Coupons & Discounts Are Not Incentives

Yes, I know, the title of this post may sound nonsensical to mainstream marketers, but give me a minute to explain what I mean a bit further.

Over the past two days I have been looking through hundreds of affiliate applications into the DaySpring’s affiliate program, and I’ve been noticing that surprisingly large numbers of affiliates are really misunderstanding what incentive affiliate traffic is. Many list coupons and discounts as types of incentive affiliate promotion. I can see where the misconception stems from. Webster’s dictionary tells us that in its traditional sense an incentive as “something that incites or has a tendency to incite to determination or action”. Therefore, a coupon that would help an affiliate close the deal definitely seems to qualify.

In the context of affiliate marketing, however, the adjective “incentive” — when used in conjunction with such nouns as “affiliate” or “website” — carries a very specific (and different from traditional) meaning

As I have previously written, incentive affiliates (also known as loyalty affiliates) are “affiliates that facilitate the desired end-user action by offering them an incentive”. The most frequently used types of incentives are cashback offers, rebates, donations to charitable organizations/scholarships, and various kinds of freebies.

Yes, coupons and discounts are definitely incentives for the end user to buy (in fact, very strong incentives), but adding them to your website does not make you an incentive affiliate. Read more about the topic in my Incentive or Loyalty Affiliates – Definition and Specifics post, and stop calling yourself an incentive affiliate if in reality you are not one. It can sometimes do you a disservice, which you do not want to happen. One of many examples would be Commission Junction advertisers who choose to automatically decline applications from incentive affiliates. They know exactly what they are talking about. Make sure you know the lingo too.

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