The title doesn’t leave much room for the imagination, does it? Oh well, let’s take a walk on the wild side and build some suspense anyway.
As someone who’s still learning a lot about affiliate marketing, I’ve noticed just how much information is out there with regards to affiliate partners. Some questions that naturally came up for me were: What types of affiliate partners exist? What does each do? Which works best with certain businesses?
The last one is a little tricky. Especially since there’s no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to partnering with affiliates. Some companies work best with certain affiliates and some work well with all kinds. If you’re unsure of where you or your business fall, learning about the different kinds of affiliate partners is a great way to start figuring it out. Ultimately, it’ll help you grow and determine which ones would benefit your business the most without the risk of losing money during the discovery process.
To assist you along the way here’s 10 different types of affiliate partners (in no particular order):
1. Coupon sites
These are by far the most popular and sought-after affiliate partners. It’s an extremely effective way to get first-time buyers of your brand to check out your website, make purchases, and even become brand advocates. With this type of partnership, you can collaborate to promote your coupon codes. Some sites in this category include RetailMeNot, Honey, Ibotta, and more. Something to note about coupon sites is that you don’t even have to offer discounts to partner with them. Ooh, la la. But more on that later.
2. Content sites
These types of affiliate partners include bloggers, YouTubers, and podcast hosts, to name a few. Their thing is creating content in the form of tutorials, reviews, product descriptions, guides, and more. Often what they create is dedicated to promoting products in their niche. So, food bloggers, for example, would be amazing affiliates to partner with if you’re a company that sells kitchen or food-related products.
3. Social media influencers
It’s probably no surprise that these two are on this list. It is 2021 and I feel like most of us have heard these words in passing somewhere. To revisit them though, these affiliate partners are individuals that leverage their platforms to engage with an oftentimes large and organic audience. Whether their platform is Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or Twitch, these folks create content on them that can target your ideal buyers. When you partner with these affiliates, they can promote your products and services, coupon codes, sales, and much more through the posts they create.
4. Email marketers
Sure, email is not nearly as popular as mobile communications, but it’s still on this list. Why? Because it allows you to engage with an audience that’s already interested in a niche associated with your products or services. Another plus is that this audience wants to hear about what you have to offer. They did deliberately sign up to get these emails after all. When it comes to what to send to them, think about newsletters, offers, and other content that contains direct affiliate links. There’s just something special about sending this content straight to people’s inboxes rather than hoping they see it elsewhere. Don’t forget to pace yourself, though. Nobody’s particularly fond of getting spammed with emails.
5. Cashback or loyalty sites
These are comparable to coupon sites, but the one thing they do differently is they reward you for coming back. Cashback websites reward people by paying them a certain percentage of their affiliate commission after they make a purchase using the cashback site’s affiliate link. On the other hand, when using loyalty sites over and over again, you can qualify for awesome deals on a ton of different products. The two look very similar, it’s just the rewards that differ.
6. Mobile marketers
Everybody is on their smartphones—that we know for sure. But what’s interesting is that eventually, people will be using their smartphones and mobile apps over computers and internet browsers. With how much people use their mobile devices, there’s a huge opportunity for mobile marketing. Optimizing your program for mobile is almost always a good idea because people have gotten so used to shopping on their phones. Shoot, I’m one of them. I have about 15 apps from my favorite retailers. Don’t shame me. You can even find developers that create software unique to your niche market. Businesses can also advertise on both general and popular apps while incorporating affiliate links.
7. News and media sites
Think about sites like Buzzfeed or Business Insider. They write content that reaches wide audiences and even potential customers that might’ve not been thinking about shopping in your niche. The content varies, but scrolling on Buzzfeed right now, I see posts like, “38 Father’s Day Gifts That Are Actually Super Practical.” Within that list, several products are featured with affiliate links to the product. If you’re a business that creates “super practical” stuff, think about partnering with these affiliates
8. Search affiliates
This program entails freelancers or entrepreneurs promoting your offer on search results or other online advertising platforms like Facebook. Keep in mind that they are paid advertising sites. Something to make sure of is that the partner you work with follows proper guidelines for search and advertising. This could include A/B testing to test the efficacy and ROI potential of ads.
9. Review sites
These websites generally traffic in content that includes titles or phrases like “The Top” or “The Best.” These review sites consist of lists of the most competitive products and services on the market. They’re a means for customers to save a lot of time on researching and experimenting with products. They’re also a way for your products to gain a competitive advantage against others.
10. Shopping comparison
Similar to review sites, these sites help make a customer’s shopping experience a lot easier and more pleasant. They take the guesswork out of shopping by providing specs, reviews, and attributes of different products. Then, they compare them all to show which have an edge over others in what areas. By partnering with these affiliates, you can show off all that your products have to offer with ease. Oh, and reach potential customers that may have never heard of your brand before. Score.
There are many different types of affiliate partners out there, but I hope this is a good starting point. Some affiliates appeal to niche audiences and others reach more general ones that you may not have access to otherwise. Once you know your target audience, though, you can figure out what works best for you. As I said, there’s no perfect equation for partnering with affiliates, but you’ll find your groove. And when in doubt, you can turn to Purply for some tailored insight about recruiting these partners.