By now, it’s likely that every social media user has seen YouTube stars, Instagram influencers and other popular content creators asking their followers to use their affiliate links when purchasing from a business. That’s because an affiliate marketing program is an optimal way for businesses to usher in leads and make additional profit.
With websites and a bountiful number of social media platforms, businesses can partner with influencers, celebrities and even other businesses to create a program that benefits all parties. However, this marketing strategy has to be approached the right way.
Below, 11 members of Rolling Stone Culture Council share the tips they believe are key to a successful affiliate marketing program.
Look for Genuine Belief in Your Product or Service
Genuine use of and belief in the product are crucial. I have several affiliate partnerships, and they work because my audience trusts me when I say I use something. Being on both sides, I know that having an affiliate who believes in your product and isn’t just looking for a “pay per post” deal is pivotal. Mid-tier influencer marketing is heavily underrated. – Cody Jefferson, Embrace The Lion
Understand Your Audience
Companies need to put the time, effort and finances in to truly understand their audiences, understand their own brand and trust in the data so that they can provide the best experiences possible and develop key relationships for ambassadors, tastemakers and influencers who have a genuine connection to the communities they wish to reach. – Matthew Himes, Levitt LA
Provide Affiliates With the Right Tools
Quality affiliates, a solid technology stack, analytics and the ability to market across multiple channels are essential. Remember that your affiliate partners are your business partners. Provide them with all the tools they need to succeed. Offer good commission rates, KPIs, accurate real-time reporting, coupon codes linked to affiliate accounts and an experienced manager to help achieve results. – Dale Sky Jones, Oaksterdam University
Reward Your Affiliates
Incentives are the key to any successful affiliate marketing program. Make it simple for your affiliates to bring you new business and reward them heavily for delivering results! – Adam Ayers, Number 5
Focus on Communication, Tracking and Payment Terms
A few things are essential for any affiliate marketing program: good communication between the business and its affiliates, effective tracking of sales and commissions, and fair payment terms. If these things are in place, an affiliate marketing program can be a powerful tool for growing a business’s customer base and increasing sales. Without these things, collaboration can crumble and fail. – Evan Nison, NisonCo
Recruit an Influencer
Partnering with an influencer can be great for the success of an affiliate program for most brands. Influencer marketing greatly aligns with the core concept of affiliate marketing, and when an influencer shares your product’s page through their social media channels, it brings authority and brand trust to you. This in turn can greatly affect your affiliate marketing efforts. – Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day
Keep Affiliates Informed and Motivated
Strong relationships are key with affiliates. Work closely with affiliates to ensure they’re happy and supported. This ensures they’ll be more motivated to sell your products and services. Maintain good communication to keep a strong relationship. Keep affiliates updated on the latest products, and offer attractive commission rates. Higher commission rates will give them an incentive to sell. – Thomas Bresadola, Simplified Entertainment
Empower Your Affiliates
Affiliate members must truly believe in your product and your company. Keep reminding them why. Beyond creating a favorable payment structure, empower them with a host of marketing collateral, opportunities to share tips and stories with members, and try to create a charitable component to further reward them. It creates a network effect and excitement for your company. – Michael Klein, Trees Corporation
Stay Top of Mind
Creating an affiliate program takes an immense amount of work on the front end for a massive payoff that grows exponentially. The key is to stay top of mind for your referral partners. Make it easy to sell your service, make the payment worth their time and make yourself the most interesting affiliate partner (using ease and pay) so that you are the one they sell the most. – Victoria Kennedy, Marisa Johnson
Keep It Simple
Make it really easy to share the link. Ensure there are few steps needed for people to sign up and that it’s very easy for businesses to get metrics on the number of clicks, failures and successes and, of course, monetization! – Susan Johnston, New Media Film Festival®
Ensure Your Affiliate Is in Alignment
The key to successful affiliate marketing is ensuring that your affiliate is aligned with your company’s branding. Positive reinforcement of the brand is critical, and, more importantly, how it’s conveyed and promoted can also impact your brand. Affiliate marketing programs can succeed if the affiliates are vetted for your brand and stay in line with your message. – Jacob Mathison, Mathison Projects Inc.