Shoppers are always looking for discounts online shopping and influencers can share bespoke discount codes on their social media pages. Users can enter the code at checkout to receive a discount on their purchase. Affiliate links work in the same manner, only that instead of a code, the influencer gets an exclusive link that followers need to use to get a discount on their purchases.
So, let’s look at each of these models and how they complement your marketing strategy.
An influencer discount code is a unique code that shoppers use at checkout to get a discount on the items they are buying. Brands give these codes to influencers who share them with their followers across different channels and media. Depending on the influencer and the brand itself, the codes can take forms such as SpringSale, SuperBoy15, or Alicia30OFF. Influencers share them in their captions, as overlays on pictures, or as stories.
Influencer marketing affiliate links are dedicated URLs that include added parameters that the influencer shares as part of your referral marketing program. The URL helps brands attribute sales to the influencer and provide them with a commission from each sale. Referral links direct shoppers to the target landing page, and most analytic tools can track them to help brands see the traffic and revenue they generate.
Results are all that matter in your marketing strategy. Here’s how discount codes and affiliate links contribute to your marketing goals.
For businesses, affiliate marketing through discount codes and affiliate links offers high sales conversions without consuming large advertising budgets, thereby ensuring a high ROI for the campaign. A successful affiliate link campaign can bring in more traffic and sales than a traditional marketing campaign. This is because affiliate programs are good at converting tentative shoppers who were just window shopping but are compelled to purchase when they come across promo codes. Followers are also attracted to the products their favorite influencers are using. This results in more sales, especially when the influencer shares promo codes that give users a discount.
While it’s difficult to track direct sales with other advertising channels like traditional media, affiliate marketing allows for seamless sales attribution. By issuing an influencer a unique code, you can track how many purchases have been made with that code. Affiliate links can also be tracked on most analytic software, helping you gauge how effective a campaign has been.
With the tracking data, you can tell which influencers are ideal for your brand and understand the products suited for certain types of promotions.
Discount codes help customers discover new products and services. No one wants to miss out on a sale, and users will gladly jump on new products especially if they can acquire them for a discount. Followers are also attracted to the products their influencers are using and are open to trying new products that the influencer has recommended.
Shoppers love discounts on the products they need. They are happy to shop when brands have exclusive deals to acquire the products they need for a discount. And since the discounts are promoted by the influencers they trust and adore, the shopping experience is enhanced and brands earn loyal followers.
While discount codes and affiliate links are both ideal for introducing your brand to a larger audience through appropriate influencers, these two influencer strategies have different structures and functionalities.
Discount codes are special codes that an influencer distributes to consumers that they can use during checkout.
On the other hand, an affiliate link is a separate page with a URL, and each link is unique for every influencer. Affiliate links drive traffic to target landing pages, making it easy for marketers to attribute sales and track commissions.
The one you choose is up to you — it depends on how you want to track your progress!
The most important thing to do when developing your affiliate marketing plan is to create and manage your discount codes and affiliate links. Broken links will frustrate shoppers and unmonitored promo codes can be abused by users. Here’s how to set up your discount codes and affiliate links.
When creating discount codes for your influencers ensure they are short, easy to remember, and relevant to the individual influencer. In most cases, the best thing to do is use the influencer’s name and merge it with the percentage discount shoppers receive when they use the code at checkout.
For example, if you are working with Beyonce to promote your products, you can use BEYONCE20 for a 20% discount at checkout.
To create affiliate links, you first have to choose the products to include in the affiliate program. You can include all your products, but choosing your popular products is advisable to boost revenues and affiliate earnings. Then, decide on your affiliate pricing and choose an affiliate management app to generate links for your influencers.
Proper setup will help you generate more sales and create brand awareness with affiliate marketing. However, you should be on the lookout for certain pitfalls that can mess up your campaigns.
Some promotions will appeal to your consumers better than others. In certain cases, dollar-off discounts perform better than percentage discounts.
Another challenge you may experience with discount codes is your profit margin. When you offer buyers a discount, you eat into your profit margin, which could affect your business performance. For this reason, you need to set a modest discount rate that helps you appeal to shoppers while ensuring you make enough money to run your business successfully.
Affiliate links aren’t as complicated as discount codes and are much easier to manage. However, you need to monitor them closely for broken links resulting in a poor user experience. Influencers will do all they can to get users to click the link, but they need to be sure that the links direct buyers to the right destination to complete the purchase. Otherwise, your customers will be disappointed and avoid any future promotions by your brand.
Many brands have successfully leveraged discount codes and affiliate links to grow their revenue. Here are a few examples.
Created in 2011, Daniel Wellington is a Swedish watch brand that generates about $220 million in annual revenue. The brand creates watches with a sleek design and competitive price. So, what’s the reason for its massive success? Influencer marketing.
Figure 1: Daniel Wellington influencer marketing with discount codes. Source — Instagram
The brand often works with micro-influencers who receive free watches and promotional codes that give their followers a 10–20% discount. The codes are valid for a short time to create a sense of urgency and motivate users to act fast and buy.
Fern & Petal partners with influencers to promote their wellness products. The brand specifically works with local influencers in the wellness niche to help them connect with their ideal customers.
Figure 2: Fern & Petal Brand Ambassadors. Source — Fern & Petal
The influencers get a percentage of the sales, and the bigger the audience, the more they earn. The brand has several influencer tiers with a base percentage for sales. Influencers climb up the tier when they bring more customers and get a bigger cut for net sales.
Use online software to monitor influencer results with discount codes and affiliate links. These tools will help you track the sales and conversions from the influencers you are working with. Use the discount code tracking data to make budgeting decisions such as whether to continue with the same influencers or drop them for other impressive content creators.