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Influencer Marketing vs. Affiliate Marketing: Which Should You Choose For Your Brand?

It cannot be denied that word-of-mouth has possibly been the most abundantly used tool when it comes to marketing, relied upon not only by the merchants and traders of medieval times, but also brands and companies of the modern era, albeit the latter have grown to employ it in a rather subtle manner. In order to reach and affect the maximum number of potential customers, businesses today often rely on individuals that are followed and trusted by the masses; ‘influencers’, as they are called. These could be a wide range of people from various walks of life- actors, journalists, writers, online creators- mostly individuals with a significant online presence or tremendous fan-following, whose endorsement of a product in their Instagram story, for instance, could reach thousands, if not millions. They have established enough credibility through interactions with their audience that any product promoted by them, would convince many to at least consider buying it. Therefore, in order to benefit from this vast untapped pool of potential customers, influencer marketing and affiliate marketing are two of several marketing strategies engaged by firms in order to spread the word about their products.

While affiliate and influencer marketing may appear synonymous and are often used in place of each other, it is imperative that the difference between the two be understood. The central aim of both forms of marketing is to have an individual with significant influence act as a bridge between a brand and potential customers, possibly acting as a catalyst for increased sales as their impact branches out to a diverse range of audience the company could have faced difficulty reaching on its own.

How does influencer marketing work?

An influencer marketing agency would approach an influencer with a large audience that they have established credibility with, and offer a flat fee in exchange for promoting their product, be it in a post on social media, or a segment of their television show or YouTube channel. The influencer might also be given free samples of the product to boost their confidence, and to have the claims in their endorsement be as realistic as possible. This type of outreach is designed to increase brand awareness rather than focus directly on growth in sales, which is why Instagram influencer marketing can be seen becoming one of the most predominant ways to achieve this; posts and stories combined make up a quick and efficient marketing program.

How does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate marketing agencies attempt to introduce influencers to brands that are looking for an increase in revenue, that not only want to attract potential customers but also intend to convert them into new buyers; the incentive in this scenario is a share from the revenue the influencer helped generate from their promotion. This method is the most cost-effective one for brands to employ, with greater benefits for both the influencer and the firm. The former keeps earning as long as the product is selling; revenue generated like this may even outnumber the amount paid to an individual as flat fee in the influencer marketing system. On the contrary, the company would be preventing an unforeseen loss, lest the influencer not bring in as many customers as expected from the analysis of their analytics. Similar to its counterpart, Instagram affiliate marketing has seen a rise in recent years as the platform allows smoother transactions to take place, with the introduction of external links, and features such as the ‘Shop’ tab.

Which one to choose?

Coming back to the question: which type of marketing is more suitable for a brand, considering the advantages and drawbacks of both. While affiliate marketing is considerably more cost-effective, concluding that it is the best course of action for a company would be a fallacy of generalization. In the end, it depends on the aims of a brand, what they intend to achieve by having their products endorsed by beloved influencers. Do they want more people to know their brand exists, or are they looking to sell more units of a particular product? Depending on these goals, either form of marketing could be adopted. With dependable platforms like Influencer Hub, the future of influencer and affiliate marketing, and consequently online advertising and the safety of relationships between brands and influencers, are undoubtedly in safe hands.

How to get started with influencer and affiliate marketing?

Once you have decided which method suits your brand, you might wonder how to take the first step in launching your marketing effort. Although the concept of affiliate marketing sounds attractive for both the brands and influencers, finding the perfect match- or in this case, an influencer with a large audience who would be willing to promote the product a brand wants to advertise- is not that easy. Even in affiliate marketing in the USA, let alone international branches of the system, there are various hurdles and uncertainties both parties often face when attempting to reach optimum performance.

In a situation like this, trustworthy agencies like Influencer Hub are an invaluable asset. The aforementioned is a social media marketing agency in Florida, currently aiding more than one hundred brands by connecting them with influencers from all facets of life, all with established credibility and an audience that is open to trying specific targeted products. Once registered, Influencer Hub ensures quality service and high compatibility between influencers and brands. Since it is free to use for the first year, up-and-coming brands can utilize the platform to get in contact with individuals that have an active social media presence, whose word has a large enough impact on their audience to convince them to purchase the product they are endorsing. In addition, the Influencer Hub is quick and easy to use, making the process less daunting and tiring, facilitating all kinds of influencers and brands through consistent maintenance of two-way communication. You can check it out to get going on the road to digital marketing success!