Influencer Marketing and Affiliate Programs

Influencer tends to be a scary word for small business owners. There seems to be some type of stigma behind it, so many have said they avoid them or choose not to think about working with influencers/having affiliate programs.

Not working with programs like these could be hindering potential profits. Dare I even say, potentially hurting your business overall? Let’s break these programs down.

Influencer vs Affiliate Programs
The main difference is the compensation of the promoter. An influencer is paid per post (story, mention, shout out, feed post). An affiliate is paid per conversion brought in (small percentage).
Aside from how they are paid, a higher follower count on their respective platform is often desired. However, a key part to mention is engagement. No matter how many followers an account may have, if they don’t have Engagement and Reach, you’re wasting resources.

Through observation I have noticed, influencers seem to promote items they like, have purchased, or are offered to promote. Affiliates seem to promote items/services they are “experts” in or have worked with for awhile. This is an observation not a fact.

The confusing part is that influencer and affiliate tend to become interchangeable for many people. For the purpose of this blog and simplicity, we will use them interchangeably. (Even though they are different).

Adapting or Creating a Program For Your Business
The overall goal is growth, brand exposure and awareness. So, let’s find out WHAT. To do this you need to find which affiliate model works best for your business. Are you able to offer free products/a discount code or is it better for you to set up a payment option for the conversion someone may bring in?

Once you have figured this out, it’s time to look for the WHO part. I like to look at my current customers. Who organically found me and purchases from me. I have given out 5 codes of 15% off and it’s up to that individual to market their code. I also choose codes because the customer can use it on their own purchase. Please note that you can set restrictions with these codes, as you can with any other promo/coupon/discount.

Codes have proven to work the best for me in many different scenarios. Especially, when doing a special project/launch with someone. In my PRIDE collection dropping soon on created by kierst, I was approached by the individual and asked to make some designs. As a small business I have to walk a fine line between showing the immense amount of gratitude I have for my customers and still making a profit. Although nothing was asked of me, I gave her a code to share as she pleases.

After the what and who are figured out, it’s time to figure out WHEN. How long will each person be part of your brand? Are you setting it based on a time limit (i.e.: 6 months) or based on a dollar amount (i.e.: brings in $10k). I would refrain from the latter. You are limiting your business and potentially hindering a relationship with someone who obviously supports your brand. If you are just starting out, set your goal for 6 months. If no one has used the discount code within that time, re-evaluate. On almost every website platform, creating discount codes is free. (As you probably already know, entrepreneurship is trial and error).

Now that we have all of that figured out, it’s time to get contracts and make your deals.

Whatever you do, make sure you vet the influencers/affiliates well. This person is going to be the face of your brand to anyone who discovers you through them. This will be who their followers association with your company. Make sure their morals and personality aligns with your goals, mission, and values. Think to yourself, is this someone I would leave my company to? If yes, then you have a winner. If there’s hesitation, what is it and why do you have it?

No matter what, trust your gut and do your research! When all the pieces align, it can be a beautiful things for business.

all the love & espresso,

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