Affiliate Marketing: Micro-Influencers, The Creator Economy, Curation

“Show me the incentive and I will show you the outcome.” – Charlie Munger

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❓ What You’ll Learn

  • How are micro-influencers changing affiliate marketing?
  • How will the metaverse change affiliate marketing?
  • How to build brand-to-brand partnerships?
  • How to monetize your newsletter?
  • How to prevent affiliate fraud?
  • What are stolen keywords?
  • What is cookie stuffing?

💎 Why It Matters

You can build a scalable, performance-based salesforce.

🔍 Problem

You need to boost sales.

💡 Solution

Use affiliate programs to get others to sell for you.

🏁 Players

Affiliate Programs

  • • Earn 50% commission on The Essentials.
  • Amazon Associates • Earn 1-10% commission on Amazon products.
  • eBay Partners • Earn 1-4% commission on eBay listings.
  • Target • Earn up to 8% with the partner program.
  • Shopify • Earn when you refer small businesses to the platform.
  • Microsoft 365 • Refer businesses to Microsoft 365 subscriptions for a commission.
  • HubSpot • Average payout of $276 at varying commission rates.
  • GoDaddy • Earn affiliate income for promoting domains on your site.

Affiliate Networks

Affiliate Marketing Tools

  • Rewardful • Instant affiliate and referral programs.
  • CJ • The biggest affiliate marketing platform.
  • ShareMint • Affiliate network for Web3 products (from a Trends Pro member!).
  • Voluum • Ad-tracking software to optimize affiliate campaigns.
  • Scaleo • Platform to track and optimize affiliate programs.

🔮 Predictions

  • Most people will become affiliate marketers. They will get paid to share the things they already use and talk about.
    • Zetup pays you to link the products you use when you share your workstation setup.
    • AnyPlace pays travelers to post their travel content with a link to where they’re staying.
  • Microinfluencers will become more common. They offer better targeting for products with niche audiences and higher conversion rates at lower costs. 
  • Affiliate marketing will enter the metaverse. Immersive experiences will give affiliates new ways to sell products.
    • Nike’s metaverse will give Swoosh members a way to make digital shoes that they can sell.
    • L’Oréal’s avatar creation on Ready Player Me can be used in 4,000 metaverse platforms. Users can sell digital fashion “looks” that have IRL equivalents.

☁️ Opportunities

  • Use an affiliate program to get creators to make content (and build backlinks) for your brand. Content creators will produce content to promote your products to their audience. 
    • ShopStyle makes it easy for creators to get paid by sharing products that they love.
    • Mejury is a jewelry line that uses its network of affiliates to share content about its products.
    • Ritual is a vitamin company that uses affiliates to create content about health and nutrition.
  • Monetize your newsletter with affiliate links. 
    • BrainPint is a curated newsletter that does affiliate marketing for learning tools.
    • does affiliate marketing for the tools and resources aimed at founders.
    • The Steal Club does affiliate marketing for tools that help creative entrepreneurs.
  • Use brand-to-brand partnerships to monetize your customer base. Your business may have synergies with another business’s audience.
    • HelloFresh partnered with Warner Bros. to sell Buddy the Elf Spaghetti to drive sales of both meal subscriptions and viewers for the movie.
    • Wolves FC ran brand partnerships with retailers like BT Sports and Travelodge to offer fans retailer discounts and profit from affiliate sales.
    • tastecard expanded its affiliate model to also become a publisher. They grew sales by 167% by adding ‘affinity partnerships’ from stay-at-home entertainment products.
  • Add an income stream to your ebook or course with affiliate marketing links. 
    • Oberlo links to Shopify free trials in its business and startup ebooks.
    • Maker Minions has affiliate links to tools that help creators build processes.

🏔️ Risks

  • Stolen Keywords • Beware of affiliates running ads on your organic search traffic and pocketing affiliate bonuses for customers that were already searching for you.  
  • Low Margins • If your business doesn’t have the margins to sustainably pay affiliates, affiliate marketing may not be for you.
  • Cookie Stuffing • Some websites exploit affiliate programs by routing you through a series of affiliate links before showing the real content. Honest affiliates earn less when cookie stuffing is successful.

🔑 Key Lessons

  • Pay affiliates on time. Treating your affiliates well is the most high-leverage thing you can do to retain them besides offering higher commissions.
  • Promote products you or some of your customers already use. It’s easier to sell products that your audience is already familiar with.
  • Cater to your ‘power affiliates.’ Your program’s top affiliates will drive more sales than the rest combined.

🔥 Hot Takes

  • Affiliate marketing is not passive income. Selling another business’ products is hard work and requires active effort.
  • Affiliate codes will be replaced by links and embedded eCommerce. People are less receptive to being ‘sold’ to than ever. Tracking will become more subtle.

😠 Haters

“Affiliate fraud is rampant and will harm my profit and reputation.”
Affiliate fraud is a common and costly part of running an affiliate program. There are programs to help you protect against invalid traffic. The most important thing is to track and review the affiliates you allow to use the program.

This sounds like a pyramid scheme.
Affiliate marketing is a powerful tool that can and has been used by just about every kind of business for both good and evil. The key difference is that affiliates are not forced to buy products and the affiliate revenue generated is from real profit (not dreams).

“I set up an affiliate program for my SaaS company but few publishers came. And those that did, didn’t help me sell. This seems like a waste of time.”
Publishers don’t tend to come out of thin air. You need to devote time to finding the best ways to recruit affiliates. If none come, you need to improve your product or the program itself. 

“I don’t want other people running ads for my business. They’ll get the message wrong and harm my brand.”
Offset this risk by educating your affiliates about the message you want them to spread. If you aren’t happy with how an affiliate represents your brand, get rid of them!

🔗 Links

  1. Who has the best affiliate program? • The tweet behind this report.
  2. The Rise of Affiliate Marketing in Web3 Will Change the Entire Industry • The future of affiliate marketing with Web3 tech.
  3. Affiliate Marketing On Twitter • Guide to becoming an affiliate marketer on Twitter.

📁 Related Reports

🙏 Thanks

Thanks to Yarty, Stewart Townsend, Zane McIntyre, Elie Steinbock, Anderson Dadario, Maciej Cupial, and Michael Pearson-Adams. We had a great time jamming on this report.

✏️ Harry researched and wrote this report. Dru researched and edited this report.

📈 What else?

Trends PRO #0108 — Affiliate Marketing has more insights.

What you’ll get:

  • 31 Affiliate Program Examples (288% More)
  • 7 Affiliate Network Examples (133% More)
  • 12 Affiliate Marketing Tools (140% More)
  • 11 Predictions (266% More)
  • 18 Opportunities (260% More)
  • 6 Risks (100% More)
  • 7 Key Lessons (133% More)
  • 5 Hot Takes (150% More)
  • 12 Links (300% More)

With Trends Pro you’ll learn:

  • (📈 Pro) What is embedded e-commerce?
  • (📈 Pro) How to get paid for product reviews?
  • (📈 Pro) How do Web3 affiliate programs work?
  • (📈 Pro) How is AI changing affiliate marketing?
  • (📈 Pro) How to get press coverage for your brand?
  • (📈 Pro) How to negotiate higher affiliate commissions?
  • (📈 Pro) How to use gamification to boost affiliate sales?
  • (📈 Pro) How to use voice search as an affiliate marketer?
  • (📈 Pro) How to use split tests to boost your affiliate income?
  • (📈 Pro) How to use live video to sell as an affiliate marketer?
  • (📈 Pro) How to use white labeling to earn more than you would from affiliate marketing?
  • And much more…

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