Q: What are your thoughts on whether affiliate marketing will work for a business selling a very cheap subscription service to other businesses? Or is affiliate marketing much more successful for B2C marketing?
A: In general, affiliate marketing is most commonly used in B2C programs, but it can certainly work with B2B products and services, too.
The main issue is the market demand for your subscription service. I would urge you to manage expectations with an affiliate program. Some folks go into it with the idea that an affiliate program can carry their company.
This does happen in some cases, but it’s not the norm. So you ought to plan for affiliate marketing to account for an incremental 10 to 25% of your business.
Take a look around to see whether your competitors have an affiliate program, or more importantly whether they used to have an affiliate program. It’s always nice to learn from their mistakes.
However, even if your prime competitor had an affiliate program at one point and does not have one now, that does not mean it cannot work for your niche. It may well be that their program perished due to poor management.
As far as the technology for a B2B affiliate program, you ought to ask all prospective vendors to give you a sample of the affiliates in their affiliate network that would make sense for your affiliate program.
If they cannot provide some examples of affiliates for your program, it’s a good sign that you’ll be doing all of the affiliate recruiting and can do without the cost of a network.