Affiliate or Influencer Marketing – Which Should You Use?
Influencer and Affiliate Marketing are popular with B2C companies, but which is right for your goals?
In life, we’re often caught having to compare one thing against another. Seldom are we able to have both, leaving us to weigh benefits and make a quick decision. As digital marketers, we make these types of decisions every day, with budgets to consider. We can’t have it all, and so we attempt to decide which of the many mediums and platforms will result in the most bang for our marketing buck.
In the case of affiliate and influencer marketing, it’s not a question of which is better than the other, but which is better suited for your current marketing goals. Your first task, is to compare where your company is at today vs. where you want to be. Learn more about both types of campaigns – then think about which will help you achieve your current goals in the least amount of time with the best ROI.
A Remote Sales Force
Consider affiliate marketers as your remote sales team. As of Q1 2016, Amazon had 310 million active customers. Many of these customers are filtered in from affiliate sites. Amazon affiliates are paid to link to a business’ products or search results from their site. Affiliates are only paid when a consumer makes a purchase. The commission from each sale is dictated by the advertiser first, and ultimately the network.
Unlike other types of marketing campaigns, where you pay per view or click, you only pay per acquisition (sale) with affiliate marketing. While the affiliate marketing industry continues to battle fraud, many networks provide fraud protection for advertisers, and refund “fraudulent” leads or sales. Typically, businesses that prefer using affiliate marketers sell products or services online, with higher profit margins to pay out commissions without hurting their bottom line. It’s important to choose a network you can trust. Look for affiliate marketing networks that provide account managers, screen affiliates and provide fraud protection.
Social media influencers have a deep reach. Business-to-consumer companies pay influencers to use and promote specific products on their profiles to reach their thousands of followers. Unlike affiliate marketing, figuring out what to pay an influencer can be difficult. Some influencers accept payment via products, others are paid by the post, while others have a flat fee. Further confusing things, there’s no consistency when it comes to what to pay a social media influencer. Rates can range depending on the number of followers, the platform, and the level of engagement.
Despite challenges with cost and payment, influencer marketing has grown in popularity in recent years. Almost every reality TV star takes part in some sort of influencer marketing whether it’s promoting a tea that flattens the tummy, or a meal delivery service, social media influencers can make six figure salaries from sponsoring products in their posts. Influencer marketing can help you reach your target demographic, and put your products in front of millions of consumers.
How to Choose Which Medium is Right for Your Business
If your goal is to increase sales, affiliates can help drive your target audience to your products via links and banner ads. However, if your goal is to improve awareness amongst Millennials, a social media influencer campaign may be your best bet. To help you choose between affiliate marketing and influencer marketing, consider budget as well. Affiliate marketing doesn’t cost much up front, because you only pay affiliates commission from sales. Influencers on the other hand, are typically paid up front. If you have a smaller budget, go with a mid-range influencer.
If you’ve got budget, consider using both affiliate marketing and influencer marketing to achieve different marketing goals. Use affiliate marketing to improve ROI, and increase sales. Use influencer marketing to help educate target consumers about your brand, or new product lines. Remember, as marketers we have so many options when it comes to advertising it’s difficult to choose just one. Think about your current goals, and select the medium that can achieve those goals with the best ROI.
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