Marketing strategies have changed drastically in the digital age. The power of print ads has bowed to new promotional formats and forms that connect directly with consumers.

The internet has been a catalyst for novel marketing ideas and opened the marketplace. In this new world, today’s merchants are increasingly investing in digital content marketing to build public brand awareness and increase sales by building a prominent social media presence.

Two facets of modern marketing have skyrocketed in popularity—affiliates and influencers. Each has individual strengths and can be useful with specific populations and in specific situations.

However, when the two are united, marketers can see even better campaign outcomes. If you want to get the most for your marketing dollar, learn how to combine affiliate and influencer marketing.

Affiliate Marketing

One way for companies, large or small, to reach potential buyers is through affiliate marketing. This strategy trusts contracted individuals to perform specific tasks that often include selling items or creating new leads by promoting a company’s goods and services through various means.

Affiliates often employ social media now, but this type of marketing emerged in the mid-1990s, about three years after the general release of the World Wide Web.

Affiliates may be other companies as well as individuals. They can share promotions with already-loyal audiences as well as with consumers unfamiliar with products and services. 

Influencer Marketing

World-of-mouth has always been revered because one satisfied customer is sharing her or his personal consumer experience with others.

The quick rise of influencer marketing is based on this classic model. With this strategy, companies hire and reward individuals who have won the loyalty and trust of people called followers to share their brands’ messages.

This strategy allows companies to broaden audience reach to people who might not otherwise see their promotions.

Often influencers use social media platforms to promote products, and their followers may in turn share with their own followers, creating a self-replicating promotional chain.

The Best of Both

As digital marketing strategies develop, companies have begun merging these two separate types of promotional campaigns with excellent results.

In the past, affiliate marketing was designed to win click-throughs to websites. Businesses now understand the very nature of influencers offers so many more possibilities.

Influencers, from global celebrities to micro-influencers with a thousand followers, make effective affiliates to garner new leads, build brand awareness, and increase sales.

With the internet providing an unrestricted and equalized promotional arena, small businesses, as well as big companies, can combine these two promotional approaches to reach large audiences with their brand messages. The key to success begins with research.

Find a Good Match

While influencers can be effective affiliates and help build public trust in your brand, make sure influencers fit with your brand’s image and overall message before contracting with them.

Legitimate influencers generally only want to work with brands and promote products they personally appreciate and use. However, other important factors come into play, including:

  • Followers: Avoid being impressed by huge followings alone. The most effective influencers have built a strong sense of loyalty and trust with their audiences, whether they number 1000 or 100,000.
  • Content: Examine the quality of influencers’ content. Also, consider the topics about which they write. If you want an influencer to help you establish yourself as an authority, work with someone who publishes appropriate and attractive content that fits with your brand’s persona.
  • Public interactions: Study how influencers communicate with followers and the public. Do they respectfully inspire conversation and feed interest? Those are the people with whom you want to work.

Influencers will only be effective affiliates if they fit with your company’s mission and products.

Follow Through

Before contacting influencers, devise a clear marketing strategy and determine how you want their actions to fit into the plan.

They promote your company more effectively when they understand your expectations. When you have formulated a plan, politely approach influencers to ask them to become affiliates. A professional email is an excellent way to reach out to influencers.

Maximizing Marketing Potential

Combining the new phenomenon of influencer marketing with the tried-and-true affiliate strategy is a reliable way to build a dynamic promotional campaign.

The right influencers can be valuable advocates for your brand’s message. Ultimately, a successful relationship will yield gains for all involved—companies, influencers and affiliates, and satisfied customers.