If you have a new online business, you can use two main marketing techniques to build credibility, trust, and sales affiliate marketing vs influencer marketing.
But which one among them will you choose to go with?
There are, obviously, the pros and cons of each. And the moment you know them, it will be easier to go with one. Alternatively, by the end of the guide, you will understand that you can combine the two and develop a winning marketing strategy.
Let’s study the basics, understand how both of them work, the benefits, and which one to embrace in your new-found online business.
Affiliate Marketing Vs Influencer Marketing
- Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting another person’s products through digital channels and earning a commission whenever you make a sale. To do that, an affiliate gets a unique link, which tracks the clicks and sales back to him and gets paid once the payout threshold is met.
- Influencer marketing differs from affiliate marketing because it involves partnering with people with a certain level of influence in a certain niche.
- Both influencer and affiliate marketing don’t require prior product experience. However, if they had previous experience, it can be much easier to generate sales by giving information from experience.
- They both leverage on trust to drive sales. Affiliates or influencers build this trust with time by adding value to their audiences. With value, comes a valuable relationship and hence trust.
What is affiliate marketing?
It is the process of promoting another person’s products through digital channels and earning a commission whenever you make a sale. To do that, an affiliate gets a unique link, which tracks the clicks and sales back to him and gets paid once the payout threshold is met.
The payment model will always be pay per sale. However, some affiliate networks pay affiliates even for the genuine clicks they bring along. For example, ClickBank recently introduced a pay-per-click payment model.
How does affiliate marketing work?
It is simple to understand the whole process. Once the merchant creates a unique profitable offer, they either create an affiliate page for it or register on affiliate networks such as Commission Junction or ClickBank. These sites are popular with affiliate products, including a ton of health and fitness publishers.
The next thing is when affiliates sign up to promote the affiliate program and get a unique affiliate link. Once they get a sale, the commission is paid to their e-wallet on the dashboard for their marketing efforts.
The commission rates are different based on the product and affiliate network. Amazon, for example, has the lowest commission rates of 2% to 10%, while ClickBank can go up to 70%.
As an affiliate merchant, there are key things you need to understand when launching and running your affiliate marketing campaigns:
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing differs from affiliate marketing because it involves partnering with people with a certain level of influence in a certain niche.
It can be a lifestyle, home and living, real estate, fashion, or health and fitness. The nature of influencer marketing tends to be personal and hence effective in enhancing product credibility and trust.
If you have a new offer and want to boost its uptake, you will most likely do well partnering with influencers in that niche.
Influencers already have their followers’ trust, and hence easier to purchase products they recommend than a product that you merely market online without social proof.
How does influencer marketing work?
Since influencer marketing involves partnering with influencers, the major task will always be finding those influencers.
Once you find the right one, you will agree on the pricing per social media posts and the posting frequency on different social media accounts. They can also choose to be your brand ambassador.
Are you a basketball fan? Then you must know and even follow the famous NBA player Michael Jordan. Well, most of his income comes from influencer deals. He is also the brand ambassador for Nike, among other brands. He has a huge following on his social media pages and hence paid a lot for that role.
Sites are making it easier for you to find the right influencers. One of them is UpFluence. Instead of spending time searching on social media, the site connects businesses with influencers based on their niches, budget, and marketing goals.
Here are some of the aspects to consider when undertaking your influencer marketing campaigns:
Similarities between affiliate and influencer marketing
Affiliate marketing and influencer marketing have similarities in how they are carried out in the digital space. Let’s study some of them.
When promoting your product, affiliates or influencers don’t necessarily need to have used it. If they have the product information – its features, what it can do, the price, and others – they can easily promote it and generate sales.
However, if they had previous experience, it can be much easier to generate sales by giving information from experience. They can also read product reviews on sites like Amazon and develop detailed guides and posts promoting it.
You can’t make sales online if you don’t earn the trust of your target audience. Think about it – nobody purchases a product from someone they don’t trust. Before they give you their money, they will first need to trust you.
Both influencers and affiliate marketers build this trust with time. They do so by adding value to their audiences. With value, comes a valuable relationship and hence trust. That’s why influencers are careful with the products they promote since some products can ruin their reputation and destroys the trust they have built for years.
Influencers can sometimes act as affiliate marketers. They can promote the product on their digital channels and insert an affiliate link on the post. In that case, they could be earning money solely via sales commissions.
Some brands pay influencers for the brand outreach and the sales they bring along. This can be awesome since influencers are basically paid for the influence they bring and not the sales. That means it will be an added advantage if they can also make money from the sales.
Influencer marketing will often involve celebrities with a huge following on social media, YouTubers from different niches, and sometimes coaches.
Essentially, it is a digital marketing strategy. They create digital content that their audience likes and post on their social channels.
Affiliate marketing will mostly involve SEO and a little bit of community building. The top affiliate marketers have profitable search engines and optimized blogs with huge email lists that generate traffic, leads, and sales on autopilot.
Differences Between Affiliate Marketing And Influencer Marketing
Now that we know the similarities, there are also differences between these two models. Let’s check out some of them:
The main goal of running an influencer marketing campaign is to undertake brand outreach and create awareness. It is most effective for new products. Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, is geared toward sales. The sole purpose of running an affiliate marketing campaign is to generate sales.
With influencer marketing, companies can choose to pay via cash or even bank transfer for an influencer post. They can also choose to offer the new products to influencers to try out and promote them to their audiences.
A good example is a fashion influencer. A certain fashion house can choose to dress a celebrity when going to an event.
Most Hollywood stars are fashion influencers. Affiliate marketers are paid using cash. After reaching a set payout threshold, they can input their payment details and receive cash.
Influencer campaigns are mostly measured based on reach, engagement rates, and visits to a website. That means they are paid whether the leads end up converting or not. That’s not the case with affiliate marketing, where they are paid only if the leads they bring along convert to sales.
With influencers, you will pay them on a per-post basis. That means you have to do your math before associating with any influencer. Some influencers can bring in sales, while others merely have fake followers.
With affiliate marketing, you are paid based on the sales you bring in every campaign. Even though there are affiliate networks that pay on a per-click basis, most affiliate merchants pay a commission for every sale.
You don’t need a software to launch and manage influencer marketing campaigns. Your social media channel can have all the data and analytics in place. That’s different from affiliate marketing since you will require affiliate marketing software.
Most brands have a short-term relationship with influencers since it’s a one-time post meant to promote new products or offers.
However, you will keep making passive income from your affiliate offers for years as an affiliate. That means you will have a longer mutual relationship with the affiliate merchant.
Benefits of affiliate marketing
Here are some of the pros you will have from engaging in affiliate marketing:
It is results-based
With affiliate marketing, payment is based on results. That means you will only pay the affiliate once they bring in a sale. It is a risk-free marketing strategy compared to other forms of marketing, such as paid advertising.
That ensures that brands can launch their affiliate marketing programs without any hassle. Affiliates can promote the products without paying any fees, too.
Increases traffic and sales on a website
If traffic doesn’t always convert to sales right away, the fact that traffic is there will increase the SERP rankings of a particular web page. Affiliate links on various websites will be backlinks for a particular affiliate page.
The higher the backlinks a website has, the higher the rankings. And since most affiliate websites are already receiving a ton of traffic, it will only be a matter of time before the website increases its DA.
Easy to implement
It is easy to implement affiliate marketing. In fact, you don’t need a lot of resources to get started. Since it is free to join, you just need to sign up for affiliate offers, get your unique link, and begin promoting it to your defined audience.
The affiliate links will help trace every sale to you and ensure you get a commission for your sale. You should be making passive income from your affiliate marketing business with a defined audience and the right affiliate marketing techniques.
Benefits of influencer marketing
Here are some benefits of influencer marketing:
Gives results whichever the industry
Almost everybody is on social media these days. That means there are customers of products in any niche online. There are also influencers from different categories.
Some have majored in lifestyle content, others in fashion, while others are in home and living. With influencer marketing, you can get engagement, raise brand awareness, and lead generation despite your niche.
It is focused and relevant
It is easy to get results if you choose the right influencer. For example, if you follow Dwayne Johnson on Instagram and other social media platforms, you know he is a celebrity and works out daily. He even encourages people to work out.
Now that people who follow him are into working out as well, he can easily recommend a workout course or app to them and get awesome results. An influencer is a person with a defined audience interested in a specific niche.
Builds product credibility and trust
From the word influencer marketing, an influencer is someone people know. They know his lifestyle, family background, what he does, and how he does it.
Basically, it is someone his followers know, trust, and seek inspiration from him. Influencers maintain this relationship and don’t do anything that can destroy that trust.
When someone in that position recommends a product to you, you will often purchase it since you already trust that person – at least, it will be a little different from the product you have never heard of.
Employs a controlled approach
If you undertake this well, it has the potential to drive tons of leads and sales for your business. And in most of these campaigns, you control most of the marketing strategies.
You can create content for the influencers to post to the target audience, track sales coming in with their specific discount code or links, and even the content distribution methods.
Affiliate marketing vs influencer marketing: Pros & Cons
Let’s study the benefits and disadvantages of influencer and affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing Pros And Cons
- Acts similarly to word-of-mouth marketing hence building trust and product credibility
- The affiliates can run campaigns for a while; hence passive income
- You only pay for the sales that come in
- You can easily track affiliate sales.
- If you recruit the wrong affiliate marketers, then it can be costly
- Payments are not flexible on most affiliate networks
- It takes time to see results.
Influencer marketing pros And Cons
- Helps to increase brand awareness since influencers act as brand partners
- Builds trust and credibility
- It creates product awareness, which is essential in sales
- Flexible in payment methods
- Increase brand engagement and conversions.
- Payment is on a per-post basis; hence short term
- You will have to pay even before seeing results. Sometimes, results don’t go as expected.
- You can’t track the effectiveness of your campaigns as compared to affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing vs influencer marketing: Which one should you go with?
Well, there are quite several similarities between the two forms of marketing. However, if you are to go with one, it will be based on specific aspects.
Let’s check out some of them:
Affiliate marketing works best if you think long-term and want to recruit people to promote your product over time.
Topics & Questions
Affiliate marketing vs influencer marketing: Conclusion
If you compare affiliate marketing vs Influencer marketing, then I would say they are some of the best ways you can use to generate sales and grow your business online. However, each of them has its share of challenges and benefits. By reading this post, you should have known which business model suits you based on the pros and cons of each.