If you’ve started building momentum with your product seeding efforts, you’ll have influencers posting about your product on social for free; because they love it. Then if you’re really onto it, you’ll be using paid ads to amplify the impact of your influencer content. Beyond this point, is where most brands leave money on the table. That’s where influencer affiliate marketing comes in.

To maximize your initial time investment, all influencers who post about your product for free should be onboarded into an affiliate program. If they’ll post about your product for free, they’ll almost never turn down the opportunity to get paid to do it. If you do this for 12 months, you’ll have an army of ~360 high-quality social media influencers with engaged audiences, and incentivized to push product for you at scale.

Keep reading to learn about how we help brands execute their affiliate marketing strategy so you can follow along for your own brand.

Why Include Influencers In Your Affiliate Marketing Program?

Creating partnerships with influencer affiliates is going to help you build your brand awareness, create more authentic content, and generate higher quality leads. Plus, it’s the most cost-effective mass organic distribution and high-quality content creation you’ll ever get.

Just remember that partnering with the wrong influencer can be expensive. So make sure you are building your affiliate marketing program with the highest-quality content creators. A large following doesn’t translate to the best influencer. Micro-influencers (with a following of 10,000 to 50,000) offer a 20% higher conversion rate!

Read more: How to Find the Right Social Media Influencers for Your Brand

Building an affiliate program is always the final step in our influencer marketing process. We recommend you have focused on an influencer seeding strategy first.

How Do You Build An Affiliate Network With Influencers? 4 Steps To Follow

The foundation of everything we do at Kynship starts with product seeding. It helps your brand build a relationship based on giving, not asking.

At a top level, here’s how it works:

Product Seeding
  • We send a DM to around 500 influencers
  • We usually get 1 in 5 influencers to respond to our DM to receive product from us
  • 30% of influencers will post the product on social for free around 2-3 times
  • This gives you around 60-90 unique pieces of content that can be put to better use than just an IG story or TikTok post (make sure you get usage rights!)

Side note: Read our guide on how you can get usage rights to user-generated content

Paid Media Amplification
  • Once you get all these new assets, most brands will spend the time putting their new library of creatives to the test.
  • We’ll use a combination of dynamic creative testing and cost cap bidding strategies to help us get more creatives out of the learning phase, and finding the ones that are winning

Once you go through this process yourself, you’ll start to learn which influencers are driving the most results for your brand. Time to put affiliate marketing on the table.

The 4-Step Process

Step 1: Create your commission structure

What commission structure works best for your brand? Flat fees, percentage, or tiered rates all work, but we recommend doing a generous percentage of sales (far and above the standard rate of only 15%).

This is extremely important, and here’s why.

Reason 1: DTC is getting extremely competitive. You want your influencers to be more invested in your brand than anyone else. If every other affiliate program is offering a 15% commission rate, you should do 30%. The logic is simple: If they’re earning more, they’ll post you more often and give you high-quality content.

Reason 2: Affiliate links work off a 24-hour attribution window. This means if an influencer affiliate posts about your brand, they won't get credit for the sale if someone purchases the next day, that weekend, or a week later. Even though, in this hypothetical, every single scenario above was due to that influencer's post.

Your affiliates won't be given full attribution for their sales and given payment for sales and they'll only be paid out for the conversions they drive within 24-hours of their posts.

You could potentially give them a % that puts you at “breakeven”, and you’d still be profitable on the first sale because of this attribution window. Not to mention repeat orders and LTV.

Step 2: Send This Onboarding Message To Influencers

Once you’ve reached this point, it’s time to onboard your top performing influencers into your affiliate program. Send this message to get them excited about it (feel free to copy and paste!)

Hey {name}! ​​We're so glad you loved the product we sent you so much so that you were willing to share this content with your audience. We'd love to honor you for any and all future posts you decide to share by getting you compensated through our affiliate program!

The influencer then inevitably gets back to you with a favorable response. Hopefully something like: “Excited to get onboarded onto your affiliate program! What’s the next steps?”

Step 3: Integrate Refersion On Your Online Store

Refersion integrates with popular ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce.

Once you get integrated, Refersion supports your Affiliate Marketing Program by allowing you to:

  • Manage your program control and onboard as many influencer affiliates as you like
  • Customize conversions, payments, and tax report aesthetics
  • Create custom campaigns and track key performance metrics
  • Create campaigns on a large scale, increase revenue, and widen your brand’s reach

Step 4: Create And Use Referral Links

Referral links are the most popular way to track affiliate orders. Once you approve an influencer for your affiliate program, it’s time to set up the promo codes, coupons, or page-specific referral links. Just make sure you set these up with unique trackable links so you can track the results accurately.

How 3 Successful Brands Use Refersion To Make Their Affiliate Marketing Work

Why Use Refersion For Your Influencer Affiliate Marketing Needs?

Being an influencer marketing agency, we’ve vetted a variety of popular affiliate platforms and affiliate networks to make the process easy for our clients.

Refersion is by far the best we’ve seen so far. This isn’t a sponsored post, we just know how well it works for us — and we want to share this process with you.

Refersion is everything you’ll need for affiliate marketing in one single platform. It’ll give you easy-to-read metrics that’ll help you improve your program, your process, and the conversion rate (CVR) of your store.

Pura Vida Bracelets

Pura Vida Bracelets is a company founded in Costa Rica in 2010. It now has over 800 passionate artisans creating handmade bracelets worldwide.

Although they already had a previous program prior to using Refersion, Pura Vida Bracelets wanted better incentives to motivate their ambassadors. This incentive strategy, however, needed an improved ambassador management technology.

How did Refersion help Pura Vida Bracelets?

Pura Vida Bracelets worked with Refersion to create better incentives a part of their affiliate programs to inspire their ambassadors to drive sales. This reconditioning helped the brand surpass its benchmarks.

After just a month of launching the program, they saw a 230% increase in revenue and traffic site visits also tripled.

Now, Pura Vida Bracelets have more than 126,000 active North American affiliates. With the average monthly signups increasing by more than 400%.

They also use Refersion’s white label solution and automation to build ambassador loyalty and more manageable marketing workflows.

Shrimp & Grits Kids

Shrimp & Grits Kids is a direct-to-consumer children’s clothing retail company.

The company was looking for a better program to help them get referrals from trusted affiliates since their previous one was not able to help them reach their full potential.

Shrimp & Grits Kids would only reach their full potential with customized affiliate program features such as personalized shopping experiences and automated affiliate payouts.

How did Refersion help Shrimp & Grits Kids?

Moving the company’s store to Shopify Plus and tinkering with its previous program for a custom affiliate management solution, Shrimp & Grits Kids was able to scale and grow its network.

This was done by a custom vanity URL (that increased conversion to 14%), displaying the affiliate’s name on the website, and others. Six months after the new program’s launch, they saw an increase of 40% in new customers and a 20% improved average order value.

Blenders Eyewear

Blenders Eyewear is another DTC company that started making eyewear focused on Californian surf culture.

It holds true to its authenticity and did everything through grassroots marketing efforts. Mainly, the company relied on email and ambassador marketing.

How did Refersion help Blenders Eyewear?

Refersion automated tiered ambassador offerings, tracked conversions, and paid the affiliates.

Reports done by Refersion made decision-making easy for Blenders Eyewear. Since these reports can be shared through different departments of the company so they can plan their next steps with relevant information.

Blenders Eyewear had a 2x increase in their ambassador site traffic, 3x increase in ambassador conversions, and 270% increase in ambassador revenue.

Use Affiliate Marketing To Amplify Your Influencer Marketing Efforts

Hopefully by now you know the steps involved with building your own affiliate program, and why our team loves using Refersion to do it.

Influencers make powerful affiliates. But the key to finding and onboarding the right ones to your affiliate program takes time. By following our 3-phase blueprint, you’ll stop wasting time and money on old techniques (ahem, pay for post model), and start owning an effective influencer strategy that is based on sales, not likes.

It’s also going to mean that the hard work is already done for you by the time you want to onboard influencers as affiliates, because they will already love your product!

See the value, but don’t have the time to execute? We see you. Book a chat with our team to get the ball rolling.