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Why You Should Use Influencer Affiliate Marketing

May 17, 2021

Influencer News

Why You Should Use Influencer Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate influencer marketing is still a relatively new development under the digital marketing umbrella. It provides influencers with unique URL IDs or promotional codes that reward influencers with commission when they bring in new sales. There are two main ways businesses can implement influencer affiliate marketing: through an external affiliate program or by creating their own affiliate program. 

Using an external affiliate program involves using an affiliate program created by a pre-existing website or platform. Many ecommerce platforms have their own affiliate programs including Amazon, AliExpress, Alibaba and Lazada. In order to access their programs, your businesses’ products must be available to purchase on the platforms. 

In-house affiliate programs are designed, developed and controlled by your business. You can decide how many affiliates to use, how they are rewarded, the content expectations and where affiliate links lead to. 

Both types of affiliate marketing programs have proven to be incredibly successful as long-term strategies.

The Real Benefits of Influencer Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a form of word-of-mouth marketing where lead generation is a by-product of having third-party sales representatives, or affiliates. In the majority of affiliate programs, affiliates are only paid when they convert a lead. 

Affiliates provide an indirect benefit of increasing brand awareness when providing their opinion on your products or services. The use of influencers as affiliates will likely increase your brand awareness on a large scale. Increased brand awareness is always beneficial, but it’s tricky to measure the monetary value your business receives from it. 

The benefits of influencer affiliate marketing depend on your brand and the types of influencers you use. For some brands, using influencers with large followings may be beneficial, but for others, using micro influencers might work. The ultimate predictor of influencer affiliate success is always the number of actual sales, not leads.

Here are some key benefits using influencers as affiliates will bring your brand:

Authenticity and Social Proof

Influencers have a pre-existing level of trust with their audience. Followers rely on influencers to be transparent and only promote products they think would be useful to them. Most influencers want to keep the good relationship and trust they have with their followers, so will likely not participate in any affiliate marketing programs of a brand they do not believe in. This gives your brand social proof from your influencer affiliates which can drive leads and conversions.

Variety of Engaging Content

Influencers know what engages their audience and how to amend their content for different platforms. This means your products or services can be promoted through blog articles, social media posts, YouTube videos or even podcasts. In addition, this exposes your brand and its offerings to new audiences on multiple platforms.

Stronger Influencer Relationships

Using influencers as affiliates is a great method of building the relationship between brand and influencer. As influencers are rewarded for their efforts when they achieve a conversion, this encourages them to create their own content for your brand. This means your brand is being additionally and repeatedly exposed to an audience, which has the potential to become a lead generation magnet that brings conversions.

Low-Risk

Paying influencers per performance rather than clicks means affiliate marketing is a low-risk method of marketing. Your marketing budget isn’t wasted on creating leads that need nurturing into a purchase.

How Brands can Use Influencer Affiliates Realistically

Whether your business decides to use in-house or external affiliate programs, it is almost guaranteed that you will experience long-term success. While influencer affiliate links can offer benefits to your business in the short-term, they are best suited as a long-term commitment. This is because the most effective influencer affiliate partnerships are based on real relationships and trust between brand and influencer. If an influencer shows they trust and recommend a brand, their followers are more likely to follow suit and consider the brand a top choice. When followers are presented with an affiliate link that presents a recommended product and a way to support their favourite influencers, they are incentivised to make a purchase. 

One of the best reasons to use influencer affiliate links is because they can be used anywhere a link can be posted, making them suitable for most social media platforms. 

Affiliate links can be programmed to pop-up as ads in Twitch streams. These ads pop up at multiple points in a stream, repeatedly reminding the viewers of influencer-approved products from your brand. In addition to this, when using Amazon Affiliates, product links under the Amazon Live streams can be programmed to feature an affiliate link or discount code. 

Influencers are able to use the same affiliate links across different platforms, ensuring maximum exposure. All affiliate links are completely trackable. You can analyse which platforms encourage most clicks and conversions, the types of posts that perform best (for example, Instagram Stories, links in a blog post or Twitch ads) and decide how to remarket to these successful links. 

There are different ways you can find influencers to participate in your affiliate program. You can use a similar method to traditional influencer marketing or encourage influencers to join your program on their own accord. 

Before starting, you need to confirm your goals for the partnerships; in most cases the main goal is to increase sales. To achieve this goal, you need to target influencers who are willing to only be paid for conversions. It may be trickier to find these influencers as it means they have to work harder themselves to ensure conversions and not just leads. However, influencers unwilling to be paid for conversions usually aren’t worth pursuing. 

The majority of influencers who are willing to be paid for conversions are nano or micro-influencers. These smaller influencers have hyper-engaged and loyal audiences. You will likely experience a higher engagement and conversion rate with smaller influencers over macro or hero influencers. 

If you are looking to encourage influencers to join your affiliate program on their own, a good way to do this is through a rewards scheme. Having tiered rewards incentivises influencers to create more content to receive more rewards. The rewards could include higher commission rates or affiliate links to more exclusive or expensive products.

Best in Class Examples of Affiliate Marketing

Gymshark

Gymshark has used an always-on approach since 2012 and grew exponentially after turning to social media to hyper-target consumers. Initially, the sportswear brand sponsored 18 influencers and turned them into brand ambassadors (the Gymshark Athletes). This created natural advocacy and affinity for the clothes, paired with refusing to sell via third party outlets.

Influencer Affiliate Marketing

Influencer Affiliate Marketing

Gymshark focused on creating a sense of community online and it has continued to do so through its affiliate program. Its affiliate program has since become a £35M per annum channel with influencers being given their own landing pages and ensuring the brand is aligned across socials.

HyperX

HyperX has a tiered affiliate program that influencers can sign up to. Composed of 4 levels, influencers can either work their way up the levels based on an increasing amount of conversions or their follower count. Having a rewards system to work through incentivises influencers to produce higher quality and more content. This extra, organic content confirms to new audiences that HyperX is a trusted brand.

HyperX’s affiliate program offers social support for influencers as they improve their affiliate ranking and offers exclusive HyperX artwork. Influencers are also incentivised to continue making content for HyperX once they reach the top level by continuous support and monthly giveaways.

Our Influencer marketing agency and Social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

If you want to receive our industry insights, visit our influencer marketing blog here.

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Author

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James Hacking

Writer

Socially Powerful, founded in 2017, stood as pioneers of the influencer marketing industry. Today we are a global social marketing agency and technology company.

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