7 Signs Your Business Is Ready for an Influencer & Affiliate Marketing Program

 

Affiliate marketing program

40% of U.S. retailers claim their leading customer acquisition channels are affiliate programs. And sure enough, for many internet users, blogs and vlogs are the first sources of information about products, and a number of customers admit that they made a purchase influenced by their content.

While affiliate and influencer marketing are similar in many ways, there are also differences that you should understand well before deciding on any of these options. Both affiliate marketing and influencer marketing are effective ways not only to promote a brand or product but also to establish contact with a specific audience. But how do you know if it’s time to start building your own influencer or affiliate marketing program?

In this post, we will go over 7 telling signs that your Shopify store is ready for an influencer or affiliate marketing program, as well as how to kickstart your program with GrowthHero.

Increase sales with an Affiliate Program

GrowthHero helps over 1000 Shopify stores succeed with affiliate marketing. Join them for free and launch your affiliate program in minutes. 

 

Why Implement an Influencer or Affiliate Marketing Program

Before we dive in, let’s discuss the differences between influencer and affiliate marketing programs and why you should consider them as growth levers for your e-commerce. 

Influencers

Influencers share how they use products and services on their social media accounts. They  share things they genuinely love with their followers, and rather than directly telling people that a product is good, most successful influencers simply show it “in action.”

While most of the cooperation with influencers is a one-time promotion of a single product, long-term cooperation is also possible. Your ability to work with influencers is directly proportional to your ability to build trust and credibility with your influencer team. There are no shortcuts to creating relationships with influencers, but it is definitely worth it. Influencers that feel cared for will provide better content and will be open to even more complex collaborations in the future.

Another benefit of working with influencers is their diversity. When it comes to payment methods, companies are also not limited to paying in cash. Many influencers accept other forms of payment, including free products.

Affiliate Marketers

The advantage of working with affiliate marketers is the greater autonomy of the affiliate marketer, who often reaches the brand on their own through promoted affiliate programs. Such a relationship is less direct, but companies and brands do not have to spend time looking for potential collaborators, as is the case with influencers.

A high level of independence is also expected in this form of cooperation. Ready-made tools and marketing resources help partners create their own content around your products. Instead of implementing a specific scenario, an affiliate marketer simply integrates web banners and HTML codes previously provided by the company or brand into the content presented on their platform.

How Shopify e-commerce brands utilize Affiliate Marketing to grow their sales?

 

Here’s how you know if your eCommerce store is ready for an affiliate marketing program:

Finding affiliates affiliate program

Now that you know the basic differences between the programs, look for these seven signs to see if your brand is ready to start a new marketing strategy:

Sign #1: You are on the lookout for new ways to generate revenue

Affiliate and influencer marketing is perfect for generating leads and increasing sales. A successful program will drive more traffic to your store, which could result in a sudden influx of orders. That’s why it’s essential to be prepared to provide products and services to new customers to gain their trust and show the credibility of your brand.

While increased sales sound great at first, a lot of new companies get lots of orders overnight and simply cannot keep up with handling them, which results in unsatisfied customers. Additionally, this could also affect your ambassador’s image and make them reluctant to continue cooperation. That’s why before you launch an affiliate or influencer program, make sure you are well prepared when it comes to both products in stock and customer support staff. You don’t want to keep customers waiting for their products forever and not be able to get a response from the support team. 

If you are confident your business is capable of handling more orders than before, introducing an affiliate or influencer program is the right step to take forward.

 

Sign #2: You have a social media following

Today, we hardly know anyone who does not have a Facebook or Twitter account. There will also not be a single person, who does not watch videos from YouTube. Because of that, you can consider social media a great medium to promote your business. 

Before you jump into every single social media platform there is, take a moment to consider which channels are used by your target audience, the channels that your competitors are using, and the type of content that is most likely to engage with your audience. With this in mind, you can start building your brand recognition. 

If you already have a decent amount of dedicated customers following you on social media, your next step should be to partner up with one or a few influencers that are known on the platform. This partnership can be a make-or-break for your brand when competing against other brands, so don’t hesitate to use the full potential of your brand’s recognition on social media.

 

Sign #3: You’ve done your homework and found the right influencers for your brand

Influencers can boast of recipients and fans who have great trust in them, and therefore their recommendations are more likely to receive positive reactions. They prefer to promote products they authentically enjoy, so in order to choose the best fit for your brand, you have to pick an influencer who is relevant to your product or services. Otherwise neither they nor their followers will be too interested in checking out your store. You have to invest in research and social listening to create a list of the most influential voices in your industry on various platforms. It is also worth starting your research by checking which creators are already fans or users of your brand. Perhaps the right people to advertise a given product are at your fingertips and you just need to reach out to them? Such people will be more enthusiastic about promoting your brand, and the campaign will gain authenticity.

Most brands, when deciding to work with influencers, often look at the popularity of their creators first. The reach of the blog post, the number of comments on previous videos on YouTube, or hearts on Instagram, however, do not guarantee success. Your message is just as important as your marketing goal, and it’s crucial to find people that share your brand’s core values. Once you’ve found your perfect Ambassador, don’t hesitate to reach out to them and propose a partnership! For marketing affiliates, you could reach out directly in a private message on the same platform. For more established influencers, click around their profile and they may list contact information for business inquiries in their bio. Establishing a closer partnership with them may increase trust and respect for the brand, as well as strengthen its message and provide your brand with growing recognition in the industry.

How to Find the First Affiliate Partner for Your E-commerce

 

Sign #4: Your company has a niche market with an active customer base

Influencer marketing can sway the opinions of today’s consumers more effectively than digital advertising. These days consumers either ignore or doubt the claims that brands make about their products and as ads became ubiquitous and often intrusive, many users decided they’d had enough and turned to ad blockers, making it much harder to reach them. 

Influencer marketing ensures that your ad will be seen by consumers who find it relevant. After all, if internet users can isolate themselves from unwanted ads and only come into contact with the content they want, the best way to reach them is to weave advertisements directly into the content they use. Fans of influencers have exceptional esteem for them, which is why promoting your products through their favorite content creators will yield better results than the usual ads. It is a particularly valuable opportunity for companies that offer products or services that people are cautious about purchasing without the backing of a trusted person. Some of the key industries that require this kind of customer confidence include the nutrition, cosmetics, wellness, electronics, and fitness industries. 

Whether your e-commerce fits into any of these industries or not, it is always worth considering launching an influencer program, as you are sure to benefit from your brand being promoted to an audience of an influencer that is relevant in your industry.

 

Sign #5: You’re looking for new ways to reach your customer base 

Influencer marketing provides diversity and it works. It works due to the relatability and authenticity of the right influencers that can uniquely and creatively relay a brand’s message in a way that resonates with their followers. 

Aspirational images of celebrities marketing your products just don’t cut it anymore. Seeing people who look like you using a product is authentic and allows consumers to easily imagine themselves using it. If you want to diversify your customer base, consider collaborating with influencers with various characteristics and backgrounds.

Improving diversity in your brand is a goal that every brand should aim towards, however, it is essential that you educate yourself on this matter first and work on it in an informed, well-thought-out way. Brands should conduct thorough market research, be authentic and engage with their influencers in an open and honest collaboration to ensure that a broader audience uses their products and services and is satisfied with them.

 

Sign #6: You’re ready for more exposure and increased brand awareness

It may be hard for customers to choose your brand if you operate in a competitive industry, especially if other online stores offer very similar products or services. Your new marketing strategy should include the goal of gaining exposure and brand awareness, and that’s where affiliate and influencer marketing comes into play.

Customers perceive brands mainly through their own experiences and feelings rather than information provided in the product description. That’s why developing a brand personality and values that resonate with your customers is a key to successful recognition within the industry. 

Influencers and bloggers provide a great opportunity to enhance your brand’s image through their platform. Their fans and followers may become interested in your product because they will associate your brand with their favorite creator they love and trust. That connection can become the deciding factor when choosing between your brand and others, making your marketing program the crucial advantage that makes your brand stand out from the competitors.

How to prepare your affiliate partners and influencers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

 

Sign #7: You’re ready to invest in marketing software that can help you manage your affiliate program more efficiently

For most brands, the deciding factor when choosing the right marketing software is the price. When comparing software, prioritize those features that are essential for your affiliate or influencer program. Make a list of features that you get with the plans that fit within your budget. Reach out to software support to ask about a demo or a call to see how the app is functioning. Take advantage of free trials and free plans to test the software before investing in it. Gather as much information as possible on different software options to ensure you make the best choice for your business. Lastly, research what software your competitor uses. This can be a great opportunity to learn what to look for in marketing software that just works.

affiliate program

How to implement an influencer/affiliate marketing program 

No matter how big or small your business is, launching an affiliate program is a big step for every merchant. At GrowthHero, we’ve got the affiliate and influencer program experts to guide you through every step of the setup process. Simple program for selected affiliates? We’re here to help. Advanced, multi-level program with hundreds of affiliates? We’ve got you! GrowthHero provides you with an intuitive dashboard that will make managing and tracking your program’s progress easier than ever before.

So, are you ready to take the next step? If so, contact GrowthHero support today, and we’ll get your affiliate or influencer program up and running in no time!

Increase sales with an Affiliate Program

GrowthHero helps over 1000 Shopify stores succeed with affiliate marketing. Join them for free and launch your affiliate program in minutes. 

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