If you follow marketing thought leaders or read best practice blogs, you’ve seen the evolving roster of trending ways to spread the word about your business. Beneath every trendy marketing buzzword lies a metric milestone that your company wants to surpass or a barrier that you need to break. But somewhere between the viral headlines and virtual tips, successful companies are digging deep to engage customers and drive revenue.
What's the difference between affiliates, influencers, and referrals?
Among these buzzwords are inbound approaches that increase organic traffic and product sharing for your brand. Whether you intend to implement an affiliate, influencer, or referral marketing program, you’ll need an automated system that can handle the curveballs that customers throw your way.
Before diving into how to manage your program of choice, let’s take a moment to define what each program aims to solve.
Affiliate Marketing: A highly efficient transaction between a company and an entity where the business receives customers (or leads) in exchange for a financial incentive.
Influencer Marketing: An approach that incentivizes people with (typically) large, captive followings to talk about a company's products or services. This approach provides social proof by linking a sought-after persona to your brand.
Referral Marketing: A strategy for encouraging passionate customers and advocates to directly refer their network to your business. Referral marketing takes the inherent organic and altruistic nature of referrals and gives brands the tools to incentivize and manage them at scale.
Now that we’re speaking the same lingo, here are a few common questions that companies consider when creating automated marketing campaigns with Ambassador.
How does Ambassador work for affiliate marketing?
A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll revealed that 88% of people say they would like some sort of incentive (money, product or service, loyalty points, early access, swag) for sharing a product via social media or email. Whether you plan to set up a unique reward system or stick to the cash payouts that most affiliates prefer, automated affiliate marketing programs are a strategic way to manage campaigns.
Ambassador's affiliate marketing software allows companies to upload customer information and create individual affiliate profiles. Affiliates can track their sharing progress and access company-approved branding material to share throughout their network all from one easy-to-use portal. With images to share on Facebook or offers to send in emails, affiliates can share your brand with their networks.
Affiliate Marketing Tip: Give valued affiliates an elevated, informed experience that bridges the gap between your company and your audience.
Where are my influencers?
Social media searches, hashtag hunting, and a sea of unopened partnership requests. Every modern marketer has encountered the standstill that happens when you attempt to incorporate a well-respected influencer into your brand. Instead of searching high and low, your existing customers may have the complex network and continuous engagement that you expect from traditional influencers.
With Ambassador's automated platform, you'll have access to social media network insight for members of your marketing campaign. Instead of guessing your customers’ online reach, you can see the number of followers they have across different social media platforms and strategically pinpoint your potential influencers.
According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll 82% of people say they seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase. Innovative brands are using this information to offer exclusive, channel-specific campaigns that invite influential customers to spread brand messages to a captive audience on their preferred social network. Who knows? Your best influencer may already be a loyal customer.
Influencer Marketing Tip: Don’t bank on influencers. Your biggest, most vocal fans may already be within your customer base.
What are the benefits of referral marketing?
Whether customer-to-customer or friend-to-friend, people are talking about your brand. In many cases, these conversations are being broadcast online with no way for you track these recommendations.
Automated referral programs provide unique, shareable links to your enrolled users. With this easy-to-monitor system, brands can source new leads to the program member who provided the referral. Brands can reward these referrers for a truly reciprocal company-customer relationship.
A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll revealed that 86% of people with a household income of more than $100,000 seek recommendations when considering a purchase. Streamlined referral marketing campaigns attract high-quality leads and pave the way for customers to be loyal to your brand.
Referral Marketing Tip: Give referrers easy-to-share links that your company can seamlessly track and monitor.
Laying The Foundation
With these different types of programs, how can marketers best manage campaigns?
At their core, all of these referral sources and lead acquisition channels can practically be tracked, monitored, and managed in the same way. Sure, affiliates certainly require different treatment than customers, and the incentives that resonate with each will vary. Similarly, influencers will obviously be evaluated against different metrics than customer referrals, and they’ll cost a lot more to engage.
Still, the ways in which all of those different parties are tracked and managed are inherently the same.
Which is why a single, flexible platform that delivers all the tools companies need to manage and optimize a variety of campaigns simplifies the entire process for marketers. A solution like Ambassador also creates a much cleaner experience for affiliates, influencers, and customers.