It's time to leverage the power of the internet, search engines, social/business media, SEO and a reasonably new distribution channel - Affiliate Marketing!
See - Affiliate Marketing Terms Below!
Note - Yes I know! Some sectors of the Insurance Industry are already ahead of the curve in utilizing Affiliate Marketing, e.g. auto, health & life quotes, pet, and legal plans.
The Problem - Distribution channels traditionally utilized by Insurance Companies - as well Broker/Agents - for reaching targeted markets have experienced disruptive changes over the past several years. The cost, efficiency, and effects of regulation (like MLRs) on traditional distribution channels have created a demand for new more effective and cost-effective strategies!
Affiliate Marketing is an opportunity that should be explored!
> Gain a wider market to sell Plans, Programs and Services, resulting in more leads, customers, sales, and revenues.
> Gain more qualified prospects and clients without spending valuable time in cold calling and searching for them.
> Contain and/or reduce marketing costs.
> It does not require a sizeable investment of time and money to get a program started (See two options below!)
> Affiliates do not need to be licensed if the program is properly structured.
> A larger and more diverse set of distribution channels can be established without the need for training.
Advantages for Affiliates:
> Do not need to be licensed if program is properly structured.
> Do not have to worry about direct selling, book keeping, and e-commerce related headaches since the advertiser - or their service provider - handles it all. The affiliate can focus on promoting the Plans, Programs, Services and generating income.
> Enjoy the luxury of being their own boss and work on their own time.
> Only requirements are a laptop and an internet connection. Anyone can work almost anywhere.
> Tremendous income opportunities and the ability to affiliate with branded Plans, Programs and Services.
Disadvantages for Insurance Companies & Brokers:
> Affiliates may use false and misleading advertising in order to get sales commissions.
> It may be necessary to add a staff member to manage the Affiliate program.
Disadvantages for Affiliates:
> Unscrupulous and dishonest Advertisers may arbitrarily close down programs without informing the affiliates and without paying commissions.
> Affiliates will need to familiarize themselves with the advertisers targeted markets to design an effective business plan.
The bottom line!
"No matter the disadvantages, affiliate marketing still remains as one of the best ways to make money online." Marketers [both the advertiser and affiliate] simply have to understand that by doing their homework and research before hand and by implementing simple security measures, they can easily negate all these disadvantages in order to enjoy the advantages of the affiliate marketing program." (streetdirectory.com)
How to get started and maintain an Affiliate Marketing Campaign? You have two basis choices!
1) Build the Program In-House -- Manage campaigns and to track affiliate referrals and sales utilizing proven professional software. Two examples of this type of opportunity include:
a) QualityUnit b) Affiliatwize/AdComplete
2) An online advertising and internet marketing company - that specializes in affiliate, media and tracking services. These include:
a) ShareASale b) CJ c) FlexOffers d) LinkShare e) LinkConnection
Glossary of Affiliate Marketing Terms (Thanks to CJ.com and Affiliatetips.com):
- Affiliate Marketing - Any type of revenue-sharing program in which a publisher receives a commission for generating online actions (such as leads or sales) for an advertiser; also called performance-based marketing, partner marketing, CPA, associate program, or pay-for-performance program. (CJ)
- Affiliate - Individuals or business that, for a commission rate, generates sales, leads or clicks from a website by promoting products or services for a merchant using an affiliate program. Affiliate uses e.g. banner ads or text links to refer website traffic to merchant landing page. (Affiliatetips)
- Affiliate Program - A program through which a merchant pays a commission to an affiliate for generating clicks, leads, or sales. Also known as an associate, partner, referral, or revenue sharing program. (Affiliatetips)
- Advertiser - A company that sells a product or service, accepts payments, and fulfills orders online. Advertisers partner with publishers to help promote their products and services. Publishers place an advertiser’s ad, text links, or product links on their website or include them in email campaigns and search listings in exchange for commissions on leads or sales. Also known in affiliate marketing as a “merchant.” (CJ)
- Banner Ad - A banner is a clickable (hyperlinked) advertising graphic, and is the most common type of web advertisement. Banners are graphics of all shapes and sizes. (CJ)
- Publisher - The owner of a website that chooses to display or promote an advertiser's products or services. Publishers agree to place ads on their websites or promote an advertiser's offers via search or other means authorized by the advertiser. In return, publishers can earn commissions, which vary by advertiser, on click-throughs, leads, or purchases made through the links on their websites. (CJ)
- PPA -- Pay-Per-Action - Merchant payment method of commission to affiliate based on referred traffic taking the desired action of the merchant, e.g. signing up for newsletter or purchasing a product. (Affiliatetips)
- PPC -- Pay-Per-Click - Advertising service offered by search engines enabling merchants to advertise on the search engine result page. Ad position is managed by a bidding system and merchant pays every time a visitor click on the ad. (Affiliatetips)
- PPA -- Pay-Per-Lead - Offering visitors a consumer based website, evaluating products and services affiliates can generate leads to evaluated merchants websites and get a commission in return. (Affiliatetips)
- PPS -- Pay-Per-Sale - Affiliates receive a commission on every sale merchants make to a referred customer. Normally a certain percentage is withdrawn from the product or service price. (Affiliatetips)
- Text Link - Word, phrase, sentence or complete text used for linking to internal or external webpage. Tools: Applications, software, plug-ins, strategies, add-ons, services, products or person... (Affiliatetips)
- Tracking - To ensure affiliates receive proper commission for all referrals tracking is used to keep track of the origin of landing page visitors. Tracking Method: Different ways for affiliates to track their referrals. Most common is a tracking assigned link in