Affiliate marketing can be a cost-effective and valuable strategy for fashion and lifestyle brands to increase their online presence, reach a targeted audience, and boost sales.
Instead of spending money on advertising that may or may not reach the right people, brands can partner with affiliates (also known as ‘publishers’) who have established audiences that are more likely to be interested in your pieces and collections. This can result in increased sales and revenue for your brand without the high cost of traditional advertising methods. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started with affiliate marketing – the Thoughtful way.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy where brands partner with affiliates to promote their products or services. Affiliates are typically bloggers, social media influencers, or website owners who have a large following and can drive traffic to the brand’s website. Affiliate marketing has a long history dating back to the late 1980s, and it has remained a popular marketing strategy over the years. Today, it is gaining even more popularity as businesses look for cost-effective ways to reach a targeted audience and increase sales. The rise of e-commerce and social media has made it easier for affiliates to promote products and reach a wider audience. Additionally, the flexibility and potential for passive income make it an attractive option for those looking to start a business or earn extra income.
How does Affiliate Marketing work?
Affiliate marketing works on a simple principle. Advertisers or brands offer special links or unique codes to their affiliates (influencers, partner sites etc), who promote their products or services through various channels. These links or codes are tracked, and when a customer clicks on the link or uses the code to make a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission.
Here are the different types of affiliate networks:
A brand creates their own affiliate program:
- A brand creates an affiliate program on their website, offering a commission to affiliates who refer customers to their site.
- Affiliates sign up for the program and promote the brand’s products or services to their followers.
- When a customer clicks on an affiliate’s link and makes a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission from the sale.
A brand engages with existing affiliate programs:
- A brand participates in already established affiliate programs by offering their products or items to be sold and circulated on the affiliate’s network (eg American Express, Qantas Shopping etc)
- When a customer purchases, the affiliate earns a commission from the sale.
The commission structure of affiliate marketing varies depending on the brand’s preference as well as the platform engaged. There are different types of commission structures in affiliate marketing, such as pay-per-sale, pay-per-click, and pay-per-lead.
- Pay-per-sale is the most common commission structure in which affiliates earn a percentage of the sale amount made through their unique link or code.
- Pay-per-click is when affiliates are paid based on the number of clicks on their links.
- Pay-per-lead is when affiliates are paid when a customer fills out a form or signs up for a service through their unique link.
Why Consider Affiliate Marketing for Fashion and Lifestyle Brands?
Affiliate marketing is particularly well-suited for fashion and lifestyle brands because brands in this space are known to have highly aesthetic visual content which strongly reflect brand stories and are social media friendly.
- Showcasing Products to a Targeted Audience: Affiliates can showcase a brand’s products to their followers and customer database through various platforms like blog posts, social media posts, and videos.
- Cost-Effective: Affiliate marketing is cost-effective for businesses because they only pay affiliates when they make a sale.
- Increase in Sales: Affiliate marketing can help drive more sales by increasing a brand’s visibility and reaching new audiences.
- Beneficial for SEO: When affiliates promote a business’s products and link back to their website, it can increase the number of inbound links to the site, which is a key factor in search engine rankings. Additionally, affiliate marketing can help businesses reach a targeted audience and drive more traffic to their website. This increased traffic and engagement can signal to search engines that the website is a valuable resource for users, which can improve the website’s search engine rankings.
How to set up an Affiliate Program
Setting up an affiliate program is relatively straightforward. Here are the basic steps:
- Choose an agency, affiliate network or software provider: There are several affiliate networks and software providers to choose from. Some popular options in Australia include Rakuten Advertising, Commission Factory, Partnerize and Impact and of course agencies such as The Thoughtful Agency! Set your commission rate: Determine how much commission you’re willing to offer affiliates for each sale they refer.
- Create affiliate program terms and conditions: Clearly spell out the rules and requirements for participating in your affiliate program.
- Promote your affiliate program: Reach out to potential affiliates and promote your program on your website and social media channels.
- Track your results: Use your affiliate network or software to track your program’s performance and adjust your commission rate and terms as needed.
Tools and Resources for Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing tools and resources can make the process easier and more efficient for both advertisers and affiliates. There are three main types of tools and resources that can be used for affiliate marketing: affiliate networks, affiliate marketing software, and tracking and analytics tools.
- Affiliate networks act as intermediaries between advertisers and affiliates, providing a platform for advertisers to find and recruit affiliates, and for affiliates to find and join affiliate programs.
- Tracking and analytics tools can help both advertisers and affiliates measure the effectiveness of their affiliate marketing campaigns. These tools can provide insights into website traffic, conversions, and revenue generated through affiliate marketing efforts. Some popular tracking and analytics tools include Google Analytics, Voluum, and ClickMeter.
Best Practices for Success in Affiliate Marketing
Here are some best practices to help ensure your affiliate marketing program is successful:
- Choose the right affiliates: It’s important to partner with affiliates that have a relevant audience and a good reputation in the industry. Look for affiliates that have a strong website traffic, social media presence, a popular blog, or a large email list.
- Provide high-quality content: To make the most of your partnership with affiliates, provide them with content that they can share with their audience. This doesnt need to be unique content and can be repurposed from other channels and could include product descriptions, images, videos, and blog posts.
- Offer competitive commission rates: To attract top-performing affiliates, it’s important to offer competitive commission rates. This will motivate affiliates to promote your products and services more effectively.
- Monitor performance regularly: Keep track of your affiliate program’s performance regularly to identify areas for improvement. This could include tracking click-through rates, conversion rates, and other key metrics.
- Communicate effectively: Building strong relationships with your affiliates is key to a successful partnership. Be sure to communicate effectively and regularly, providing updates on new products, promotions, and other relevant information.
- Comply with regulations: It’s important to comply with relevant regulations and guidelines on endorsements and testimonials. Be transparent with your affiliates and their audiences about your partnership and any compensation involved.
Need a Hand with Affiliate Marketing?
The Thoughtful Agency is an industry leading affiliate marketing agency, recently awarded as Rakuten’s first Platinum Agency partner in the Asia-Pacific. Our team of experienced professionals can help you design and implement a custom affiliate marketing strategy for your fashion and lifestyle brand that will drive sales and increase your online presence. From finding the right affiliate partners to guidance on developing compelling marketing materials to tracking and analysing your affiliate marketing data, we are a full service affiliate marketing agency.