There are many moving parts in affiliate marketing — especially to be taken seriously when it involves affiliates and partners that are small and still growing their subscriber base.
But we’re not here to tell you why it’s so difficult to work with affiliates with small lists, but rather about how you can make the best of working with them and drive more significant ROI for your business.
In this article, you will be taken through special highlights of affiliate marketing strategies conceptualized by Awin’s Jeannine Crooks, GetResponse’s John LoBrutto, and Businesswright’s Mike Allen based on the insights the trio shared at the most recent MailCon conference in Las Vegas.
Do you want to learn about the latest email and omnichannel marketing trends? Stay tuned and connected with MailCon for great content and industry insights.
Why Should You Target Affiliates with Smaller Lists?
Affiliates with small lists are often overlooked and undervalued, but a smaller list can also mean better-vetted information and a reliable partnership. Working with smaller partners means you also instantly get:
- Highly-trusted sources
- Hyper-targeted demographics
- Easily testable audiences
The following are eight of the best strategies that help maximize the benefits of affiliate marketing with affiliates with small contact lists.
#1. Choose Your Affiliates Wisely
Always consider that you need to partner with affiliates you see yourself building long-term relationships with. Be reminded of the following:
- Affiliates are a part and extension of your marketing team
- You need to leverage their full potential in your marketing channels
- Growth breeds growth: you need to identify your best affiliates and help them grow by promoting them amongst your own networks.
It’s always a winning situation when your organization’s practices are backed by a reliable, trustworthy, and appreciated affiliate. So if you don’t see yourself cultivating these relationships with prospective affiliates, then a good strategy would be to reconsider moving forward with them.
#2. Poll Your Publishers
There’s no better way to understand your affiliates’ email lists than by asking your publishers about the effectiveness of working with a given affiliate. You can do this by polling them to determine the ROI of a given campaign that an affiliate has worked on.
Poll your publishers to find out the following:
- Demographics of the list
- Can they sort by demographics?
- Open and conversion rates
- Contact frequency
#3. Segment Your Email Affiliates
Aside from segmenting your email lists, you should also segment your affiliates according to the types of audiences they serve. When you create a micro-segment of affiliates and email lists, you ensure a highly-reliable target list that you and your affiliates can grow in future campaigns.
With segmented affiliates and email lists, you can:
- Help your email affiliates by offering flash sales, as well as unique and personalized discounts.
- Segment these groups based on your pooling information
- If working with influencers, provide unique coupon code tracking instead of online tracking links.
- Target each segment for unique offers or special promotions to help them build their own lists
- Push your email affiliate content exclusively to these segmented groups
- Create a promotional event schedule to help build up your affiliates’ lists
#4. Stay in the Loop With Your Affiliates
It’s essential to always remember that your affiliates are on your team. So you must always be in contact with your affiliates about any changes you may have made to your processes or offerings. To keep open lines of communication, you can:
- Message top affiliates of anything significant
- Share your marketing data with them
- Let them know about marketing emails
- Selectively “leak” certain information (Black Friday deals, seasonal changes, etc.)
#5. Develop Content for Email Affiliates
Influencers, bloggers, or anyone using lists need unique content to promote what you’re selling. To ensure that your affiliates are putting out good information regarding your brand, follow these steps:
- Develop one-to-one email templates with a “soft sales” pitch
- Create newsletter templates promoting your brand, product, or service
- Design infographics promoting your value proposition
- Create insets highlighting a product or service for use in a more extensive campaign
This gives your email affiliates a great foundation to sell your brand. Encourage them to make this content their own and use it the way they’d like to. Give them a few variations and test to see what converts the best.
#6. Offer a Freebie
Brand ambassadors and affiliates are always hunting for gifts and items. And there’s no better way to help them sell your products (or services) than by giving them a taste of your offerings. Send occasional exclusive offerings to help your affiliates get to know your products better.
On the other hand, the freebie doesn’t always have to be in the form of an item or service; sometimes, it should be information, data, studies, or even instructional guides. To do it well, you should assess your affiliates’ needs and provide a solution that helps them grow in a meaningful way.
#7. Develop Webinars to Expand Leadgen
One of the best lead generation strategies includes unique and informative webinars shaped by multiple knowledgeable hosts associated with different brands and companies. To widen your leadgen horizons, encourage your affiliates to host joint webinars for your target audiences within their network.
A well-put-together webinar will go a long way with value-added content to your network, paving the way for a soft-selling tactic to sell directly to your affiliate’s audience.
Co-branded webinars will help your affiliates dive deeper into your brand, offer legitimacy, and provide more than just discount codes to their potential customers.
#8. Educate your Affiliates
There’s no substitute for honesty and trust in the affiliate marketing world, so encouraging your affiliates to build their own brands will only carry you forward. But of course, there are many do’s and don’ts in this situation. Check the following:
What you should do:
- Always be ethical and love your audience
- Grow by pitching your brand in your affiliate’s voice
- Turn marketing efforts into evergreen content
What you shouldn’t do:
- Depend solely on social media “rented space” for quick popularity
- Risk damage to your affiliate’s reputation
Ultimately, affiliate marketing is a partnership that requires excellent communication and dedication to growing alongside your partners. A lot can go wrong with affiliate marketing if you’re not committed to taking the above strategies to make it work for everyone.
But your operations are bound for success if you’re willing to take a chance on reaping the many benefits of working with affiliates who have smaller email lists.
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