The Affiliate Deep Dive: Expert Insights for Your Optimal Link Strategy
Whether you’re a Creator who’s well-versed in affiliate marketing or you’ve just begun your linking journey, you may be familiar with the basics of affiliate marketing. But if you’re looking to propel your affiliate strategy to new heights of success, and bring in a consistent revenue that fuels your business, it’s time to dig a little deeper.
We spoke with Kelly Hach, Collective Voice’s Director of Brand Partnerships and Affiliate Strategy, who shared a treasure trove of insights and expert-level best practices for boosting your affiliate link game and enhancing your earnings.
What’s one way for Creators to maximize their affiliate earnings?
The commission rate—aka, the percentage of revenue you’ll make from a sale on an item—should be a focal point of your affiliate strategy. While you should link authentically to items you enjoy and organically post about, taking note of high commission categories, retailers, and items can also help you plan your content.
Our Affiliate Strategy team works with our retailer partners to offer higher commissions on key categories that the retailers want Creators to prioritize. For example, a retailer might be launching a new beauty category and want to get as much exposure as possible.
You can see which categories offer a higher commission rate by looking at our “special terms” pages by retailer on our Collective Voice platform.
What are “cookie windows” and how should Creators adjust their content to maximize them?
“Cookie windows” determine how long someone who clicks on your affiliate link has to make a purchase in order for you to get credit for referring that sale. Standard cookie windows range from 7-14 days. To be clear, that doesn’t mean your links “expire” after that time period! It means that if someone clicks on your link, and makes a purchase within 7-14 days from that click, you’ll get commission for the sale. These time windows are set by the retailer’s affiliate program.
Creators can ensure they’re maximizing these cookie windows by creating content that motivates their audiences to convert and purchase quickly. That can be through promotions, actionable language (you’ve simply got to have this!), or by creating a sense of urgency.
This is also a good incentive to repost evergreen content, or post about the same item multiple times, so you can create multiple touch points to educate an audience about a product. Over time, this can build even more intrigue that helps lead to a purchase. You may have heard of the “rule of seven” before; data has shown that audiences need to hear about a product around seven times before purchasing.
How should Creators approach updating their content when the products they’ve recommended are no longer available, relevant, or in stock?
First, you should try to keep an eye on how fast products are selling out. If you know you’re linking to a product that sells out quickly, calling out how quickly the item sells could become part of your messaging and help you build urgency. And if something sells out, you can always link to something similar.
I also recommend that you update your links when you can. This can be overwhelming if you’re creating a lot of new content, so focus your efforts on key content. You can use your analytics to identify your top performing posts—for example, a blog post that consistently drives sales—and check back every few weeks to make sure items are in stock, and that the post has been updated. You can even put a day aside each month just for updating your affiliate links.
Additionally, at Collective Voice, we also encourage retailers to keep us informed about their high inventory products. For example, during one of our retailer’s fall preview sales, they’ll continuously share inventory updates that we pass along to Creators in order to inform them of any pivots they should be making, so they’ll know when to stop posting about certain sold out items.
How can Creators enhance their affiliate marketing efforts and drive conversions from video content?
There’s no doubt that video content is on the rise. Platforms like TikTok have skyrocketed in viewership, while other platforms like Instagram are leaning heavily into their own video capabilities to keep up.
Collective Voice’s link in bio solution, TapTo.Shop, allows Creators to use our affiliate tools to make all their social platforms and video content shoppable. TapTo.Shop allows you to put all of your favorite products, shoppable images, and links to your other channels in one page that links from your bio, video captions, and stories. This helps your audience engage with your recommendations in one, seamless place.
How can content Creators leverage Collective Voice data and analytics to better optimize their linking strategy?
Collective Voice’s robust data dashboard allows Creators to transparently see their earnings and top performing products, helping them to make informed decisions on what retailers and products are converting with their audience.
I would highly encourage Creators to check out our network marketing content, including our new Discover Retailers page with high commission retailers, the latest sales and promotions from top retailers across our network, and trending products in order to see what’s performing best for all of the Creators in our network.
As the content landscape becomes more saturated, how can Creators make their affiliate links stand out and attract clicks?
Collective Voice’s most successful Creators have really fleshed out affiliate strategies; they create new affiliate links often, constantly remind their audience to shop, and keep up with affiliate trends. Similarly, they often focus their product recommendations on a specific niche (like aesthetic but affordable Walmart home decor), which creates consistency with their audience.
Additionally, these Creators talk about why their favorite products solve a multitude of common problems. For example, they may recommend a pair of leggings because they come in a wide range of sizes, flatter all body types, are stretchy but not see-through, are sweat-proof, and are high-quality but still affordable.
We’ve also seen a lot of success from Creators that take the time to build an engaged community through content like newsletters, ongoing notifications, Facebook groups, etc. Having owned and operated channels allows those Creators to really speak directly to their audience, and not depend on social media platforms’ algorithms.