How Shopify Plus Brands Can Scale Their Affiliate Marketing Program
How Shopify Plus Brands Can Scale Their Affiliate Marketing Program
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Brands looking to grow their business usually revert their attention to new marketing strategies. Quite often, companies must pursue a multitude of endeavors in order to capture the most value from the market. Continuously managing different marketing strategies can become gruesomely overwhelming. Each channel and campaign provides different benefits to your overall marketing strategy which is why no single channel should be ignored. Refersion helps you manage all of your marketing channels, operations by sharing photos on social media or positive reviews on your shopping site. Their service is like an echo that constantly reinforces the quality of your brand.

Satisfied customers are the foundation for marketing. Happy customers come back to buy more over and over. Not only will satisfied customers increase your customer’s lifetime value but they will begin to act as brand ambassadors. If you bring together stellar customer service, a great shopping experience, and products that your customers love, you will naturally create brand ambassadors. Nourish the customer journey at every level to leverage this positive force in your favor.

Once you’ve established a pool of ambassadors, you can approach them with an offer to become affiliates. Those who accept will become your motivated representatives to the world. Affiliates are informed, social-media savvy, and occupy a variety of niches in the online realm. They have the know-how to reach customers in their unique circles, spreading your reach to micro-communities that your marketing could otherwise overlook. 

While having an affiliate sign-up page is a great start, it won’t automatically attract the kind of skilled influencers you need to promote your brand. Affiliates with smaller followings have their place, and with a bit of pre-formed content, they can flourish. Still, the best ROI for your efforts comes from an ideal candidate—one with several thousand followers and a well-established online presence. Those who can influence the buying decisions of their followers with brand-centric content are the most valuable of candidates. Such a person will have a robust set of followers that regularly interact with the influencer and make buying decisions based on their recommendations. 

This ideal candidate is known as the Super Influencer.

What’s A Super Influencer? 

The great untapped resource in the current market, the super influencer is fluent in social media and uses brand choice to define their personal identity. They gravitate toward brands and products that aesthetically match their sense of style, and post organic content highlighting their choices and user experiences. The super influencer is motivated to tell others about the brands they love without earning any commissions or being paid for an endorsement–so their opinions hold weight with their followers. 

According to a July 2019 study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), 18.5% of consumers are super influencers. They live to discover new brands and bring them to the attention of their followers. If you can reach them in their spheres of influence and elicit their interest, they will be a powerful force in your marketing efforts. 

Why You Need to Scale

As your brand reach expands, so should your marketing efforts. Growing different aspects of your business at an unbalanced rate can cause issues with execution, and affiliate marketing is no different. 

If you invite an influx of affiliate sign-ups without the structure to verify their identities, approve commission payments, and handle tax reporting, you’ll bog down in paperwork and become susceptible to potential commission fraud. Likewise, if you launch a marketing campaign and don’t have the inventory or fulfillment capacity to complete the order load, your brand image will suffer as customers become frustrated by out-of-stock or delayed items. 

You need a framework that grows alongside your business and adjusts to your specific needs. Affiliate marketing is a natural fit for this model because you can add affiliates to your network at a pace that suits your brand’s expansion. Affiliates only get paid after a sale is made, automatically scaling costs to profits in a sustainable manner. 

The cost to onboard any affiliate is relatively small. While you’ll check and approve each application, you don’t have to pay anything until after a sale, so the entire process is low-risk. The increasing cost and uncertain benefits of some forms of advertising are driving enterprise brands toward the power of personal recommendation. 

Scaling Your Affiliate Network with Super Influencers

A well-managed affiliate program grows with your company. You want to keep an active community of vibrant brand ambassadors from which to draw your new affiliates. After onboarding, newcomers will need some attention to reach their potential—and you need to know if your efforts are working. To find out if they are, keep detailed data and watch your key performance indicators (KPIs). Have a benchmark goal for ROI per affiliate, and use that to identify your best (and worst) performers. This identification is a crucial first step in knowing how to increase the efficacy of your affiliate marketing program. 

Underperforming affiliates may lack motivation, or they might be unsure of how to generate engaging content. By providing them with ideas, templates, and other marketing materials, you can give them the tools they need to step up their game. Likewise, successful affiliates may require a small push to reach the next tier, such as a commission increase when they reach a certain level of sales generation. Good affiliates need nurturing, and inactive ones will need to be disconnected from your program. 

Even brands with a strong customer following may struggle to convert brand loyalty into referral sales. When Pura Vida bracelets came to Refersion for help in managing their affiliate marketing program, their referral program had a lot of sign-ups, but most reps never made a sale. While they had a motivating sign-up incentive, they lacked the metrics, data, and management framework to drive future conversions. With Refersion’s help, Pura Vida re-launched its program with three incentive tiers based on total sales, with increased perks at each level. Exclusive merchandise, bracelets, and tote bags marking affiliates as official reps, and rewards for reaching sales benchmarks drove Pura Vida’s conversion numbers much higher:

  • Within a month of re-launch, monthly revenues increased by 230% over the 12-month trailing average. 
  • Traffic to their site more than doubled over the year before. 
  • Over 35,000 new reps signed up for the program, representing a 400% monthly average increase over the previous year. 

These numbers are a perfect example of how the right management strategy, coupled with the right incentives, can drastically increase the efficacy of your affiliate marketing program. 

Of course, the most effective affiliates are those who have already demonstrated the ability to influence their followers. 

The Super Influencer at Scale

Seeking out super influencers is the logical next step to increase your ROI per affiliate. Super influencers are skilled at social media and can more easily drive sales compared to the average social media user. The key to finding and attracting this kind of affiliate is appealing to their personal sense of style. If your brand resonates with their self-identity as a consumer, they will gladly recommend your brand to their followers. Once they’ve whole-heartedly come on board with your brand image, monetizing your relationship with them is just icing on the cake. 

With their proven ability to post organic and genuine brand-focused content, the super influencer is primed to become some of your best ROI affiliates. Skilled brand reps are exactly what your business needs to scale your marketing efforts sustainably. By tracking customer metrics, you can identify the consumers most enthused about your brand, and identify the super influencer in your midst. 

By cultivating a relationship with the super influencer, you can give your affiliate marketing program the boost it needs to get ahead. At Trellis, we provide the technical support you need to optimize your web presence and make your digital channels more effective. We specialize in helping you scale your eCommerce platform as your business expands. We work with Magento, Amazon Web Service, Shopify, and BigCommerce programming to build the custom solutions you need. And now that we’ve partnered with Refersion, you can access the full range of scalable management across your affiliate marketing program. 

Trellis + Refersion = scalable affiliate marketing and eCommerce solutions for your brand.

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