Blending Online and Offline Tactics for Affiliates

Affiliate marketing is growing to a whole ‘nutha level. With the evolving landscape, there are some emerging blended affiliate models that utilize a combination of online and offline compensation tactics based on a brand’s need and a blogger’s capability.

Influencers have proven to be great affiliate marketers for brands both online and offline. And because influencers must stay relevant, keep up with emerging technologies, and stay on the cutting edge of content creation, they are great allies in promoting brands. Creating new affiliate tactics for influencers to utilize is simply smart for business.

Blogger Marketing Tactics

First, let’s look at the many, many ways bloggers have to create brand awareness and referrals. Affiliate marketing can include an umbrella of several of these tactics to promote a brand or product.

Online examples include social media, video, podcasts, newsletters, ebooks, downloadable coupons, forums, infographics, Twitter parties, SlideShare presentations, webinars, surveys, giveaways, email blasts, guest posts, and blogroll or partner center (affiliate links to third party sites).

Offline examples include business cards, printed coupons, vehicle wraps, T-shirts, flyers, postcards, stickers, live speaking engagements, radio, and TV.

Affiliate Marketing Online & Offline Tactics

Here are some of the emerging affiliate marketing tactics that have proven successful as bloggers are taking their marketing efforts to multiple channels:

  1. Custom Affiliate Link Embedded Coupon Codes

Many brands are using custom coupon codes or “vanity” codes in their shopping cart that can be tied directly to individual affiliates. This allows the affiliate to use their exclusive code on multiple marketing channels. For example, a brand might ask a mom influencer to promote promo code MOMMY to get a one-month subscription for free. An influencer can use this promo code online, of course, but also offline like in a TV segment and still get affiliate credit.

  1. In-Store Redemption Printable Coupons

Some retailers are able to credit an affiliate for their in-store sales using printable coupons. Reebok, for example, has coupons with barcodes for certain affiliates, which allows them to bridge the gap between online and offline purchasing.

  1. Pay-Per-Call Programs

These programs are perfect for merchants that sell high-ticket products or services or need lead-generation. Merchants supply affiliates with unique phone numbers to use in their online and offline marketing efforts. The affiliates promote their unique number through mobile, print, TV, radio, blog posts, etc. When a customer calls in on the designated number, it is tracked before it is connected to the merchant.

  1. Product Review

An influencer writes about a physical product or e-product, highlighting the features and benefits, and then includes a link where readers can purchase the product. The affiliate tie-in is pretty straightforward.

  1. Banner Ads

Many publishers can use affiliate links as a display ad on their site. These    look like banner ads, but they’re actually affiliate links in the form of an image, not text. To most viewers, there’s very little distinction between a banner ad and an affiliate link, but the compensation structure is different.

Bottom Line

Unfortunately, many brands miss prime opportunities to connect with shoppers because they only invest in online advertisers to drive online sales, and offline advertising to drive offline sales. The concept of using online budgets to drive offline sales is not always understood or implemented correctly.

By understanding the tactics and creating new ones to accommodate the influencer, affiliate marketing can be quite lucrative. The key is being flexible, using a combination of tactics, and optimizing during the process to find an ideal implementation.

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