Depending on your business and scalability, there may come a point when you want to offer your product or service in the international market. This can be in a neighboring country like Belgium or on the other side of the planet like the US. Regardless of the country, it is important to invest time in researching the country and culture prior to any actions. The approach that we are used to in the Netherlands can provide completely different results abroad. In this blog we discuss the power and potential of growing internationally using affiliate marketing.
First of all, the question is whether the need for your product that you experience in the Netherlands is there at all abroad. For example, it can happen that you solve a problem that does not play a role in the US, for example due to legislation or other matters. In addition, the general culture of the country is different from the Netherlands. The direct communication which is common in the Netherlands may not be well received in other countries.
Expenses will be made the moment you invest in a local team and marketing activities in a new country. The money therefore is flowing out while there is still no turnover or brand awareness of the company in the targeted area. The preliminary research and a local person in the country who represents your product or service is therefore of great importance to set up the sales process as effectively as possible.
Full steam ahead, or not?
The research phase allows you to confirm a PMF (Product Market Fit) in the targeted country. The next phase is to hire a local representative who speaks the language and knows the culture like no other. This will most likely mean that you will have to go abroad very regularly in the coming period to teach the sales representative everything about the product, go along with customers and optimize the strategy. The expenses during this phase can be quite high due to:
- Personnel costs
- Rent office
- Phone/Laptop representative
- Car (optional)?
- Marketing campaigns
These costs are incurred before a single product has been sold across the border, so growing internationally always comes with significant risk. How long does it take for costs and revenue to break even and when will profit be made?
Power of Affiliate Marketing
It is therefore interesting and valuable for companies to look into alternatives where risks and investments are lower. An interesting and scalable is Affiliate Marketing as this is based on PPS (Pay Per Sale). Instead of a local hired representative, you work on a network of local affiliates who promote your product or service based on commission per sale. This means that there are no expenses as long as the conversion is lacking
Affiliates are independent and usually work from their own location with their own equipment, so there are no costs for an office or hardware like a telephone and laptop.
Affiliate marketing brings no to very limited financial risks as the model is based on commission per sale. The only lost investment if sales are lacking is your personal time. This model enables you to easily build and expand an affiliate network internationally, the team can consist of 10 to maybe 50 affiliates in the starting phase which makes it extremely scalable. In addition to the turnover in the established country, this network also ensures a lot of brand awareness and exposure. This thereby gives you the opportunity to pitch your product or service in various countries to document the feedback and potential. For example, if you are in doubt about 2 countries to enter, you can choose to start an affiliate network in both countries. The results, growth and feedback from the affiliates can provide a lot of clarity about the long-term potential. This also makes affiliate marketing interesting for carrying out test cases.
Provide Up-to-Date content
The possibilities and accessibility of affiliate marketing abroad can also be a pitfall as the results will lag behind if the preparation and basis for the specific country have not been sufficiently carried out. A local affiliate network can be very strong, but it is important to ensure that your promotion content like banners, emails and landing pages are translated and adapted for the specific country.
The potential will not become visible if you maintain English content for websites in for example France, this requires attention. Dutch banners in general consist of calls to actions to generate a consumer trigger. In other countries you may have to take a completely different approach.
The potential and possibilities of an affiliate network are large and broad, but it is of great importance that the cooperation and management of the affiliates receives sufficient attention. The partnerships must be maintained, new content must be shared and improvements for higher conversion must be coordinated. This means that the management of an affiliate network abroad can involve quite a bit of work.
It is therefore important that someone within the company is available to manage the relationships with the affiliates, this can be someone from HQ or ultimately locally in an international country where your business has been shown to be growing successfully.
Growing internationally with affiliate marketing can be a very successful model due to the limited financial risks and the possibility to set up a wide affiliate network. This ensures an exponential reach of your product or service in the entered country.
The preparation required for the approach and content remains just as relevant and crucial. Therefore, carefully study the culture and approach of the specific country, this can make or break your success.
Below are the biggest benefits of growing Internationally with Affiliate Marketing.
- No Cure No Pay, no financial risks
- Easily expanding the Affiliate network provides more exposure
- Starting with affiliates can indicate the potential in the country