For businesses large and small, a common challenge is capturing audience attention, while also staying within advertising and marketing budgets. An affiliate program is a simple, yet cost-effective strategy many brands have implemented into their marketing and media relations plans.

Affiliate programs create a mutually beneficial relationship between brands and journalists and influencers. Unique affiliate links allow journalists and influencers to earn commission when promoting a product or brand on their platforms and give brands the ability to measure sales and ROI. Because affiliate programs present additional revenue opportunities for media publications, many outlets have begun to impose affiliate link requirements for product stories and round ups forcing journalists to follow suit.

Here are three reasons why you should consider enhancing your brand’s media and influencer relations strategy with an affiliate program:

Affiliate links are beneficial to brands of all sizes.

One of the best parts about using an affiliate program to market your product is that it universally works for brands of all sizes. For brands that have limited marketing resources and budget, it can be beneficial to use an affiliate program such as SimilarWeb, HubSpot, Skimlinks, or Shopify. These programs allow brands of all sizes to set up an affiliate program without the need of having an entire marketing department. According to SimilarWeb, affiliate marketing can be used whether you’re a one-person business, a store, a manufacturer or a large enterprise, and there is no limit to the variety of physical and digital products you can market through affiliate links.

Affiliate links are a cost-effective way to market your brand.

Small businesses can be easily-overwhelmed by the pay-to-play nature of marketing and advertising in today’s world. One of the benefits of an affiliate program is the ability to customize an incentive that makes sense for your business and budget. Though most affiliate programs offer monetary commission, it is not uncommon for brands to offer free products or store credit. According to Referral Rock, the most common way to reward an affiliate is through percentage commissions, with the average commission being between 5% and 30%. Media publications are often looking for a small percentage of monetary commission to include your brand in an upcoming article. Because commissions are only paid after a purchase through a unique affiliate link, there is a lower cost of entry than traditional advertising and paid media, making affiliate programs attainable and cost-effective for brands of all sizes.

Affiliate marketing is extremely customizable.

There is no one-size-fits-all for best practices to market your products and earn media attention for your brand. According to Shopify, a few options brands can use to incentivize participation in an affiliate program are free shipping with purchase, first-time buyer discounts, or a savings discount for all orders. Once you find a program that works best for your brand, it makes marketing and media relations simple, all while driving sales and tracking ROI with custom affiliate links.

As online shopping continues to gain in popularity and we continue in a digital sales driven era, it is logical for brands to choose marketing strategies that drive traffic and potential sales to their e-commerce platform. While there are many different ways brands can market their products online, affiliate marketing is becoming one of the most common strategies due to the flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and mutually beneficial relationship it creates between brands and media or influencers.