Influencer and affiliate marketing use the power of online communities to build brand awareness and drive sales. Though these two strategies have different methods of measuring success, your team can and should take advantage of both.
This article discusses affiliate marketing, how it differs from influencer marketing, and best practices for how in-house marketing teams can get started.
Of all performance-based marketing, affiliate marketing is one of the more affordable and complementary disciplines to influencer marketing. So how does it work? A brand pays someone a commission to promote their products through selected channels.
This person could be an individual consumer or an influencer (someone with significant followers). It’s important to note that while someone can be both an affiliate and an ambassador, these roles are not synonymous.
As a brand, there are multiple benefits to engaging in affiliate marketing. It's a great source of passive income and it mutually benefits both the brand and the affiliate.
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Given that affiliate and influencer marketing both rely on individual partnerships and social media, they work best in conversation.
Affiliate marketing is undoubtedly a bottom-of-funnel discipline, as its main goal is to get folks to drive sales through their specialized links or codes. On the other hand, influencer marketing has been traditionally seen as a top-of-funnel discipline, or something that helps build brand awareness. Layering these two disciplines can give marketers a full-funnel digital/social media strategy.
That being said, the role of influencer marketing is quickly changing. A 6,000-respondent study found that approximately one third of shoppers turn to social media influencers to learn about products. This shift in consumer behavior has moved influencer marketing from top-of-funnel, to full-funnel and brought about the advent of social commerce. In short, influencers now have the power to build awareness for your brand, impact consumers’ evaluation of your product, and drive actual sales.
What this means is that influencer and affiliate marketing are even more closely related than before. They are no longer just complimentary — they’re integrated.
In fact, a lot of small brands dip their toes into paid influencer marketing campaigns with affiliates. Since these brands often have smaller budgets, traditional sponsored content isn't affordable. Affiliates, on the other hand, can cost less because their fee is covered by true sales and they have more incentive/obligation to post than the average influencer who receives gifted products.
Now that you know what affiliate marketing is and how it complements influencer marketing, here are some tips for getting started:
Learn more influencer marketing best practices here.