Influencer or Affiliate Marketing: Should a Business Have to Choose?

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Affiliate Management, Affiliate Manager, Affiliate Posts, Blog | 0 comments

Spoiler Alert:  They don’t HAVE to choose.  A recent online article, published by Entrepreneur, made my blood pressure rise. The author makes a comparison between affiliate and influencer marketing and asks the question, “Which should your company use?” At first glance, I thought the article was click bait. But as it turns out, many companies do feel they need to make a choice between the two. An online marketer recently shared with me that a company shut down their affiliate program to focus on influencer marketing instead. Huh? Why would a company think these two initiatives are so different that they can only use one? The Entrepreneur article, plus that recent experience, led me to write this post. In this article, I address the ‘either or’ mentality. I further explain why affiliate and influencer marketing are compatible and work best when combined. Definitions for Influencer and Affiliate Marketing Let’s begin with basic definitions of each tactic. Per Wikipedia, Influencer Marketing is a form of advertising in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals who have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers. I like to think of influencer marketing as partnering with individuals who have credibility and knowledge that supports your marketing initiatives. Brian Littleton of Shareasale provides my favorite definition of Affiliate Marketing by stating, “affiliate marketing is simply advertising, tied to a performance metric.” In translation, affiliate marketing is a way to compensate influencers for their efforts. As such, it can be influencer marketing tied to a performance metric. The Lines Are Blurred By looking at these definitions, it is clear how the two channels can work together. In fact, the lines between affiliate and influencer marketing are continually blurred. Many influencers approach PR departments requesting to become an affiliate, especially if a flat sponsored rate is not available. Since this winning combination is the core of my business, I am confident it works. Why? Because affiliate marketing is a great way to compensate Influencer Marketing. Yes, I used the C word: compensate. Below are two reasons why a hybrid influencer marketing model of affiliate and influencer marketing benefits both the influencer and the brand. 1. Influencers Should Be Compensated Influencer marketing may be in its infancy but it has evolved beyond the days of running campaigns with free product as the ‘pay’. Yes, you may get a post or a social media shout-out in exchange for a free product, but it is rare to create a profitable campaign without offering compensation. Influencers know their value and the amount of effort it takes to make a campaign successful for a brand. A successful...

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Key Takeaways From Influencer Marketing Days Conference

Posted by on Nov 17, 2016 in Affiliate Management, Affiliate Manager | 0 comments

  This week. I had the privilege to attend and speak at the first conference focused on influencer marketing, Influencer Marketing Days  Having an early appreciation for this growing channel, I looked forward to honing my skills and sharing my knowledge. Throughout the conference, I had many “ah ha” moments and several affirmations that Robbins Interactive is heading in the right direction with its focus on influence marketing and affiliate marketing. Here are some of my key takeaways from this two-day conference. Micro-Influencers Rule Many people think of celebrities with regards to influencer marketing. However, the rise of the powerful small to medium size influencers is where the power and ROI resides. Every presentation mentioned the importance of working with the ‘power middle’ and micro influencers versus focusing efforts and budgets on mega-influencers. First here are the definitions of these new buzzwords. Mega Influencers – often traditional celebrities like actors and actresses but also Internet born celebrities. Maintains a 1 million plus followers. Power Middle  – the sweet spot for many brands, these influencers maintain 10,000+ followers. They typically work within larger niches such as parenting, health and fitness. Micro Influencers = these powerful, smaller influencers average followers between 1000-9000. They are highly engaged with their manageable audience and typically passionate about a specific/smaller niche and topic. Instead of health, think paleo or vegan. In my own campaigns, I noticed the trend of smaller, more niche influencers driving larger sales and engagement for my clients. It is both gratifying and comforting to have this observation confirmed again and again with real data and campaigns outside of my own. Here are the top reasons micro influencers should be your priority for 2017. As more brands ramp up their influencer marketing efforts, the smaller numbers of mega-influencers will be tapped out. Working with micro influencers will be both more affordable and available. Smaller influencers can manage and therefore engage with their followers more actively. These influencers tend to be more knowledge therefore gaining greater credibility from the consumer. Followers of these influencers are more likely to create their own conversations around the campaign, therefore building a closer relationship with the brand. Preparation Is Key Brands must prepare prior to initiating a campaign. Below are tasks that should be identified before any campaign or outreach begins. Influencer Score Card – Rate the 5 Rs of an influencer – reach, resonance, relevance, reputation, and ROI potential. Tracking Methods and Tools – Be prepared to have the correct tracking tools and instructions to insert those tools. Campaign Assets and Direction – The campaign should be led by the brand but not micro managed. The brand needs to optimize the campaign for one objective, provide detailed...

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100% Pure Cosmetics and Skin Care Select Robbins Interactive For Affiliate Management

Posted by on Feb 18, 2016 in Affiliate Management, Affiliate Posts | 0 comments

100% Pure Cosmetics selected Stephanie Robbins of Robbins Interactive to manage their affiliate program. 100% Pure Cosmetics and Skin Care offers non-toxic and all natural products for women, babies and men making them a perfect fit for Robbins Interactive’s natural and wellness affiliate relationships. The 100% Pure affiliate program resides on the Shareasale network, already making an appearance in Shareasale’s Top Power Ranking list. 100% Pure is also available on Avantlink with an expansion into the Canadian Avantlink network coming soon. Consistent with other Robbins Interactive programs, the 100% Pure affiliate program will grow with a focus on content affiliates, in addition to strategic partnerships with deal and coupon affiliates. Keeping to her commitment of parasite free programs, Stephanie has removed all toolbar and software affiliates from the 100% Pure program.  Influencers will be protected using leap frog technology. Details of the 100% Pure affiliate program are as follows: 8% commission Average order value over $70 Compelling promotions Regular bonus programs Converting creatives available Available in US, Canada, United Kingdom and China Dedicated affiliate management team, available for custom creative requests Affiliate Resource Center with step by step instructions, promotion recommendations and the latest deals Product samples available for qualified affiliates If you would like to learn more about Robbins Interactive’s 100% Pure Affiliate Program, please visit the 100% Pure Affiliate Resource Center. If you are ready to get started, visit Shareasale or Avantlink to sign...

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An affiliate management questionTo Coupon or Not To Coupon –

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in Affiliate Management | 0 comments

In affiliate management, many affiliate manager struggle with the strategy of coupon affiliates in their programs. There are extremes of both sides being represented within the industry. I recently published To Coupon or Not to Coupon on Linkedin. In this article, I address how I determine whether coupon affiliates are allowed in my program as well as my overall coupon/deal strategy within my affiliate programs.   Click here to get the full article....

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Where the Girl Scouts Digital Cookie Site Failed As An Affiliate Program

Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Affiliate Management, Affiliate Posts, Blog | 0 comments

The Girl Scouts’ Digital Cookie Site is not, by definition, a true affiliate program. However, on the surface, the new Girl Scout’s online store acts like an affiliate program, talks like an affiliate program and, unfortunately, failed like some affiliate programs. As an Affiliate Manager and Girl Scout Mama, I greeted the Digital Cookie opportunity with enthusiasm. Since I have experience in building online stores, I was “voluntold” (parent speak for when you’re told you will be working for free but it’s done in a way that makes it seem as though you offered your time), that I would lead the charge in getting our troop and their parents up to speed. So, I dug deep into the Digital Cookie program. From an affiliate marketers’ standpoint, there were several things about the new program that I loved. But, there is also one major flaw that will completely undermine the success of this new venture. Positives and Negatives of the Girls Scouts’ Digital Cookie Sales Affiliate Program Here are seven things the Girl Scouts did well in setting up their online cookie sales site: 1) Understood how to treat their affiliates The Girl Scouts remained true to their core objective of girl empowerment and only let Girl Scouts participate in Digital Cookie sales. Corporate protects their top affiliates (the scouts) but not selling direct to the consumer. Set up a great affiliate tracking system Each scout is given a unique URL for tracking her individual cookie sales in real time. 2) Created opportunities for affiliate recruitment Girl Scouts held rallies, set bonuses, sent targeted emails, placed direct mail and held troop meetings to attract and motivate their affiliates. The Girl Scouts understand what motivates their affiliates and set aside enough of a budget to deliver the types of incentives that will drive sales. 3) Provided the tools for affiliate success Each scout is given the tools to create their own personal mini store. They can customize the site with their photo, a short introductory video; state their personal sales goals and their troops’ goals. 4) Delivered excellent educational and promotional tools The Girl Scouts offered sales tips, banner ads and nutritional details for the scouts to create a highly qualified user to the online store. 5) Integrated online sales and offline sales through branding The Girl Scouts’ messaging and cookie order form online were consistent with the Girl Scout’s branding and offline materials. 6) Fraud protection and monitoring I found no cases of overzealous parents selling online using SEO keywords, Twitter or PPC. Either the Girl Scouts have an amazing group of parents and scouts who don’t break rules, or they are diligently monitoring for these offenses and dealing with...

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Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers: Talk Affiliate Marketing To Me

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Affiliate Management, Affiliate Posts | 0 comments

As an affiliate manager, I need to ‘crack the code’ of affiliate marketing for bloggers.  I work with bloggers on a regular basis. The blogger affiliate relationship has amazing potential but typically starts off with communication issues. At the root of the problem is the different metrics for public relations versus affiliate marketing Why the disconnect? One possible reason is that public relations managers’ performance matrixes are very different from an affiliate managers’. Bloggers  connect with brands using the language of PR. However for affiliate marketing for bloggers to work, a different type of communication need to be built based on sales. Reach Out For Sales I wish I could reward bloggers for their reach but unfortunately, that only happens with public relations. Affiliate marketing for bloggers is performance based marketing, which means I can only reward based on a brand selected call to action. For most affiliate managers, the tangible call to action is a completed sale.  Occasionally, the call to action includes lead generation. However, it is rarely (if ever) based on impressions, reach, unique visitors or followers. When I offer those types of numbers for review, my clients will look at them, respond with something like, “cool,” and then promptly ask for the revenue report. ISO Long Term Relationships As your affiliate manager, I am not looking for a one-off blog post. I’m looking for a long-term, committed relationship. Here are four questions bloggers should ask their potential affiliate manager at the beginning of their courtship: What types of bonus programs do you have in place? Will you offer a post review for optimization recommendations? Will the brand also promote the post on their social media channels? Will you provide exclusive sneak peeks or product information? Conversely, bloggers should be prepared to explain their plans to optimize and promote the post after its initial live date. Hopefully, the blogger-manager relationship will last for a long time. Open communication is crucial for that relationship to thrive. Bonuses versus Sponsorship If you ask an affiliate manager if s/he offers a sponsorship or ambassador program, the answer will most likely be no. However, if you ask about bonus programs for their content marketing affiliates, that can spark a great conversation. Below are three bonus plans available in my, as well as many other managers’, online marketing programs. Go Live Bonus This is the bonus an affiliate receives just for writing the post. The payout is not the same as a sponsored post (which is another PR term). Bloggers have the ability to make long term, passive income to make up for that payout difference. The bonus can be anywhere between $50-$200. Here is where influence and followers come to play within the...

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