Last updated on March 16, 2020
The market is overwhelmed with so-called influencers. A person having a good number of followers on Instagram or more YouTube subscribers consider themselves as influencers.
Are they? If so, why do some fail but some gain a lot? Because influencer marketing is very powerful.
But then there’s affiliate marketing which is in top gear.
So how about clubbing influencers to affiliate marketing and getting skyrocket results?
Let’s dig deeper to find out how to use influencers for affiliate marketing. And achieve the primary goal – get paying customers.
Affiliate Marketing vs Influencer Marketing
In affiliate marketing, individuals (affiliates) promote your brand or products and earn a commission on a successful purchase.
In influencer marketing, influential people promote products or services by taking some fees. It can be a hefty amount if it’s a celebrity. A film actor promoting your brand is the biggest example of influencer marketing. Be it Rober Downey Jr. promoting One Plus phones or Taylor Swift sipping a Diet Coke.
However, anyone can achieve an influencer status and drive customers to your brand today. Courtesy – Instagram and YouTube.
While both strategies use a word-of-mouth approach, there are a few key differences in how they are executed.
- Affiliates are generally deal sites, your own customers, friends, bloggers, etc.
- Influencers are celebrities, renowned bloggers and marketers, media personalities, industry leaders, etc.
- In affiliate marketing, affiliates use links or coupons to bring audiences directly to your website. So, lead generation and conversion is the focus here.
- Comparatively, influencer marketing focuses more on brand exposure. It’s more of a social media promotion, some tv commercial or newspaper ads as well.
- In affiliate marketing, you only pay for actual results. This makes it a low-risk investment.
- On the other hand, influencer marketing tends to require an up-front fee. This requires a lot of communication and negotiations between brands and the influencer.
But influencers can also be affiliates
As said earlier, with the overwhelm of influencers and growing competition, affiliate marketing can be an excellent way for successful online personalities to make a passive income.
In theory, virtually anybody can be an affiliate marketer. Sign-up for the program and earn. The cost is low, the risk is less. It’s a win-win for both. This is why influencers make such good affiliate marketers.
Why Influencers for Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing has its game amped up. Not just website clicks, but also focused on cultivating leads from social media platforms.
And that’s where influencers spread their magic.
1. Inspire followers to convert on social media
God knows but these influencers have an amazing ability to encourage conversions from their followers. Whatever they post, even if you hate it, their followers will love it and spread it.
So, for content-driven audiences who use social media daily, this works.
Influencers will surely be responsible for a large part of the U.S. affiliate marketing spending, which by the way, is projected to reach $6.8 billion by the end of 2020, according to eMarketer.
And if you talk about Instagram, there’s no dearth of influencers. An influencer promoting your product will give you instant results.
2. Influencers are a brand itself
More than your brand popularity, influencers are bigger brands. People follow them, learn from them, do what they say. That’s the power of influencers. They have a very strong affiliate network as well.
3. Their copywriting is also good
If you write a good copy, they write a better one, with powerful words and emotions. A better copy is more convertible.
4. Influencers’ friends are also influencers
Imagine an influencer recommending your product to his or her friend, who also is an influencer. Woohoo! I can sense the snowball effect.
5. It’s about value
All do for money. But above it is the reputation and value audiences expect from them. Influencers already have a custom-made audience. They want their audience to stay. So they undertake affiliate marketing seriously.
All these factors make influencers ideal affiliates.
How To Combine Influencer Marketing and Affiliate Marketing
Here are a few ways you can incorporate influencers into your affiliate marketing strategy:
1. Use coupon codes
Now, most social media posts aren’t designed to share links like Instagram.
So, one way to make this work with influencers is by creating content that can be accompanied by coupon codes.
An Instagram post could show your brand in their post, with a caption that includes a coupon code. Or a code in a caption in a YouTube product demo video. Keep the coupon code short, simple & easy to remember.
Good news for WooCommerce users. You can now create and share coupon codes for affiliates using the Affiliate For WooCommerce plugin.
2. Showcase products or services to influencers
Consider giving your affiliate previews of new products or services that are being launched, providing great “insider” content. This is especially useful in the holiday season for content like wish lists or holiday guides.
Content like “how-to” or “product reviews” are very popular for YouTube videos or Instagram stories.
3. Tie up with powerful micro-influencers
Micro-influencers are social media influencers on a smaller scale, with somewhere between 1,000 to 100,000 followers. They tend to be less celebrity and more niche-focused.
This gives you a higher level of engagement. High engagement rates can mean high conversion rates. And they easily sign up for your affiliate program compared to big influencers.
4. Create co-branded landing pages
Extend ownership to influencers by providing them with landing pages that are co-branded to represent your products, as well as their name and/or image.
5. Provide creatives
Consider making creatives in formats that the influencer uses regularly, such as graphics designed for Instagram posts and stories, or to be used in YouTube videos, for example.
6. Showcase influencer product reviews on landing pages
Today, we don’t go to a restaurant or movie without reviews. So without reviews, there’s no question of purchasing a product.
But influencers’ review has its own merits. People get encouraged to buy your product if they see influencer’s review.
So whenever you promote your product, add influencer reviews.
7. Focus on quality affiliates
Partner with fewer affiliates but who make a big impact. Quality matters, not quantity. It would also lead to less management work overall.
How to find and contact influencers?
Now comes the difficult part. Finding influencers and getting them on board. It’s a little difficult but can work wonders if successful.
We tried it twice and were successful.
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Here are a few tactics that will make your work easy.
1. Identify influencers
This you know better. Based on your industry and what you sell, you know who dominates in your market. You may even find blog posts that list top influencers in a particular space. It will save your efforts. Identify some top and micro-influencers and make a list of them.
2. Engage with influencers
Be in their good books. Like, share, comment on their content so that they come to know about you. This is the step in building relationships with influencers.
This is the main part. What you pitch is what will convey the influencers to do. It should be valuable and useful to them and their audiences.
- If you want to contact them for a roundup, you need to be precise what you want exactly, how that will help their audience.
- If doing a podcast, webinar or product review, be specific about the topic, time, T&C’s, payment, etc.
- For an affiliate partnership, you should acquaint them with your brand first. How long you have been in business, what you sell, how business is performing, whether the influencer has a friend or contact who uses your product, etc. Commission and all come at a later stage.
Getting an influencer’s email is a tedious job. You need to visit the influencer’s website to find it. If not, you need to contact the support for the same. A well-drafted, short and to the point email will work well. Max two follow-ups.
You can also contact these influencers via direct message through social media if possible.
Whom to reject as influencers?
Not everyone is an influencer. You need to reject some if you want to succeed.
1. Who asks more money
If an influencer has a good following and asks for a 40-50% commission rate, you can give a thought. But if a micro or just starting person demands a high commission, it’s a straight No.
2. Who are interested in only promoting for sake of money
You’ll also find people who are just promoting for the sake of money. They are not interested in the product or the value offered. No prizes for the answer, it’s a No again.
3. Not going blindly by their followers
A person may have a huge number of followers. Point is these maybe not genuine ones. They may have used some paid services to gain followers. Again, say No to them.
However, look at that influencer’s other work – posts, social profiles, whom they follow, other influential people who follow them. Then you can think of them as potential affiliate partners.
Generally, celebrities won’t become an affiliate but they may promote your brand if you pay them up-front. Point is whom to select and not. Example – Kim Kardashian won’t be interested in promoting a digital product. You have to approach a celebrity based on how they live their life. Social media will give you great insights as to whom to select and whom to not.
This should be the major factor for all the above. Don’t go for big shots directly. You’ll spend more than earn. Do it slowly, steadily. Affiliate is for everyone to earn.
Nothing without an affiliate program
If you do affiliate marketing, you need to have an affiliate program or join one. But if you set-up your own, you can enjoy all these benefits:
1. High-end exposure and greater promotion
Because your business will be more visible. Have a dedicated landing page as well. Here’s our affiliate program landing page. Clear and simple. Join it and start minting money.
2. Lower costs
In other affiliate networks, along with monthly fees, you need to pay a membership fee along with a transaction fee for every successful referral. So no such third-party involvement in your own affiliate program.
3. Full control
Other affiliate programs come with a series of baffling features and clutter. But with your own program, you do not have such complexities. You can customize as per your needs.
4. Straightforward and dependable
Unlike earlier times, you won’t have to depend on any specific program to issue payments or meet conditions.
5. Consistent marketing on the go
With your affiliate program, you can get people from across the globe 24*7.
Using WooCommerce? Here’s a popular plugin to set-up your own affiliate program
Affiliate For WooCommerce plugin makes it easy as a pie to set-up your affiliate program.
It’s simple, jargon-free and without complications, unlike other plugins. It’s one of the hot-selling plugins on WooCommerce.com.
Powerful features you need
- Single-screen interface
- Use coupons for tracking referrals
- Payout affiliates easily using PayPal.
- Unlimited affiliates, links, visits
- Real-time, accurate and advanced reports
- Affiliate level performance
- Set different affiliate commission rates for different users.
- Affiliates can generate links, and track commissions themselves.
- Automatically turn your customers (or any other WordPress users) into affiliates.
While affiliates have a strong presence among blogs and websites, influencers have specific channels that affiliates may not.
So using influencers in your affiliate marketing strategy gives your brand a solid positioning, more exposure and authority.
This, in turn, leads to more likes, shares, engagement…and finally more leads and potentially higher conversions, sales.