The Influencer guide to affiliate marketing

26.05.2020

If you’ve never heard of affiliate marketing, you could be missing out on an opportunity to increase your income. In this post, we will explain how affiliate marketing works and how you can use it to increase your income as an influencer. 

You’ll learn:

  • What affiliate marketing is
  • How influencers can use affiliate marketing to increase their income 
  • Understanding the technical jargon of cookies and affiliate links
  • How to get paid as an affiliate influencer
  • The best tips for success

Let’s go!

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a system used by brands to allow influencers to gain additional income by promoting their products or services. In most cases, the influencer will earn a commission from the clicks or sales they generate from their promotions. 

The beauty of affiliate marketing for influencers is that you don’t have to have the most followers in order to succeed. In fact, someone with a smaller audience but better engagement could outperform someone with a large audience who doesn’t share similar interests. 

Affiliate marketing works in the following way:

  • You partner with a brand who uses an affiliate marketing system.
  • On your blog or social channels, you’ll promote either their entire brand or specific products.
  • The brand tracks when your audience clicks through to the brand’s website from your website or social channels.
  • When someone makes a purchase using your link, you’ll earn a commission.

If you’ve ever seen (or used) a unique discount code, chances are, the brand has used some sort of affiliate marketing. By using a unique discount code or link, the brand can track which influencer generated the sale. This way they can pay you the right commission.

 

How affiliate marketing works for influencers

How Affiliate works (Bigger)-01

Brands often approach affiliate marketing in different ways so it’s helpful to have an idea of the types of strategies they use before you dive in. 

Some brands offer a set percentage rate of commission for any sale. This will obviously differ brand to brand, but usually, it falls somewhere between 10% and 20% of the total order value. 

So if you work with a brand who sells handbags for £100 and you agreed a 10% commission basis, off the back of a sale of the handbag, you’d receive £10. It goes without saying, the more people who make a sale using your link, the more money you’ll make. 

Service-based brands often use a pay per lead model whereby you’ll get paid each time you bring a lead to the company. This could be getting someone to sign up for a trial, demo or even newsletter perhaps. 

The final method is a pay per click model where you’ll earn money each time someone clicks on your link and lands on the brand’s website. For many brands, this is an expensive route as they pay you even if no sale is made. 

 

ASA & FTC rules still apply with influencer affiliate marketing

If you plan to use affiliate links anywhere online, it’s important to be mindful of the rules around disclosure. You must make sure it’s easily identifiable that links are affiliate links and you may make a commission if someone were to buy the product as a result of clicking your link.

ASA has outlined various ways to disclose affiliate links for different mediums.

For more information on how to correctly implement affiliate links, please use the links above or contact your official advertising standards agency.

Technical jargon: understanding affiliate links and cookies

Affiliate links are unique, trackable links that allow the brand and influencer to accurately attribute sales to specific influencers. They’ll be able to see how many clicks a specific influencer generated as well as how many sales it resulted in. 

You can use your links anywhere online where you’re able to place a link. 

You can also share it on Facebook, whether that’s within the video description or caption, or even as a standalone post. Other social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube or even your blog are great places to use affiliate links. 

When a potential buyer clicks your link and visits the brand’s website, they’re tracked by a ‘cookie’. This cookie identifies where the site visitor has come from. Often cookie’s last for days or even weeks. This means, if someone clicks on your link on Tuesday but doesn't make a purchase until the following week, you’ll still earn a commission for that sale. Look out for the cookie policy of an affiliate campaign - it will tell you for how long after your follower/reader clicked on your link you will earn commission if they come back to the website to purchase a product.

 

Top tips for affiliates

In order to be successful with affiliate marketing, we’ve outlined some handy tips you should follow.

  • Affiliate marketers perform best when their audience is highly engaged and interested in the products on offer. Before agreeing to work with a brand, look at their products and consider whether your audience would be interested in them
  • The aim is to sell, but don’t be too promotional. If you promote affiliate products in every piece of content you create, your followers will become tired of the constant advertising. Instead, weave the affiliate links into your content naturally and organically. 
  • To widen your reach, consider using hashtags to target new audiences who may not have come across your content yet.
  • Affiliate marketing works best when you promote a single (or few) brands on an ongoing basis. When your followers see that you actually like the brand, their products and get to know how you use them, they’re much more likely to make a purchase. 

Affiliate links FAQ

What does a 30 day cookie policy mean?

A 30 day cookie policy means if your follower/reader clicks on the affiliate link to go to the brands website or product, you will earn a commission on any sale from that customer for up to 30 days after. So if someone clicks on the link, but doesn’t make a purchase, then returns after a week or so to buy a product from the website, you will still earn commission - even if they didn’t use your link to go to the website. 

Will I earn a commission on all sales?

This depends on the terms of the affiliate program. Some brands offer a commission on any sale, but sometimes they only offer a commission on a specific product they would like to promote or exclude certain products. The rate of commission earned may also vary by product. 

How can I be sure my sales are recorded correctly?

Most brands work with sophisticated software such as Partnerize, who are specialists in tracking traffic, traffic sources and conversions. They are trusted by large publishers and websites and have advanced technology to ensure your sale is tracked and attributed accordingly. ZINE has integrated with Partnerize, to allow their brands to promote affiliate links to ZINE influencers. 

 

Will I be gifted the product I promote with an affiliate link?

This depends on the type of collaboration. Some product (gifting) campaigns will provide you with an affiliate link to earn extra commission on any sale. Some campaigns, however, are purely for affiliate links, meaning you won’t be receiving any product from the brand to shoot alongside your link. You can still promote the link by using photos from the web, buy the product yourself (or maybe you already own the product) or reference the product in some other way, for example as a wish list or most wanted item of yours. 

 

The ZINE affiliate programme

As an influencer on the ZINE platform, you can now work with brands on an affiliate basis. To accept affiliate campaigns, head to your profile, click edit and under the ‘work’ tab select ‘affiliate as a campaign type, you’d be interested in.

If you’re not currently registered with ZINE, sign up today to get your free Media Kit and start working with some of the best brands. 

If you’d like to start affiliate marketing, check out the upcoming campaigns on ZINE. 

 

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