Affiliate marketing is a powerful tool for brands looking to drive sales and increase their online presence. This type of marketing strategy involves partnering with other individuals or companies which then promote a brand’s products or services in exchange for a commission on sales or leads.
As the cost of living crisis continues to deepen and consumer confidence plunges, affiliates could offer a valuable lifeline for brands and consumers alike. For starters, affiliate ads offer cash-strapped consumers access to discounts, cashback, and other money-saving deals. For retailers, affiliates provide a low-risk, high-reward revenue driver without straining in-house resource. This makes affiliate one of the most cost-effective marketing channels out there.
Given the clear benefits to both consumers and retailers, affiliate marketing is a great strategy for our financially challenging times. In this blog post, we’ll explore why affiliate deals are so popular with consumers, and drill down into the benefits they offer for brands. I’ll also share some top tips for brands looking to maximise profitability via affiliate channels during the cost of living crisis.
Benefits for consumers
By far the biggest benefit affiliates offer the consumer is the chance to save money and make informed purchasing decisions with ecommerce transactions. Naturally, during a financial crisis like the one we’re currently facing, consumers will be eager to make every penny count, meaning affiliates are a very appealing option right now.
However, the benefits don’t stop there. Here are three other advantages that affiliate deals offer the consumer.
Accessing exclusive deals
Affiliate marketing offers certain demographics the chance to access exclusive deals and discounts. Many retailers partner with affiliate marketers to offer special promotions and coupons that are not available to the general public (think Bluelightcard and Unidays, for example). This can be especially valuable for consumers looking to save money on everyday items during the cost of living crisis.
Affiliate marketing allows consumers to easily compare prices and find the best deals. Affiliate marketers often provide detailed product reviews and comparisons, helping shoppers to make informed decisions about their purchases. This can be especially helpful for online shoppers who may not have the opportunity to see and test products in person before buying.
Sense of community
Affiliate marketing can also provide consumers with a sense of community and trust. Affiliate advertisers often have established relationships with their audience and provide personalized recommendations based on their own experiences with the products or services. This can create a sense of trust and community among consumers, as they feel they are getting recommendations from someone they know and trust. Furthermore, affiliate marketers may also provide additional resources such as guides and tutorials that can help consumers make more informed decisions.
Benefits for retailers
For retailers, affiliates offer a very cost-effective form of marketing, as commission is only paid out when the desired outcome — such as a sale — is achieved. But the benefits of affiliate marketing go beyond offering a reliable ROI.
Increasing brand awareness
Affiliate marketing can be a powerful tool for increasing brand awareness. By partnering with affiliates such as influencers, cashback sites, and discount publishers, retailers can gain exposure to a wider range of consumers and increase their online visibility through the partners’ network. This new exposure can lead to increased sales and revenue for the seller.
Reaching new audiences
Affiliate marketing also provides retailers with a way to reach new audiences. Affiliate marketers have their own established audience and can promote a brand to a new group of potential customers. This can help retailers to expand their customer base and increase sales.
3 tips for adapting your affiliate strategy during the cost of living crisis
So, as we’ve seen, affiliate marketing offers a wealth of benefits for both consumers and retailers. But what else can brands do to optimise their tactics for the cost of living crisis? Here are our three top tips for getting the most out of your affiliate campaign over the next year.
Balance discounts carefully
Discounts and money-saving offers are likely to be more popular than ever with penny-pinching consumers in the coming months. So, engaging with discount code publishers should be a key component of any affiliate strategy. That said, most brands are also going to be feeling the pressure from increasing costs and overheads, which means that retailers should be careful to balance the cost of the discount with the order value and volume of stock. This will ensure any deals are profitable.
Research now, buy later
The cost of living crisis is changing consumer shopping habits. With less disposable income to play with, shoppers are spending more time researching items before buying, to make sure their purchases are worth their money. Consumers are also more likely to spend time comparing prices and seeking discounts or offers, to ensure they’re getting the best value.
In response, affiliate marketers should seek new ways to engage consumers during the research stage. Focusing on partnerships with influencers and content creators can help inform and engage prospective shoppers, highlighting USPs and communicating brand ideals early on. Micro- and nano-influencers, who are often seen as more ‘influential’, can be especially effective partners in terms of driving conversions.
The feel-good factor
We’ve talked a lot about the increasing importance of money-saving affiliates for cash-strapped consumers. But, that doesn’t mean your affiliate strategy needs to be exclusively focused on discounting and deals. Dubbed the ‘lipstick effect’, it’s thought that customers are actually more likely to treat themselves to occasional small luxuries during financially difficult periods. So, if you operate in a high-end market — especially in the health, beauty, fashion, or homeware sectors — you may be able to leverage the lipstick effect to your advantage.
To tap into this audience, partner with influencers with audiences that may be looking to treat themselves to a mood-boosting purchase. Be sure to promote the feel-good factor, emphasising escapism, self-care, and luxury in your campaigns and on-page copy.