Affiliate marketing has historically been a siloed channel, but what if it wasn’t? What if I told you that by collaborating across all of your marketing channels you could unlock new opportunities, share the cost of customer acquisition, test new ideas in a cost-effective way, and that’s just the beginning?
Affiliates have the ability to touch consumers anywhere they are. Whether they are on their phones, on social media, reading emails, in-store, or looking for the best deals. Affiliates can also touch consumers based on where they are in their consideration process, such as through review sites or looking for the best deals on loyalty or coupon sites. And to top it all off, we have the ability to measure the marketing efforts and the KPIs.
This is why affiliate marketers need to be having conversations with the decision-makers about the value affiliates can bring. Educating them on ways that affiliates can contribute and ways to work together in a unified approach. I’m excited to share some ways to kick off these conversations with other marketing channels.
PR & Brand
Having an understanding of what is already planned and identifying areas where the affiliate channel can be used as additional support is key. In many cases, offering a flat fee + commission incentivizes partners to invest further with the brand.
The Brand and/or PR team generally have customer avatars created that can be incredibly beneficial to the affiliate channel. This is especially true when looking to recruit new partners. Understanding the specific demographics and the customers’ interests allows for a more targeted recruitment approach.
Knowing which articles have had the most traffic historically can also help inspire the creation of future articles. It’s a great opportunity to discuss including affiliate links within existing articles for additional performance insights.
Understanding both the trends and upcoming plans within PR allows the affiliate channel to work closely with the publisher’s editorial teams. This helps map out, in advance, what products they should create articles around. It also opens up new opportunities that wouldn’t normally be an option if affiliate and PR weren’t working hand in hand.
Content creators within the affiliate program find the sharing of SEO practices from the brand incredibly helpful. This allows the partner to optimize the content they create. By consolidating internal SEO best practices and sharing them with content affiliates, you get an easy way to optimize and grow your content partnerships.
Social Media & Influencers
When working with social media and influencer channels there is often a high level of overlap with affiliate marketing. Knowledge sharing between the two will undoubtedly open not only new revenue-generating opportunities but also optimization opportunities. For instance, understanding what social media posts and stories have the highest impression rates and engagement can be leveraged as examples of best practices for affiliates to use.
It’s worth noting that brands generally have a social platform that outperforms others depending on the KPIs. Asking which platforms have performed best by specific KPIs can help the affiliate channel determine what type of influencers on what social platforms should be recruited.
Many times the influencer team also manages the brand ambassador program. This offers a unique opportunity to understand the criteria being used in identifying potential ambassadors so the affiliate channel can help support recruitment efforts. In some instances, content creators recruited for the affiliate program would also be great ambassadors and vice versa.
The incremental revenue that can be generated with a hybrid (flat fee + commission) payment model is something to keep top of mind when building out content creator strategies, both within the influencer and affiliate channels. Oftentimes this kind of payment structure convinces content creators to commit to working with the brand because the creator will continue to earn revenue for the lifetime of the content. This structure also allows for an additional way to measure the success of an influencer campaign.
Paid / Display / Native
Whether your program allows affiliates to promote through paid, display, and/or native, some key insights that can help further improve affiliate performance. While also enhancing current internal paid efforts.
Paid media teams have the ability to test different creative banners and messaging to different audiences and determine which ones perform best. Affiliates can greatly benefit from using the creatives that drive the highest traffic as banners on their websites or for those affiliates working in display. These same high-performing creative banners can also be used as evergreen banners meaning they can be indefinite vs. other forms of banners that can only be used for a specific duration. Understand what lifestyle images have generated the highest click-through rate and use them for evergreen banners within the affiliate program.
If the affiliate channel allows native and display affiliate traffic, it’s important to collaborate with the paid media team to understand where affiliates can be leveraged to test new campaigns cost-effectively. As well as where to avoid having affiliates overlap with paid media efforts to not increase the cost within the paid media channel.
Understanding what’s working through the email channel can help determine what messaging and creatives should be used in email-paid placements that run through the affiliate program.
Here are some great questions to ask your email channel when looking for ways to strategize.
- What subject lines have the highest open rates during key promotional periods? For instance, if the affiliate channel has an email scheduled with a large partner for a Father’s Day promotion, understanding what subject lines in past Father’s Day email campaigns performed best is helpful to know.
- What days of the week have you seen the highest open and click-through rates? Having this insight will provide the affiliate channel with some best practices to use when scheduling placements.
- What are the current email segments and what kinds of products or product categories convert best to that specific segment? With this information, the affiliate channel can review the different types of partners that align most closely to those email segments and test what has been proven to work within the email channel.
As you can see, gone are the days of a siloed affiliate marketing approach. Now is the time to collaborate, grow, and brainstorm across your marketing channels. Leveraging affiliate marketing in your overall marketing strategy will help get you where you want to go.