Affiliate Marketing For Luxury Brands: 7 Top Tips
Targeting the right audience and partnering with quality content publishers is vital in all affiliate marketing strategies. But when utilising affiliate marketing for luxury brands, it’s even more so. Brand image must be at the heart of every campaign, with each affiliate partner strengthening it further.
At Silverbean, we work with a broad range of luxury brands, including Ralph Lauren, Charlotte Tilbury and Lulu Guinness. In doing so, we’ve developed a broad understanding of what works well and what doesn’t. Here are our top tips on affiliate marketing for luxury brands:
Let’s kick off with arguably the most important point: it’s all about who you know.
By finding key affiliates within your industry, be it luxury fashion or prestige beauty, you will put yourself firmly in place when it comes to exposure, whether it be paid or free. Maintain these relationships and watch them flourish in the long term.
Taking that first step isn’t easy. At Silverbean, we’ve been working with luxury brands to grow their Affiliate Partner programs for over 15 years. In that time, we’ve built strong relationships with content partners all over the world. By working with us on your program, you’ll make the most of these connections.
By building a great relationship and increasing the trust that you share, it often increases your chances of gaining exclusivity. This, in turn, will give you the insights you need to build future campaigns.
CHOOSE QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
When it comes to affiliate marketing for luxury brands, picking your moment is key. Instead of jumping on every opportunity that crops up, you should aim for premium exposure.
If the exposure is the right fit, and you’ve bagged a quality affiliate partner who shows the brand in the right angle, you’ll see a better ROI.
For example, we work with luxury accessories client, MONNIER Frères. The brand only runs 3-4 pieces of paid exposure a year as opposed to non-luxury retail brands who will typically run multiple exposures per month – it’s all about quality over quantity.
ONLY RECRUIT THE BEST
One of the most important components of a strong campaign is a broad affiliate mix. Since protecting the brand is at the forefront of a luxury brand’s affiliate program, the campaign mix will be different from a typical retailer.
We’ll opt for content affiliates over voucher codes and cashback partners. This helps us reach the right people without potentially damaging the brand.
We also make sure to regularly recruit new, active, brand-appropriate affiliates, who are enthusiastic to promote and build mutually beneficial working relationships with aspirational brands.
Don’t feel restricted by the network your program is on. If the brand image is strong enough, you’ll be able to cross recruit from different platforms.
Recruiting the very best is an essential factor and should be maintained to ensure your affiliate mix is ever-changing. Always keep in mind that your affiliate mix is a vital area and represents the brand’s image and therefore, you should only recruit affiliate types which fit the brand’s business objectives.
CONSTANTLY PLAN AHEAD
It’s important to always keep your eyes on what’s coming, way ahead of time. By devising a detailed strategy and calendar you’ll never miss an important date, period or upcoming opportunity for a great offer. We advise that you set up a shared document, which is accessible by your whole team, so that everyone is up to date, in the loop and stays focused at all times.
A luxury item is a considered purchase. In order to incentivise this, you need to be producing detailed useful content, which is delivered to the right affiliates and within the required time frame. Being organised makes this a simple and effective task.
TRACK THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY
Taking the time to assess your customer journey, and the value of each step in the process, will allow you to create a smart and strategic commission structure that makes the most of the money paid out in commissions through your affiliate program.
Should a publisher having an impact at the beginning of the customer journey place the same demands on your budget as those at the very end? Content focused sites are more often than not the catalyst for the journey to purchase, but cashback and voucher sites may very well close the deal in purchasing with one merchant as opposed to a competitor.
The implementation of tracking that distinguishes between new and existing customers can be highly beneficial to an affiliate program within the luxury sector, particularly for those in the business of selling products that require repeated purchase, such as fragrance or beauty.
This tracking process allows for commissions to be altered based on the customer’s value to the brand, with reduced commissions for returning customers (who are likely to convert anyway). Commission levels can then be adjusted to reward new customers to the brand, persuading them into purchasing for the first time and then hopefully returning in the future, thus increasing the lifetime value
Finally, it is important to understand the ways in which influencers have chosen to monetise their content; have third party influencer networks (with generally larger commission requirements) been used, or is there scope to utilise direct links to your affiliate program? When revenue is the key objective of the activity, information is key!
EFFECTIVELY MANAGE RESOURCES
Managing the resource on your campaign and ensuring that your team’s time is spent wisely is crucial in making your affiliate budget work effectively.
Recruiting and sourcing publishers who can support your brand can often be one of the most time-consuming tasks on a program. Content publishers and influencers are an important part of the affiliate mix, and this is increasingly where we see luxury brands shift their focus. To address this, we at Silverbean streamline this process through recruitment and gap analysis tools such as Publisher Discovery.
We have used this type of tool to reduce the time invested in sourcing publishers as it generates site reports based on phrases used, as well as offering an insight into competitor programs and the publishers displaying their links.
Utilising tools and platforms such as these can help to manage your time and budget effectively, streamlining the processes that will help to drive your revenue and affiliate program forward.
Using the right tools and processes can support you in meeting your objectives and ensuring that your budget works hard for you. By carefully planning and measuring your commission-based activity, you can ensure you are getting the most income for your outgoings, without devaluing a luxury brand.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
You can’t run an affiliate campaign for a luxury brand without creativity.
For a typical high-street retailer, you can get away with running regular promotions and offering strong exclusive codes to affiliates. But, because of the nature of high-end luxury brands, this isn’t an option.
Instead, you’ll need to be creative and resourceful, always thinking of unique ways to drive revenue, while maintaining brand reputation. Look at brand partnerships, codes that offer savings on higher AOV, rather than standard money-off vouchers that often derail the brand exclusivity.
Start off by identifying a target affiliate, and choose a relevant product from your line that matches their brand intentions. We recently worked with a content partner to run an exclusive 10% off code with a luxury retailer on a jacket featured in the latest James Bond film.
By offering an exclusive code to a specific affiliate, we found a niche market and audience. This affiliate has always driven strong traffic and we knew that we needed the right offer to engage and capture their audience.
The promotion ran for four months and drove a phenomenal 26,000 clicks, generating over £24,500 in additional revenue.
Hopefully, these tips give you a taster of how to run a successful luxury affiliate marketing campaign. Our parting words and final advice is to remember three key points above all else:
- Brand Image
- Effective exposure with the right audience
- Stay creative to ensure you keep the program desirable for affiliates and their audiences.
Stick with these and you can’t go wrong. To learn more about affiliate marketing for luxury brands, get in touch with a member of our team or claim your free audit.