Affiliate and Influencer Marketing
If you are working to promote your brand, influencer marketing, and affiliate marketing are both effective strategies that can be implemented as part of your overall marketing plan and budget. They may sound similar, but they serve different purposes. Most affiliates are influencers, but not all influencers are involved in affiliate marketing. What most companies will do is merge both strategies into their marketing plan as a hybrid marketing strategy to achieve your brand online goals. Read on and gain some important insights on both influencer and affiliate marketing and how you could apply them to your business.
What are Influencers and Influencer Marketing?
Influencers are socially savvy individuals that are experts in social media platforms and creating blogs. They earn from creating niche-based content within specific areas such as fashion clothing, food hunting, digital gadget etc. The concept of collaborating with these individuals and asked them to create engaging content with your customers is called influencer marketing.
What are Affiliates and Affiliate Marketing?
An affiliate gets paid a commission from the merchant after each successful sale or leads they made for the business. The sales can be tracked by the affiliate network using a unique link. The concept of affiliate marketing is collaborating with these affiliates and converting the followers into sales. For example, Amazon Affiliate Associates is one of the well-developed affiliate marketing programs that provide opportunities to website owners and bloggers to earn commission by advertising products from Amazon.com on their sites with unique links.
What are the Differences?
The main difference between affiliate and influencer marketing is simply the channel they use and the way they get paid. Affiliate marketing focuses on direct website traffic or direct sales, while influencer marketing focuses on building a social media relationship and content creation. An affiliate gets paid based on objective performance while an influencer is often paid upfront on per project basis.
Which one should you use for your marketing campaign?
It could be challenging to figure out which one should you choose for your marketing campaign. The two key issues that should be considered is defining your main objective as well as your marketing budget.
#1 Define your marketing objective
Affiliates are experts in targeting specific demographics who fit your brand because they provide a link to people who will potentially click in and complete the purchase. If you looking for sales generation, this could be a better choice. Elsewise, if you are targeting a broader audience and looking to raise brand awareness and creating engagement with your customers, then influencer marketing could be effective.
#2 Understanding your budget
It is important to look into your planned marketing budget for your campaign. Affiliate marketing could be more expensive as they are paid per sale referred, but it could also be more profitable for the company. The costs of your influencer are dependent on the size of their followers and also the frequency of posts required by them. With influencers, you are required to pay for them upfront without any commission or guarantee on sales or offer them free services or products in exchange for social media posts.
#3 Combine affiliate-influencer into your next campaign
If your budget allows it, it is more effective to having both influencer marketing and affiliate marketing as part of an integrated marketing campaign. Some campaigns would be more effective for one section of your target audience, while an influencer might work with another section. The most important thing is to make sure that both sides are happy with the arrangement so that both online goals could be achieved and create more sales for the company.
How do combine them?
#1 Understand your influencer
Treat your influencers as your business partner for affiliate marketing. Map out the relevant characteristics and elements of your brand and choose someone who comes from the like-minded group as your customers which they know and trust. For example, if you are in a health food business, you would probably be looking for someone that shares the fitness and health values. You will also need to research deeper about the social media platforms that the influencer used, any brands that they collaborated before, tone-of-voice they use in their social media posts and so on.
#2 Ask your influencer to share affiliate links
Because influencers receive an upfront payment the advertiser, the difficult lies in tracking the return on investment and there’s no guarantee that the business will achieve their desired campaign goals. By combining influencers into affiliate marketing, you can now manage your influencers based on their performance. In other words, you only pay them when a sale or purchase is achieved rather than just paying for plain sponsored posts. By partnering with an influencer, you are increasing the chance of conversion as people will be more interested in recommendations from them. A custom affiliate link is a commonly-used online tool that helps you to track the conversion rates from the influencers. You can ask them to share the custom links in their social media posts about your brand. You can also use a discount coupon code as an affiliate link to provide your customers a certain discount when they make a purchase with the code.
Want to learn more about how to create an affiliate link in your campaign? Talk to a marketing specialist at Desketing to maximize your affiliate marketing strategy!
Embrace the evolution
Affiliate and influencer marketing are both beneficial tools by themselves, but they are definitely more powerful if they are implemented together. This affiliate-influencer marketing hybrid has been the recent trend as companies nowadays are more customer-centered, therefore they are looking for advocates and storytellers to engage with their customers, and strengthen a long term relationship, rather than just creating a one-off lead. In this case, having social leaders that able to inspire their followers would be an integral component of a successful affiliate campaign.
Want to learn more about how to utilize affiliate and influencer marketing for your business? Talk to a digital marketing agency like Desketing to safeguard your competitive edge!