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How to run an E-commerce Influencer Affiliate Campaign in 5 Easy Steps

Influencer marketing is indeed a perfect match with affiliate campaigns. Kolsquare provides you with a guide of 5 easy steps to run your e-commerce influencer affiliate campaign now.

People sitting around a table with computers in top-shot
People sitting around a table with computers in top-shot

Traditional advertising just doesn’t bring home the bacon anymore. In the face of changing demographics like Gen Z, influencer marketing is here to stay. As companies and brands face the challenging reality of marketing nowadays, they have to switch gears and find out what works best. Thus, many brands are now investing into those, who younger people trust: influencers. These content creators are changing the nature of marketing, but does that mean affiliate marketing becomes outdated? No.

Kolsquare examined conventional ways of affiliate marketing and has found out how to boost your e-commerce influencer affiliate campaign.

The 1x1 of affiliate marketing

We all might have an idea what affiliate marketing means, but let’s take another look at the exact definition and behind scenes.

Affiliate marketing means promoting products and services for another person or company. In exchange, affiliates get a commission based on the resulting sale or clicks. Basically, it’s a new interpretation of an old idea: receiving a commission on a sale. Usually, affiliate marketing is a fast way to offer products and services without actually creating your own.

In fact, affiliate marketing can be quite technical. Thanks to softwares, the actual mechanics remain in the background, but let’s take a quick look behind the scenes in order to understand the concept for your next e-commerce influencer affiliate campaign.

  • Each affiliate gets a unique ID and a specific URL
  • The link is included in whatever the affiliate and affiliate partner agreed on: blog posts, email marketing, and so on
  • By clicking the link, the potential buyer gets redirected to the affiliate partner’s site; a cookie is placed on the potential buyer’s computer; the cookie guarantees the affiliates payment (even if the referral sale happens after days)
  • The merchants or affiliate partners check and identify sales with cookies; they make reports to show the affiliates referral clicks and sales; they pay the affiliate their commission

The classic way of affiliate marketing

Do we still remember the time of bloggers and publishers before the social media era? Back then, bloggers or media publishers had their own websites to promote or recommend a brand with product demonstrations, walk-throughs or reviews.

With the goal of monetizing their own content, bloggers and publishers focused on expanding their portfolio of partners and multiplying  affiliate programs to increase their fees from a broader set of readers with various interests. Hence, many affiliates wouldn’t only champion only one specific brand, but join all the popular programs, which made it more difficult for brands to be seen as their and consequently the consumer’s  top choice.

The new way of affiliate marketing: show time for influencer

Even when it comes across as outdated, the classic way of affiliate marketing is still very much alive and well. In fact, many bloggers and media publishers earn a significant amount of money with multiple affiliate programs. However, this way the influencers’ unique strengths are neglected.

92% of people trust celebrities or ads less than they trust influencers, but these statistics might not be news to you. Influencers have sacrificed  blood and tears to build and foster an engaging community. Hence, real high quality influencers don’t recommend products they don’t use or trust themselves.

The more influencers sincerely like your brand’s product, the better is your potential ROI. That’s why influencers can be such compelling affiliates. Therefore, we dive into Kolsquare’s five steps to create your own successful e-commerce influencer affiliate campaign.

Get the right influencers as your affiliates

Clearly, you want your brand to stand out so choose an influencer that isn’t connected to one of your competitors. While some industries, such as beauty and fashion, allow brands to work with the same influencer, you want your new affiliate to only praise your brand.

If your dream partner might be talking to others, offer them a free trial or sample of your product to convince them to choose you or make a switch. In addition, observe whether your influencer talks to competitors. If they don’t have a referral code or affiliate link, this might be your chance to enthuse them for your brand’s product.

You want to avoid fake profiles with bought followers at all costs, but that should be a given.

Create unique selling points and opportunities for your influencers

As for every influencer marketing campaign you aim to please the influencers you’re working with. Personal communication is key!

One possibility to personalize your partnership is, for instance, a dedicated landing page just for their followers. You might also want to consider building your own resource page for your partners in general, as it promotes lots of different products and is more than a sales pitch, it’s educational.

Both your affiliate influencer as your brand can benefit from co-branding, so custom content is always a good strategy.

Consider offering exclusive affiliate rates

If your usual referral rate lies at 20% (that’s a figure pulled out of thin air), you might consider offering a few key influencers a higher rate of 25-30%. Make sure your affiliate influencers deserve a bigger referral rate, which is determined by various factors.

Clearly, when you pitch this partnership to potential key influencers let them know about their exclusive rate. This is not exposing your strategy but quite the opposite. You show them how serious you are about the partnership.

Comply with Legal Requirements

In whatever country you are, check the legal requirements and act upon them. Also, brief your influencers on it in case they have not yet self found out and applied the legal requirements themselves.

Even if the law doesn’t require it, recommend your influencers to state that they are sharing affiliate links. Just because it’s good business, as honesty and transparency last longest. Customers will appreciate it and want to support your influencers and your brand even more.

Create collateral influencers can use in their accounts

Doing a detailed content audit saves you a lot of work in the long run. Have a look at what kind of media your potential influencer affiliates post. Is it flatlays or short screen recordings of an app demo – whatever you see and like for your brand, use it as input for your partners. As long as it fits their feed and style and isn’t overly branded, they most likely will appreciate having a few posts pre-done.

But always give your influencers the space for their own creativity and freedom when talking about your product. It’s all about authenticity!

In any case, pre-done content or freedom of creativity, the posts should speak your brand’s language. Therefore, it’s essential to brief your influencer affiliates with a thorough content guide.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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