The opportunity to generate commission from Performance Marketing doesn’t have to be reserved solely for publishers. With the right strategy, advertisers/brands can also benefit from a complementary revenue stream.
Affinity partnerships offer the opportunity to provide a value-add for customers, whilst also generating a referral commission for brands.
Affinity Partnerships in Performance Marketing
In it’s simplest form, an affinity partnership is a strategic relationship between complementary brands with a similar customer group. The aim is for each brand to benefit from an overall customer base they can target.
For this to happen, brands must both agree to the partnership (rather than one brand just signing up to the other brand’s affiliate programme) and should reciprocate the level of exposure given.
The benefit of forming affinity partnerships within the Performance Marketing channel is that it can often be done much more easily than between branding or commercial teams, there is no up-front fee from either partner and activity can be correctly attributed.
How To Create An Affinity Partnership
Before approaching your affiliate network or agency, it’s essential you know exactly what you can provide an affinity partner and what you’d expect back in return:
- Exposure opportunities – e.g. Sale confirmation page/Confirmation Email/Social Channels
- Commission – e.g. Lead/Sale
- Reason To Buy (Value-Add) – e.g. Free upgrade or bundle offer/Exclusive discount/Free trial/
You should then discuss this with your performance marketing agency/network so that they can assess the opportunities with potential brands and provide feedback. As a general rule, both brands should commit to an initial three-month trial to see how the relationship works for both partners and make any necessary adjustments. Brands will also need to ensure marketing communications comply with the latest GDPR guidelines.
Picking The Right Affinity Partners
You may think that another brand has a similar customer base, but it’s important the product/service provided by your affinity partner is highly relevant at the point of purchase when they interact with your brand.
For example, shoppers at a fast-fashion website may generally also be fans of grime music, but it’s unlikely they’ll find an offer on a new grime album on Spotify relevant after completing their purchase of a new pair of jeans.
A Couple of Good Affinity Partnership Examples
1) A photographic retailer and wildlife travel agency
The photographic retailer could offer an exclusive voucher code on the booking confirmation page of the travel agency for a discount on photographic equipment at the retailer. After the customer has returned from their holiday, the photographic retailer could offer 50 free prints in an email delivered by the travel agency.
The travel agency could provide an invitation for a free brochure on the sale confirmation page of the photographic retailer. When the brochure is sent, an exclusive discount could be provided that can then be attributed back to the photographic retailer when activated. The travel agency could also provide exclusive content on destinations, which could be displayed on the photographic retailer’s website alongside an exclusive discount for booking with the travel agency.
2) A cosmetics retailer and a beauty booking website
The cosmetics retailer could offer an exclusive discount on hair products in the confirmation email delivered by the beauty booking website after they’ve booked a hair appointment. The customer could also be incentivized to leave a review after their appointment via a further discount.
The beauty booking website could offer an exclusive deal on bookings for hair cuts/colours on the sale confirmation page on the cosmetics retailer if the customer has ordered hair products.
Top Tips On Making Affinity Partnerships Work For Your Brand
- The relationship and level of exposure must be reciprocal.
- There must be value-add for customers to incentivize the additional action.
- Customers shouldn’t be distracted prior to making their original purchase/booking. All activity should be done outside of the sales/booking journey.
- Affinity partnerships can assist in building a long-term relationship with your customers by providing relevant discounts/content that the customer will genuinely value.
- You must be able to accurately attribute any sales/leads generated. If you provide a voucher code, ensure it’s exclusive to your affinity partner so that you can track the use of it in case the customer uses it without clicking on a tracking link first.
If you’d like to hear more about how partnerships may benefit your brand, please get in touch with an affinity specialist via our contact page. Our team has previously facilitated affinity partnerships for some of the biggest retailers and travel companies in the UK.