Being part of a start-up business is fun! You are breaking ground as you go, which is challenging, frustrating, all consuming and immensely rewarding. However, the chances of becoming the next Snapchat are slim. What 99% of start-up businesses need to do is work extremely hard to get noticed, get funding and then build a sustainable business.

So what can a young business do to boost its growth? Affiliate marketing is a low risk, high return tactic that should be leveraged by smart start-ups. To this end I’ve provided five top tips for start-ups to advise how they can use affiliate marketing to boost their business.

1. Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

With the rise of SEO and its recognised benefits for business, pay-per-click (PPC) seems to be the way forward. However, this isn’t always the case for start-ups or even SMEs. PPC can be costly, which means businesses can find themselves spending large amounts of money up front and not seeing any benefits if visitors aren’t engaging after clicking through their PPC campaigns. Use your marketing budget wisely. There is the misconception that affiliate marketing is time consuming and costly, but it can be part of the ‘growing up’ that a young business needs. Unlike PPC, with affiliate marketing start-ups and SMEs have greater access to media and don’t need to pay until they have completed a sale. It is a calculated low risk model with high ROI potential.

2. Make Sure You Have Clear ROI

Affiliate Marketing has already driven a great amount of ROI for advertisers. According to the IAB’s revised estimation, affiliate marketing and lead generation drove £16.9 billion in sales during 2014, rising to 5.4% to £17.7 billion in 2015. When considering the 9.3% rise in advertiser spend, this equates to a return of £13 for every £1 committed last year. That is £1 less than the revised estimate for 2014. It is an industry that continues to grow and has great benefits for start-ups and SMEs. Invest your resources with professionals. Affiliate marketing isn’t rocket science but to see results businesses must dedicate time into the process. Spending time approving suggested publishers, approving transactions, and building relationships with affiliates will help businesses achieve an even greater ROI. Affiliate marketing agencies can introduce publishers and help keep on top of building affiliate relationships.

3. No Need For A Large Upfront Investment

Affiliate marketing uses a highly relevant and targeted network to advertise a business and/or business offering to drive website traffic and sales. The process of leveraging an affiliate marketing network will help start-ups to gain partnerships for the business with websites such as review sites and niche bloggers that directly target an intended audience. This network of websites will promote a product or offering to web visitors reading the content, referring them back to the website for a commission fee, only after a sale occurs. Be committed to your investment. There is no need for start-ups to make a large investment upfront in affiliate marketing before any ROI is produced. However, what is required is the need for a committed investment over a sustained period of time – this should produce return that is scalable as your business grows.

4. Don’t Just Get Sales, Grow Your Business!

After launching a campaign it’s all very well analysing the results and looking at what happened yesterday, but the most important question for an affiliate marketing agency is to ask “what should we do differently tomorrow that will have an impact?” Using an affiliate marketing agency means that a start-up or SME places an element of its product marketing in the hands of knowledgeable professionals who, using the latest affiliate marketing technology, help the business grow and be successful. Place trust in these professionals and they will help the business build partnerships and get products out into the marketplace, but also ensure the data from an affiliate marketing campaign is being used to actively expand a product (or offer) nationwide or even internationally – helping the business to grow.

5. Affiliate Marketing Can Provide A Solid Return

Using a targeted affiliate marketing campaign holds huge benefits for start-ups, SMEs and also large corporate enterprises and given the lack of solid return on offer from channels such as search display networks or online advertising; affiliate marketing offers tangible value. Set clear goals for the campaign. Once the affiliate campaign is in place, it should drive sales and increase overall reach, but also attract customers that are far more engaged with the brand – which is essential for any organisation wanting to make a difference.