Like most businesses, establishing a core brand requires a community of consumers and partnerships. How does one go about building a community? There are several sought-out marketing tactics that boost the followership of a brand and builds trust within the community. Two, in particular, are Influencer Marketing and Affiliate Marketing. Despite their differences, the two are important for e-commerce brands that continuously need to be front and center, allowing them to branch out to other parts of communities that may be untapped.
What is Influencer Marketing? It’s primarily defined as identifying and seeking out key individuals who have a strong presence in a given industry (often online) and can leverage followers or subscribers to take action (i.e. purchase a product or service).
Depending on the level of authority and reach an influencer has, it can be costly to have one advocate for your product. On the flip side, Affiliate Marketing is where someone promotes your products or services on their own digital platforms, mainly their website. Like influencers, affiliates are compensated with a portion of revenue share from a sale they helped generate. This type of marketing is often effective for non-profits or educational organizations who have a smaller budget than some other for-profit organizations.
How do affiliates generate sales? Typically, sales are generated through an affiliate’s website. They begin by promoting your brand/products on their own website or social media channels. From there, new customers are acquired—now, your community is taking shape. It’s important, however, that the affiliates you choose are relevant to your industry and know enough about your market, as the community they have will now become your community too!
To accurately measure the ROI for affiliate marketing, there are a few items that need to be put in place on your own website to get started. The first is tracking cookies and pixels. With a bit of code and the right pixel tag, your server can read and record where traffic to your site came from in the first place. Hopefully much of which is coming from your affiliate’s website during this phase.
Next, you can set a designated timeframe for when the affiliate marketer will begin advocating on your behalf. This can be one month, six months or one year. Having a set timeline will allow you to better track metrics, and most importantly, positive results. Then, you can track metrics such as conversion rate, new vs. returning customers, cost per acquisition (CPA), sales, orders, etc.
An important step that often falls by the wayside is FTC adherence. The Federal Trade Commission has strict disclosure rules for influencers and affiliates. Affiliates and the like need to attribute that they will receive a commission for purchases made on the brands/products they are promoting on their site. Any links that tie back to your company’s brand or products need to be tagged with “nofollow.” This can be done in their code using HTML.
As a final step, be sure that you develop a true relationship with your affiliate. Although he/she is trying to make a living through the promotion of your products, it’s vital to have support from those who can “influence” others. Not to mention, affiliate marketers are also a part of your community too. That’s something that should continue to grow and having the right individuals in your corner can help make it happen.