Anyone who is a keen social media user would have seen those “Swipe up to buy these products, and don’t forget to use my promo code” on Instagram, and “Click the link in the description to buy the Ultimate Edition of FIFA20 at 30% less” under the YouTube videos.
Instagram, who previously provided the swipe up feature to anyone who had 10,000 or above followers changed to verified account only after an update. This feature update was solely made to encourage affiliate and influencer marketing. This feature lets businesses promote their company website’s link and also add CTA.
A recent study that appeared in Mediakix by the Forrester group tells that in 2017 alone, $5 billion was spent on affiliate marketing around the globe and it is predicted to reach $6 billion+ for the year 2020.
Does affiliate marketing make any sense? Have the marketers assessed whether these affiliate marketing strategies have been beneficial to their companies? Well, 80% of the brands are utilizing affiliate marketing from small to heavy levels in some form.
Affiliate marketing is not new, this is its second wave, more like a second coming. Earlier affiliate game was for the bloggers, but now the trend has changed its wind towards the presence of social media and vloggers. Entrepreneurs could partner with brands and companies to promote their products and agree on profit-sharing deals. In the last two years, we’ve seen how brands team up with video bloggers and content creators to promote lifestyle and fashion related products.
The content creators use a customized link to direct the user to a website, where the user could use a promo code for an additional discount. If the user decides to make the purchase, the content creator will receive some amount of profit from the sale, the creator will earn profit even if the user buys any other product using the same affiliate link.
In Influencer marketing, business collaborates with influential individuals or industry figures for online marketing to achieve sales. This gives their product a stamp of verification among the public. Influencer marketing can also be achieved through social media platforms, written articles, and online videos.
Affiliate marketing on one hand uses the third party’s marketing to increase sales, while influencer marketing uses the third-party’s industry or social media presence to establish product awareness and trust among users.
Why are PR Teams Partnering with Affiliate Agencies?
Agencies now are becoming much more niche-oriented, which in general requires collaborated efforts from the internal team members. Research claims that when PR agencies used affiliate links they’re able to add durability to their published content and article which otherwise would have got a short-lived success at max. More and more agencies are using an affiliate link to generate profits from old and existing content.
Content sites know that ongoing traffic drives more revenue and to achieve that they use affiliate links to keep driving readers to their website to make the content look timeless and the website can keep generating revenue.
The publishers from affiliate groups will keep posting and reposting the articles so that the stream of income keeps coming in. Earlier, PR agencies would never approach affiliates in-order to avoid paying to bypass traffic. But now that the internet crowd is over-saturated, paying to promote and spread awareness about your article may be the online way to make sure that your content remains relevant among the readers.
Teaming up with affiliate groups helps the PR team generate long-term content-driven revenue, and thus increasing the traffic and readership.
So How Does Affiliate Marketing Integrate with PR?
For companies that are large and have a flexible budget, affiliate programs are apt. They can appear to the target audience that is associated with these affiliates. Integrating PR with outreach and affiliate is a proven method to increase conversion and brand awareness. Certain platforms specialize in such affiliate programs, Commission Factory is one such example. Here are some steps that members of PR teams can take while approaching affiliate groups:
Define the target audience: Similar to all PR campaigns and announcements, define the audience to which the company wants to address as in to narrow down the affiliate groups. This step will help PR agencies to create a definitive pitch.
Fragment affiliate groups and conduct outreach: Once the audience is defined, PR outreach teams can use the existing affiliate groups or outreach new ones consisting of the targeted demographics.
Educate affiliates about product and company objectives: Share relevant information and messages to the affiliates that matched your demographics. Tell them about the announcements and what you want them to share with the audience. Provide any announcement material if required.
Create content for affiliates: Your affiliate groups require some content which they can share to create awareness about your product. For example, creating email copies for affiliate’s email campaigns. Promotional written content for bloggers to include in their article.
Track affiliates result along with the group: Once the campaign is executed, the PR team and affiliate group can track the results of the ongoing programs and exchange information to make any changes if required.
Marketing objectives of brand awareness and sales are necessary and the affiliate does help achieve them, but PR teams shouldn’t deviate from their core activities of facilitating partnerships and creating brand values. You can read more about PR here.
Companies can make this task simpler by creating proper structure and conducting training for people involved ensuring campaigns are effectively executed and benefits every party involved.