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Affiliate or Influencer Marketing: What Will Work for Your Company?

May 5, 2021

Affiliate and influencer marketing are effective methods of reaching your customers and turning them into clients. 

Both have their time and place when done right, but how do you understand which one is right for your company and what is the difference? 

Affiliate marketing is a form of marketing where bloggers and social media personalities spread the word about a specific product or service. 

By promoting the product, the affiliate attempts to convince an audience that it is beneficial to buy the product or service while typically providing a discounted price. When consumers buy the product, and the affiliate receives a fraction of the sales.  

Influencer marketing is digital marketing that utilizes social media influencers to promote brands. 

It is similar to celebrity marketing because it centers around a specific person that has a large audience, only the audience is based on social media platforms and the celebrity is a niche content creator on a platform such as Instagram or Tik-Tok that is deeply influential over his or her audience. 

An influencer does not necessarily have any fame offline, but through online channels, they have an enthusiastic following and have the power to endorse a product or service for brand awareness and potential leads. 

How should your company determine whether to use affiliate or influencer marketing? 

Determine your goals 

Is your goal to create brand awareness and exposure or generate direct leads and sales?  

Instagram and Tik-Tok influencers have loyal audience members who trust their judgment. If your goal is to create brand engagement, notoriety, and to convince consumers your brand is the right choice over the competition- influencer marketing is the way to go.  

If your goal is to pitch a product or service direction to consumers, provide a limited promotional code, and generate direct leads; affiliate marketing is the correct choice.   

Influencers will bring organic traffic and authentic interest in your brand by integrating your service or product into a social media post as a part of their everyday life.  

Find out what your audience needs 

What channels do your organic customers typically use? Do they spend time on Facebook, Instagram, Tik-Tok, Twitter or YouTube? 

Consider the space your prospective will naturally use. If you know how to occupy those spaces, you will be able to narrow down the needs of your audience.  

If you have a word-of-mouth business your best bet is to go with affiliate marketing. This is ideal for people talking to other people about a solid product or service that is business to business.  

When it comes to B2C needs, influencer marketing is best for brands involved in beauty, clothing, health, fitness, travel, and entrepreneurship. 

Check your campaign participants' platforms to ensure they align with your demographics.  

When looking for influencers or affiliates, it's best to make sure they're in the same age group as your target demographic. 

For Millennials - Instagram is the best, for Generation Z – go with Tik-Tok influencers. 

Cost 

Influencer marketers can be compensated in several different ways: flat fees, payments per post, or receiving free products or services. Influencer marketing has a range as far as cost.  

The larger the audience and more well-known the influencer is, the steeper their asking price will be.  

As a general rule, influencers are paid $100 per 10,000 followers on a post, but this may vary due to the level of content they are producing, their visibility, and the type of companies they normally work with.  

Whereas affiliate marketers are supplied with marketing materials to help them drive sales and receive payment after a lead is generated and there is evidence of sales. Affiliate marketers make annual income rather than receive upfront payment. 

There is enormous potential for any business to make use of social media for digital campaigns. By using influencers, brands can tap into new markets and promote brand awareness, while affiliates deliver targeted campaigns that are lead-driven.  

Whether you use affiliate marketing or influencer marketing both exist online and can be the difference between subpar revenue and amazing results.  

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