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Influencers and Affiliate Marketing: Using Influencers to Boost Affiliate Marketing

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Affiliate marketing is the norm when it comes to online marketing these days. And it’s not just a norm—it’s a necessity. Any company has to delve into the business of maximizing influencers and affiliate marketing to boost brand awareness, promote their products, and increase sales and revenue. Even the larger fish like Amazon aren’t above using affiliate marketing. In fact, Amazon has one of the largest affiliate marketing operations around. But it’s not just the big fish that can use what affiliate marketing has to offer. Even the small fry and startups can greatly benefit from using affiliate marketing to promote their products. Simply put, everyone can and should take advantage of the benefits of affiliate marketing. But like many facets of online marketing, affiliate marketing constantly evolves and changes. A new hybrid of affiliate marketing has been steadily gaining momentum—the use of influencers in affiliate marketing programs. Influencers have done a great deal to boost social media marketing for brands. While affiliate marketing used to be the domain of bloggers and writers, influencers have proven to be a vigorous competition to the old guard. In this article, we’ll discuss how brands can maximize influencers and affiliate marketing to build a strong online reputation and gain more followers and customers.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing began in the early days of the Internet, and the idea has remained constant since then. A company outsources or contracts with an individual or another company, and the latter is responsible for promoting the former’s products. In return, the affiliate (the contracted company or individual) receives an incentive, such as a percentage of the parent company’s earnings for every sale linked to the affiliate. The concept is easy to understand and is a win-win for both parties involved.

Traditional Advertising vs. Affiliate Marketing

Traditional and affiliate marketing have one goal—to get new customers and increase sales.
Although traditional advertising and affiliate marketing belong to the realm of marketing, there are some key differences between the two. Traditional advertising is a broad concept and is usually undertaken by the company itself. It encompasses different ways to promote a product—a testimonial or anything to get the word out. Traditional advertising also uses traditional media—television, radio, print—and to a lesser extent, movies. However, the Internet’s arrival changed many things. Online shopping, even in its infancy days, showed immense promise. Then came affiliate marketing, it wasn’t traditional marketing at all but it promoted products all the same. Affiliate marketing felt like the savvier and more authentic answer to traditional advertising. As mentioned above, affiliate marketing used to be the domain of writers and bloggers. The Internet was filled with blogs, with every single topic under the sun covered. It wasn’t long before companies figured out that they could ask writers and bloggers to hawk their products for them, and in return, bloggers could get a cut of the earnings. This marketing strategy has been successful. Consumers responded to it positively because it felt more authentic and real. People weren’t just getting an airbrushed, scripted look at the product. Instead, they were reading honest reviews from writers they trusted. Bloggers who commanded a large audience were essential to affiliate marketing, and a new marketing form was born: the rise of the influencers.

Influencers and Affiliate Marketing

The term influencer is one of the biggest buzzwords in marketing these days. The concept first emerged around the early 2010s when celebrities began using their influence on fans to promote products. The term soon caught on, and influencers became more niche-focused than just celebrities advertising anything. One thing about influencers is that they’re not restricted to traditional marketing ideas. They maximize their social media accounts to promote brands through interactive photo and video content. Real-time audience engagement is also achieved through Facebook and Instagram Live features. In this context, you may ask: is affiliate marketing same as influencer marketing? It was inevitable that the world of affiliate marketing and influencer marketing would meet. Companies want newer and more authentic ways to reach their customers and get them to respond. Fortunately, influencers hit that goal well. Although they’ve been accused of making their lives seem perfect, the fact remains that many of them highly influence their followers’ buying behavior. Hence, influencers and affiliate marketing are valuable tools for a brand’s success.

Using Influencers for Affiliate Marketing

You may wonder: how do affiliates get influencers for marketing? Now that we’ve examined the perks of influencers and affiliate marketing, let’s discuss how brands can maximize content creators to power up their affiliate marketing programs.

Find a brand-loyal influencer

Before you collaborate with influencers, make sure they haven't worked with your competitors yet or are currently promoting the same product.
The nature of loyalty in affiliate marketing can be tricky. In the old days, it wasn’t unusual for affiliates to accept commissions from competing companies. This setting worked to everyone’s advantage since people were more likely to trust someone who didn’t seem biased. However, it’s not recommended nowadays to find an affiliate that’s not loyal to a brand. Influencers often sell an abstract idea—lifestyle, fashion, and life hacks. They’re not necessarily experts on the products that you want them to sell, but that’s not the point. The point is that they hold massive sway over their followers, and it’s this power that you need to harness. Creators are influential and credible people, and if they promote something, people will automatically associate it with them.

Consider the criteria for getting influencers

Like any business partner, you should consider the criteria before collaborating with an influencer. Look at their number of followers, social media engagement, website traffic, online reputation, and relevance. When you look at an influencer’s number of followers, don’t automatically consider one who has thousands or millions of followers. Check whether their following aligns with their engagement rate and reach. Review also the kind of audience that they interact with—their lifestyles, interests, behaviors, gender, and generation. Finally, scan the influencer’s online reputation and see if he or she has great traffic on his or her website and social media accounts.

Sweeten the deal

Special deals are always great. Make it easy for your influencer to promote your brand by creating good affiliate marketing programs.
It’s a good idea to incentivize your offers to your influencer affiliate and the customers they bring to your brand. The most common practice is to offer an influencer a higher "cut" than other affiliates. Say your other affiliates receive 25% of net profits for every purchase they bring. You can go a little higher for your influencer affiliates and offer them 30% of the net profits for every purchase linked to them. The reason for this practice is simple. Influencers can do so much more to promote your products. They’re not limited to testimonials or product reviews. Influencers promote, advertise, and even provide calls-to-action to improve your lead generation. Most importantly, a higher cut would mean keeping an affiliate’s loyalty.

Create great offers for potential customers

Incentives shouldn’t only be for your affiliate influencers; you can also give perks to your influencer’s fans. The best way to do it is through discounts. You can course a discounted offering through your affiliate influencer and their followers can benefit from it. This affiliate marketing influencer strategy creates an idea in the consumer’s mind that it’s good to constantly follow your affiliate influencer, hence boosting their influence and brand awareness. Basically, it’s a win-win all around. You can further provide limited offers and loyalty programs or use a tool to convert your followers into paying customers. Check our Brandbassador review to learn how to do it.

Utilize Shopify

You may ask: can Shopify be used for affiliate marketing? The answer to this is yes. Shopify offers an affiliate marketing program, and the process is simple and easy. Do your research first about how affiliate marketing works, and then find influencers for your campaign. Shopify suggests having a strong affiliate program, which means keeping tabs on your current affiliates and looking for more interested members. The platform also recommends tracking your affiliate’s progress to check the campaign’s growth and consistency.

Make useful content

Cooking and recipe videos have emerged during the pandemic; hence, successful content is always about the trend.
Getting a credible influencer is great, but strong content plays a huge role in the affiliate marketing game. There’s no point in using influencers to boost your affiliate marketing if you’re going to stick with the old advertising ways. There are thousands of ads online and your product should stand out among your competitors. In creating content, you need to remember that your audience prefers authenticity. They want the story—the magic that their trusted influencer is selling. And that’s what you should harness. Don’t just list down all the basic ways to use your product. Show your audience creative and inventive ways to utilize your product and make your content engaging. Some examples of useful content online that gained popularity in 2020 were cooking recipes, home decor ideas, productivity tips, and fitness routines. People got more inclined to this type of content due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

Choose your platform

Influencers are everywhere, and you’ve got to choose a platform that best suits your brand. Apart from having loyal influencers, your affiliates should match your business’ niche, goals, and values. Is your brand gaining more popularity on Facebook, or you’d like to explore YouTube advertising? Regardless of what social media campaign you’ll create, you and your influencers must be on the same page. If you feel that you can succeed on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok, then find worthy influencers for each platform. It would be a bonus if you can collaborate with a creator who’s famous all across the sites mentioned.

How Can I Find Influencers for Affiliate Marketing?

There are many ways to find influencers for your affiliate marketing programs. Perhaps the most common method is to search for influencers on Google who have the same niche as your business. It’s guaranteed that you’ll find page after page of relevant influencers. Since most influencers are independent, you can find their contact details easily on their accounts, unlike celebrities. You can also use different tools and software, such as social analysis and link analysis tools. Check our Rakuten Advertising review to get started with your influencer hunt and build high-quality connections.

Use influencers to boost your affiliate marketing

Source: EngageBay
Affiliate marketing can be extremely helpful, either as an affiliate or a company using affiliates. It’s not necessarily the same as influencer marketing, but these two platforms intersect very closely. There are many creative affiliate marketing strategies and affiliate marketing influencer strategies that you can utilize for your brand. All you need are good knowledge, creativity, and consistency. Can you make millions with affiliate marketing? Yes, there’s a possibility. But it’s better to focus on achievable goals first if you’re just starting. Read our post about “How Influencers Can Work for Your Small Business” and watch your brand reach heights you never imagined before. Don’t wait for the magic to come; start your own affiliate programs for influencers now!
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