With so much competition in online marketing these days, branding your company is not just important, but absolutely necessary to make any sort of headway in the consciousness of consumers. As a simple diagram of the importance of branding, we like this graphic from The Balance:
The five points listed gives a good summary of why branding is important when marketing to your customer base.
But this post isn’t about branding to customers. Rather, it’s about branding to your affiliate reps. And the five points listed above are the same reasons why your company needs to take affiliate program branding seriously in order to help it thrive.
Why brand your affiliate marketing program?
Most likely, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of brands vying for the business of the select few incredible affiliate marketing reps and Influencers in your niche. For example, just take the fitness category. A cursory search shows 10 affiliate programs just on bodybuilding alone. How is a potential affiliate rep going to choose which program to join?
This is where your affiliate program branding comes in. By carving a unique voice in your niche, you’ll not only attract more affiliates but the right affiliates who will work hard for your brand.
Confirms your credibility
Having a brand immediately confers more credibility to your affiliate program. A blank, unbranded signup page makes it feel like your program is just an afterthought to potential affiliate reps who visit. Take this completely unskinned sign up form:
Simply tossing that onto your affiliate sign up page won’t get you nearly the results you’re looking for. Compare that to the affiliate landing page for Verb:
And that’s just the top of the page. The entire scroll down is eye-catching, informative, and shows that there was thought and care behind the program. Credibility is immediately established which will make potential reps much more likely to join up. Even if your company name is as cheeky as BootayBag, a professional landing page will provide all the credibility you need.
Clearly delivers the message
Good affiliate program branding delivers the message that you want to put out there to reps. If you’re in a popular niche, part of your efforts is to attract the right reps, but a good branding effort will also do something just as important: weed out the “bad” ones.
Check out the affiliate signup page for Blenders Eyewear:
It puts it right out there that they are looking for affiliate reps with a strong social media presence, and the image heavily implies a presence that involves photography. They’re saying “Instagrammers, please” without actually saying it, and it’s a good, clean way to present your program as one that’s looking for a certain persona.
Likewise, your own affiliate program branding should be at least this detailed in asking for what you want. Everything from your carefully crafted words, to your image choices, to the “look” of your pictures and page layout should all work toward evoking the type of brand ambassador that you want. Because you want to…
Emotionally connect your target prospects with your product
Branding is always about evoking an emotion, because emotions are what drive purchasing decisions when the $$$ isn’t a factor. Similarly, when two affiliate programs offer the same $$$ commission, the rep is going to pick the one that evokes the right emotion.
Check out the The Fit Life Tribe page for their affiliate group:
What they’re all about isn’t subtle and it isn’t pretending to be picture perfect. It’s about showcasing the results of real people, and this approach evokes a very different emotion than airbrushed pictures of celebrities or fitness trainers with perfectly sculpted abs.
The emotions that this page evokes will resonate with some people and not others, and that’s precisely what they’re going for. It’s to sign up people looking for down-to-earth health plans that care more about real fitness than posting cute yoga pics to social media.
Make sure your affiliate program branding evokes the emotions you want that will resonate the best with your preferred audience. And take note of the name they chose as well: “tribe” that evokes a sense of community and warriors. Because this goes a long way to…
Creating user loyalty
A good affiliate program branding strategy confers a sense of belonging. The best brand reps stick around not just for the commissions, but for the community and fun as well. Things as simple as naming your affiliate group can help foster this feeling.
Skinny Mixes has that language down pat:
The group name is catchy, the font and colors evoke a specific feeling, and the perks foster the community as well. Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re part of the company? The second to last bullet point offers that to their ambassadors. And who doesn’t want increased social currency? The final bullet point provides that as well.
We’ve seen rep groups called many fun names: the squad, the tribe, the collective, the ambassadors, the herd, the gang, the club, etc. Choose a name that speaks to your brand and fosters loyalty among the group. Because it all leads to the most important thing…
Motivate the buyer to buy
Just as it’s the entire point of branding to customers to motivate them to buy, your affiliate branding’s point is to motivate them to “buy” into your program. It’s the difference between maybe signing up to become an affiliate, and actually filling out the form and clicking “submit.” Your brand strategy has to be effective and appealing enough to convert pedestrian visitors into full-fledged reps. Or else, it’s just noise.
Branding isn’t just a business exercise for affiliate marketing. It’s crucial to the survival and growth of your program. Check out our recent post on how to supercharge your branding for more ideas on increasing the overall awareness of your company brand, and see how branding effectively can become a positive feedback loop from your company to your affiliate program and back again.