A recent post by Andrew Girdwood entitled “Defining Affiliate Marketing in 2015” emphasised the importance of the affiliate marketing channel to assist brands to reach new audiences and harnessing the power of publishing partners – two strategies brands should also consider to assist in building your brands digital footprint. Brands should indeed be making more use of their pool of affiliates to help drive their brand proposition and to consider their affiliate pool as an extended workforce who can provide a rich insight into the views of your brand, the strengths and weaknesses.
Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, famously said “Brands are the solution, not the problem”, brands need to focus on what their unique selling points (USP’s) are to not only attract customers to purchase but what also attracts affiliates to join and sign up to their affiliate program, and it’s not all about offering the highest commission rates. Brands should focus on building a platform of trust and loyalty by sharing branded messaging and content with their affiliates to drive a relationship.
Digital Brand Strategy: 4 Reasons to work with your affiliates
1) Harnessing the “long tail” of your affiliate program
Brands should be getting under the hood of their affiliates through segmenting affiliates not just by sales but by potential opportunities to help drive your digital brand values.
How to work with your affiliates: Brands should be considering better understanding the long-tail of your affiliates – these may not be the affiliates that drive revenues (voucher code sites) but affiliates that are bloggers and seasonal based performers. Engaging with the longer tail provides opportunities to work with them on driving your brand value to smaller segment of audiences.
2) Brand domination through Search– Recent Google algorithm changes may suggest it’s the brands that drive the trust and authority that search engines rely on to drive the right answers for searches by disseminating their branded digital content to act as a knowledge centre for the vertical they operate. Brands should focus on creating content that users want to find to drive acquisition or lead generation for example.
How to work with your affiliates: Brands need to consider getting out behind their desks and reaching out to their affiliate base and get their views on the reputation of the brand, what could be done better. By crafting branded content that brands are happy for affiliates to use to drive the program.
3) Brand Authority–Many brands fail to realise that the branding opportunity is to tell a great brand narrative to engage with existing users and new prospects and to fine tune and optimise branded content through the various different digital channels.
How to work with your affiliates: Engage with your affiliates who specialise in specific digital channels, reach out to your affiliates and ask what sort of authoritative content could be utilised to assist with the objectives of their affiliate campaign by supporting them with your own in house design and technical resource.
4) Identify your Brand Online Value Proposition (OVP) for your affiliates – What is it that helps to differentiate your proposition? What is the reason why your organisation exists and what is it you offer that no one else can? These are the types of questions that need to be answered to help safeguard the future of your brand as well as ensuring you are offering something unique to your affiliate base that is different to your competitor programs
How to work with your affiliates: Consider spending time researching your market sector and the affiliate programs and begin to understand points of difference as well as opportunities for your brand offering to create a new, uncontested market place.
Trust, authority and the art of story-telling
An organisation’s history is a valuable asset to help story-tell and bring to life their personality. Brands should not assume “bringing to life your brand through the art of storytelling” should be done in house, consideration should be given to your pool of affiliates – the eyes and ears of your brand who work on the front line in generating lead or sales for you and have plenty of quantitative and qualitative evidence to share with you to aid the brand proposition – use your affiliates as an extended workforce, they are there to help you!
Brands need to consider forming long terms relationships with their pool of affiliates to not only assist them to drive a healthy affiliate channel but also to consider using their pool of affiliates to help drive exactly how and what they should position their digital brand.