by Smartico

Affiliate Programs vs Loyalty Programs: Which One Is Best For Your Business? 

Are you searching for a solution that can bring you a constant stream of new customers? Do you want to strengthen your relationship with your current clients to keep them returning for more? 

There are various approaches you can take to accomplish all this, with affiliate marketing and loyalty programs being the most potent. 

To help you gain a deeper understanding of Affiliate versus Loyalty programs so you can make the wisest choice for your business, we’ve put together the following in-depth guide. 

Keep reading to learn more about these concepts, plus the differences between the two, starting with Affiliate Programs. 

What Is An Affiliate Program?

An affiliate program is a partnership in which a digital business pays an affiliate (e.g., influencers, bloggers, or another website owner) a commission to direct traffic to their page. 

The affiliate does this through social media content, product reviews, blog posts, etc. If he or she brings a customer to the business, the merchant pays the affiliate a sale-based commission. 

Commissions are usually based on how many customers the affiliate directs to the business or the people who purchase something or perform a specific action. This could be anything from signing up for a free trial to downloading an application. Some programs also pay affiliates based on the number of visitors to the business site’s banner advertisements. 


How Can Affiliate Marketing Benefit Your Business?

In affiliate marketing, marketers are given personalized links (URLs) that contain special tracking codes, which can be used to find out which affiliate referred to the what transaction, making it a highly efficient and easily trackable revenue-driving solution. 

Affiliate marketing has gained immense popularity in the last 10-20 years, with the industry’s world sales expected to reach more than $12 billion this year

With this in mind, it’s no wonder businesses of various industries are now implementing affiliate marketing to drive revenue and increase brand awareness. 

Another amazing advantage is that you can only pay for results (successful conversions). You don’t have to reward affiliates unless their efforts have resulted in a sale for your business.  

Affiliate marketing takes the advertising process to a brand-new level. For example, if you go for a PPC campaign, you will be charged for each visitor ad click, no matter if the click has resulted in a sale for you. 

Apart from driving revenue, affiliate marketing can do wonders when it comes to promoting your business. Also, nearly half of marketers consider affiliate marketing one of the best strategies for winning new customers. 

If you provide great customer service, the leads you generate through the process may easily become loyal, long-term customers. 

Your partners may have helped you in winning the trust of these customers, but once they become regulars on your website, you won’t be required to pay commissions on further transactions any longer. 


How An Affiliate Program Works: Avenues Of Promotion

You can use affiliate marketing to promote your product or service on your site in many different ways. For example, if the blog on your site is about iGaming, your readers will likely be on the lookout for the most exciting games with the most lucrative bonus systems. 

In this case, you could promote an affiliate link for a new game by writing an in-depth guide or placing cool banner ads on your website.


1. Review Posts 

People are constantly looking for high-quality products worth their hard-earned cash. That’s the reason potential buyers take their time learning about different products or services they think about purchasing. And that’s where review posts come into play. They are used for advertising goods with a personal touch, making them one of the most trusted methods of promotion.

Below, we have listed some key points to know when creating review posts:

  • Review writing is about going in-depth about the product or service being advertised, so when affiliates create posts, they must also have a solid knowledge of what they’re promoting. A detailed and honest review is sure to bring a higher conversion rate than a generic promotion ad. 
  • Reviews always contain both the pros and cons of the goods being promoted. This should also be done with a certain hint of authority and confidence, as it shows that the writer truly has deep knowledge of a product or service. 
  • The review post writer should use a personal tone. Don’t forget that readers are looking for personal recommendations. 
  • Take advantage of plugins like Word Press review to drive traffic, brand awareness, and authority through the star rating system. 

2. How-To Content

Is known for its ability to grab a potential buyer’s attention in the stage of problem-solving. What’s even better is that how-to posts rank pretty high in search engines like Google.

Creating such articles involves writing simple guides on how to use products, their features, and how to solve certain problems while inserting carefully placed links throughout. This approach can do wonders, especially for products that are deeply technical and require more thorough instructions.

3. Native Banners

Here we have an ancient advertising method that still works like a charm, especially when promoting affiliate products. However, banners need to be placed smartly to increase awareness without poking out the eyes of your visitors in the process. 

In addition, rather than linking banners straight to the product or service, try linking to your review to increase value. 


4. Affiliate Link Promotion Through Videos

Videos are a perfect way to provide valuable information to people while simultaneously making a buck with affiliate marketing. How-to videos, product review videos, as well as unboxing videos place high in search engine rankings on YouTube and other such sites. 

Product demos, tutorials, and introduction videos are excellent tools for boosting traffic back to your detailed reviews. Videos can also be great for building awareness while giving people the info they need. You can even experiment with visuals like animations to show how a product works, but basic talking-head videos can be just as persuasive if done right. 

5. Social Media Promotion

Campaigns on social media sites can be extremely beneficial when focusing on the content instead of the offer. Affiliate link promotion done straight to social media won’t see the same success as promoting content like videos and articles that have affiliate links carefully and smartly placed in them. 

6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization is vital when it comes to content promotion. If your articles are deeply optimized for search engines, the benefits in terms of traffic to your website can be immense. 

Keep in mind, however, that organic search rankings may take time to materialize as ranking for a particular search item, especially for high traffic. The trick is to use keywords and write solid, in-depth articles that people will find helpful. And if people are interested, so will the search engines. 

7. Coupon Codes

As inflation takes a firm grip on the world, more and more people are looking for money-saving options for their products and services of choice. People are always searching for the best deals, and when an item is on sale, they are keen to take advantage of the offer. 

Searches that involve a desired product or service followed by the word “coupon” are extremely common, so if you can include a tasty coupon deal in your in-depth review, you’ll increase your chances of success tenfold. 

8. Email Marketing

The great thing about email marketing is that every person on your list knows what you’re all about and has agreed to give you their email address, meaning they already have some invested interest in your product or service. 

This opens up a world of opportunities for you to boost conversion and deeply engage your audience through personalized and well-timed content. But just because someone subscribed to your newsletter doesn’t necessarily mean they want to be bombarded by emails every hour — especially if you’re promoting something they don’t find relevant at this particular time.

Be mindful of who you’re sending specific emails to and whether it is likely to be relevant to them. For example, if you’re a brand that sells male and female bicycles, and a female customer subscribes to your email newsletter, make sure that the offers you send them align with their sex. Other key factors to consider, regardless of the product or service you’re selling, are demographics, engagement levels, and buying habits. 

What Is A Loyalty Program? 

A loyalty program can encompass many things. They are sponsored by retailers and other businesses, offering discounts, special rewards, and other incentives that help bring in and retain customers. 

Loyalty programs are crafted in a way to encourage repeat purchases/visits. The more loyal customers are to a brand (the more they spend and patronize the business), the bigger their rewards. 

In short, the purpose of a loyalty program is to:

  • Retain and attract new customers
  • Drive engagement and brand loyalty
  • Guide customers/leads further down the funnel


Regardless of the type of industry you’re in, a strong loyalty program with tasty rewards systems (e.g., loyalty cards) can skyrocket your revenue without you having to double your marketing budget. 

The Benefits Of Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are created with customer relationship-building in mind — relationships on more than just a monetary basis. Often, people choose a product or service that costs relatively less over a brand name. With a well-set-up loyalty program, however, you can override the financial aspect and make customers want to return to your business. 

Naturally, one of the things customers spend a lot of time on when shopping online is finding the right product. And this process is often made easier with target marketing. 

Many websites track their customers’ purchasing habits and behaviors, which reveals a lot about their wants and needs. 

This data can then be used to create a personalized reward system that notifies customers when the product they’ve expressed interest in is on sale. One of the biggest buying motivations for people is receiving sample-size products along with their orders, which naturally can lead to further purchases. 

Here are some of the key benefits of loyalty programs: 

Drive Customer Lifetime Value

Many people typically spend their money on websites they know and trust over new ones. One of the main ingredients for a successful online business is trust, which is something that is earned over time by websites that invest in loyalty programs. With a carefully devised loyalty program, businesses can build a strong customer base willing to invest long-term. 

Great Customer Experiences Trump Money

There are millions of products on the market, and price margins are often set with narrow differences. This is one of the main reasons why businesses unwilling to invest in extra-monetary benefits fail to take off properly. People may visit your page for the low prices, but in the end, they will stay for the experience.

Keep Existing Customers

According to research, it costs businesses six times more to win a new customer than to retain their existing ones. Loyalty programs can do wonders for keeping people engaged with a brand and returning them for more. They can include reward systems that build up over time or multiply depending on how long the customer has been loyal to the business. That way, people also feel that they have a personal investment that can eventually be collected in the form of a reward.

They Help You Bring In New Customers

Even though there are numerous marketing strategies available to try out, nothing beats testimonials written by existing customers. A solid review by a happy customer can work like magic to attract new ones. 

Types Of Loyalty Programs

Here are the 7 main categories of successful customer loyalty programs:

1. Point System

Point systems can give you a comprehensive view of customer data, which is especially precious for customer analysis, including sign-ins from multiple devices. 

2. VIP Loyalty (Paid)

Not all customers have the patience to wait until they earn their VIP status, so naturally, some would want to pay for it. 

For an agreed price, standard fee members can also get the premium package. 

3. Tiered 

These are special VIP-type programs created to cater to an exclusive club of people. 

Members are awarded high status and reward points for completing specific actions, and participants are given an extensive list of what can be gained at every step of their customer journey. 

4. Strategic Partnership

Presenting customers with a bigger plate of options can work like a charm for customer retention. 

Partnering with other businesses your customers find relevant will prove to them that you truly care about their wants and needs. 

Also, it’s the perfect gateway to new business relationship opportunities. 

5. Cashback

Here we have a loyalty program that focuses on instant rewards and rewards with an expiration date. 

Its purpose is to reward customers by giving them back a piece of the total amount they spent on their most recent purchase. This is usually done via virtual currency or points.

6. Hybrid 

With a hybrid loyalty program, you can mix two or more loyalty strategies, with the one used the most often being a tiered system coupled with a point system. However, you should always adapt according to an option that best suits your specific business needs. 

7. Gamification

Gamification is the crème de la crème when it comes to loyalty programs that can have a true impact on the customer-merchant relationship. 

Research shows that Gamification can improve customer registration and conversion rates by more than 50%, so it’s safe to say it’s here to stay!

Definition: 

With a Gamification loyalty program, people are given a fun, engaging tasks and challenges, which can earn them exciting rewards like points, badges, coupons, special discounts, and more. It can have a massive positive impact on customer-brand interaction. 

A Dedicated Platform Designed To Attract And Retain Customers To Your Business

To take your business to the next level, you will also need an affiliate marketing platform with a proven track record of driving revenue sky-high.

Powered by Smartico.ai, The Affiliate Platform is a comprehensive software solution that allows for multi-brand campaign creation and tracking while keeping each brand’s affiliate registrations and access separate. 

With this affiliate system tailor-made for online casinos and sports betting, you can build strong partner relationships and expand your affiliate network on your terms. Its flexible tools can also help you optimize your affiliate marketing spending with surprising efficiency. 

This white-label platform is designed specifically for casino, poker, sportsbook, and fintech operators.

In addition, The Affiliate Platform offers the following features and benefits:

  • Collaboration With Partners — Dedicated Account Manager is part of the service via any of the instant messaging apps (Slack, Skype, Teams) and Jira.
  • Convenient Pricing — We don’t charge by your results, clicks, or conversion — one price for all.
  • Ease of Use — Allows your team total control over your entire affiliate operation, including overseeing your team of affiliate managers, affiliate management, real-time reporting, payments, and comprehensive BI reporting.
  • Total Control In One Customizable Platform — Tap into the power of a fully customizable affiliate management solution designed to manage your affiliate marketing campaigns, payouts, creative assets, and more. Upload, update and manage all your creatives across your entire affiliate network.
  • Track Everything In One Place, Build The Partnership You Want — The Affiliate Platform can make your next campaign the most successful one yet. It is a powerful affiliate software platform bringing casino and betting operators advanced solutions for creating, running, and tracking multi-brand affiliate marketing campaigns.
  • Comprehensive Feature-Rich Tracking — The Affiliate Platform provides real-time and accurate conversion tracking and records via API integration, FTP solutions, traffic sources, and media placements. It also features broadly advanced no cookie dependencies methods like Server 2 Server (S2S/Postback), Image pixel, iFrame, Client JS Block and Facebook pixel, which are ideal for advanced affiliate marketers.
  • Multi-Product & Multi-Brand System — The Affiliate Platform allows for multi-brand campaign creation and tracking and keeps the affiliate registrations and access separate for each brand. Different commission plans can be assigned per product and brand. Unite your iGaming brands into one affiliate program and manage them from one admin panel. 

The Affiliate Platform offers many more tools, and, driven by customer requests, new features and functionalities are released every month. To book your free in-depth demo, please click the “Request a demo” button at the top of the page.

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing and loyalty programs can give customers good reasons to visit and re-visit your product or service while putting you ahead of the competition. By using one or both of these approaches, you can help drive sales and give people a reason to want to stick with you. 

Naturally, whichever approach you choose, it has to be well thought out and properly integrated. The Affiliate Platform team is here to assist you through thick and thin so you too can join the winners club and reach your fullest potential. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Best of luck, 

The TAP team