How Affiliate Partnerships with Influencers Impact CLV

  • Written By:
    Mackenzie Scott
  • Published On:
    November 9th, 2021
  • Read Time:
    7 Mins
  • Category:
    Affiliate

Successful businesses are run by people who know how to play the long game. 

While it’s easy — and at times very necessary — to fixate on first-time conversions, the customer journey doesn’t end the moment a conversion happens. 

If you pursue new leads only to neglect them as customers, churn rates and unsubscribe rates are bound to skyrocket. And as far as your customer lifetime value (CLV) goes, this downward trend means that more customers will invest less of their time and money into your business. 

For one out of three people, it takes one bad customer experience to abandon a business that they initially loved. Add a couple of other bad experiences to that one and an even higher percentage of customers (92%) would abandon a company without question. 

This goes to show just how critical it is to create positive customer experiences, not just once but continually. 

Even still, 61% of companies agree that this is easier said than done.

Retaining customers is just as important as acquiring them, and one way that businesses can do both at the same time is by forming affiliate partnerships with influencers. 

In this post, we’ll share six reasons why influencers make good affiliate partners — specifically for customer retention — and advice on finding the right influencer-brand fit.  

Affiliate Partnerships With Influencers 

Affiliate marketing is a great way for businesses to promote their products or services and create new revenue channels. In fact, affiliate programs typically generate between 15-30% of all company sales. 

And for partners, the affiliate commission is a big incentive to promote a business well and often. Think of it as a way to boost your referral numbers with a single, well-placed partner.

There are different types of affiliate partnerships, but for the purposes of this post, let’s focus on influencer partnerships and six main reasons why businesses stand to benefit from these partnerships.    

6 Reasons Influencers Make Good Affiliate Partners 

1. Influencers have built-in audiences

There are four core influencer categories: nano, micro, macro, and mega. 

Wherever an influencer falls on this spectrum — whether they have thousands or millions of followers — they put in a lot of work to build up their subscriber base. 

Source: https://www.pexels.com/@ron-lach

To reap the benefits of affiliate influencer partnerships, it’s important to work with influencers that have similar audience groups as your brand. So if your products appeal to a niche audience, look for influencers that appeal to this niche. 

Because influencers already have built-in audiences, you’re able to boost brand awareness and reach new audiences without having to do much work on your end. By promoting your business and including an affiliate link, their followers can quickly become your customers. 

2. People trust the influencers they follow 

Given that 92% of people trust other people more than they trust brands, an affiliate influencer partnership can boost brand trust by association. Here’s what we mean.

People follow influencers because they connect with them in some way. And while nano and micro-influencers have smaller followings than macro and mega influencers, these influencers have the advantage of being easier to relate to and trust. 

When a micro-influencer promotes your business and offers a coupon code or incentive, this signals to their audience that your business is reputable and trustworthy. However, this is only true if the promotion comes across as genuine. 

And that’s because most of the people (86%) you’re trying to reach cite authenticity as a determining factor in whether they like and support a brand. 

By forming affiliate partnerships with the right influencers, you can establish a foundation of trust with new audiences, which in turn makes them more likely to convert. 

3. Highly engaged followers = a better ROI

As is the case with any affiliate partnership or marketing campaign, the desired outcome is always a good ROI. And the more engaged an influencer’s audience is, the more likely it is that an affiliate partnership will deliver positive results. 

Source: https://www.pexels.com/@plann-2999237

An affiliate influencer could do a great job of promoting your business consistently across various social media channels. But if only a small percentage of their audience is engaged, the traffic from their content to your business will be minimal at best.  

To get more subscriptions, product sales, or sign-ups via affiliate links, you need to seek out influencer partners that have a history of high engagement. 

Note: While your first instinct might be to opt for a macro influencer, keep in mind that these influencers tend to generate 6.7 times less engagement than micro-influencers. So the best strategy for your team might actually be to work with influencers that have less, but more niche, followers. 

4. Influencers are typically active on multiple channels

An influencer’s primary domain is social media. And while they might have more success on one platform than another, they will oftentimes have an active and monetized presence on multiple channels. 

As you negotiate your partnership terms and communicate your expectations for how the partnership will work, look for opportunities for cross-channel promotion. 

This could be as simple as an influencer partner including an affiliate link in their YouTube video descriptions or promoting affiliate products in Instagram Stories and Facebook posts.        

Because affiliate influencers stand to profit from this partnership, it makes sense that they will want to promote your business on multiple platforms to reach even more people. 

5. There’s very low financial risk 

There are minimal barriers to entry when it comes to starting an affiliate program. And when you work with a company like PayKickstart, you can set up and track affiliate partnerships seamlessly.  

Not to mention, PayKickstart’s Marketplace makes it easy to connect with potential partners in the first place. Within minutes, you can narrow your search to influencer partners in a specific niche that will be most relevant to your target audience.

One of the main perks of affiliate partnerships is that you can generate a lot of additional revenue while also cutting down your customer acquisition costs. (Affiliate programs usually have far fewer out-of-pocket expenses than other types of marketing campaigns.)

And that’s because an affiliate influencer’s commission is dependent on the amount of sales, leads, and/or clicks they generate for your business. The more their followers engage with your business in these ways, the more money goes into their pockets.    

Not to mention, if you discover that an influencer partnership isn’t delivering a good ROI, you can choose not to renew the partnership and work with a different partner instead. 

And when you find affiliate influencers that promote your business successfully, you have the ability to turn a short-term collaboration into a long-term partnership.

6. Results are easily trackable 

With affiliate links and custom URLs, you can easily track your influencer partners’ progress whenever you want. And you have the data you need to reward your partners for the revenue they generate for your company.

Within PayKickstart’s UI, you also have access to affiliate commission reports and affiliate payout reports that help you manage all of your partnerships in one place.  

And to help you incentivize affiliates to promote your products more, you have the ability to increase or decrease the commission rate in the Marketplace hub. 

While it may take time to get the ROI you want, the ease with which you can monitor your affiliate partners and their cross-channel work is a key reason why these partnerships are worth the investment.   

Learn more about Paykickstart’s reporting and analytics here.

The Impact of Influencer-Brand Fit on CLV

So far we’ve outlined six reasons why influencers are successful in the affiliate partner role. But to turn affiliate-driven conversions into a loyal customer base, you need to be selective about which influencers you partner with. 

Increasing your customer lifetime value begins with understanding your target audience on a deeper level. Through Voice-of-Customer research and customer surveys, you can get a better sense of who your audience is and what they like or dislike. 

And the great thing about this type of consumer research is that you can and should be as direct as you want — asking participants to give you qualitative and quantitative feedback about what they think about x, y, and z.  

From here, you have the information you need to start searching for influencers that appeal to this audience. 

As you narrow down your options, you’ll want to pay close attention to the influencers’ engagement rates, content, and previous or ongoing partnerships. Make note of influencers with audience overlap that will be genuinely interested in partnering with your business.  

Also, be wary of rushing the process and signing a long-term partnership agreement with an influencer who isn’t the best fit. Because, ultimately, you want to put your business in the best position to reach engaged, interested audiences. 

When Their Followers Become Your Customers

Taking the time to find the best influencer-brand fit is critical, especially when your goal is to retain the customers that you convert via affiliate influencers. 

But what part, specifically, do affiliate influencers play in customer retention?

Well, as we’ve shared, an affiliate partner lays the groundwork for a positive customer experience. 

Once an affiliate influencer’s followers convert into your customers, it’s up to your team to make sure that their customer experience continues to be positive. 

And that’s because the trust that they have in your business won’t last long if you neglect their needs or don’t deliver the great customer service and products you promised. 

When you hold up your end of the bargain — and these customers are able to see that the affiliate partnership is still alive and well — this affirms that their trust in your company was well-placed.

And because you give them more reasons to invest in your company, they are more inclined to continue doing business with you.  

If you’re looking for an affiliate management solution, learn more about Paykickstart’s features here.

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Mackenzie Scott

Mackenzie is a copywriter at Soundstripe, a stock music company that provides filmmakers, creators, and advertisers with royalty free music and resources on how to add music to video.

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