offline affiliate programsWhen most marketers think about using affiliate promotions to increase their earnings from a website, they almost always focus on digital products and services, or at least services where the actual purchase occurs online.

But customers don’t just buy things online, as much as online marketers would like to believe so. This means that there is a huge, largely untapped market for affiliates that can drive offline conversions.

How It Works

The biggest issue with promoting offline conversions is tracking the sale. You can recommend that local business all you want, but unless you can prove the person walked in the door because of your website, you’re going to have a difficult time negotiating commissions.

The way around this is to use coupon codes or rebate offers. This gives the customer an incentive to use the “evidence” that they came from your site. The higher the discount or rebate, the better the chance of the customer redeeming your offer in store.

The upside is that using these techniques also give you access to a range of marketing options many online marketers ignore, such as printouts, mailings, flyers, etc.

I’m also a big fan of conversion through mobile for these offline channels. Imagine how easy it is to hang flyers in every coffeeshop in town, and just have users snap a picture of a code in order to redeem a discount at the store next door!

If you think creatively, there are lots of options. This works great with local-themed websites, like event or review sites targeted to a specific city or neighborhood.

Where To Find These Programs

The difficulty with scaling this style of marketing is that it tends to involve working with smaller, more local businesses. This means you may wind up calling local stores to present offers to the owners and convince them to come on board.

If that’s the case, make sure you create an offer that will be as lucrative for them as it will be for you, so that you’re driving extra business to them they wouldn’t otherwise have exposure to.

See the complete list of affiliate marketing tips.