Affiliate marketing is a tried and tested strategy for boosting sales. By using affiliate links social media creators become your brand’s best salespeople. Their engaging and authentic content paired with a clear call to action helps to convert many online customers.
In order to benefit from this seamless social-driven commerce strategy, brands need to overcome certain barriers to help them scale. Finding and vetting affiliate partners can be difficult and time-consuming. Not to mention the burden marketing teams face when managing the outreach and logistics in coordinating a large-scale affiliate program. But help is at hand! The best strategy to take your affiliate marketing to the next level is harnessing influential customers within your brand community. Brands can capitalize on influencers’ brand affinity and genuine experience of the product while making the outreach and activation process so much easier!
Let’s have a look at how this works in practice!
Identify affiliate partners within your brand community
You’ve tested affiliate marketing and you know it works for you. The next question is how to scale effectively? Recruiting affiliate partners directly from your brand’s network is the best way to grow your impact. Your customers have real, first-hand experience using your products, making them your most authentic content creators! They know and love your brand and will be able to use their social network connections to promote your products to like-minded people in your target audience. Affiliates that can draw on real-life experience and genuine appreciation for your products will help to convince potential customers who are still deciding whether to click ‘buy now’.
Working with organic influencers from your customer base is a sustainable way to continue to grow your pool of potential affiliates. We call it the snowball effect. A rapidly growing customer base means new customers can participate in affiliate programs. Behind each new purchase is a customer with the potential to become an affiliate partner. And so the cycle repeats, helping you to scale fast.
How to put affiliate marketing into practice?
It’s very straightforward for enterprise businesses to get started with this strategy as you already have a large customer base to draw from. The process involves analyzing the social reach data of contacts in your database to identify individuals with a valuable online reach (making them a great candidate to be an affiliate partner). To get started, try a tool like Upfluence which connects with your CMS, affiliate platforms, e-commerce stores, and mailing tools to uncover influential contacts at scale. Start analyzing and building a list of organic influencers for your brand in one click!
Scale affiliate outreach
To recruit as many new affiliates as possible you need an outreach strategy that’s personalized to individual contacts yet helps you to reach a maximum number of people. For brands who want to scale, manual outreach is too labor-intensive so brands should consider an automated approach. Automated outreach helps you to contact a large number of people about different campaigns simultaneously while freeing up your team to focus on other tasks.
For effective outreach, personalization is key to getting a high response rate. Using personalized information in your emails such as their name, handle, and location can prove very effective. You can go one step further with Upfluence’s integrations with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce which can surface information about your influential customer’s latest purchase, or how much they spend, helping you to create a more personalized offer. For example, You can invite them to become an affiliate partner, promoting the products that they purchase most often, or even send them a complementary product as an incentive to take part.
Upfluence’s integration with affiliate tool Refersion can help you scale your outreach efforts with effective affiliate link distribution. After identifying influencers within your customer database, you can create an influencer list within Upfluence’s Influencer Relationship Management tool. Then you’re ready to import affiliate codes and UTM links from Refersion to share with your influencer list in Upfluence. This seamless process for distributing affiliate links to all newly recruited affiliates will help you launch affiliate campaigns faster than ever before.
Have a multi-level affiliate strategy
To get the most from your affiliate campaigns, you should have a tiered approach to affiliate activation. You will be able to create tailored affiliate campaigns for different affiliate cohorts. Recruiting affiliates directly from your customer base will allow you to identify influential individuals ranging from micro-influencers through to mega-influencers and everything in between.
While micro-influencers will have a smaller online following, their audience is likely to be highly engaged. Micro-influencers are valuable partners for helping you drive affiliate sales among certain audience niches.
Mega-influencers on the other hand, have a larger audience and mass appeal which can help you boost sales of your best-selling items. They make great candidates for your Brand Ambassador program, helping you to build a core network of top creators.
Get creative – organize your affiliates according to their follower count, engagement rate, location, or preferred products to create tailored campaigns. You can match products to affiliates who buy those products most often. Another approach is to activate different affiliates according to the price point of your different products. Always remember that your affiliate’s online audience should match the target customer demographic for the products they’re promoting.