherwise discovered your business. When affiliates share your products or services with their audience, it can lead to new leads and sales. For 40% of US advertisers, affiliate marketing is the number one channel for customer acquisition.1

5- Scalable growth

As you build your network of affiliates, your potential for growth increases. You can scale your existing affiliate network to include more affiliate partners, diversifying your promotional channels and expanding your reach.

6- Performance tracking and optimization

With affiliate marketing, you can easily track the performance of your affiliates and campaigns. This data can be used to optimize your marketing strategy, identify high-performing affiliates, and allocate resources more effectively.

7- Low risk

Since you only pay commissions when desired results are achieved, affiliate marketing presents a low-risk approach to marketing. It allows you to test different strategies and affiliates without significant upfront investment.

What are the best practices for a successful affiliate program?

1- Clearly define your program’s objectives

Set clear and measurable goals for your affiliate program, such as generating leads, increasing sales, or boosting brand awareness. This will help you create a focused strategy and evaluate the program’s performance.

2- Choose the right affiliates and create your affiliate network

Partner with affiliates who have a strong brand reputation and influence within your industry. Ensure that they align with your brand values and target audience, as their credibility can directly impact your brand image.

3- Offer competitive commissions

Attract and motivate top-performing affiliates by offering competitive commission rates. This can include a mix of flat fees, percentage-based commissions, or performance-based bonuses. For example, Amazon’s commission rates range from 1% to 20%, depending on the product.2

4- Provide resources and support

Equip your affiliates with the necessary tools and resources to promote your products or services effectively. This may include marketing materials like:

  • banners
  • promotional images
  • email templates
  • training materials
  • product information

5- Establish clear communication channels

Maintain open communication with your affiliates through regular updates, newsletters, or dedicated affiliate managers. This helps to foster a strong relationship, address any concerns, and keep affiliates informed about new products, promotions, or program changes.

6- Track and analyze performance

Use an affiliate tracking platform to monitor and analyze the performance of your affiliates and campaigns. Nearly all your affiliate data can be used to optimize your marketing strategy, identify high-performing affiliates, and allocate resources more effectively.

7- Implement a tiered commission structure

Reward high-performing affiliates with higher commission rates or additional incentives. This encourages affiliates to invest more effort into promoting your products or services and can help retain top partners.

8- Offer exclusive promotions or discounts

Provide your affiliates with unique promotions or discounts to share with their audience. This adds value for the affiliate’s audience and can increase the likelihood of conversions.

9- Encourage long-term partnerships

Build strong relationships with your affiliates by offering ongoing support, competitive incentives, and regular communication. Long-term partnerships can lead to more consistent results and a deeper understanding of your brand.

Be aware of and adhere to applicable regulations and guidelines, such as disclosing affiliate relationships, following data privacy laws, and meeting industry-specific requirements.

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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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