In the dynamic landscape of eCommerce, marketers are constantly exploring new strategies to boost brand visibility and drive sales. According to Goldman Sachs Creator Economy in 2023 report, the creator economy isn't slowing down anytime soon. In fact, the market is expected to double over the next 5 years. Affiliate marketing and influencer marketing have traditionally been looked at as separate campaign strategies, but are now blurring lines as eCommerce brands merge the two to drive powerful digital marketing campaigns.
In this article, we'll dive into the similarities between these two strategies and explore how their convergence can streamline your business, fortify your brand, and provide clear incentives for both affiliates and influencers.
Harnessing the Power of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing involves partnering with individuals who promote your products through their platforms and channels. These partners receive a commission for each sale generated through their unique referral links. Due to the personal investment that each affiliate has in this strategy, these partners are motivated to promote your brand and/or product, which increases sales for your company.
Let's take a closer look at the advantages of affiliate marketing and how it can supercharge your eCommerce business.
- Driving Conversions and Affordable Traffic
Affiliate marketing is renowned for its ability to generate conversions and drive cost-effective traffic to your website. By leveraging their networks, using custom links, and offering competitive commission structures, affiliates take on a significant role in effective marketing. They help you reach a wider audience and bring in valuable traffic that's more likely to convert.
- Revenue-Driving Potential
Affiliate links have been proven to be as effective in generating sales as email promotions, making them a valuable revenue-driving tool for brands. By structuring payments so that affiliates earn a commission only when they make a sale, brands save money on ineffective marketing efforts.
- Multiple Partners and Tiered Commissions
Affiliate marketing allows you to test and learn with different partners and leverage tiered commission structures to reward the most effective affiliates. This flexibility enables optimization and the discovery of high-performing partnerships, leading to increased sales and brand exposure.
Leveraging affiliate programs as a performance marketing strategy is a low-cost way to build a backlog of user-generated content, gain brand visibility, and create long-term relationships partnerships with individuals that are passionate about your brand.
The Impact of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing consists of collaborating with independent bloggers, vloggers, or social media personalities who create content to promote your brand or products. Traditionally, influencers have been paid a flat fee for their services. Since content creators already have a loyal following that trust their judgement on Instagram and TikTok, partnering with them is extremely valuable - it can even shift a consumer’s preconceived perspective on your brand.
Let's explore the key aspects of influencer marketing and how it can amplify your brand's reach and engagement.
- Building Brand Awareness
Influencer marketing is highly effective in raising brand awareness as influencers tap into their dedicated following to introduce your brand to new audiences. The trust and affinity they have built with their followers strengthen your brand's credibility, making it more likely for their audience to engage with and trust your products.
- Compelling Content Creation
By partnering with influencers, brands gain access to their creativity and expertise in content creation. Influencers produce authentic and engaging content that aligns with their unique style, resonating with their audience and driving high levels of engagement.
- Multiple Partnership Opportunities
Similar to affiliate marketing, influencer marketing offers the chance to test and learn with various partners. Brands can explore different influencers and identify those who effectively reach and engage their target audience, enabling them to build long-term relationships and unlock new marketing opportunities.
Partnering with influencers aligned aesthetically and ethically with your brand drives brand-awareness, trust, and notable return on investment. Influencer marketing allows you to test and optimize on what’s truly driving results.
The Convergence of Affiliate Marketing and Influencer Marketing
The similarities between affiliate marketing and influencer marketing present an exciting opportunity for brands to merge these strategies, unlocking a range of benefits.
Below are the advantages that come with combining these two powerhouses:
- Simplified Business Approach
Merging affiliate and influencer marketing streamlines your business by adopting a unified payment structure for both affiliates and influencers. This simplification reduces administrative complexity and ensures consistent messaging across all partnerships, making it easier for you to manage and track your marketing efforts.
- Strengthened Brand and Increased PR Value
Combining affiliate and influencer marketing enhances your brand's visibility and builds upon the trust established by your influencers or affiliates. Partnering with trusted influencers can introduce your brand to an audience that is already familiar with and receptive to their recommendations. This association strengthens your brand's reputation and increases its PR value.
- Aligned KPIs for Measurement
Affiliate marketing and influencer marketing share similar key performance indicators (KPIs), such as website sessions, new user acquisition, conversion rates (CVR), and revenue generated through partnerships. This alignment facilitates accurate metrics and evaluation of marketing efforts, enabling you to gauge the success of your campaigns effectively.
Strategies for Merging Affiliate and Influencer Marketing
In a recent case study published by Acceleration Partners, Allbirds tapped into an always-on influencer strategy utilizing both content creators and affiliates to increase revenue +371% YoY. To achieve these results and successfully merge the two marketing approaches, Allbirds used the below strategies.
The following are our recommendations to successfully combine the two marketing tactics:
- Hybrid Partnerships
Offer a combined payment structure that includes a discounted flat rate for influencer content creation and an affiliate commission based on desired outcomes. This approach provides clear incentives for both affiliates and influencers while maximizing your marketing budget.
- Increase Product Trade and Offers to Affiliates
Extend the practice of offering free products and discounts to influencers by including affiliates in this strategy. By incentivizing affiliates with product trade, you can further encourage effective content creation and increase traffic and clicks.
- Engage Micro-Influencers as Affiliates
Explore the potential of partnering with micro-influencers as affiliates. This approach fosters long-term partnerships, promotes their career growth, and creates a cost-effective collaboration for your brand.
- Incentivize with Increased Commissions and Product Trade
Reward affiliates and influencers who consistently promote your company month after month. Strengthen your partnerships by offering incremental increases in commissions and product trade, ensuring a deep understanding of your products and a genuine connection to your brand.
Merging affiliate marketing and influencer marketing presents a valuable opportunity for eCommerce brands to simplify operations, strengthen their brand presence, incentivize partnerships, and leverage the best of both marketing worlds. By combining the unique strengths of these strategies, you can maximize performance and drive sustainable growth in the ever-evolving digital landscape.