Turning the Funnel to Deliver a Stronger Affiliate Marketing Program

Affiliate marketing programs are playing an increasingly important role in attracting loyal customers and connecting with new audiences. Alison Rinaldi, PMG’s director of affiliate marketing, thinks we may be starting to see why more retailers are turning the funnel and re-imagining loyalty programs.

Affiliate marketing has recently undergone a digital transformation as more brand marketers turn to affiliate programs to drive middle and upper-funnel performance, new customer acquisition, and greater brand awareness. While affiliate marketing has traditionally been seen as a bottom-of-funnel strategy focused on coupons, discounts, cashback offers and loyalty partnerships, new technological advances have repositioned affiliate marketing as a strategic lever to reach new customers. cost-per-acquisition structure. In recent months, leading brands have been redesigning their affiliate programs and ultimately repositioning affiliate marketing to bring customers new deals, better offers and a new and improved customer loyalty experience.

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PMG on how to embed an effective affiliate marketing strategy

All signs point to the end of this new era of affiliate marketing, but many brands have questions and a lack of direction on the strategy needed for successful implementation. PMG helps our clients approach affiliate marketing by ‘turning the funnel’ and diversifying their programs, but what does it mean, what does it mean and how can brands put it into action?

Set program goals that align with business goals

The first step in ensuring an affiliate program is set up for success is to set clear goals and KPIs. Affiliate program goals can range from increasing revenue to gaining new customers and building brand awareness. Affiliate marketing is often used to achieve multiple goals. Regardless of the specified KPIs, it is important that the program goals align not only with the channel’s goals, but also with the overall business KPIs.

Historically, affiliate marketing programs have been overly focused on increasing revenue; this meant that although the program was often seen as a success, it paid high commissions for sales. In this new era, brands that take a closer look at increased growth opportunities, new customer acquisition trends, and other metrics beyond strictly revenue generating KPIs will be best positioned to use affiliates as a strategic leverage that offsets increased customer acquisition costs across other channels.

Diversify your affiliate mix

When you take a look at the industry, it’s easy to see that many affiliate marketing programs have become overly dependent on bottom-of-the-funnel discount and coupon partnerships. These partnerships certainly have their place in the affiliate ecosystem, but with some of these partners providing most of the program revenue, it’s time to take a closer look at new ways to deliver increased value to the program. Brands that rely on only a small number of discount, coupon and cashback partners have ample opportunity to diversify their affiliate strategy and, by extension, the revenue streams of affiliate marketing. This is especially true for brands that are moving towards a less promotional strategy or are ‘full-priced’.

To best diversify partnerships, it’s important to ensure that commission and attribution strategies align with the interests of middle and upper funnel partners. The traditional last-click model of affiliate marketing programs limits the scale of diversified partnerships, especially as it relates to content and influencer partners. Fortunately, today’s connected technology providers allow for a comprehensive mix of attribution and deployment strategies that can help scale new partnerships successfully, ensuring that the different partner verticals are adequately rewarded for the role they play in a consumer’s purchase path.

Optimize existing partnerships

Just as it is important to diversify your program’s partner mix with new partners, it is equally important to optimize existing partnerships to enable new growth strategies and opportunities. Partnerships within a program should be evaluated and audited on a consistent basis. This also applies to affiliate technology providers, including platforms like Impact, Partnerize, and Awin. Affiliate marketing and technology support is changing rapidly, and it’s critical that brands leverage what they have to scale efficiency and effectiveness.

Let the data guide you

If you’re not looking at the true incremental value of your affiliate marketing program, you should. There are several ways to do this, but brand marketers first need to determine what the true ROI and incremental value of their partnerships and programs are for their overall business. The ‘set it and forget it’ days of affiliate marketing are long gone and there is no time like now to ensure your brand follows newly discovered best practices and is equipped with the data and strategy to tap into the full potential of affiliate marketing. highest possible return on investment.

As more brands reimagine how affiliate marketing programs can play a larger role in engaging with loyal customers and connecting with new audiences, we will see more retailers re-imagine loyalty programs by turning the funnel with affiliate strategies at the center of their larger marketing activities. efforts. Brands that align their affiliate program goals with their business goals and diversify their partnerships while optimizing their existing partnerships will be in the best position to reap the benefits of affiliate marketing now and in the future.

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