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Integrating Affiliate Marketing Into Your Holistic Digital Strategy

September 22, 2020
Table of Contents

Running an affiliate program is advantageous in many ways- the secret sauce being the performance-based model that allows brands to drive orders, revenue, leads, and results in a cost-effective way. Using the right tracking platform, working with proven affiliate partners, and being strategic around commissions are the first steps in taking your affiliate program off the ground, then the sky’s the limit. Affiliate marketing doesn’t stop as a single-channel, but is lucrative in that there are ways to take your partnerships and affiliate placements to the next level with the use of cross-channel strategies. Let’s take a look at the top synergies you should employ when looking to take your affiliate program off to the races.

Merging Your Influencer and Affiliate Strategy

Influencer marketing is similar to affiliate marketing, in that you’re partnering with an affiliate or influencer, looking to tap into an engaged audience and ultimately drive awareness and thus, measurable results for your brand. An ‘affiliate’ can be many things, from top tier media sites to lower-funnel coupon sites, while influencers are likely social media personalities and bloggers. We’ve found that it’s easy, and necessary, to leverage your affiliate program into your influencer strategies to maximize your campaign results.

  • Influencer campaigns aren’t meant to be one-and-done posts, as the purpose of working with quality influencers is to truly ‘influence’ their followers into ultimately purchasing your products. Creating long-term influencer relationships is key to driving increased engagement and traffic to your site while developing a trusted relationship with followers. After your initial paid campaign run – or even during – invite your influencers to join your affiliate program. 
  • Onboarding key influencers to your affiliate program allows for longer-term partnerships outside of a few months of an influencer campaign. Influencers typically partner with brands they genuinely love, so offering an affiliate commission outside of your paid agreement incentivizes influencers to continue to promote you, such as linking your products in holiday gift guides and their ‘best-of’ product round-ups shared across Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, and more. 
  • Micro-influencers also make for great affiliate partners. Normally, micro-influencers are most cost-effective to partner with, and often times you can leverage an affiliate commission in exchange for exposure across Instagram posts and stories. This is a great recruitment tactic to build up your affiliate partner base, and drive exposure across niche, and engaged audiences. 

Leveraging Affiliates to drive SERP Exposure

SEO means being discovered consistently across every space your leads look, learn, and buy. Ever have a dream keyword you’ve been looking to rank for but has been virtually impossible due to the competition on page 1 of Google? Take a look at those who are ranking- oftentimes, you’ll find highly-trafficked content sites ranking above you. That’s where affiliate marketing comes into play. 

  • When looking at Google- they are known to favor relevancy above all when choosing what sites get to appear on page 1, with the goal of providing users with credible information so they continue to use Google. You’ll often see product round-ups and best-of lists ranking high on page 1. 
  • By working closely with key affiliate partners with high domain authority and strong organic traffic, there’s a high likelihood your brand can be included in these round-ups and best-of-lists, and have a key presence in the SERP, while your site may not be present. 
  • The key to success here is identifying highly searched keywords and the affiliate publishers ranking in tandem. Developing a strong relationship with these publishers and being strategic and competitive around your commission offering will increase the chances of being featured on these pressworthy features. 

Amplifying Affiliate Placements through PPC Ads

Lastly, don’t discount the opportunity to utilize affiliate placements within your pay-per-click advertising. Affiliate placements drive long-term brand value and recurring revenue when secured across the right sites, so take that to the next step by using paid ads to get the word out and target users with high intent. 

  • Custom-intent audiences allow you to build cold traffic audiences based on search intent. Google Display Network and Youtube, now also allows you to input URLs to retarget users who have visited specific landing pages- including affiliate partner feature stories. 
  • Targeting top tier media sites and placement coverage should be a key part of your affiliate strategy, as media partners use affiliate marketing to monetize their editorial content and are always looking for hot, new brands to feature in their stories. When securing a top placement, utilize this link in your paid campaigns by implementing custom-intent URL targeting. 
  • This is simple and effective. Retarget those who already have read up on your brand, products, and unique story through a display ad or Youtube ad campaign, maximizing the likelihood of converting users who are already familiar with you. The results are notable, and worth including in your paid advertising strategy. 

While affiliate marketing is a cost-effective way to drive results, don’t limit yourself there. Consider these strategies as complimentary to your wider digital marketing mix, only improving the results you see in your holistic marketing campaigns and taking your affiliate program to the next level.

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