Affiliate marketing allows you to pay people outside your organization to sell your product for you. If they make the sale, you pay them a commission. If they fail, they get nothing from you. Sounds like the ideal situation for your company, right? Well, not always …
The fact is that while affiliate marketing can make you good money at times, it can also succeed in hurting or even destroying your brand. Here’s how:
- Affiliate marketers may say ANYTHING to make a sale. Think of the stereotypical used car salesman attempting to pass off a lemon on an unsuspecting shopper. He’ll say pretty much anything to make the sale. In the old days, he might even turn back the odometer to make you think the car has way fewer miles than it actually does. So you buy the car and take it home, only to find it breaking down over and over within the next few weeks or even days. This could be the case with affiliate marketers. They can sign up to sell your product and then spill out all sorts of mistruths to sell your product. Next thing you know, your product isn’t delivering as the marketer promised and your brand suffers.
- They may expose potential customers to sites that are detrimental to your image. Imagine you’re trying to promote a self-help eBook and you put it up for affiliate marketers to try and sell. Seems great until customers start running across your book on gambling sites, or even worse, adult-only sites. Now on top of that, imagine potential customers contracting spyware from these sites while trying to get your product. See where I’m going with this? Now your product is developing a reputation for immorality and spam. Bad news.
- You don’t have direct interaction with the customers. If the affiliate marketer is selling your product on a blog type site, then it’s probable that customers who purchase from them will discuss your product on their page. What happens when customers slam your product on their blog? You really have no way to address comments, much less monitor or delete them.
Affiliate marketing can make you money. But it also puts your brand at risk. Does that mean you should stay away from it completely? Not necessarily. But you definitely need to do your homework and weigh the benefits with the risks.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three free ebooks, including the Big Press Release Book and Twitter Tactics, here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/freebooks.html