Affiliate marketing traditionally consists of a business model inwhich brands pay online content creators a commission for the direct sales they bring in via their blog and/or social channels. Content partners are identified based on a contextual fit with a brand and the brand sets up a link or code that content creators share with their audience. When the audience makes a purchase, the content creator gets paid. Pretty straightforward.
Brands sometimes like this approach over the influencer marketing model because with affiliate marketing, content creators or influencers are paid based on performance as opposed to an upfront payment for a post like influencer marketing.
In order to make your affiliate program worthwhile, here are 5 tips to strengthen your strategy:
Make it Worthwhile
Tip: Content creators will start dropping from your campaign like flies if you ask for too much of their time than balances out their reward. Make sure that your “ask” is fair and that reword for said ask is tangible. You may need to adjust the percentage rate you give your influencers and make sure they are stocked with free product from your brand.
Example: Say a fashion brand wants to partner with content creators to show off the durability of a pair of hiking pants. The brands has the great idea of challenging the influencers to wear the pants to different places and photograph the variety of places the pants are worn. This brand would need to realize how much time and effort goes into going different places, taking photos and writing content. They could compensate by offering a set financial compensation rate up front in addition to commission.
Identify the Right Affiliate Partner
Tip: While some marketing strategies are best owned in-house, affiliate marketing can be technical with creating and monitoring links. And let’s not forget that there are FTC guidelines to follow. Having the right agency not only ensures that your legal and technical needs are taken care of, but, they also bring strong relationships to the table as well.
Example: A beauty brand may be ready to hop on the affiliate marketing bandwagon but everyone on their team is spread a little too thin. This brand may want to contact Versa Marketing or do some research to identify an affiliate marketing agency who can develop the creative and maintain the relationships for a strong affiliate marketing strategy with beauty influencers.
Seed Content Creators with the Right Assets
Tip: When your content creators succeed, your brand makes sales. So, make sure that you’re helping them succeed with the right brand information and assets. Here are few examples of assets brands should equip their content creation partners with:
- Engaging content about the brands
- New and fresh information about the brand or upcoming releases
- Easy to trace links so both your brand and the influencer can see how they’re performing
- High quality images
- Downloadable resources
- Give a creative campaign theme or challenge
Example: A software brand may want to consider paying per lead and generate leads with a downloadable piece of content that their brand produced such as an ebook or white paper on a topic that shows thought leadership.
Keep a Pulse
Tip: It’s key to keep a pulse on your relationships with all of your content creators. This will allow your brand to adapt a strategy based on what is working and converting. You need to be able to know who is succeeding and who needs new content and approaches.
Many brands make the mistake of sending out links and implementing a “hands-off” approach to their affiliate marketing. It’s important to remember that these relationships need to be nurtured in order to keep your brand on the brains of content creators so that they’re mentioning your brand multiple times.
Example: A craft brand may keep a spreadsheet of all of their content partners and include a column for their birthdays. On their birthday, the brand could send them a special gift—something simple but highly effective.
Design a Strategy Across Many Platforms
Tip: Of course, blogs are great for their longform content and their potential to convert sales for years to come. But, social media mentions can reach different audiences and create a quick spark for your brand. When you’re giving your content creators a theme and a direction, make sure that this encompasses social media as well.
Example: To elicit visually appealing posts on social, a fitness brand could add a layer to their social strategy by offering influencers a reward such as a gift card for the most creative Instagram post. This incentivizes the influencers to add an extra creative layer to the photos they put out for your brand.
Do you have any affiliate marketing tips? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!