“You would want to be in line with an affiliate that is of [the] same mindset because they’re gonna have a following of people… that are in line with who you think your ideal customer is.”
In episode 75 of the Customers Who Click podcast, I sat down with Arlen Robinson to discuss what affiliate marketing is and how it relates to influencer marketing. We also talk about what mistakes hold brands back from their profits, and how brands & affiliates can survive a cookie-free world.
Affiliate marketing has roughly two types: one of them is affiliates that run coupon code promotions through paid traffic and create review websites. The other is where a brand actively seeks partnerships with content creators to extend its reach to the influencer’s audience. If your brand is growing fast and wants to capitalize on success with affiliate marketing, it must identify the highest-grossing affiliates/influencers and reward them appropriately.
Arlen Robinson is a seasoned business owner and co-founder of Omnistar Affiliate Software which gives businesses the opportunity to set up and manage their own affiliate and customer referral programs. He has over 20 years of experience in managing various aspects of his company. He also has a weekly podcast called the Ecommerce Marketing Podcast in which he interviews various marketing experts about successful eCommerce marketing strategies.
02:52 – 06:55 – Affiliate Marketing vs. Referral Marketing – In an affiliate program, an affiliate agent makes a percentage of the sale when you convert customers they send your way. Influencer marketing is a form of affiliate marketing. The purpose of referral marketing is the retention of existing customers because they get incentives/discounts when they refer your product/service to their own friends and family group – typically much smaller than the affiliate agent’s audience.
06:56 – 12:53 – Modern Affiliate Marketing Methods – At an implementation level, affiliate agents have to use their social media profiles and/or websites to distribute their affiliate code to an appropriate audience. From the brand’s perspective, it’s really about identifying and partnering with affiliates whose audience may have a pressing need for the brand’s product/service. Comparison websites and categorized listicle articles are a huge part of affiliate marketing campaigns.
12:54 – 17:05 – Are Reviews on Comparison Websites Trustworthy? – Listicle articles that rank the best products/services in any category are largely tweaked to sell items with the highest affiliate commissions. Trustworthy sites that rank and review products/services fairly do exist and they genuinely try to help customers. It takes a savvy customer who understands affiliate marketing to spot such sites.
17:06 – 26:10 – Keys to Profitable Affiliate/Influencer Marketing – Before approaching affiliates, get a clear definition of who your customer is and what stage in their purchase journey would be ideal for them to buy your product/service. Also, get clear on your brand’s values. Become choosy and associate with only those influencers whose values should reflect those of your brand and of your audience. Content guidelines for influencers should focus on increasing authenticity but they should not be too restrictive.
26:11 – 29:51 – Influencer and Affiliate Marketing Mistakes – Not personalizing your program for your most successful affiliates and influencers is a big mistake, especially as your program grows in size and profitability.
29:52 – 34:41 – How to Create a Tiered Affiliate Program? – No two types of affiliates are the same so categorize your affiliates according to the channel and volume of sales and revenue. Personalize reward programs and affiliate marketing materials according to the needs of each category. The highest-grossing influencers need specific account management practices to ensure their exclusivity and maintain their level of commitment to your brand.
34:42 – 38:34 – Trends in Affiliate/Influencer Marketing – In a cookie-less tracking world, brands have to adjust their strategies to stay in lockstep with revamped tools. Affiliates would also want to approach brands that can track sales without cookies.