How to Combine Affiliate Marketing and Influencer Marketing

Today, I would like to share a guest post from Brian Mechem, COO of Grin , on how to combine affiliate marketing and influencer marketing.

Affiliate marketing and influencer marketing have been ruling the world of marketing lately. They began as different strategies, but now businesses are merging them to create a potent combination.

Both strategies have shown great potential in the digital marketing space. In a study conducted by Rakuten Marketing, it was found that over 80% of advertisers were running an affiliate program. Out of the total 151 companies in the study, 84% of publishers relied on affiliate marketing.

Influencer marketing is also a powerful form of marketing. In a 2016 study, Twitter revealed that 49% of their users relied on reviews by influencers for their purchases. 40% of them even said that they’ve made purchases after seeing an influencer’s tweets.

And the great thing is that you don’t need to pick one over another. You can easily combine them. Combining these two strategies can help you get the best of both worlds. Affiliate marketing makes sure that you get more conversions while influencer marketing helps you reach a wider target audience.

If you’re wondering how exactly you can combine these strategies, we’ve got some tips for you.

1. Share Custom Affiliate Links

If your goal is to generate new leads and track progress, custom affiliate links are a great option. They are the perfect marriage between affiliate marketing and influencer marketing.

All you need to do is share a custom affiliate link with each of your influencers. Ask them to share them in their sponsored posts about your brand.

When an influencer endorses you, you also automatically gain the trust of their fan base. You can also expect greater engagement on such content. By combining them with an affiliate link that offers an incentive to buy (like a discount), they are able to encourage their followers to make a purchase.

When their followers use such links to buy your products, they usually get a discount – which is their incentive to buy. And you can also track the conversions you’re getting from an influencer this way. You can choose to offer your influencers a certain commission for every such sale.

This strategy is likely to give you a better return on investment than plain old sponsored posts promoting your brand.

Take, for example, the fashion brand NA-KD, who has collaborate with fashion blogger, Janni Deler quite often.

With a following of over one million, an Instagram post from Janni about NA-KD products was able to garner massive engagement. In just one day, the post received more than over 40,000 likes.

2. Get Creative with Your Payment Model

If getting more people to buy your products is your ultimate goal, give the cost per action (CPA) revenue model a try. In this model, whenever a user takes a specific action on an affiliate link, you pay your partner.

If you’re teaming up with an influencer, you can place custom affiliate links on their website or social media handles. From there, users can be redirected to your website or page.

If they fill out a form or take any other such action, you pay a commision. The commission is based on the actions on the links. This allows you to perfectly merge affiliate marketing and influencer marketing.

Instead of following traditional modes of payment, try to explore new avenues. This way, you can make sure you get the maximum benefits. If you’re working with influential bloggers who get thousands of blog visitors every month, you can benefit from greater brand awareness.

However, if you really want them to work with you as an influencer and affiliate, you need to offer something really valuable. You may need to consider gifting your products, along with a flat fee for the article, and a decent commission on affiliate sales.

Image via Temptalia

3. Build Strong Relationships

Influencers engage with their audiences on a very personal level. More often than not, fans look up to them as their role models. The relationships that they build with their audiences are authentic because they are based on trust. So you should strive to build a long-lasting and effective relationship with your influencers.


When working with influencers, get to know their birthdays and anniversaries. You could send them a small gift with a little personalized note for the occasion. You can even share free samples of your products with them. Doing so strengthens your relationships with influencers. And that can go a long way to make sure your affiliate program gets the highest return.

If an influencer feels that they are valued, they will genuinely work to drive results for you. If they truly like your gesture, you may end up getting more brand awareness and engagement along with it. This is a great way of utilizing affiliate marketing and influencer marketing to your advantage.

Daniel Wellington has seen immense success by combining affiliate marketing and influencer marketing. Instead of traditional advertising, the watchmaker decided to gift prominent influencers their watches for free.

In return, influencers posted photos of these watches on their social channels which created a buzz about the brand. Some of them even added promo codes or discount coupons in their posts. This ensured that Daniel Wellington’s brand awareness as well as sales were increasing.


In order to build strong relationships with your influencers, invite them to events. It could be your product launch parties or even bigger events like Coachella that you’re participating in.

Make sure to invite your influencers to such events. Not only will this give you a chance to get to know them better. but also create opportunities for greater media coverage.

If your influencers realize how much you value them, they’re bound to be more invested in your campaigns. They may even decide to use some of their photos from these events to create content about your brand.


When you combine affiliate marketing and influencer marketing, you can get the most out of your marketing campaigns. Along with conversions, you can generate more engagement, brand awareness, and brand loyalty. They’re cost-effective too, so you are likely to generate a higher ROI.

Make sure you’re offering your influencers a good commission along with payment for their sponsored content. This can help you drive more traffic to your website via affiliate links. Most importantly, work on developing strong relationships with them. If they feel valued, they’re likely to create content that will generate greater interest and engagement.

What other strategies have worked for you while combining affiliate marketing and influencer marketing? Share your experiences and suggestions in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.

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